A big night at the Etihad awaits against Schalke as Man City look to progress to the quarter-finals. The first leg was a crazy game with VAR controversy and a sending off for Nicolas Otamendi, but Man City have a 3-2 advantage.
Despite the three away goals it will not be an easy game, you only have to look at the results last week as both Ajax and Man United provided shocks.
City look a bit light on defensive numbers tomorrow as rumours surface that Vincent Kompany did not train. Otamendi is suspended and both John Stones and Aymeric Laporte are returning from injury so it will be interesting to see who plays.
The only other notable absentees are Fernandinho and Kevin De Bruyne, who will probably return after the international break. Other than those two Pep Guardiola has all his attacking options to choose from.
Here’s how I think Man City will start against Schalke:
Ederson will keep his spot in the XI and will need to be alert as the last week has shown not to underestimate anyone in Europe.
RB: Kyle Walker
Kyle Walker played well against Watford and I fancy him to get another start tomorrow, especially as City look light in the defensive department and he is better defensively than Danilo.
CB: John Stones
John Stones will start if the Kompany injury is true, but he wasn’t spotted in training. It is not ideal but Pep Guardiola will have his hand forced.
CB: Aymeric Laporte
He was on the bench against Watford, perhaps it was a sign that he is fit but also a sign that we are facing an injury crisis. But, he is further down the line than John Stones.
LB: Oleksandr Zinchenko
News also broke that Benjamin Mendy is also injured. I think had he been fit Oleksandr Zinchenko would have started anyway. Fabian Delph also will not be thrown into a Champions League game but may feature against Swansea.
CDM: Ilkay Gundogan
The German international was impressive once again playing in the more defensive midfield role. I really thought that Fernandinho would be missed but Gundogan has stepped up.
CM: Bernardo Silva
Bernardo Silva is another player that I see as a guaranteed starter, mainly because he is a fantastic player but also because De Bruyne is injured, thus it leaves Bernardo and David Silva as well as Phil Foden.
CM: David Silva
I would love to have written Phil Foden here but I feel that he will rotate with David Silva and play the Swansea game instead. Silva showed more signs of him being the player that we love, especially in the second half and will need to do the same again to kill off the tie.
RW: Raheem Sterling
The hero of the weekend and arguably City’s season so far. It was highlighted by the fact he was taken off just after the hour mark, he was clearly being rested for the big game.
LW: Leroy Sane
Guardiola denied him his home return and with Riyad Mahrez getting the nod in the Premier League, I feel that Leroy Sane will start. It will be nice for the Schalke fans to get a glimpse of how much he has progressed since leaving. Although, I am sure they are already aware.
ST: Gabriel Jesus
I feel that had Sergio Aguero been taken off around the same time as Sterling, then he would have been in line for a start. However, Gabriel Jesus does need more minutes and maybe Swansea can provide that but I have a feeling Schalke will also be that chance.