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Middlesbrough vs. Manchester City, Premier League 2017: Predicted Lineups

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Who starts for City on Sunday?

Middlesbrough v Manchester City - The Emirates FA Cup Quarter-Final Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

After the Manchester Derby draw, life moves on for Manchester City in the Premier League, and their next game is a tough one, away to Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium.

The Sky Blues need five victories in their next five matches to finish in third place and guarantee automatic qualification for the group stage of next season's Champions League and end the season with something to celebrate. This hasn't been the most successful campaign ever, especially since Pep Guardiola is the manager, but we're almost at the end and we could have a very bright future ahead if we get Champions League football.

Beating Boro is an important step to achieve that target, and Guardiola will be looking to field his strongest possible lineup. Let's take a look at who starts for either team on Sunday.

MIDDLESBROUGH

Manager Steve Agnew can see his team relegated next week if they fail to beat City, so he'll throw everything at this game hoping to get a result. Boro got a vital win against Sunderland in midweek and arrives at this match with a little bit of hope.

Only one change is expected from the team that beat Sunderland: Daniel Ayala is an injury doubt, and in his place comes Bernardo. Former City man Alvaro Negredo will lead the line and hope to get a goal against his old club. Look out for Adama Traoré in the second half, as the former Barcelona youngster can add a lot of pace and quality on the wing to put some fire into the game late on.

Predicted XI: Guzan; Chambers, Bernardo, Gibson, Friend; De Roon, Clayton, Forshaw; Stuani, Negredo, Ramírez

MANCHESTER CITY

Gabriel Jesus is back, so now the fun game begins again: who starts up top? Sergio Agüero was benched by Jesus when the Brazilian burst onto the scene before his injury, and there is no doubt Guardiola trusts Jesus and could give Gabriel his first start after his comeback.

Another man ready to play again is David Silva, who missed the Manchester Derby with a knee injury but should be available to face Boro. The Spaniard is unlikely to start, but Pep may surprise us and have David play from the beginning. Yaya Touré and Vincent Kompany could be rested in this one or start on the bench, and John Stones also has a chance to return to the lineup.

Pablo Zabaleta and Aleksandar Kolarov were the full-backs against United, and it's likely that Pep rotates them and we get Jesús Navas and Gaël Clichy starting this one. One of Raheem Sterling or Leroy Sané may also not start, and we might even see Jesus and Agüero together here. Lots of possibilities.

Predicted XI: Caballero; Navas, Otamendi, Kolarov, Clichy; De Bruyne, Fernandinho, Delph; Sterling, Agüero, Sané

Bitter and Blue Lineup (4-3-3): Caballero; Zabaleta, Kompany, Otamendi, Kolarov; Silva, Fernandinho, De Bruyne; Sané, Agüero, Jesus