Manchester City travel to Stamford Bridge today as they attempt to return to winning ways in the Premier League against Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea.
The Cityzens were held to a 0-0 draw by Southampton last weekend and Pep Guardiola could be looking for a strong response from his team against the Blues.
City beat Wycombe 6-1 in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday night with a side consisting of numerous academy graduates, along with the likes of Phil Foden and Kevin de Bruyne.
How many changes will Pep make? Here is our predicted XI…
We are predicting that there will be seven changes to the side from midweek, with Ederson, Kyle Walker, Joao Cancelo, Ruben Dias, Aymeric Laporte, Rodri and Jack Grealish all coming in.
In the defence, Ederson, Walker, Dias and Cancelo could all return to the team after watching on as City beat Wycombe. We also believe that Laporte will be reinstated to the starting XI after missing the last few games with a knock, taking Nathan Ake’s place at centre-back from the last Premier League match.
Laporte has played three league matches this season and averaged a sublime SofaScore rating of 7.57, with City conceding zero goals in those games. The Spaniard could be reintroduced against Chelsea to improve the visitors’ chances of stifling Romelu Lukaku.
Guardiola could stick with Kevin De Bruyne and Phil Foden after they managed two goals and two assists between them on Tuesday night. Rodri’s potential return to fitness could also see him move into the holding midfield role and be picked ahead of Fernandinho and Romeo Lavia, with the latter having played the full 90 minutes against Wycombe in midweek.
Finally, in attack we are predicting that Grealish will take up a position on the left wing ahead of Sterling. Ferran Torres and Riyad Mahrez managed three goals between them against Wycombe and could comprise two of the front three, whilst the summer signing from Aston Villa has started every league match this term and we do not believe that will change this weekend.
Sterling has one goal and zero assists in five Premier League matches this season and his lack of form in the top flight is why we are predicting that Guardiola will axe him from the starting line-up. He may instead be offered a chance to come off the bench and win his place back.