Manchester City return from the international break this weekend and they face a tough trip to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Saturday afternoon to face Jose Mourinho’s Lilywhites.
The Citizens were boosted by the news earlier this week that Pep Guardiola had committed to a new contract with the club, meaning he is set to stay in charge until the summer of 2023.
However, the Spanish manager will have to improve City’s form in the Premier League if he wants to stay in the job for that long, with the Manchester club having made a disappointing start to the 2020/21 season, as they currently sit in 10th position ahead of this afternoon’s game.
Spurs, meanwhile, sit in second position after a strong start to the season, so it will certainly be a tough ask for Guardiola’s side to come away with three points, as he faces his old rival, Mourinho.
However, if City have title aspirations this season, you would imagine that this is the sort of game the Citizens need to take points from, so we expect an attacking line-up from the Spanish manager.
Here’s how Football FanCast expects City to line-up against Spurs on Saturday afternoon:
We feel that Guardiola should keep faith in the defence that has performed admirably in recent weeks, with the Citizens having kept two clean sheets in their last four Premier League fixtures.
Despite Phil Foden’s impressive England display in midweek, in which he grabbed two goals against Iceland in a 4-0 win, this will undoubtedly be a physical midfield battle against Mourinho’s side, so the youngster may be a better option from the bench.
Therefore, Rodri should keep his place in defensive midfield to add some protection for Kevin De Bruyne who should push forward and try and exploit Spurs’ shaky backline with his dangerous crosses.
Raheem Sterling was reported to be back in training this week, as he looks to have shaken off a minor injury and with the home side without first-choice right-back Matt Doherty due to him testing positive for the current viral outbreak, the City winger could be a key advantage if he can get the better of the error-prone deputy Serge Aurier.
The one change we feel Guardiola should make is restoring Riyad Mahrez, rated at up to €70 (£62m) by Football Observatory, to his starting line-up in place of Ferran Torres, as although the winger is no doubt in confident form after his hat-trick against Germany in midweek, he is yet to score a Premier League goal.
Whoever is at right-wing will have more defensive responsibility in this game, as Sergio Reguilon will push on a lot if he starts at left-back for the home side so Guardiola should opt for the more experienced Algerian.
Gabriel Jesus up top completes a dangerous line-up for Manchester City in what could prove to be a hugely important fixture in the context of their season.