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Man City predicted lineup vs Chelsea

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Manchester City could find themselves ten points behind surprise Premier League leaders Arsenal by the time their next Premier League clash rolls around.

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The Gunners have a big opportunity to extend their lead at the top when they take on the albeit impressive Newcastle at the Emirates on Tuesday night, while City travel to Chelsea on Thursday ahead of a weekend of FA Cup fixtures.

The Citzyens have plenty of work to during the second half of the season if they’re to win yet another Premier League title after they once again dropped points at home on the weekend.

Pep Guardiola has had plenty to say regarding his recent team selections ahead of Thursday’s trip to Stamford Bridge, and here’s how he could line his City side up for their upcoming league fixture.

Phil Foden

Will Phil Foden make his first start since returning from the World Cup on Thursday? / Jan Kruger/GettyImages

GK: Ederson – A shoo-in.

RB: Joao Cancelo – He’s got to come back into the starting XI at some point, right? Young Rico Lewis has been excellent in an idiosyncratic inverted function, but Cancelo’s quality in and around the final third cannot be replicated.

CB: John Stones – Stones is, like, really good. The England defender is in immense form and should be regarded as one of Europe’s, let alone the Premier League’s, very best centre-halves. The technically proficient defender is hugely important to Guardiola.

CB: Manuel Akanji – The human calculator has settled in nicely since he joined from Borussia Dortmund in the summer. With Ruben Dias and Aymeric Laporte likely to be absent, Akanji should partner Stones at Stamford Bridge.

LB: Nathan Ake – The Dutch defender enjoyed a fine World Cup in Qatar and has played every minute for City since returning. That trend should continue on Thursday.

CM: Rodri – An imperious performer at the base of midfield for the Cityzens, Rodri was on the scoresheet in the 3-1 victory at Elland Road and he should’ve bagged a late winner against Everton last time out. Kalvin Phillips is waiting patiently in the wings, but Pep simply can’t drop Rodri.

CM: Kevin De Bruyne – De Bruyne has fond memories of Stamford Bridge since he was cast aside by Jose Mourinho all those years ago. The Belgian, who disappointed in Qatar, will start in his usual midfield function on Thursday.

CM: Ilkay Gundogan – Bernardo Silva is an option for Guardiola, but the Spaniard could use the Portuguese international further forward and return the intelligent Gundogan to his midfield. The German produced one of his finest City performances at the Bridge two years ago.

RW: Bernardo Silva – Riyad Mahrez hasn’t exactly shone in City’s previous two outings and Pep could make a change to his frontline for this one. The Spaniard doesn’t have too many options to replace the Algerian down the right, but Bernardo Silva is one of them.

ST: Erling Haaland – Julian Alvarez could be back in contention for City’s upcoming bout, but the World Cup hero hasn’t got a sniff of making the starting XI while this monster is still fit and firing. Haaland notched his 21st Premier League goal of the season on Saturday as he seeks to break a whole manner of scoring records by the time the campaign’s up.

LW: Phil Foden – Foden has been strangely underutilised since returning from the World Cup, but perhaps Guardiola’s body language rationale has something to do with that. Nevertheless, like Cancelo, it’s about time the English superstar returned to the starting XI.

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