Pep Guardiola’s inimitable Manchester City side are having a fairytale season, going from 6 goal thrashings to last minute winners with an infectious enthusiasm, and as they approach this weekend’s Manchester derby, a continuation of that momentum is vital.
The one game standing between them and Sunday’s Old Trafford showdown is a tricky trip to Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League. With qualification as group winners already guaranteed, there is little resting on the game for City, but Pep will still be keen to gain a positive result to keep morale sky-high in the dressing room.
Shakhtar still need a point to guarantee their own qualification, so it will take a strong City side to overcome them. This is the XI we expect Pep to go with:
|PLAYER||% MINS PLD||GLS||AST.|
|0||0||0 / 0|
|0||1||3 / 0|
|0||0||1 / 0|
|4||0||6 / 0|
|1||1||1 / 0|
|2||2||5 / 0|
|0||2||0 / 0|
|0||0||1 / 0|
|8||8||4 / 0|
|1||2||0 / 0|
|10||1||0 / 0|
|Totals||26||17||21 / 0|
|TOTAL PREMIER LEAGUE EXPERIENCE|
At the back, Nicolás Otamendi and Eliaquim Mangala will be reunited having had a relatively troubled partnership in the past. The pair have started together 23 times for City, winning on just 15 occasions.
Fernandinho, Yaya Touré and İlkay Gündoğan have never been included in the same starting XI previously, but look set to form the heart of City’s team tonight. With over 1,300 club starts between them, however, there will certainly be no lack of experience here.
A mature midfield will be complemented by a youthful looking attack, with Bernardo Silva, Leroy Sané and Gabriel Jesus coming in at an average age of 21 years and 11 months. Despite not always being regular starters, the trio already have 19 goals and 11 assists between them this term.
Overall, it’s yet another spectacular looking City side and one that will be more than confident of gaining a positive result. New Betfair customers can back the away win at 40/1 and given City’s current form, it looks like the bet of the night.