Manchester City predicted XI for hotly anticipated derby
Photo: Press Association

Manchester City predicted XI for hotly anticipated derby

What line-up will Pep Guardiola put to the field in what is one of the most hotly anticipated Manchester derby's ever?

Alex Howell

It's the biggest game of the Premier League so far, as both Manchester clubs lock horns at Saturday lunch time at Old Trafford. Two old foes, Pep Guardiola and José Mourinho doing battle for the first time together on English soil. The superlatives are endless, the match is one of the showcases of the entire season.

The suspension of Sergio Agüero following an incident with Winston Reid in the 3-1 victory over West Ham United, has left a huge question regarding Manchester City's team selection but we've had a reasoned guess as to the eleven that the Spaniard will put to the field for the Manchester derby. 

'Keeper and defence

Goalkeeper - Claudio Bravo

It would be a baptism of fire that's for sure, as the Chilean looks set to make his Manchester City debut in one the club's biggest games of the season. After Guardiola allowed Willy Caballero to continue in goal against West Ham, Bravo looks set to come in at Old Trafford following speculation from across the national press. 

Signed as a direct replacement for the outgoing Joe Hart, the former Barcelona 'keeper is famed for his eagerness and willingness to play out from the back. A derby day victory would certainly be the best way to endear himself to City fans. 

Right Back - Bacary Sagna

Ruling himself fit in the midweek, the Frenchmen has shown his desire to be in the starting eleven on Saturday after missing a number of recent games with a muscle problem. Seemingly preferred by Guardiola to Pablo Zabaleta, it would be no surprise to see Sagna slot straight back into the action. 

Centre Back - John Stones

John Stones has become a mainstay and linchpin of the City defence in the games following his August move from Everton for around £47.5 million. Cultured on the ball, the 22-year-old was even handed a start in Sam Allardyce's first game as England manager against Slovakia during the recent International break.

Much was made of how Stones suited Pep Guardiola's philosophy, and the young English defender has seemingly proven that fast becoming a favourite of the Spaniard. There's no doubt that he will once again feature in the derby. 

Stones has enjoyed a great start to life in Manchester. | Credit: getty
Stones has enjoyed a great start to life in Manchester. | Photo: Getty

Centre back - Nicolas Otamendi

With Vincent Kompany back to fitness, you'd be forgiven for thinking that the Belgian would come straight back into the line-up; such is his importance. Whilst that may have been the case under Manuel Pellegrini, Kompany will find it hard to get back on the pitch under the former Bayern Munich and Barcelona manager. 

Nicolas Otamendi, therefore, seems the obvious candidate to partner Stones in Trafford. Keen to go to ground, the defender has looked a much better player in the front footed, high pressing system that Manchester City have adopted this season. Yet, the Argentine has been on international duty for his native country in South America and if he is deemed not fit then expect Aleksandar Kolarov to fill in in the heart of defence.

Left back - Aleksandar Kolarov

The Serbian seems a revitalised figure this season at the Etihad Stadium, after it appeared he was set for a move away during the summer. Playing at either left back or in an unorthodox central defence, Kolarov will more than likely get the nod ahead of Gaël Clichy at Saturday lunch time.  

Midfield and attack

Central midfield - Fernandinho

If there was one player that City fans said would suit Pep Guardiola, it was the Brazilian. Hard working, competent on the ball as well as in both attack and defence Fernandinho did just that,appearingg in every one of the Blues first five competitive games. 

How he doesn't get selected for his national side is still a mystery!

Central midfield - David Silva

Despite coming up against a very physical Manchester United side, Guardiola won't change his style to cater for the opposition and therefore expect David Silva to once more start in a deeper central midfield role. The Magician, Merlin and even Spanish Dave as he is affectionately known amongst others, was on good form during the international break - as he scored on four occasions and assisted twice, as Spain defeated Belgium and Liechtenstein. Silva has looked revitalised under Guardiola, after an injury hit 15/16 campaign. 

Although Ilkay Gündogan has recovered from his disslocated knee, it was more than likely too early for the German to start, especially in a game of this magnitude. We may see the former Borussia Dortmund man from the bench however.

Attacking midfield - Kevin de Bruyne

Arguably Manchester City's best player last season, de Bruyne has found it hard to get off in that same vein at the start of this season without a goal so far. Nontheless, the Belgian is still one of the most dangerous players in the league, and will more than likely start against Mourinho's side.

De Bruyne has a persoanl greivance with the Portuguese manager, following his short yet turgid spell with Chelsea. The midfielder will surely be fired up to prove to the United boss, why he was wrong to let him leave Stamford Bridge.

Right wing - Raheem Sterling

Watching Raheem Sterling last season, and now this, you'd be forgiven for thinking you were watching two different players. Much maligned over the course of last season, the attacker has proved his critics wrong with a superb start to life this season with two goals and two assists. Sterling was also nominated for Premier League player of the month, only to lose out to Eden Hazard.

His performace against the Hammers last time out was just what Pep Guardiola will want from the young Englishmen, and Sterling will be looking to replicate that once again at Old Trafford on Saturday.

Sterling is a new player this season. | Credit: Reuters
Sterling is a new player this season. | Photo: Reuters

Striker - Kelechi Iheanacho 

Perhaps the most interesting selection in the entire fixture will be who will fill the void left by Sergio Agüero following his three-match suspension. Whilst it has been muted that Guardiola may be willing to hand a debut to summer signing and German international, Leroy Sané, we expect Kelechi Iheanacho to be given the nod instead. 

The Nigerian proved a sensation last term, breaking through the Manchester City academy and scored a very impressive 14 goals. A last minute winner at Crystal Palace the standout, on the young striker's debut. With two assists to his name so far this season, Iheanacho will look to get his tally underway on Saturday and what a place it would be to do it. 

Left wing - Nolito

Pretty straight forward this one, the Spaniard has been an instant success in the North West following his move from Celta Vigo this summer. Already accustomed to Guardiola's system of play, Nolito has hit the ground running and has already scored three goals, contributing two assists in the process. 

Most probabaly one of the first names on the team sheet at the moment, Nolito will hope that he can cause havoc at Old Trafford and prove why the £13 or million the Blues forked out for him, is worth every single penny. 

Bench - Willy Cabellero, Vincent Kompany, Pablo Zabaleta, Fernando, Ilkay Gündogan, Leroy Sané, Jesus Navas.