Manchester City make their debut in the League Cup this season in the 3rd round against West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns on Wednesday night. The Blues were simply sensational over the last week, scoring 15 goals and winning three tough matches with three clean sheets and looking amazing.
The CapitalOne/Carabao/League Cup gives Pep Guardiola the chance to look at some of his young players and the ones who haven’t had a lot of playing time, and the City squad is certainly deep enough to beat West Brom without the superstars.
Let’s take a look at how the both teams are likely to line up:
A League Cup match automatically means big rotations, and given Pep Guardiola rotates for every match anyway, expect many changes to the team that played Watford FC and will play Crystal Palace at the weekend.
Pep has a deep squad so trying to figure out his selections is nearly impossible, but we’ll try anyway. Since he’ll face a Premier League side on the road, don’t expect a team full of Academy products, so there’ll be a few young players but most of the side will feature reserves or players who are very much part of the rotation.
From the usual starters, only Kyle Walker and Gabriel Jesus are expected to start, with Benjamin Mendy getting a day off and Danilo Luiz coming on at left-back. Ilkay Gundogan and Fabian Delph could get their first starts of the season in midfield, and Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sané will certainly start with Jesus up front.
Vincent Kompany could make his comeback from injury in this match, but he’ll most likely be on the bench with Eliaquim Mangala and youngster Tosin Adarabioyo as the central defender pairing. Claudio Bravo will probably be the goalkeeper for the domestic cups, which is good news for West Brom (sorry, Claudio).
Predicted XI: Bravo; Walker, Adarabioyo, Mangala, Danilo; Gundogan, Delph; Sterling, Bernardo, Sané; Jesus
Tony Pulis hates rotations, but this game might offer him a chance to look at a few of his new signings and fringe players. Gareth Barry, Grzegorz Krychowiak, Ahmed Hegazi and Jay Rodriguez have established themselves in the starting lineup since joining the club, but new signing Oliver Burke is yet to get considerable minutes and could make his first start of the season.
Other than that, though, Pulis should start a pretty strong team. His next game is against Arsenal on Monday, so there’ll be plenty of time to rest his main players after facing City. So expect Jonny Evans, who was very close to joining City on Deadline Day, to start and captain the side on Wednesday night.
Predicted XI: Myhill; Nyom, Hegazi, Evans, Brunt; Krychowiak, Yacob; Leko, Field, McClean; Robson-Kanu
Man City: Bravo; Danilo, Stones, Mangala, Delph; Bernardo, Touré, Gundogan; Sterling, Jesus, Sané
West Brom: Foster; Nyom, Dawson, McAuley, Evans, Gibbs; Morrison, Yacob, Krychowiak; Rodriguez, Robson-Kanu