Predicting a Pep Guardiola lineup for a Champions League game is risky business. The Man City boss has even joked that he’s planning to field 12 players against Atletico Madrid on Tuesday in his latest tactical overthought.
Call it a hunch, but we’re not taking the bait.
Guardiola’s 11-man lineup won’t feature Kyle Walker, who is still suspended, and there are a few other issues to contend with. Here’s how he could set up.
Ederson (GK) – The easiest spot to predict. Ederson is a guaranteed starter when fit.
Joao Cancelo (RB) – Walker’s suspension should see Cancelo shift back to the right.
Aymeric Laporte (CB) – Ruben Dias is still out with his hamstring problem, so Laporte will assume the role of City’s most important centre-back.
John Stones (CB) – Stones was only fit enough for a spot on the bench at the weekend, but he should be ready to return to the starting lineup here, with Nathan Ake waiting in the wings.
Oleksandr Zinchenko (LB) – No Cancelo in front of him means Zinchenko could get another run-out here.
Rodri (DM) – A reunion with his former employers is definitely on the cards.
Bernardo Silva (CM) – Atletico have been interested in Silva in the past and they’ll have to keep a very close eye on him for this one.
Kevin De Bruyne (CM) – De Bruyne scored a beauty at the weekend and should retain his spot in the starting lineup as a result.
Riyad Mahrez (RW) – Mahrez got a rest against Burnley at the weekend so should have the fresh legs needed to start.
Phil Foden (ST) – Guardiola brought Foden off after an hour last time out, so that might mean he’s getting the start here.
Raheem Sterling (LW) – Sterling has been a regular in recent months and should get the nod over the struggling Jack Grealish.