A thumping 4-1 win against United in the Manchester derby has helped Manchester City maintain the lead over Liverpool at the top of the Premier League standings. The upcoming fixture is more of a dead rubber for the Skyblues as they set to host Sporting CP on Wednesday night in the return leg of the UEFA Champions League Round of 16.
The mighty Citizens humiliated the Portuguese giants 5-0 in Lisbon, and therefore, should progress through to the quarter-finals without hassle. Pep Guardiola must rotate his players tomorrow night and keep them fit and fresh for next week’s clash against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.
Predicted 4-3-3 Manchester City Lineup To Face Sporting CP
With Zack Steffen sidelined through a lower back injury, City’s ‘number 1’ Ederson Moraes is likely to retain his place between the sticks. Veteran Scott Carson would continue as the understudy to the Brazilian until the USMNT international is declared fit.
Guardiola does not have enough defensive alternatives amid injuries to Rubel Dias and Nathan Ake. John Stones and Aymeric Laporte are the only available options in the heart of the backline, whereas Joao Cancelo should be restored on the right to make way for Oleksandr Zinchenko as the left fullback. Kyle Walker must be rested ahead of a busy schedule across competitions.
Fernandinho should return to the first-team lineup and feature from the base as a deep-lying playmaker. Ilkay Gundogan is expected to operate box-to-box, so is Bernardo Silva as the other ‘number 8’ in the middle of the park. Rodri and Kevin De Bruyne deserve some breathing space following a superlative display against Manchester United.
City have ample wide attackers in their ranks but failed to rope in an outright ‘number 9’ this season despite offers for Tottenham talisman Harry Kane. Raheem Sterling was dropped against the Red Devils, however, his mazy runs and swift footwork would cause a menace in Sporting defence down the left-hand flank. Jack Grealish might get the nod as a makeshift ‘False 9’ after a difficult start to life in the blue half of Manchester. Despite leading the line for his nation, Gabriel Jesus has been converted into a wing-forward by their charismatic Spanish gaffer. The Selecao international should be restored on the right ahead of in-form Riyad Mahrez. The Algerian, as well as Phil Foden, must make a difference against the Eagles in their next Premier League game.