Manchester City’s injury and fitness problems may lastly catch up on them at West Ham on Saturday.
Pep Guardiola is trying to handle his side through a schedule of two games a week, with just two-and-a-half days in between full-time against Porto on Wednesday and kick-off at the London Arena.
That Porto video game saw City without Kevin De Bruyne, Aymeric Laporte, Nathan Ake, Benjamin Mendy and Gabriel Jesus, with Fernandinho contributing to the list of absentees in the final minute. De Bruyne and Laporte have actually given that returned to training, however Guardiola wouldn’t disclose whether they, or Ake, would be back in time for the West Ham video game.
That makes anticipating a line up tough, especially as there are gamers who could really finish with a rest. Sergio Aguero has played 2 hours in a week after his long lay-off, while Rodri, Raheem Sterling, Ruben Dias and Kyle Walker have actually all played a lot of football in recent weeks.
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However the long-lasting physical fitness of those coming back from injury most likely takes top priority over those who are fit, so it might be too soon to rush De Bruyne back – although he might feature on the bench. Laporte and Ake might also make the alternatives bench.
That would leave Dias to begin in defence, with Eric Garcia and John Stones the prospects to partner him. Purely for fitness factors, Stones might be the much safer bet. Kyle Walker and Joao Cancelo will be entrusted with continuing in the full-back positions, with Aleks Zinchenko an option from the bench to get his very first minutes of the season.
Into midfield, and Guardiola might need to call the same trio that started the Porto video game, with Rodri, Ilkay Gundogan and Bernardo Silva caring for the centre.
Phil Foden and Ferran Torres should can be found in on the wings after their energetic cameos on Wednesday, with Raheem Sterling moving into the centre to give Sergio Aguero a rest.
The outcome should provide City a strong enough beginning XI with an exceptionally effective, if a little unsuited, bench to trust if West Ham cause City as much problem as they did Leicester and Tottenham recently.
Predicted Man City XI: Ederson; Walker, Dias, Stones, Cancelo; Rodri, Gundogan, Bernardo; Foden, Torres, Sterling.