Manchester City will surely rotate for their Champions League fixture against RB Leipzig after establishing a settled side in the Premier League.
As Pep Guardiola named an unchanged lineup for the third consecutive fixture on Saturday for the first time ever as City boss, his side sneaked past Leicester City in a hard-fought 1-0 victory where Bernardo Silva was the only scorer.
City struggled to reach the brilliant heights they found in the 5-0 drubbings of Arsenal and Norwich City, as they were tested by Brendan Rodgers’ side who have proven themselves to be a consistent contender for European places.
Thankfully, City are returning to the Etihad for their opening Champions League fixture and will be facing an RB Leipzig side who were beaten 4-1 by a Bayern Munchen side now coached by former Leipzig boss Julian Nagelsmann and without the services of Dayot Upamecano and Ibrahima Konate, who have moved to Bayern and Liverpool, respectively.
Players such as Raheem Sterling and Riyad Mahrez, who have been on the fringes of the action for City this season, will eye this fixture as one that could propel them into Guardiola’s thoughts ahead of a monumental month of Premier League action, where City are scheduled to face Chelsea and Liverpool back-to-back.
If there is one certainty for this fixture, it is that Ederson will remain between the sticks. City had to wait until the 11th hour to find out whether they could field their Brazilian stopper on Saturday but were given the green light from FIFA after Brazil had initially launched an effort to block Premier League players who had been called up and not been able to travel to Brazil over the international break from playing for their club sides on the weekend.
This season, John Stones has been unlucky not to feature for City in the Premier League and will surely make his first start of the campaign alongside Ruben Dias on Wednesday. The imperious partnership that marshalled City to Premier League glory last campaign has been penetrated by Aymeric Laporte, who was linked with a move away from Manchester this summer.
Stones and Dias could be flanked by any of City’s outstanding options at full-back, but Oleksandr Zinchenko should find a place on the left and Joao Cancelo is favoured over Kyle Walker on the right side of defence on this occasion.
Kevin De Bruyne and Phil Foden are the big stories ahead of the game: will they play, won’t they play? We have decided that they will both occupy places on the bench to start but should be set to feature at some stage in the second half. As a result, Fernandinho is the one to come in, replacing Rodri, who has had a strong start to the season. Ilkay Gundogan and Bernardo Silva will hope to carry on their good early season form.
In attack, Sterling and Mahrez will come in for Jack Grealish and Gabriel Jesus, who has been a revelation since evolving his game into becoming a creative right winger. Sterling and Mahrez are two forwards who need statement performances to force their way into Guardiola’s thinking for the upcoming crunch matches. We have Ferran Torres leading the line for City’s Champions League curtain-raiser.
Man City predicted starting XI : Ederson; Cancelo, Dias, Stones, Zinchenko; Fernandinho, Gundogan, Bernardo; Mahrez, Torres, Sterling.