Manchester City will be hoping to kick off their Champions League campaign with a win as they face off against RB Leipzig on Wednesday night.
Pep Guardiola’s side failed at the final hurdle against Chelsea in May and their ambition will be to go one better this time around. To do that they will need to, first, progress out of the group and Leipzig represent their first challenge.
City come into the game off the back of a 1-0 win over Leicester away from home in the Premier League. Bernardo Silva scored the only goal of the match in the second half, taking them to three wins out of four domestically.
Will Pep make any changes to the team? Here is our predicted XI for the match…
We are predicting that Manchester City will make four changes to the team that beat Leicester, with Kevin de Bruyne, Riyad Mahrez, Raheem Sterling and John Stones coming in.
Starting in the defence, we believe that Guardiola will rotate his centre-back options by bringing Stones into the mix for Aymeric Laporte. The England international is yet to start a competitive game for City this season after playing a starring role for his country at the European Championships, whilst Laporte has started the last three league matches.
Therefore, it could be Stones’ chance to come in and show what he is capable of doing. He was named in the PFA Team of the Year last season and he will be hoping to prove that he can produce a similar level of performance again, starting against Leipzig in the Champions League.
We have published an article detailing why de Bruyne could be named in the starting XI, due to his quality and lack of minutes thus far in the campaign. However, we also think that Guardiola will change out his two wide players on either side of Ferran Torres.
Gabriel Jesus and Jack Grealish both started against Leicester and we are predicting that Riyad Mahrez and Raheem Sterling will be handed a chance to impress the head coach ahead of a return to Premier League action at the weekend.
Mahrez, the £120k-per-week gem, managed four goals and two assists in 12 Champions League appearances last season and has one goal and one assist from only one Premier League start this campaign. His lack of starts this term suggest that he is in need of minutes and Guardiola could give Jesus, who played at Leicester after featuring for Brazil, a rest to give the Algerian an opportunity.
The same goes for Sterling, who has also only started once in the league. Grealish has started all four of Man City’s Premier League games, scoring one and assisting one, and it could be time for him to drop out of the XI for a match to give Sterling the chance to fight for his spot in the team.
We are predicting the rest of the team to stay the same, with Ederson, Kyle Walker, Ruben Dias, Joao Cancelo, Ilkay Gundogan, Rodri and Torres filling out the side.