Manchester City predicted XI in second Manchester Derby of the season

Manchester City predicted XI in second Manchester Derby of the season

Ahead of this season's second Manchester Derby, in the EFL Cup, Manchester City's team selection will be interesting. Will Guardiola go for strength or youth?

Joe Doherty

It's set to be a fascinating encounter at Old Trafford, with two titans of the managerial game Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola facing up again in the second Manchester derby of the season, in the EFL Cup.

Who's likely to start for Manchester City on Wednesday evening?

The Defence

Goalkeeper - Willy Caballero

As City's cup goalkeeper, Willy Caballero is almost certain to start this game. Some fans may argue that due to the importance of this game that most EFL Cup games don't tend to have, that Guardiola should play the strongest side available and therefore start Claudio Bravo. However, due to Bravo going through a rough patch in recent games, he would welcome sitting out such an important game. Furthermore, with Caballero playing against Barcelona next week due to Bravo's suspension, this would be a good warm up for him, having not played since City's last cup tie.

Right Back - Gael Clichy

With Pablo Zabaleta and Bacary Sagna both missing this game, Pep Guardiola is likely to give Gael Clichy this game in his unfavoured right-back position. Arguably, Sagna and Zabaleta's absence could be a blessing in disguise as both players have been susceptible to struggling with wingers with a lot of pace, which United have in abundance in Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford. However, pace isn't something Clichy lacks, so he could be useful in this sort of game, especially with United likely to be counter-attacking.

Centre Backs - Nicolas Otamendi and John Stones

As Vincent Kompany is slowly making his way back into the side and with Guardiola hoping he doesn't aggravate his injury problems, Kompany may be sitting out this game. As a result, it makes sense to play the centre back pairing that has played the majority of the season. There have been suggestions of young prospect Tosin Adarabioyo starting this game, but in a game of this magnitude, regardless of competition, it has to be Otamendi and Stones.

Left Back - Aleksandar Kolarov

Despite being an unpopular figure among many City fans and his form appearing to return to that of last season's in recent weeks, it's difficult to see anyone else playing in this position, especially with Clichy likely to be playing right back. Despite the emergence of Angelino as another exciting youth prospect, this also feels like a step too far for him and Kolarov's experience should mean he starts.

Usual midfield duo for Citizens

Central Midfield - Fernando and Fernandinho

Fernandinho has energy in abundance and has been one of City's most important players for the last 18 months. On the basis of this, this is the sort of game that he is needed for, due to his hard work and passing range. Next to him, his compatriot Fernando is likely to start. Ilkay Gundogan has had a couple of poor games lately and he could do with sitting this one out. Besides, United are likely to pose more of a threat on the counter-attack than most teams and Fernando is very important against sides like this, due to his ability to win the ball back and his disciplined style.

Right Wing - Jesus Navas

Despite his finishing product often being criticised, Jesus Navas is likely to start this game, partly due to him being a squad player who doesn't lack the experience of several others and partly to support Gael Clichy. Navas' work rate is amongst the best in the squad and he is very useful in a game where the opposition has pacey wingers, which, as mentioned above, United have in Martial and Rashford.

Attacking Midfield - David Silva

With Kevin De Bruyne missing this game through injury, City will need a creative spark in this position to support the players around them. Thankfully, City do have David Silva to play this role, in which he thrives, despite playing slightly more deep this season. Furthermore, with Kompany sitting out, City will need someone to be a leader on the pitch and Silva has done a good job as acting captain in Kompany's absence.

Left Wing - Nolito

Nolito has emerged as one of the bargains of the season for Manchester City, which makes it somewhat surprising he has not started either of the last two Premier League games. With this in mind, he is very likely to start this game and is also likely to be one of the most important players on the pitch. He had an outstanding game away at United earlier in the season due to his work rate and his finishing product, so City fans are all hoping for a repeat performance.

Young, clinical Kelechi should start on Wednesday

Striker - Kelechi Iheanacho

After his heroics off the bench to snatch a point for City at the weekend, not to mention games such as Barcelona being on the horizon, it is highly likely that Iheanacho will start here ahead of Sergio Aguero. Iheanacho was another star performer in the earlier derby this season and, with Eric Bailly out for United and their defence appearing suspect at the weekend, Iheanacho's pace and power will be very important for City in this match.