Manchester City host Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League this Saturday in a rematch of their stunning midweek Champions League encounter.
The champions recorded a 4-3 victory at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday night but were knocked out of Europe due to the away goals rule, Pep Guardiola’s team having lost the away leg 1-0. Their focus now switches back to domestic matters where they find themselves two points behind leaders Liverpool with a game in hand on the Reds.
Visitors Spurs occupy third spot in the table, a point ahead of Arsenal and Chelsea in the race for the top four after consecutive wins against Huddersfield Town and Crystal Palace at their new state-of-the-art arena.
Here’s the team Guardiola could task with keeping City in contention for the treble.
Goalkeeper & Defenders
Ederson (GK) – Though he was powerless to prevent Heung-min Son rasping a drive into the top corner and Fernando Llorente bundling in the decisive score, Ederson should have done better with the South Korean’s first. Trying to second guess Son, he allowed the ball to skim in under his trailing boot.
Kyle Walker (RB) – After putting in countless uncharacteristically poor performances this campaign, Walker showed what he is capable of against his old side on Wednesday. His incisive, penetrating forays forward caused Spurs significant difficulties in the opening period.
John Stones (CB) – Vincent Kompany was magnificent in the heart of the Citizens’ backline, marshalling his troops and exciting with some neat pirouettes on the ball. However, it is doubtful whether he can manage two full games in a week, paving the way for Stones to resume his partnership with Aymeric Laporte.
Aymeric Laporte (CB) – The Frenchman has been near faultless all season but made two costly errors against Tottenham, coughing up possession in the build up to both Son strikes.
Danilo (LB) – Guardiola is likely to reshuffle his lineup, with the dynamite Leroy
Fernandinho (CDM) – Pundits invariably reference Fernandinho’s importance to this City side whenever he is sidelined. It’s easy to see why; his bullish style of play has brought an emphatic end to innumerable opposition attacks down the years.
Kevin De Bruyne (RCM) – A virtuoso showing from the 28-year-old was not enough to secure progress to the Champions League semi-finals. Close to all of the team’s attacks stemmed from De Bruyne’s classy interplay and vision.
Bernardo Silva (LCM) – David Silva’s powers are gradually fading and the entire Premier League is worse off for that. However, Bernardo is built from the same mould and looks to be the heir to the Spaniard’s playmaking throne.
Raheem Sterling (RW) – Football is cruel sometimes. The decision by VAR to disallow Sterling’s tie-winning hat-trick goal was correct, but the Liverpool academy graduate was not to know. His impassioned celebration would have made an iconic image to encapsulate yet another dazzling display.
Sergio Agüero (ST) – Now on 30 goals this term, the Argentine hitman ceases to slow down. If anything he is getting better with age, adding ever more skills to his armoury. Premier League defences have been petrified at the prospect of trying to contain him since he arrived on these shores eight years ago.