After a disappointing 0-0 draw with Crystal Palace at the weekend, motivation in Manchester City’s dressing room will need to have been rebuilt during the week as the side are now just a point ahead of its title rival Liverpool.
However, Manchester City’s treble ambitions certainly remain alive for this season, as they prepare to face Southampton in the quarter-final of the Emirates FA Cup on Sunday afternoon.
With Ralph Hassenhuttl’s side holding Pep Guardiola’s men level in their two Premier League encounters this season, it would be premature to view this contest as a one-sided affair – despite the differences in league standings.
Saints find themselves in troubled form, having recorded defeats in their three previous meetings, their last victory dating back to the fifth round of the FA Cup earlier this month.
As the prospect of an upset hangs in the air at St. Mary’s, facing England’s best side is never an easy task, and as both sides prepare for what could be a cutthroat clash breath, here’s how we expect Manchester City to line up.
After keeping yet another clean sheet in the Premier League this weekend, Ederson could start again in goal, but this time in the FA Cup, as Zack Steffen could still find form after his recent injury.
Joao Cancelo can switch flanks by operating in his natural right-back position against the Saints this weekend, with Kyle Walker dropping to the bench and getting a head start on his break from football duties for the next two weeks.
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With Ruben Dias remaining out of action and Nathan Ake just returning to the matchday squad against Crystal Palace, it is expected that John Stones and Aymeric Laporte will again be the central defender of Pep Guardiola.
Kyle Walker’s omission could be linked to by Oleksandr Zinchenko inclusion, as the Ukraine international could hold a rare start on Sunday afternoon.
Fernandinho set to make a rare start to the FA Cup this weekend, giving Rodri some well-deserved rest after a relentless spell of Premier League action and ahead of what looks to be a crucial February fixture list
After being left out of the starting XI in Manchester City’s recent goalless draw against Crystal Palace, Ilkay Gundogan is a safe bet for a sideways return.
With Kevin De Bruyne Unselected in Roberto Martinez’s latest Belgium squad, the midfield maestro is set to begin proceedings this weekend as he is set to enjoy a break during the turmoil of the international break.
Considering Rahim Sterling saw Manchester City draw against Patrick Vieira’s men from the bench, the winger is expected to return to the squad.
Gabriel Jesus‘ the services could be called up by Pep Guardiola this time around as the Brazilian could be asked to fill a number nine role against the Saints.
Despite Phil Foden starting 13 games in a row in all competitions, the England international could well be in the squad again, but this time operating from the left of a front three.
Starting XI: Ederson; Joao Cancelo, John Stones, Aymeric Laporte, Oleksandr Zinchenko; Fernandinho, Ilkay Gundogan, Kevin De Bruyne; Raheem Sterling, Gabriel Jesus, Phil Foden.
Substitutes: Zack Steffen, Scott Carson, Kyle Walker, Luke Mbete, Nathan Ake, Rodri, Bernardo Silva, Jack Grealish, Riyad Mahrez.
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