Ilkay Gundogan and Oleksandr Zinchenko To Return! - Predicted Team: Man City vs Barnsley (Pre-Season)

The season is right around the corner, so for one last time during pre-season, here is City Xtra's predicted Manchester City team to take on Barnsley on Saturday evening.
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Pep Guardiola deployed a more experienced starting line-up against Preston North End on Tuesday night, before opting to make 10 changes at half-time. So this predicted side may only be the case for 45 minutes.

There's some exciting youth talent back in contention after minor injuries, as well as a few first-team stars returning from their summer breaks. There's certainly room for the manager to experiment against a strong Barnsley side.

With the traditional Community Shield curtain raiser edging ever closer too, here's how we predict Manchester City will line-up on Saturday evening...


Zack Steffen will continue in goal.

Young goalkeeper Cieran Slicker has thankfully made a full recovery, following a nasty on-field collision in midweek against Preston North End, but is likely not to be risked for this one. 

At left-back, we suspect Benjamin Mendy will keep his place in the starting XI as the Frenchman looks to build fitness ahead of the new campaign. The 27 year-old looked promising in midweek, and so will be looking to build on that with an assured performance against Barnsley.

That also means Joao Cancelo will continue to operate as the only first-team right-back available. We saw a glimpse of Brazilian prospect Yan Couto against Preston, but it's likely he'll be part of a host of changes at half-time.

At centre-back, Pep Guardiola surprised a lot of people by throwing Ruben Dias and Nathan Aké straight back into the fold after just one day of training - so we think he may do the same tonight. 

At defensive midfield, club captain Fernandinho will continue his role.

There is talk of Belgian talent Romeo Lavia - who some regard as a somewhat understudy to the aforementioned Brazilian - featuring at some point during the evening, but we can't see that being from the start.


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Ahead of the veteran, we believe, due to Pep Guardiola using first-team players right from the off on Tuesday, a midfield pairing of Ilkay Gundogan and Oleksandr Zinchenko will be deployed.  

On one wing, Riyad Mahrez made a goalscoring return against Preston with a sumptuous free-kick. The Algerian will again look to combine with Joao Cancelo down the right and give the Barnsley left-back some problems.

On the opposite side, I'm going to opt for Cole Palmer.

He seems to be integrating more and more into the first team squad, so it'll be a good opportunity for him to play alongside more of these players. 

Up-front is a lottery.

City Xtra have revealed striking starlet Liam Delap is wearing foot protection after an injury, so he's unlikely to be involved. From the two strikers that played on Tuesday, we'll anticipate that Ben Knight will get the nod. 

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Substitutes: Carson, Sandler, Roberts, Couto, Moreno, Edozie, Egan Riley, Charles, Smith, Bolton, Gomes, McAtee, Rogers, Pozo.


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