Manchester City predicted XI for Guardiola's debut vs Sunderland

As Pep Guardiola makes his Premier League bow, what line-up will the critically acclaimed Spaniard chose to line-up with as his Manchester City side take on Sunderland at the Etihad Stadium.

Manchester City predicted XI for Guardiola's debut vs Sunderland
Credit: Barrington Coombs

As Pep Guardiola makes his Premier League bow on Saturday night, the question as to which line up the critically acclaimed Spaniard will put to the field against Sunderland is one that is very intriguing. 

Often famed for his strange and inventive squads, Guardiola's teams are hard to predict. However, we've had a reasoned guess as to the eleven that will take to the field against David Moyes' new side. 

'Keeper and defence

Goalkeeper - Willy Caballero

Perhaps a surprise selection, the Argentine gets the nod simply due to the fact he's been an ever present throughout pre-season. The former Malaga goalkeeper has featured in every one of City's friendlies, and although making a number of errors trying to play out from the back he will more than likely be between the posts against the Black Cats

There have been questions raised over Joe Hart's future with City, and Cabellero's selection will do nothing to extinguish them. 

Right Back - Pablo Zabaleta 

Much in the same vein as his compatriot Caballero, Zabaleta will probably start due to Bacary Sagna's Euro 2016 exertions. Much plagued by injury last season, the fan favourite has worked hard over the summer to regain full fitness; he also put to bed any claim he may be leaving, after reportedly being close to a move to Roma, by claiming Guardiola had asked the combative right back to stay. 

His marauding runs down the flanks may prove an asset to Guardiola, and we expect Zabaleta to start on Saturday night. 

Center Back - John Stones

Signed from Everton on Tuesday, we expect Stones to slot straight into the starting eleven at the Etihad Stadium. Although not ideal, this comes due to the fact Guardiola has injuries to contend with in the shape of Vincent Kompany, and his own personal reservations over Eliaquim Mangala and Jason Denayer.

Much has been made over how the former Barnsley and Everton defender will suit the Spaniard's style of play. Cultured on the ball, Stones will provide City will the ball playing center back that the ex Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss requires. 

Center Back - Nicolas Otamendi

Originally an injury concern, Otamendi was left out completely of last weekend's friendly against Arsenal in Sweden. However after a week of recuperation and training the Argentine looks fit to partner Stones at the heart of defence. That would make the third player in backline to come from the South American country.

The epitomy of a front foot defender, Otamendi had a mixed first season in the Premier League. However, with Guardiola's high pressing style suiting the former Valencia and Porto man down to the ground, expect his stock to drastically improve over the course of the season. If he isn't fit Tosin Adarabioyo, who has impressed during pre-season, may get the nod from Guardiola; a manager famously not afraid to hand youngsters their chance. 

Left Back - Gaël Clichy

Many expected Pep to target a left back in the transfer market, yet this hasn't happened. This may have been because of the promise and development of young Spanish fullback Angeliño, and in the meantime Gaël Clichy will fill the gap. At the club since 2011, the Frenchmen has become a mainstay throughout a number of City sides. Whilst not outstanding, Clichy will always put in a solid if not spectacular performance. 

Guardiola seemingly doesn't fancy Aleksandar Kolarov at full back, intent on using the Serbian with limited success at center half. Therefore we expect Clichy to be part of Pep's first Premier League XI. 

Midfield and attack

Center Midfield - Fernandinho

Already a fan favourite and fast becoming a favourite of Guardiola it seems, the hard-working Brazilian has been criminally overlooked during his time at the Etihad Stadium. 

Good on the ball, and an engine that would challenge that of a Jeep, Fernandinho along with his expected partner will provide the tireless workrate that a high pressing Pep side requires. Therefore, the inclusion of Fernandinho is a no brainer, and expect him to be captain too!

Fernandino has become a favourite under Guardiola. | Credit: Christof Stache.
Fernandino has become a favourite under Guardiola. | Credit: Christof Stache.

Center Midfield - Fabian Delph

One of the men expected to struggle under the incoming Guardiola, Delph has quickly proved the opposite. Much the same as Fernandinho, Delph will run all day and although perhaps not a mainstay in weeks to come with the return of Ilkay Gündogan, he will give his all from the Cityzens. Thus, the former Aston Villa man will feature on Saturday night.

Attacking Midfield - David Silva

The Magician, Merlin and Spanish Dave are some of the nicknames used by City fans, such is their fondness of David Silva. In theory his superb technical attributes will suit Pep Guardiola to a tee, and we expect the very same. An injury hit last campaign, Silva will be looking to get back to his best this season; starting against the Black Cats on Saturday night.

Kevin de Bruyne will be deemed not ready to start the game, and will most likely feature from the bench following his extended summer break granted by the club, due to his monumental exertions last season.

Right Wing - Raheem Sterling 

Much maligned last season for both club and country, Sterling didn't have the best start to life in Manchester after his big money move from Liverpool. However under the guidance of Guardiola, expect Sterling to much improve this season. This was already seen in a promising performance against Arsenal in Gothenberg, with a expertly timed cross to allow Sergio Agüero to break the deadlock.

With Leroy Sané out with a knock, Sterling will get the opportunity to show his worth against Sunderland in what will prove a very important season for the attacker. 

Striker - Sergio Agüero 

It had to be him. Who else. Little has to be said about the small Argentine. Brilliant in everyone of his five seasons at the club, he may even go up a level under the tutelage of Guardiola, if he can stay fit.

With two goals during pre-season for the 28 year old, he'll start and look to get his name on the goalscoring charts against David Moyes' side. 

Left Wing - Nolito

Well aware of what Pep Guardiola requires from his sides, having been around his Barcelona side between 2008-2011, Nolito was one of the Spaniard's first signings upon ariving in Manchester. Scoring over ten in each of his last three seasons for Celta Vigo and starting for Spain at Euro 2016 is no mean feat, especially when coming from a side away from the traditional Spanish giants.

Featuring in City's last two friendlies, Nolito will start in Pep's inaugural Premier League game and look to show England what he can produce.  

Bench - Joe Hart, Tosin Adarabioyo, Aleksandar Kolarov, Jason Denayer, Kevin de Bruyne, Fernando, Kelechi Iheanacho.