Manchester City will look to keep up their winning ways when Stoke City visit the Etihad on Wednesday evening. With other competitions forcing their way onto City’s fixture list, Pep Guardiola must continue to choose a starting lineup capable of winning all three points in every match, but against Stoke it will not be easy, especially with the Potters improving in all areas lately.
It appears Pep will have the same selection of players to choose from as he did against Sunderland. The major injuries involve Ilkay Gundogan and Gabriel Jesus, while Vincent Kompany seems unlikely to appear. The forwards should be an easy choice, but we might see changes at the back and in the middle.
Below are the eleven players I believe Pep will select against Stoke, using the 4-3-3 formation that City have been using for some time.
Goalkeeper: Willy Caballero
The Argentine has really made the position his own since taking over for Claudio Bravo. Usually at least once per game there is a save that Caballero makes and Bravo probably doesn’t, which shows why Willy is the guy right now.
Defense: Bacary Sagna, John Stones, Aleksandar Kolarov, Gaël Clichy
This is the same back line produced a clean sheet against Sunderland, and while Stoke are much better than the Black Cats, right now these are the four best defenders City have. Nicolas Otamendi has fallen on tough times under Guardiola for his careless tackling and Pablo Zabaleta appears a defensive liability at times. Expect Pep to go with his four best in this one.
Midfield: Yaya Touré, David Silva, Kevin De Bruyne
The midfield has been City’s strength through their run of good form and expect much of the same from these three. Touré and Silva look reborn playing from deeper roles and De Bruyne excels at pressing the opposite defense into mistakes. Keep them together.
Forwards: Raheem Sterling, Sergio Agüero, Leroy Sané
Easy choice. Sané and Sterling are impossible to drop right now, and Agüero has been in great goal-scoring form as of late, even adding some pressing to his game. The reserves (Iheanacho, Nolito, Navas) are way more likely to get a start in the FA Cup this weekend rather than against Stoke.