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Oscar Bobb, Sergio Gomez, Kalvin Phillips, and Rico Lewis ALL START – Predicted XI: Manchester City vs Newcastle United (Carabao Cup Third Round)



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Manchester City get their Carabao Cup journey underway for the 2023/24 season as they travel to face Newcastle United at St. James’ Park on Wednesday night.

City enter perhaps the most difficult phase of their season so far, as they take on Eddie Howe’s team fresh off the back of another Premier League victory, but with their squad numbers in terms of available personnel having been further depleted.

While Rodri may not have started the encounter in the north-east, the Spanish midfielder is unavailable to join the matchday squad entirely, having been sent off for violent conduct against Nottingham Forest and picking up a three-match ban in the process.

Rodri joins John Stones, Bernardo Silva, and Kevin De Bruyne in being unavailable for the Carabao Cup third round clash, while Pep Guardiola has been buoyed by the return of both Jack Grealish and Mateo Kovacic to full first-team training.

Harvey Barnes is the latest significant setback for Eddie Howe and Newcastle United, after their summer signing from Leicester City was ruled out for a matter of months as opposed to weeks, according to the coach speaking during his pre-match press conference.

As both sides look to find the balance between rest, rotation, and fielding a strong enough team to book their place in the fourth round of the Carabao Cup, here is how we predict Pep Guardiola will line-up his Manchester City squad at St. James’ Park!

Predicted XI

As per Manchester City standard practice in domestic cup competitions, Stefan Ortega Moreno is likely to start at Newcastle.

In front of the German goalkeeper, we believe it is likely to be a more than familiar back-four, consisting of Rico Lewis at right-back, but largely moving into defensive midfield when Manchester City are in-possession.

In what is likely to be a back-three in possession of the ball, Manuel Akanji will line-up on the right, partnered by Nathan Ake in the centre, while we believe Josko Gvardiol will operate from the left and move out to left-back when defending Newcastle attacks.

Pep Guardiola has already confirmed that Kalvin Phillips will start in midfield in the absence of Rodri, while we believe Matheus Nunes will be granted another opportunity to impress and add some much-needed legs into the middle of the park for City.

With options at a premium, and Mateo Kovacic still working back towards full fitness following his spell with injury, we believe it will be another start for Julian Alvarez in attacking midfield, often moving alongside the striker.

This is where it perhaps gets most interesting, and also most unpredictable given Pep Guardiola’s comments in the lead up to this contest.

On the right of a front-three, we anticipate that Oscar Bobb will be granted his first senior Manchester City start in a prime opportunity to make a real statement in the squad following plenty of promise across all youth age groups.

The Norway youth international will compliment his compatriot Erling Haaland in attack, while we expect Sergio Gomez to earn a rare start but be given the chance to work his abilities from left-wing – where many believe he is more suited, in comparison to left-back.

Starting XI: Ortega Moreno; Lewis, Akanji, Ake, Gvardiol; Phillips, Nunes, Alvarez; Bobb, Haaland, Gomez.

Substitutes: Ederson, Carson, Walker, Dias, Kovacic, Foden, Grealish, Doku.