Manchester City host League One outfit Wycombe at The Etihad tonight as they look to bounce back from a 0-0 draw against Southampton at the weekend.
Pep Guardiola’s side were held to a point at home to the Saints as they failed to build on a four-game winning streak in all competitions. City came out on top against Norwich, Arsenal, Leicester and RB Leipzig in the matches prior to facing Ralph Hasenhuttl’s team.
They now face League One opposition in Wycombe and Pep will almost certainly alter his starting XI from the draw with Southampton to freshen the side up.
How many changes will he make to the team? Here is our predicted XI…
We are predicting that Guardiola will make six changes to his team, with Kevin de Bruyne, Phil Foden, Riyad Mahrez, Ferran Torres, Oleksandr Zinchenko and Cole Palmer coming into the side.
In the back five, including the goalkeeper, we are only predicting one change. We believe that £150k-per-week beast Kyle Walker will be axed from the side to give Zinchenko some minutes on the pitch. With this being a League Cup game against lower league opposition, Guardiola may not need to go full-strength and that means he can afford to give Walker a rest whilst also offering playing time to the Ukrainian international.
With Rodri out, Fernandinho could continue in the holding midfield role. Ahead of him, however, we believe that De Bruyne and Palmer could play in the two eight positions. Ilkay Gundogan is injured, which could allow Palmer to be handed a chance to impress. The academy product has played 21 minutes of Premier League action and a League Cup outing could be a valuable experience, playing alongside first-team regulars and learning from them.
De Bruyne, meanwhile, is lacking in match sharpness – having started once this season – and 90 minutes tonight could help him improve his base fitness. He has not been able to find his rhythm on the pitch as of yet and a good performance against Wycombe could get the ball rolling.
We have published an article explaining why Phil Foden should be handed a start, but we are also predicting that Mahrez and Torres will come into the XI for Gabriel Jesus and Raheem Sterling. With the depth of the Man City squad, Guardiola need to rest and rotate to give players their fair share of minutes and Mahrez and Torres should start against Wycombe after Jesus and Sterling failed to grasp their opportunity against Southampton, drawing blanks in front of goal.