The Champions League is back, and what better way to celebrate than by welcoming Lyon to Manchester on a Wednesday night? City haven’t escaped the weekend’s game against Fulham in one piece, but, fortunately, it seems Leroy Sané’s career is alive and kicking. Here’s how I think Guardiola will line up against last season’s Ligue 1 third-place outfit…
Benjamin Mendy is a doubt with a knee issue, Delph is touch-and-go but has been involved in full training, while Sergio Aguero, who came off against Fulham, may also miss the game. There is no indication that Danilo will be ready to return, and neither will Kevin De Bruyne, whose recovery is going well. Claudio Bravo is of course still out.
It’s not that we don’t like Muric, but I’d put good money on Ederson starting once again in goal. Sorry, Aro.
I expect some changes in the back four with Kyle Walker the only defender to keep his place, thanks in no small part to the absence of Danilo. I also expect John Stones, who was rested against Fulham, to play alongside Vincent Kompany. Assuming Delph and Mendy aren’t 100 per cent, we might see Oleksandr Zinchenko for the first time this season – he recently scored an injury-time winner for his country.
Fernandinho ran the show against Fulham. He was everywhere and I can’t see Pep trying to cope without him here. Another player too good to drop is Bernardo Silva, who was unlucky not to cap his world-class performance on Saturday with at least one goal. Guardiola has said that David Silva will play less this season but I suspect that De Bruyne’s injury means we can’t afford to rest El Mago just yet, hence completing an unchanged midfield.
Gabriel Jesus is likely to start up front in my opinion, even if Aguero’s knock from the weekend doesn’t render him unavailable. Meanwhile it would be great to see Riyad Mahrez get a start and try to find his feet at the club. Sterling has started the season on fire and I think it would be wise to rest him in preparation for the next league game, so I think that Leroy Sané will get another start after opening the scoring on Saturday.
On the bench we’ll surely see Aro Muric. He’ll likely be joined by Aymeric Laporte, Nicolas Otamendi, Fabian Delph, Ilkay Gundogan and Raheem Sterling. That in itself is an incredibly strong bench, but the last name is key. I think Phil Foden, who was deeply unlucky not to get any minutes against Fulham, will be on the bench again on Wednesday and this time deserves a chance if the game is going well.