Manchester City walked their way through to the quarterfinals of the Champions League this season, earlier this week and can now turn their attention to taking a step closer to lifting the Premier League title. Standing with a 13 point advantage with a game in hand, Pep Guardiola’s men face a tricky test this week, as they travel to BET365 to take on Stoke City on Monday.
The Potters, currently struggling at the heart of the drop zone, have lost just one of their last five games and are fresh off three back-to-back draws, the last coming against Southampton last weekend. City have been relentless this season but fell to a 2-1 loss at home to Basel in the UCL, which did not affect their chances in the competition. They will look to get back to winning ways in this game and here is the predicted lineup Guardiola is expected to field:
In early team news, both Benjamin Mendy and Sergio Aguero are ruled out for this game for City. Fabian Delph is back from suspension but has picked up a knock and is doubtful and so are Raheem Sterling and Fernandinho, both of who are just back in training, after nursing hamstring issues. Playmaker David Silva missed the mid-week cup tie but is back available for this clash.
Expected lineup (4-3-3):
Ederson Moares is easily one of the best shot-stoppers in the league at the moment and is one of the first names on the team sheet for City this season. He should start under the bar, after being rested against Basel.
John Stones put in a decent shift in that tie but could be replaced by Nicolas Otamendi, who has been City’s best defender this season. He should be partnered with Aymeric Laporte, who has settled in well at the Etihad. Kyle Walker was also rested for that game and should be back at right-back while Danilo might start at left-back, giving Zinchenko a break.
With Fernandinho struggling for full fitness, he might not be risked, giving Ilkay Gundogan another appearance as a CDM in this tie. He should be partnered with Kevin de Bruyne and David Silva, neither of who played in that loss against Basel.
With Aguero out injured, Pep does not have too many options and has to stick with Gabriel Jesus to lead the attack. Leroy Sane has been a regular presence in the attack and should start on the left flank while Bernardo Silva should cover for Raheem Sterling on the right flank.
Here is how they might line up:
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