Manchester City have already secured top spot in Group C ahead of their game against Marseille on Wednesday night and with the Citizens set to face Manchester United on Saturday, this could be the perfect opportunity for Pep Guardiola to rest some of his key players.
Although the Spanish manager suggested in his pre-match conference that he wasn’t going to rotate too much ahead of the derby, he could simply be playing mind games with Marseille boss Andre Villas-Boas, and we expect him to ring the changes in his side.
Here’s how Football FanCast expects Guardiola to line his side up against Marseille, with nine changes from the side that comfortably beat Fulham last time out…
Zak Steffen makes his Champions League debut for the club by starting in goal for Guardiola’s side, replacing Ederson between the sticks.
There are three changes in the City defence, as Aymeric Laporte and Oleksandr Zinchenko return on the left-hand side, whilst 18-year-old Taylor Harwood-Bellis is rewarded with a Champions League start after signing a new contract with the Citizens earlier this week.
Ilkay Gundogan keeps his place in midfield, with Fernandinho starting in the defensive-midfield role in place of Rodri, whilst Phil Foden starts ahead of Kevin De Bruyne, who is one player who should almost certainly be rested ahead of the Manchester derby.
The Belgian midfielder was heavily praised by Guardiola earlier this year, with the former Barcelona boss saying:
“He doesn’t feel much pressure, he likes to play in the big events, he’s an exceptional player.
Therefore, it may be sensible not to risk the former Chelsea midfielder on Wednesday, although he could perhaps have a place on the bench in case City aren’t performing.
Guardiola should also rotate his attack, with Ferran Torres and Bernardo Silva replacing Riyad Mahrez and Raheem Sterling on the wings, with the Spanish youngster hoping to continue his impressive form in the Champions League so far this season with another strong performance against Les Olympiens.
Finally, Sergio Aguero can pick up some much-needed minutes by starting ahead of Gabriel Jesus in the attack, with the legendary striker having made just four appearances for the Citizens since injuring his knee in June, so hopefully, he can get himself back on the scoresheet against Marseille on Wednesday.
And, in other news… Garcia heir apparent: Guardiola can trust “exceptional” 18 y/o in his first-team