The Blues had a very, very, very difficult match against Huddersfield Town on Sunday, and the next game is on Wednesday. The short turnaround calls for rotations, and Pep Guardiola will surely rotate. But many are expecting Pep to make sweeping changes, and that might not be the case.
City travel to Ukraine for a Champions League match against Shakhtar Donetsk next week that means absolutely nothing, and there’s a good chance Guardiola will rest nearly half of his squad in that game. That means he can approach the next two games against Southampton and West Ham United with strong sides, with only a few changes instead of complete rotations.
That should be the case tomorrow. Southampton are a very good coming off a great win at home, and Manchester City need their best players to win. I personally expect a very strong team, with only a couple of changes up front: Raheem Sterling drops to the bench with Bernardo Silva starting, and Gabriel Jesus replaces Sergio Agüero at the striker position.
Other than that, there shouldn’t be other changes. The two biggest possibilities are Ilkay Gundogan for one of the midfielders and Eliaquim Mangala for Vincent Kompany, but I don’t think they’ll happen.
Predicted XI: Ederson; Walker, Kompany, Otamendi, Delph; De Bruyne, Fernandinho, Silva; Bernardo, Jesus, Sané
Bitter and Blue XI (as chosen by you!):
Ederson; Walker, Kompany, Otamendi, Delph; De Bruyne, Fernandinho, Silva; Sterling, Jesus, Sané
After destroying Everton at home on Sunday, Southampton and Mauricio Pellegrino come into this one full of confidence and with two important players returning: Oriol Romeu is back after a one-game suspension and Mario Lemina has recovered from an injury and is expected to start.
Pellegrino has a bit of a headache in midfield: Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and James Ward-Prowse made their first starts in a while and had wonderful performances, but with Lemina and Romeu back it’s hard to see them keeping their place in the team. Although Saints usually play a 4-2-3-1 formation, they could switch to a 4-3-3 to have a stronger midfield structure and outlets on the wing to counter attack.
Predicted XI: Forster; Cédric, Van Dijk, Hoedt, Bertrand; Davis, Romeu, Lemina; Tadic, Austin, Boufal
MAN CITY: Ederson; Walker, Kompany, Otamendi, Delph; De Bruyne, Fernandinho, Gundogan; Sterling, Agüero, Jesus
SOUTHAMPTON: Forster; Cédric, Yoshida, Van Dijk, Hoedt, Bertrand; Hojbjerg, Romeu, Lemina; Redmond, Long