Manchester City embark on a torrid 4-day schedule as they are slated to face Arsenal and Chelsea in their next two fixtures after the International break. City had minor concerns regarding Raheem Sterling and Kevin De Bruyne who incurred injuries during international duty but it is expected that they will be fit to take part in the two games which will be so crucial to their chances of finishing in the Top 4 and ideally in the Top 2.
Pep hasn’t had it easy but it is nowhere near the hullabaloo that has erupted over his tenure till now. A drastic change in footballing philosophy with a bunch of players who were visibly overaged to follow the regime day in day out was never going to be easy and maybe almost impossible.
And unbiased fans have realised that Pep could have had a better season with City if he allowed the star players to play their natural game and just beefed up the defence in the previous window. But his dedication to change and impart his complete footballing philosophy and in turn make the good players even better has resulted in an uneven season.
Arsenal will not be easy but City do have it in them to notch a win over the Gunners.
PREDICTED MANCHESTER CITY XI VS ARSENAL (4-1-4-1)
Willy Caballero will be in goal and can expect a couple of shots to come his way. At right-back, we might see former Arsenal player, Bacary Sagna who will be eager to go out with a flourish in the business end of this season. John Stones is a certainty while we might see Otamendi stationed beside him to deal with the likes of Sanchez. Clichy’s edge in pace over Kolarov will see him play at left-back. So, basically, half of the backline will be made up with former Arsenal players.
Fernandinho is expected to take his place in the holding midfielder’s position and will have to be at his multi-dimensional best. He is likely to be preferred to Yaya Toure who was again leggy against Liverpool. In the slightly advanced midfield slots, we will see David Silva, who has been brilliant in recent weeks alongside Kevin De Bruyne who is a slight doubt and in case he doesn’t prove his fitness in time, he will most likely be replaced by Toure, who will be more than happy not to have any defensive restrictions on him.
The wide berths will be taken by Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane. Sane has been excellent and his resurgence incidentally began against Arsenal in the reverse fixture and an encore would do City no harm whatsoever. Sterling was shockingly praised by the English media after his England display and will be eager to churn out similar displays now. The utterly frustrated Sergio Aguero has the perfect stage to put a couple of goals past David Ospina and boy does he need them!