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Manchester City vs Tottenham Hotspur, Premier League: Predicted Lineups

Who starts on Saturday’s big game?

Manchester City v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images


When there’s a big game, there isn’t much question about the lineup Pep Guardiola will chose. We know Kyle Walker and Fabian Delph will be the full-backs, Nicolas Otamendi will be part of the defense, Fernandinho will be in midfield with Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva, and Leroy Sané will play up front with Raheem Sterling and either Gabriel Jesus or Sergio Agüero.

Because of injuries to John Stones and Vincent Kompany, Eliaquim Mangala is the clear choice to be Otamendi’s partner at center-back. With the lineup easily figured out, it’s all about the tactical plan. Pep has done different things in all of the big games this season: a 5-3-2 against Liverpool, a 3-4-3 againt Chelsea, and a 4-3-3-0 with no striker at Old Trafford.

Against Spurs, much of Pep’s plan will be a reaction to what Spurs decide to do: if they decide to press high and fight for possession, it’ll be a team designed to be compact in the buildup and present many passing options at the back, looking to run at Spurs defenders as soon as the first line of pressing is broken; if Tottenham do what every other team has done and try to park the bus and hit City on the counter, then Pep will give his full-backs more freedom to provide width and try to find spaces with off-ball movement and incisive passes.

Predicted XI: Ederson; Walker, Otamendi, Mangala, Delph; De Bruyne, Fernandinho, Silva; Sterling, Jesus, Sané

Bitter and Blue XI (as chosen by you!):

Ederson; Walker, Otamendi, Mangala, Delph; De Bruyne, Fernandinho, Silva; Sterling, Agüero, Sané


Mauricio Pochettino is a very, very, very, very good manager and a brilliant tactician, especially when it comes to big matchups. His formations are somewhat simple, but the tactical plan is complex and usually hard to predict and/or deal with.

A problem for Pochettino ahead of this one is the number of absences on his defensive side: Toby Alderweireld and the brilliant Victor Wanyama are out with injury, while Davinson Sánchez cannot play due to suspension. If the three were able to play, Spurs would probably line up with three at the back and look for a very physical affair.

With only Eric Dier and Jan Vertonghen available as center-backs, Pochettino will have no choice but to play a back four, with Ben Davies and Kieran Trippier the favorites to start at the full-back position. Mousa Dembélé and Harry Winks will probably start in the base of midfield, although Moussa Sissoko could start over Winks if the manager wants a little more physicality in midfield.

There is no doubt when it comes to the front four: Christian Erisken, Dele Alli, Heung Min Son and Harry Kane have been Spurs’ best players this season and will surely start to give Fernandinho and the City back four a very tough afternoon.

Predicted XI: Lloris; Trippier, Dier, Vertonghen, Davies; Sissoko, Dembelé; Eriksen, Alli, Son; Kane