Why are we even having this match? Everybody knows (even Steaua Bucharest) that Manchester City have qualified for the Champions League group stage after a 5-0 win in Romania last week. It was a result good enough not only to end the Playoff tie, but also to allow Pep Guardiola to know his squad a little better.
The coach already hinted he's planning to make a major rotation for the second leg against Steaua at Etihad. A tough Premier League match against West Ham awaits, so it is a good idea to give the reserves a starting role in a glorified friendly.
Unfortunately, Guardiola cannot use Bacary Sagna, who's out two weeks with an injury and will not return until after the international break for the Manchester Derby at Old Trafford. Ilkay Gundogan, Leroy Sané and Vincent Kompany are back in training, but are not expected back until next month.
Pep said in his pre-match press conference that Joe Hart and Yaya Touré "have a chance" of playing, but it's unclear whether or not they'll start. If they do, however, this is what the City starting lineup could look like to face Steaua:
Hart | Zabaleta, Adarabioyo, Kolarov, Clichy | Fernando | Navas, Touré, Delph, Nolito | Iheanacho
This is obviously my prediction, since I want to see all the key players (Stones, Agüero, Silva, KDB, Otamendi, Fernandinho, Sterling) rested for the West Ham game. Plus, this is a huge opportunity to test the rest of the squad, and most importantly give a chance to Hart and Touré to prove themselves.
But Pep is unpredictable, and who knows what's his idea for the starting lineup on Wednesday.