Manchester City will look to extend their winning steak to 13 games as they head to Turf Moor to take on Burnley in this midweek Premier League clash.
The current run of form sees the Blues at the top of the table and has placed the spotlight on some unexpected players like Ilkay Gündogan and João Cancelo, who've been putting in player of the year performances in recent weeks.
With a trip to Anfield coming up over the weekend, the predicted team for the Burnley game will be an argument of pragmatism and resting players, verses picking the best team to keep up form heading into a difficult game against a rival for top spot.
Burnley themselves have had some mixed results lately; unexpectedly beating teams like Aston Villa and Liverpool but losing to West Ham and most recently Chelsea. Despite that, this isn't a game that City should take lightly.
Here's what we think the line up will be...
Ederson has kept twelve cleans sheets so far this season and is only four away from his total in the whole of last season, which saw him grab the Golden Glove award. This is obviously in large part to the improved defence in front of him, but the Brazilian has been ready and alert to the minimal threats he's faced, and it's difficult to see a scenario where he doesn't feature in all the important games.
At right-back we should see the return of João Cancelo who was rested in the previous match, where it was clear the team missed his creativity. The Portuguese full-back has been used more as a midfielder this season and I think this will be the case here.
To cover the gap this creates Pep Guardiola has been utilising a back-three while in possession, and I reckon that will be three centre-backs in Aymeric Laporte, Ruben Dias, and a returning John Stones; reuniting the bromance partnership we all love without leaving Laporte sulking in the stands. Zinchenko has played well in recent games, but he better suits the role Cancelo is excelling in only on the left, and he may be rested with one eye on the Liverpool game.
Rodrigo should return to the midfield aided by Ilkay Gündogan and Bernardo Silva. This midfield three gives us a match-winning combination of strength, energy and creativity. With Kevin De Bruyne still out with an injury there aren't many who can challenge for these spots and provide the team with the same quality needed to break teams down.
Up front Gabriel Jesus will retain his place in the side. If he's the confidence player everyone believes him to be, there's no better time to play him than off the back of scoring a match-winning goal. However, to make sure we retain width and stretch the Burnley back-line, I think we'll see Gabby often on the left and Raheem Sterling on the right.
That leaves one spot open which Riyad Mahrez will occupy. He often plays well against the Clarets and can interchange that central position with any of the forward two, or even Gündogan who's shown skill there, or Bernardo if we need to press high off the ball.
Substitutes: Zack Steffen, Eric Garcia, Kyle Walker, Benjamin Mendy, Oleksandr Zinchenko, Fernandinho, Tommy Doyle, Phil Foden, Ferran Torres.
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