Pep Guardiola has a lot of problems to select this team for the first time this season, and despite the depth of the squad there isn’t enough cover in all positions and it could be impossible to figure out the starting lineup on Saturday.
Nicolas Otamendi is out with a suspension and Fabian Delph is a big doubt with a knee issue that kept him out of the England team last week. Raheem Sterling is expected to be in the squad as he’s recovered well from a back problem, but he might not be starting this one. That’s three starters out, and with the defense short on players thanks to Vincent Kompany and Benjamin Mendy being injured Pep has to think a lot about his team.
The biggest doubt is who replaces Otamendi. Eliaquim Mangala is the next option in the center-back depth chart, but his last performance against Wolverhampton was simply atrocious. Mangala plays on the left side of the defense and will be directly up against Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy, which is not really an encouraging scenario to imagine.
If Pep decides to keep Mangala on the bench, then the natural selection is the incredible Fernandinho who can play well in every position. With Fernandinho in defense, Ilkay Gundogan and Yaya Touré will be in contention to start in Dinho’s place with the German the most likely to get the nod in this situation.
Up front, Sergio Agüero might be rested for the Champions League game against Feyenoord after the incident with Argentina in which he fainted, with Gabriel Jesus up front, Leroy Sané on the left wing and Bernardo Silva in place of Sterling on the right.
Predicted XI: Ederson; Walker, Stones, Fernandinho, Danilo; De Bruyne, Gündogan, Silva; Bernardo, Jesus, Sané
Bitter and Blue XI (as chosen by you):
Ederson; Walker, Stones, Danilo, Delph; De Bruyne, Fernandinho, Silva; Sterling, Jesus, Sané
Claude Puel has had a very nice start to his Leicester career, with four points from two tough games against Everton and Stoke City. Leicester showed a few signs of the team that won the title under Claudio Ranieri, but it’s impossible to properly judge Puel after two games. One thing we know for sure is that he likes to set up his teams to defend and win close matches on the counter attack.
That style seems perfect to face a Manchester City side that plays a high defensive line and leaves space that must be covered by the goalkeeper. Leicester destroyed Claudio Bravo last season at the King Power, but with Ederson the Foxes might not have the same ease. Still, the pace of Vardy, the abilities of Mahrez and the rise of Demarai Gray give Leicester good chances of winning.
The plan for Puel is simple: defend and counter. Let’s see if it works.
Predicted XI: Schmeichel; Simpson, Morgan, Maguire, Fuchs; Mahrez, Iborra, Ndidi, Gray; Okazaki, Vardy
Man City: Ederson; Walker, Stones, Kompany, Delph; De Bruyne, Fernandinho, Silva; Sterling, Jesus, Sané
Leicester: Schmeichel; Simpson, Morgan, Maguire, Fuchs; Ndidi, Iborra; Gray, Mahrez, Albrighton; Vardy