By 90Min
October 21, 2019

Manchester City have taken six points from their opening two Champions League group matches and are at home against winless Atalanta in their third on Tuesday - Pep Guardiola has to use this as a chance to check out some of his fringe players.

The Sky Blues are well on their way to qualifying for the knockout rounds following victories over Shakhtar Donetsk and Dinamo Zagreb, with Tuesday's Italian opponents likely to field a slightly weakened side after struggling in their first ever season at this level.

Visionhaus/GettyImages

Everything suggests Pep can blood some youngsters in midweek and not risk damaging City's European campaign. A number of players in his squad are crying out for a chance to prove themselves, but will the Catalan grant them the opportunity?

Here's how Guardiola's side should line up for their meeting with Atalanta at the Etihad Stadium.


Goalkeeper & Defenders

Chloe Knott - Danehouse/GettyImages

Ederson (GK) - An immaculate performance from City's Brazilian shot-stopper kept Crystal Palace at bay over the weekend. Ederson continues to grow in the number one jersey, with the keeper well on his way to becoming a legend on the blue side of Manchester.

Kyle Walker (RB) - Atalanta usually opt for a five-man defence, using Timothy Castagne and Robin Gosens as attacking wing-backs. Walker is the perfect candidate to exploit the spaces left down the flank, having proved his abilities going forward on numerous occasions.

Fernandinho (CB) - John Stones could be available for the clash, but there is no need to rush the England international back into action. At Selhurst Park, Fernandinho was faultless, demonstrating his utility as a centre back, as well as a midfield anchor.

Eric Garcia (CB) - Rodri may have looked impressive in the heart of defence versus Palace, but it's high time Pep gave 18-year-old Garcia another start. The Spaniard has only featured in two matches for the senior side this term, yet he has the composure and intelligence of a man twice his age. His coach won't regret the decision to play the starlet.

Oleksandr Zinchenko (LB) - Question marks continue to hang over Benjamin Mendy and his fitness, meaning it's best he has a rest following his exploits in south London on Saturday. Zinchenko offers a different sort of threat down the left, though he is no less awkward for opposing defenders to cope with.


Midfielders

Alex Livesey - Danehouse/GettyImages

Ilkay Gundogan (CDM) - As mentioned before, Rodri was chosen at centre back on the weekend, his 12th outing of the year. The former Atletico Madrid destroyer should be allowed some recovery time and Gundogan is a more than capable alternative at the base of the Sky Blues' midfield unit.

Bernardo Silva (RCM) - What a mesmerising little footballer Bernardo is. There is no need for Guardiola to play talisman Kevin De Bruyne against the Serie A side, especially when his Portuguese counterpart is a sublime technician who invariably benefits from being the team's primary playmaker.

Phil Foden (LCM) - Pep always lavishes praise on Foden. Well, it's time for the gaffer to put his money where his mouth is and hand the teenager a starring role in this Champions League encounter. The fans are desperate to see how their darling is doing now he's got a few seasons with the first-team under his belt.


Forwards

Michael Regan/GettyImages

Riyad Mahrez (RW) - After a testing start to life with the Premier League champions, Mahrez is beginning to show the spectacular form that helped Leicester conquer England. No team in the top 14 positions in Serie A has shipped more goals than La Dea; the Algerian could have a field day.

Raheem Sterling (LW) - Even when he doesn't score, Sterling is a standout for Citizens. The forward couldn't find the net in the 2-0 triumph at Palace, but once again produced a fine showing to keep him in the conversation for PFA Player of the Year. He's another who would relish a chance to take on this shaky Atalanta backline.

Sergio Aguero (ST) - Nothing would scare Gian Piero Gasperini's recruits more than the prospect of facing lethal marksman Aguero. The Argentine is sitting on eight goals in nine matches this season and, if he lines up at the Etihad this week, there's a strong likelihood he'll be adding to that tally.


For more from Ed Alexander, follow him on Twitter!

You May Like