After being knocked out of the Carabao Cup for the first time in five years by West Ham United, followed by losing 2-0 at home against Crystal Palace at the weekend in the Premier League, it’s safe to say it has been a disappointing week for Manchester City.
Their next match sees them back in Champions League action on Wednesday evening with a clash against Club Brugge, who City managed to convincingly beat 5-1 in their previous match against the Belgium club last month.
One player that did not feature in the defeat against Patrick Vieira’s side at the weekend that we feel should be in the starting XI in midweek to take on Brugge is midfielder Ilkay Gundogan.
Gundogan’s two previous appearances for the Manchester club saw him score a goal and earn himself an impressive overall match rating of 8/10 from SofaScore in their 4-1 win over Brighton & Hove Albion in the Premier League as well as being City’s highest-rated player in the Cup defeat at West Ham with a rating of 7.9/10, also from SofaScore.
This shows that the midfielder, who has been described as one of the most “intelligent” players Pep Guardiola has seen throughout his career, can be a vital figure for the Citizens and why we feel he should be in the starting XI to face Brugge. That’s especially given how he should be well-rested for the game after he didn’t play against Palace.
The German international joined City back during the 2016 summer transfer window from Borussia Dortmund in a deal worth a reported fee of £20m.
Since then, the 31-year-old, who is currently valued at £36m according to Transfermarkt, has made 220 appearances for the current reigning Premier League champions across all competitions in which he has managed to score 41 goals and provide 28 assists along the way, showing how much of an attacking threat he is from midfield and a real game-changer for the team.
Last season saw Gundogan end City’s Premier League campaign as their top goalscorer with 13 goals under his belt.
Looking ahead to the Brugge match, we feel that the £140k-per-week earner should be in the starting XI so Guardiola can rotate some of his midfield options and rest some that he may want to be fully prepared for their next Premier League match at the weekend against rivals Manchester United.