Manchester City could secure qualification for the knock-out stages of the UEFA Champions League if they are victorious over BSC Young Boys on Tuesday night.
It has been a flawless start to their defence of the Champions League trophy for City, who have won 3-1 in all three of their group stage games so far, meaning victory this week would secure a spot in the knock-out stages after just four games.
The previous encounter between these two sides saw a goalless first-half, before Manchester City broke the deadlock through Manuel Akanji, who headed home a rebound off the crossbar to give the blues a deserved lead in Bern.
However, the home side managed to grab a shock equaliser, when BSC Young Boys forward Meschack Elia broke through on goal, before lofting the ball over a stranded Ederson to draw the scores level.
Quality would soon prevail, when who else but Erling Haaland would find his feet in the game, scoring a penalty to restore the lead, before rifling a third home on his right foot to seal the deal.
The Blues have been in a rich vein of form since then, with Bournemouth the latest side to feel the wrath of Pep Guardiola’s squad, as the Cherries were massacred 6-1 at the Etihad Stadium at the weekend.
Despite the emphatic result there was a slight dent in joys within the blue camp, as Erling Haaland was seen limping off at half-time, and was subsequently replaced by Phil Foden, who did manage to get himself on the scoresheet.
Pep Guardiola has spoken on the fitness of Erling Haaland, admitting his injury is touch and go as to whether he will be fit for Tuesday’s clash, but it could be this Sunday before the Norwegian returns to action.
Whether Haaland is deemed fit or not, Manchester City will definitely have to earn their qualification to the knockout stages without long-term absentee Kevin De Bruyne, as well as Sergio Gomez, who was seen on crutches at the Etihad Stadium prior to the dismantling of Bournemouth.
The injuries hopefully won’t halt the momentum of City as they look to cast Young Boys aside and secure their place in the knockout stages. With that being said, here is the side we predict will take on the Swiss side at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday night!
Ederson is expected to start between the sticks for the blues.
Following his tidy cameo against Bournemouth, we suspect Rico Lewis will be granted a start in place of Kyle Walker on Tuesday, and perhaps operate in the defensive midfield role that many fans have become so accustomed to seeing from the youngster.
Manuel Akanji was on the scoresheet in this fixture last time out in Switzerland, and we expect him to partner Ruben Dias at the centre of defence, as the latter was given a full rest at the weekend.
Josko Gvardiol was also given a breather against Bournemouth, but we expect him to return to the fray against BSC Young Boys, after Pep Guardiola heaped praise on the Croatian during the week, following his impact since arriving to the club.
The Manchester City boss admitted he will not be taking this game lightly, and as such we think Rodrigo will keep his place in midfield ahead of Kalvin Phillips – with the Englishman unlikely to see a start in this competition until qualification is secured, or even top spot.
Matheus Nunes had the ball in the back of the net on Saturday but goal line technology denied him his first Manchester City goal. We think Nunes will start this one, alongside fellow Portuguese midfielder Bernardo Silva.
Phil Foden replaced the injured Erling Haaland on Saturday afternoon and cropped up with a goal to finish off more fine work from Jeremy Doku. We think Foden will start this one on the right of a front three for the blues.
Despite being spotted in training on Monday afternoon, we think Norway international Erling Haaland will be rested as a precaution ahead of the weekend’s action, with Julian Alvarez leading the line in his absence.
It was a scintillating performance from Jeremy Doku against Bournemouth, scoring his first goal at the Etihad Stadium with four assists to match. We think he will start this one, with the Belgian just favoured ahead of Jack Grealish.
Predicted XI: Ederson; Lewis, Akanji, Dias, Gvardiol; Rodrigo, Nunes, Bernardo Silva; Foden, Alvarez, Doku.
Substitutes: Ortega Moreno, Carson, Walker, Stones, Ake, Phillips, Hamilton, Kovacic, Bobb, Haaland, Grealish.
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