Manchester City travel to the capital to face West Ham in the Premier League on Saturday as they look to maintain their 100 per cent winning start to the season.
It has been a flawless start to the new campaign for the blues, winning all four of their opening matches of the season so far, with the most recent being a comfortable 5-1 victory over Fulham at the Etihad Stadium.
As the players return from the first international break of the season, attention now turns to this weekend’s showdown with West Ham, as David Moyes’ side look to end Manchester City’s winning start.
The home side are enduring a bout of good form themselves, having picked up three wins and a draw from their opening four contests, including notable wins at home to Chelsea and away at Brighton.
It will be a return to the touchline for Pep Guardiola on Saturday too, following routine back surgery in Barcelona which prevented him from being present in training and in the dugout against Sheffield United and Fulham.
Guardiola confirmed he is now feeling much better and is taking things “step by step” while speaking during his pre-match press conference. Meanwhile, his counterpart this weekend has been heaping praise on the Catalan coach.
David Moyes stated while addressing the media, “It’s between Pep (Guardiola) and Sir Alex Ferguson (for the greatest manager ever). What Pep brought to football has changed the game. He’ll continue to win trophies because he’s got a good team with good players.”
In the absence of Pep Guardiola, Juanma Lillo stepped up to the mark, which the former has praised, saying, “Juanma (Lillo) and the players respond really well (in his absence).”
The boss also has confirmed that John Stones, Jack Grealish and Mateo Kovacic are all ruled out of Saturday’s clash through respective injuries, as well as Kevin De Bruyne – who remains side-lined with a long-term hamstring injury.
“Both (John Stones and Jack Grealish) injured for tomorrow,” Guardiola confirmed. “The injury for Jack is muscular. John is better, but still has issues.” On the subject of Kovacic, he continued, “Something also muscular. (It is) not a big issue, but he is also out for tomorrow.”
The Premier League champions will have to make-do without some key names if they are to be successful on Saturday afternoon, and with that being said, here is the side we predict will take on West Ham this weekend!
Ederson will keep his place in goal.
After his contract extension was confirmed in an extraordinary and iconic fashion earlier this week, we expect Kyle Walker to start on Saturday – and continue his role as the club’s stand-in captain before the long-awaited internal vote on such matters.
Ruben Dias is a major influence in defence for the blues, and we predict the Portugal international will start alongside Nathan Ake in the centre of defence.
Josko Gvardiol was rotated against Fulham last time around, but we expect the Croatian international to return to the fray and start this weekend, completing the back four on Pep Guardiola’s return to action himself.
Rodrigo is expected to start at the base of midfield for Manchester City, despite Kalvin Phillips’ commendable showing against Scotland during the international break for Gareth Southgate’s England side.
We expect Bernardo Silva to start in midfield, partnering summer signing and fellow international team-mate Matheus Nunes, who should start in the absence of Mateo Kovacic on Saturday and earn himself his Manchester City debut.
There has been lots of speculation around the preferred position of Phil Foden this week, however we expect the England international to start and alternate with Bernardo Silva on the wing.
Erling Haaland will surely start as he looks to build on his hat-trick scored against Fulham prior to the international break.
In the absence of Jack Grealish, we believe Julian Alvarez will keep up his run of starts in the side, completing the Manchester City team for Saturday’s fixture.
Predicted XI: Ederson; Walker, Dias, Ake, Gvardiol; Rodrigo, Bernardo, Nunes; Foden, Haaland, Alvarez.
Substitutes: Ortega, Carson, Lewis, Akanji, Gomez, Phillips, Bobb, Doku.
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