Manchester City will go into their third successive League Cup final in a buoyant mood after a fantastic 2-1 victory against Real Madrid in the first-leg of the Champions League round of 16 tie on Wednesday night.
The unorthodox set up in the Madrid game will give Guardiola even more to think about when deciding his starting XI to walk out on Sunday. Here's how we think Manchester City will line-up at Wembley...
Pep Guardiola has said that Aymeric Laporte will be out for “three weeks, more or less", after the Frenchman sadly suffered yet another injury, this time to his hamstring, during the first half of midweek’s match. Leroy Sané is also set to miss out on Sunday’s final as he stepped up his recovery once again, by featuring for Manchester City’s U23s against Arsenal on Friday night.
Claudio Bravo is expected to make his fifth appearance at Wembley with the keeper the man Guardiola seems to turn to in domestic cup games. Although Ederson retained his place in last years final, the Chilean provided an unlikely assist the year before against Arsenal.
The back line will see summer signing Joao Cancelo, who has made the majority of his appearances in cup games, replace Kyle Walker at right back. The centre-back partnership will consist of Fernandinho and Nicolas Otamendi who both heavily featured in the superb midweek performance. They'll be joined at left back by Oleksandr Zinchenko, despite Benjamin Mendy’s sudden peak in form. The Ukrainian has a 100% win record in the League Cup, having won all the 11 matches he has played in for City.
The midfield selections will be interesting given the amount of talent Guardiola has at his disposal. Personally, I think Ilkay Gundogan’s impressive performance on Wednesday will see him rewarded with another start at Wembley. As much as it would be brilliant to see Phil Foden start in a cup final for Manchester City, it's more likely we'll have to wait to see that, as I think David Silva will make possibly his final appearance in a major final for the Blues. Kevin De Bruyne will most definitely keep his place after being one of the stand out performers against Real Madrid.
Sergio Agüero, who didn’t feature against Real Madrid, has five goals in nine appearances at Wembley and will lead the line for the Blues on Sunday afternoon. Raheem Sterling, who I expect to get the nod over Riyad Mahrez, has similarly good stats having been on the scoresheet in four of his eight showings for Manchester City in North London. On the other side, it'll likely be Bernardo Silva, who made his 100th start for City last week operating from the flank.
Ederson, Walker, Stones, Foden, Mahrez, Rodri and Jesus
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