Updated: Tuesday, 20th March 2018 @ 2:45pm

A bravo new world for Man City? Guardiola prepares to do battle with old foe

A bravo new world for Man City? Guardiola prepares to do battle with old foe

| By Sebastian Ellis

It’s been the managers dominating the headlines in recent months, but on Saturday it is up to the players to make those.

For Manchester City, several key positions are up for grabs which leaves manager Pep Guardiola with a selection headache going into the derby.

City have been in a more than confident mood going forward so far this season. But without Sergio Aguero leading the line, speculation remains as to who will replace the talisman striker up front.

Potentially four players are ready to replace him in: Kelechi Iheanacho, Nolito, Leroy Sane and even in-form Raheem Sterling. 

However, the wealth of talent going forward should be able to cope against United, Sterling has so far been rejuvenated under Guardiola and both Nolito and Iheanacho have been impressive when needed.

Guardiola can have faith in whoever he chooses but an early goal for the away side will prove crucial.

Defensively, City will have more of a test. John Stones, who has so far looked assured, will have to rise to the challenge and cope under the undoubted pressure he will receive from Zlatan Ibrahimović.

And the inclusion of Nicolas Otamendi or Alexander Kolarov as Stones’ partner will play a big part in how City repels United. Guardiola may see faith in Otamendi for his more natural ability to break up the attack, opposed to the ball-playing Kolarov.

The arrival of Claudio Bravo has been a big talking point for City. But despite Guardiola’s preference to Willy Caballero over Joe Hart this term, he may well opt for his new signing instead, whose short passing was a key factor in the Chilean’s arrival.

Team news

Sergio Aguero is out following the start of his three-match ban for violent conduct following an incident against West Ham.

Leroy Sane and Ilkay Gundogan are fit and may make their debuts, with new signing Claudio Bravo also in contention for a start.

Vincent Kompany is still recovering from a thigh problem. He is now back in full-time training, but Guardiola is unlikely to rush back his injury-prone captain.

It will be City’s first game without Joe Hart, Wilfried Bony, Eliaquim Mangala and Samir Nasri, who have all recently been shipped out on loan

Manchester City stats

- Guardiola is the first Manchester City manager to win his opening five games for the club, currently holding a 100% record in both the Premier League and Champions League (qualifying).

- Raheem Sterling has so far scored or assisted five goals in four games this season, his most recent rounding off a 3-1 win against West Ham two weeks ago.

- Kelechi Iheanacho scored 14 goals and assisted 5 times in all competitions last season, he will be hoping to emulate that if picked to start on the weekend.

- City have only won 18 of 81 games at Old Trafford, with 26 of those being draws.


City have so far shown tough away trips don’t faze them, but an early goal will help propel the Sky Blues to victory. 2-1 City

Image courtesy of Man City via YouTube, with thanks.