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Manchester City will set aside their super impressive domestic campaign, as they gear up for their UEFA Champions League round of 16 match against FC Basel this midweek.
The Premier League leaders have been terrific form in the domestic competitions but are yet to be tested in the European competitions. A match at St. Jakob’s Park could be an intimidating challenge for the Sky Blues as they look to score the all-important away goal on Tuesday.
Pep Guardiola’s men will be full of confidence, coming on the back of a 5-1 rout of Leicester City last weekend, even though the Spaniard himself has admitted that his side may concede goals in European competitions.
Manchester City will continue to miss the services of talismanic forward Gabriel Jesus but Sergio Aguero’s blistering form of late should be enough to overshadow his absence. Fabian Delph and Leroy Sane are the other absentees while Benjamin Mendy remains on the sidelines with a long-term injury.
Pep Guardiola is likely to stick to the 4-3-3 formation he used against Leicester in the weekend. Fernandinho should be deployed as the holding midfielder covering the defensive backline, with two attacking midfielders playing alongside the Brazilian in a slightly advanced position, thus making the shape more flexible.
Ederson Moraes is likely to stay in goal for the Cityzens this midweek, despite the availability of second choice keeper Claudio Bravo. The Brazilian will play a key role in stopping former Premier League attacker Ricky Van Wolfswinkel.
Pep Guardiola’s decision to splash the cash on Kyle Walker has been totally vindicated considering how important the former Spurs defender has been for City this season. He will once again play a key role against Basel this week.
Manchester City’s defensive stalwart Nicolas Otamendi has been a defensive mainstay this season and breaching past the Argentine international could prove to be difficult for Basel.
John Stones might have to settle for the bench once again as new signing Aymeric Laporte continues to impress following his big-money move from Athletic Bilbao last month. The Frenchman should partner Otamendi in central defence.
Oleksandr Zinchenko, who featured in the weekend game against Leicester, could be replaced by a more experienced figure in the shape of Danilo. The former Real Madrid defender could be deployed as the left-back.
Fernandinho is more than expected to be deployed as the holding midfielder on Tuesday. It will be interesting to see how he fares against a challenging opponent in Serey Die this midweek.
Not many changes are expected to be made in the central midfield with Kevin de Bruyne very likely to partner Fernandinho in the middle third of the pitch. His offensive qualities might prove to be the difference between the two sides come the end of 90 minutes.
Former Borussia Dortmund man Ilkay Gundogan continues to perform well after returning to full fitness a few months ago. The German international will be eager to do well this midweek as he hopes to make it to Germany’s World Cup squad this summer.
The Portuguese international would be an important cog in the Manchester City’s creative department. With Kevin de Bruyne having to play from a little deeper position due to the formation, the onus will be on the former Monaco playmaker to create the bulk of City’s chances.
Sergio Aguero will be oozing with confidence following his terrific performance against Leicester City, where the Argentine superstar netted four goals. He is Premier League’s third highest goal-scorer this season, which already serves as enough warning for the Swiss giants.
Due to the absence of key attackers Leroy Sane and Gabriel Jesus, Raheem Sterling will once again be expected to come up with his goal-scoring talents this midweek.