clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Report: Gundogan fit for City debut at Manchester Derby, Pep Guardiola still unsure

Selection headaches for the City manager

Manchester City unveil Pep Guardiola as new Manager Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images

There is one bad part about being a high-level football manager: selection headaches. And Pep Guardiola has quite a few big ones for his next match in charge of Manchester City.

According to a report from the Guardian, summer signing Ilkay Gundogan is fit to make his debut in this weekend's Derby against Manchester United. The German took four months to recover from a dislocated kneecap, but he has been training well for the past several weeks and is fully healthy and in great shape to play a competitive football match.

The problem for Gundogan is that the next match is the Manchester Derby, which promises to be incredibly intense and demanding, both physically and mentally. Guardiola will select the eleven best players in that sense, and according to the report, the Catalan is not too sure if Ily is one of those eleven. He is almost certain about using Gundogan during the game, but it is hard to see the player in the starting lineup right now.

If he decides to use Gundogan, though, Pep has a few different tactical options that might even affect his decision as to who will replace the suspended Sergio Agüero up front. The easiest choice would be Ilkay in place of Fernandinho with Kelechi Iheanacho as the striker, but Fernandinho is a key part of the side right now and will most likely start on Saturday. What Guardiola could do is name Gundogan in place of Agüero, then use the German as a central midfielder alongside David Silva, with Kevin De Bruyne moving to the wing with Raheem Sterling, pushing Nolito as the man up top.

It's the type of tactical tweak Guardiola loves to make in order to have a strong midfield to keep possession in big games, and it honestly looks like the most viable option if Gundogan does start. But we'll only know for sure once the lineups are announced on the early hours of Saturday.