Manchester City will be looking to take a step closer to the Premier League title when they host Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday.
Pep Guardiola’s side are currently nine points clear at the top of the Premier League table but will have it in the back of their mind that second-placed Liverpool have a game in hand over them.
Nevertheless, Man City appear to be in control and on a rampage in the Premier League, winning 14 of their last 15 matches in the league. Southampton are the only team to take points off them during that time with a 1-1 draw, while the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal, West Ham, Wolves and Man Utd have all lost.
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Sporting CP also tried and failed to beat Man City in the Champions League in midweek, thumped 5-0 at home in their last 16 first leg. Although there were a couple of forced decisions, the starting XI that Pep Guardiola put out against Sporting is probably as close to his best Man City team that he will get right now.
With Gabriel Jesus still a doubt, Phil Foden has been playing the False No.9 role, flanked by Riyad Mahrez and Raheem Sterling. And based on both form and a lack of other options (with Jack Grealish also doubtful), that is likely the starting front three for Tottenham this weekend.
One place we might see a change is in midfield, as Fernandinho, Ilkay Gundogan, Kevin De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva and Rodri fight for the three places and are quite used to ‘Pep Roulette’. Against Norwich last weekend it was Fernandinho x Silva x Gundogan while Sporting faced Rodri x Silva x De Bruyne.
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Silva is in a good run of form and is the least likely to drop out given his role in the team, but we could see Gundogan come in to give De Bruyne a bit of a rest – then coming on for Silva later in the game.
There is almost a guaranteed change in defence, however, as Kyle Walker is available after serving a suspension in midweek. Walker is actually unavailable in the Champions League for three matches and would not be able to play for Man City in the competition until the second leg of the quarter-final, should they get there.
Against Sporting, John Stones played out of position at right-back to cover for Walker, with Joao Cancelo on the left and Oleksandr Zinchenko on the bench. Walker is a certainty to return, with Stones dropping down to the bench. Otherwise, the defence should be the same from the win over Sporting, with Ruben Dias and Aymeric Laporte the centre-back partnership ahead of Ederson in goal.
Man City predicted XI vs Tottenham | Premier League gameweek 26
Ederson; Walker, Dias, Laporte, Cancelo; Silva, Rodri, Gundogan; Mahrez, Foden, Sterling.