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How could Man City line up?

20 June 2017 National Sport


Last Updated: 20/06/17 12:19am

Pep Guardiola is getting ready for his second season as Manchester City boss

Pep Guardiola is getting ready for his second season as Manchester City boss

With Pep Guardiola preparing for his second season at Manchester City, we look at how the Spaniard’s side could line up when the Premier League returns.

City have wasted no time in signing new players this summer, having already acquired and .

And having already spent more than £77m on two players (£34.7m for Ederson and £43m for Silva), Guardiola is not expected to stop the spending there, with City continuing to be linked with a host of players following a trophy-less 2016/17 season.

But how could they line up come August? Read on to see which targets make our potential Manchester City XI…

Formation

Guardiola ended the 2016/17 season implementing a 4-1-4-1 formation, with Yaya Toure playing a defensive role behind the midfield four.

The City boss’ strength in depth – which is only going to improve before the end of the transfer window – means he will likely flirt with a number of formations early on in the season.

Is this Manchester City's team for 2017/18?

Is this Manchester City's team for 2017/18?

Is this Manchester City’s team for 2017/18?

And given their abundance of attacking talent, it seems unlikely that Guardiola would revert back to 4-2-3-1 and play two defensive midfielders.

Having Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus up front also means City could play two up top, though Guardiola’s tendency to play one or the other last season shows that a partnership is unlikely – regardless of how terrifying it could be.

Defence

Ederson’s arrival as the means he is likely to replace Claudio Bravo between the sticks, who struggled at times to fend off competition from Willy Caballero last season. Out-of-favour Joe Hart is expected to find a new club, .

Guardiola opted to offload Gael Clichy and Bacary Sagna this summer – with Pablo Zabaleta also departing – meaning they are in the market for full-backs.

Tottenham and England right-back Kyle Walker is odds-on to join Manchester City

Tottenham and England right-back Kyle Walker is odds-on to join Manchester City

Tottenham and England right-back Kyle Walker is odds-on to join Manchester City

City are set to begin talks with Tottenham over the , while Southampton’s Ryan Bertrand and Monaco’s are also odds-on to head to Manchester.

City appear to be covered in central defence, with Vincent Kompany, Nicolas Otamendi and John Stones likely to fight it out for the two starting spots – Aleksandar Kolarov could struggle for game-time next season.

Midfield

The acquisition of Bernardo Silva throws up a mighty debate regarding who will drop out of Guardiola’s starting XI, though the Portugal international is far from guaranteed a starting spot himself.

Will Bernardo Silva start for Manchester City following his £43m move?

Will Bernardo Silva start for Manchester City following his £43m move?

Will Bernardo Silva start for Manchester City following his £43m move?

Can a £43m man really miss out? Well when you have £37m Leroy Sane, £49m Raheem Sterling and £54.5m Kevin De Bruyne for company, as well as David Silva, then it becomes entirely feasible to consider that Bernardo Silva will begin his City career on the bench.

With regards to defensive midfield, Toure would likely struggle to fend off Fernandinho, while Ilkay Gundogan’s return from injury means he will also be in contention for a starting berth.

The return of Ilkay Gundogan from injury will feel like a new signing for Manchester City

The return of Ilkay Gundogan from injury will feel like a new signing for Manchester City

The return of Ilkay Gundogan from injury will feel like a new signing for Manchester City

Another dilemma will come should Alexis Sanchez join from Arsenal. The Chilean but the club are yet to make an official approach, sources understand.

City’s midfield seamlessly blends into their attack, with Sterling, De Bruyne and Sane all capable of playing a more advanced role off the striker should Guardiola swap to 4-3-3. Sanchez’s arrival would provide yet more competition in that position, while he would be just as capable of taking the place of Aguero or Jesus up front.

Pep Guardiola admits a number of clubs will be monitoring Alexis Sanchez's situation at Arsenal

Pep Guardiola admits a number of clubs will be monitoring Alexis Sanchez's situation at Arsenal

Pep Guardiola admits a number of clubs will be monitoring Alexis Sanchez’s situation at Arsenal

Attack

It could be a case of Aguero or Jesus at the front of the attack for Guardiola, but , while Sanchez could provide them with yet another option.

Jesus burst onto the Premier League scene in January, immediately displacing Aguero and impressing fans and pundits alike. The Brazilian scored three goals in four league games before a metatarsal fracture, then returned to score four more in City’s final five games of the season.

Gabriel Jesus is the main man at Manchester City now, not Sergio Aguero

Gabriel Jesus is the main man at Manchester City now, not Sergio Aguero

Gabriel Jesus is the main man at Manchester City now, not Sergio Aguero

Aguero found himself playing second fiddle when Jesus was fit, but Guardiola will likely rotate throughout the season as they juggle Champions League football with league and domestic cups.

So, can City win the title?

With that team? Of course they can. City are currently favourites to take home the title next season, and it’s understandable to see why given the squad that is currently being assembled.

Full-backs are needed and no expense will be spared for Guardiola, who appears to have been handed a blank cheque book by City’s owners.

City scored fewer and conceded more goals than both champions Chelsea and runners-up Tottenham last season. Both areas will need to be addressed, and while they have the players to do so up front, their title prospects could depend on their defensive arrivals, and how quickly said back-four gels in the early stages.


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