There’s a little game at Old Trafford against Manchester United coming up, and this may be a good opportunity to rotate the squad and give some reserves and youngsters a chance to play. Pep Guardiola said in his pre-match presser that he wants his team to win this game, but that doesn’t mean he’ll go with a really strong team. The squad is deep enough to rotate and still have a good team to go out and get the win.
One good thing is that Kevin De Bruyne is suspended and David Silva did not even travel with the squad to rest and recover from a small injury, so the two most important players in the entire team will definitely not be playing this one.
To figure out the XI for Wednesday is an impossible job, but we do know that Yaya Touré and Ilkay Gundogan will be replacing Silva and De Bruyne in midfield. If Pep decides to rest his entire midfield and leave Fernandinho on the bench, then there’s a good chance that Phil Foden makes his first start for Manchester City. Bernardo Silva is surely starting this one as well, with Raheem Sterling or Sergio Agüero (or both) going to the bench.
At the back, many are calling for Tosin Adarabioyo to start this one, which makes a lot of sense. But Pep respects the Shakhtar attack to much to give a young Tosin such a difficult test away from home, so he might start Vincent Kompany here. The Kaptain was rested against West Ham on Sunday, and I don’t think Pep wants to start him at Old Trafford having not played for 10 days.
Predicted XI: Ederson; Danilo, Kompany, Mangala, Delph; Gundogan, Touré, Foden; Bernardo, Jesus, Sané
Bitter and Blue XI (as chosen by you!):
Bravo; Danilo, Adarabioyo, Mangala, Delph; Gundogan, Touré, Foden; Bernardo, Jesus, Brahim
Shakhtar might miss two important players because of injury: right-back Bodgan Butko, one of Shakhtar’s top performers this season, and attacking midfielder Taison, a really important link between midfield and attack. The good news for Shakhtar is that they can replace Taison with Viktor Kovalenko, a really talented young midfielder who just can’t get into the team because Taison, Bernard and Marlos are so good. If he’s given a shot in this game, though, Kovalenko could announce himself to Europe with a great performance against one of the competition’s favorites.
The rest of the side should be very similar to the one that played very well at the Etihad back in September. Keep an eye on striker Facundo Ferreyra, who could be a major threat on set pieces.
Predicted XI: Pyatov; Petryak, Ordets, Rakitskiy, Ismaily; Fred, Stepanenko; Marlos, Kovalenko, Bernard; Ferreyra
Man City: Ederson; Danilo, Adarabioyo, Mangala, Fernandinho; Gundogan, Touré, Foden; Bernardo, Jesus, Sané
Shakhtar: Pyatov; Butko, Ordets, Rakitskiy, Ismaily; Fred, Stepanenko; Marlos, Taison, Bernard; Ferreyra