Manchester City will be hoping to book their place in the Champions League quarter-final this week as they host Real Madrid in the round of 16 second leg.
The Blues hold the advantage heading into Friday’s clash as they lead the Galacticos 2-1 on aggregate after an impressive first-leg display at the Bernabeu way back in February.
There is no doubt that Pep Guardiola has a whole host of world-class players at his disposal, and with just one notable injury, the Blues’ boss will be playing his near strongest eleven in this one.
Goalkeeper – Ederson
Probably the easiest prediction of the lot. The City shot-stopper is always the first man on the team sheet for Guardiola and heads into the second leg clash in strong form after claiming the Premier League golden glove award for the 2019/20 season with 16 clean sheets.
Right-back – Kyle Walker
Another man who has been in hot form throughout the campaign is the ever-present, Walker. When fellow right-back Joao Cancelo was brought in from Juventus last summer, it was thought that the Englishman’s right-back spot was under threat. However, after arguably his most impressive season in a City shirt, Walker has been a key man for the Blues and it will be no surprise to seem him in his natural position against Madrid.
Centre-back – Fernandinho
After playing almost all of this campaign out of position at centre-back, Fernandinho’s involvement in the Blues’ backline has been somewhat sporadic since the restart, with youngster Eric Garcia being given the chance to shine. However, in a game as big as this one experience is key, and there is no doubt Fernandinho has plenty.
Centre-back – Aymeric Laporte
Since joining in January 2018, the Frenchman has been above and beyond City’s best central defender, securing himself as the backbone of the Blues’ backline despite a number of injuries (including one in the first leg of this tie). Laporte could prove huge in Friday’s defence of his side’s aggregate advantage.
Left Back – Joao Cancelo
After a fairly tough start to his time in Manchester behind the in-form, Walker, Cancelo has struggled to cement a place in his native right-back position. However, a spell of impressive performances at left-back towards the back end of the season, and a suspension for Benjamin Mendy means it the Portuguese international is sure to get the gig on the left of defence in this one.
Defensive Midfield – Rodrigo
With Fernandinho often slotting in at centre-back this term, new man Rodri has been the man to step into the central defensive midfield role this term, and whilst his performances haven’t set the world alight the Spaniard will add some much needed defensive balance in City’s midfield.
Central Attacking Midfield – David Silva
After bowing out from the Premier League after 10 superb seasons two week’s ago, ‘El Mago’ will be hoping to prolong his City career a little further with a run in the Champions League, and if he is to do it he could play a pivotal role in getting past Zidane’s Madrid.
Central Attacking Midfield – Kevin De Bruyne
Like Ederson, De Bruyne is also one of the first names on the team sheet for Guardiola. The Belgian has proved to be the star man for the Blues this season, and there is no doubt he will be looking to replicate his first leg heroics in the second after he picked up an assist and a goal in the 2-1 win in Madrid.
Right Wing – Riyad Mahrez
The Algerian has been a revelation for the Blues this year. After a sporadic first season in a blue shirt, Mahrez has announced himself as a firm starter this campaign scoring an impressive 11 goals and picking up 13 assists in 33 Premier League games. Therefore, it is more than likely that Guardiola could turn to the wide man in this clash to continue his scintillating form in front of goal.
Left Wing – Raheem Sterling
If City are to extend their aggregate lead, one man who could play a huge role is Sterling. The Englishman is the Blues’ top scorer this campaign with 30 goals in all competitions, and after not starting in the first leg the winger will relish the chance to stamp his print on this tie.
Striker – Gabriel Jesus
When the Brazilian was picked to start over, star striker, Sergio Aguero in the first leg many were left questioning Guardiola’s decision. Two hours later however Jesus proved all of his doubters wrong after a superb performance and goal helped his side nick an all-important first-leg lead, and with Aguero sidelined Guardiola will be looking to the 23-year-old once again.