Pep Guardiola could not have asked for any more favourable opponent as they face a newly promoted side in the form of Brighton and Hove Albion in their Premier League season opener.
The Citizens are already being touted as favourites for the title after an impressive pre-season. Pep has dug deep in the market and addressed most of the issues he felt needed addressing. He has signed 2 of the world’s most expensive defenders in Kyle Walker and Benjamin Mendy. Danilo has also been signed from European Champions Real Madrid to provide cover for them and competition as well. Also, Brazilian custodian Ederson has been drafted in from Portuguese Champions Benfica in a deal that saw him become the most expensive keeper. Monaco’s Bernardo Silva was wrapped up early in the window and he will definitely be one to look out for.
The number of impressive attacking players city boasts of should make them feel really confident about the game at Amex.
But Brighton are no pushovers with captain, 36, Bruno Saltor recently declaring that they will make life tough for Manchester City on the opening day.
Here is Man City’s predicted line-up vs Brighton and Hove:
#31 Ederson Moraes
The ex-Benfica Goalkeeper has been made the World’s most expensive Goalkeeper ever and will be drafted into the first XI right away. Ederson featured for the whole of the pre-season. He is known to be a good shot stopper and most importantly, comfortable on the ball. Just as Pep likes his keepers to be.
CB: #4 Vincent Kompany
City need their talisman to be fit more often. Kompany has shown in the past how much difference he makes to the City defence when fit. He will surely be a tough customer for opposition strikers and add to that he provides a threat from set-pieces as well making him an easy pick for the side.
CB: #5 John Stones
Much was made of his £50 million move from Everton last summer. Stones struggled to settle in the early stages and found it difficult to find his feet. Having said that, he is just the type of ball playing defender Pep needs at the heart of his back 3 and is improving his performances of late. Stones managed to score twice in pre-season as well.
CB: #30 Nicolas Otamendi
The Argentinian is a no-nonsense defender and has shown a lot of heart in his performances for City. The hard tackling midfielder complements Stones and Kompany well to ensure the backline is sturdy.
RWB: #2 Kyle Walker
The English full-back will be deployed in attacking wing-back role and he will enjoy it. His foray’s forward with ball proved to be a potent weapon for Spurs over the past few seasons and he will be looking to get off to a good start to his City career as well.
CM: #17 Kevin De Bruyne
Chelsea’s loss turned out to be City’s gain would, in fact, be an understatement for the Belgian as he proved to be immensely impressive. His passing and chance creation along with the goal threat he provides is second to none at City. He is as of now the only permanent fixture in Pep’s plans and is virtually “undroppable”.
CM: #42 Yaya Toure
He has managed to get along with Guardiola after the two cleared things out and now he is all set to provide yet another year of his services to the men in blue. The Ivorian has over seen all of the success the club has achieved over the last few years and he will be looking to hold the midfield together at the Amex on Saturday.
CM: #21 David Silva
He is still likely to be on of Pep’s most trusted lieutenants. Despite the arrival of Silva- Bernardo Silva, The Spaniard will be looking to prove that he is still the top Silva around.
LWB: #3 Danilo
With Benjamin Mendy out injured, Danilo will be given a run-in to prove his worth. The Brazilian signed for £30 million from Real Madrid will be looking to stake a claim for his place in Mendy’s absence. Danilo impressed in this role in the pre-season and therefore is more likely to be selected than Leroy Sane.
ST: #33 Gabriel Jesus
The Brazilian wonder kid was hugely impressive whenever provided the chance last season. He seemed to have displaced Aguero from his starting position which in itself was a major achievement in his first season in England. Pep will be hoping Jesus stays away from injury and develops into a world class centre forward.
ST: #10 Sergio Aguero
The Argentine forward will be looking for an injury free season so that he can enjoy yet another successful top flight campaign. Brighton provides a good opportunity to test the front 2 that Pep has always claimed he wants to play and if it clicks, Aguero along with Jesus can wreak havoc.
Here is how the team is likely to be setup: