Manchester City have the treble in their sites. Standing in their path is a semi-final tilt against Sheffield United at Wembley. With the Blues still alive in three competitions, the fixtures are coming thick and fast. Rest will be hard to come by for the lads, and even though this is the FA Cup semi, the Blades may be Pep Guardiola’s best opportunity to rotate the side.
6 matches in 18 days will be a hard row to hoe, but one City are keen to come out of with a bag full of victories. My thinking is that Pep will be rotating about half the squad that faced Bayern Munich in mid-week. I also expect him to use all 5 available substitutions in the match. We’ll start in net where Ederson receives a well-earned rest. Stefan Ortega Moreno gets the start.
We’ll call it a back three once again. City stalwart Nathan Aké cam off injured against Bayern at the Allianz Arena. I expect the man who relieved him in Germany to replace in the XI today. Aymeric Laporte will be keen to show that no rust has accumulated. On the opposite side of the back line will be Manuel Akanji, and at centre-back is the ever-reliable Rúben Dias.
More rotation in the midfield. John Stones and Kevin De Bruyne have been two of the driving forces behind City’s recent top form. Both have been integral to a run that has City hunting three trophies late in the campaign. We’ll give each a rest today. Stones gives way to young Rico Lewis alongside the world’s best CDM, Rodri. Further up the pitch Bernardo Silva welcomes the Captain, İlkay Gündoğan.
Even Norse gods need rest, and the God of Goals, Erling Haaland geta his today. Never fear however, his replacement is a superhero in his own right, El Araña. World Cup winner Julián Álvarez will be the focal point for City’s attack. Looking to get him the ball from the wide areas will be Riyad Mahrez and Phil Foden, who spells starman, Jack Grealish.
There you have it. What starting lineup would you pick for the semi-final? Let us know in the comments.