Manchester City look to move one step closer to an historic treble as they face bitter rivals Manchester United in the FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium in London. The Blues have been on a bit of a tour after winning the Premier League title with three matches remaining, and Pep Guardiola has used that time to give players much-needed rest and rehabilitation time. Now with a fully fit squad, we look at who should get the start against the Rags.
Stefan Ortega was a bit of an overlooked signing this summer. A backup goalkeeper on a free transfer, he was introduced alongside two young, sensational strikers in Erling Haaland and Julián Álvarez, He didn't see many minutes in the Prem this season. Still, he has been integral in City’s advancement in the FA Cup tournament. City are just the second team to reach the final while not allowing a single goal. For that, Ortega has earned the right to start.
The back line has picked itself for large parts of this season, largely due to injuries. With all defenders returned to full fitness, this job becomes more difficult. Every fullback and centre-back that has seen significant minutes for the Blues has performed very well. So who do we start? I’m going with the players who have shown the best form over the latter part of the campaign. Give me a back 4 of Kyle Walker, John Stones, Rúben Dias, and Nathan Aké.
It's three in the midfield as usual for Man City. And when selecting the three-man group, there really is little choice. Rodri is widely considered the best CDM in the world at the moment. Club captain İlkay Gündoğan is a big game performer and the heart and soul of the squad. The Ginger Pelé was recently handed the Premier League award for Playmaker of the Season. Ooooooh Kevin De Bruyne!!
Pep will need the attack to be at its menacing best against the crosstown rivals. They is a case to be made for Riyad Mahrez in a big game, and Phil Foden scored a hat trick against the Stretford Rangers early in the EPL campaign. We will go with the players who have arrived through the late part of the 2022/23 season on the wings. Bernardo Silva scored a brace against Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League semifinal and Jack Grealish has been in top gear since returning from the World Cup. And clearly, there is no choice at striker. Erling Braut Haaland, the Bringer of Goals and Destroyer of Worlds has been the tip of the spear for the Manchester City attack since arriving from the Bundesliga.
Kevin De Bruyne
Ther you are. Who gets the start in your eleven? Let us hear it in the comments.