Manchester City have had the rare luxury of no midweek game, giving Pep Guardiola’s squad a chance to mentally and physically refresh.
Now though, the time is at hand for the intensive schedule to resume with a trip to managerless Huddersfield next on the agenda. The Terriers saw David Wagner leave the club and will have Mark Hudson as interim boss for this weekend’s game.
With almost everyone fit, Guardiola again has to make some tough decisions on who to start and leave out – and the lack of injuries make predicting his starting lineups even tougher!
Much of muchness, which is a good thing. Benjamin Mendy has been training and Pep said on Friday he is “closer” to a return, but isn’t ready just yet and Claudio Bravo is still a long way off returning. As far as we know, everyone else is available for selection.
Ederson enjoyed his foray to the halfway line against Wolves, but no matter how hard he tries, Pep ain’t playing him in the midfield. He’ll start again between the sticks hoping for back-to-back clean sheets.
In defence, Kyle Walker should start again at right-back after looking good against Wolves. Pep started Danilo on the left last time and the Brazilian did a fair job, which makes the next choice hard. Is Pep unhappy with Delph for his silly red card against Leicester? Does Pep lack faith in Zinchenko except against easy opposition? We can only wonder… and in this case, we’re going for Fabian Delph at left-back. It’s a guess. Aymeric Laporte and John Stones reunited in the centre of defence against Wolves and were rock solid – we can see no reason these two won’t start again, particularly with the next midweek game against Burton, so there’s no need to rest either.
Fernandinho will certainly sit out the trip to Burton, meaning he’s probably a shoo-in to start against Huddersfield. Guardiola wants to keep everyone happy, so after starting David and Bernardo Silva against Wolves, will it be two in, two out in the middle of the park? We can definitely see Kevin De Bruyne stepping up his comeback with a start, but who will join him? We’re going to say David Silva, who will then sit out the midweek game. City struggled to break down Huddersfield in this fixture last year, so the creativity of KDB and El Mago could prove decisive.
Leroy Sané and Raheem Sterling remain City’s primary wing options despite club-record signing Riyad Mahrez being available, and there’s no reason to assume those two won’t play, with Mahrez likely to feature against Burton. Up front, it’s again a tough call. Gabriel Jesus is in his best form for a while, but Kun Aguero is Kun Aguero. Who do you pick? Even Pep didn’t seem sure when asked. After three starts on the bounce for Jesus, perhaps it’s time for Sergio Aguero to finally begin a game for City again.
Again, City will be able to boast a super-strong bench on which Phil Foden and one established defender may not even get a place. A probable subs bench looks like: Aro Muric, Danilo, Nicolas Otamendi, Ilkay Gundogan, Bernardo Silva, Riyad Mahrez and Gabriel Jesus.