Manchester City host local rivals Manchester United in a huge derby in the Premier League on Sunday.
United arrive at the Etihad in high spirits after a stunning late show saw Jose Mourinho’s side snatch a victory away to Juventus in the Champions League on Wednesday. City, meanwhile, displayed the full strength of their armoury with a 6-0 thumping of Shakhtar Donetsk in midweek.
Both sides are on a strong run of recent form and Sunday’s encounter between the two Manchester heavyweights has much at stake, with Pep Guardiola’s City looking to strengthen their title defence with victory over their old rivals at the Etihad Stadium.
Here is a selection of the strongest available Manchester City lineup to face United in Sunday’s huge derby showdown.
1. Goalkeeper & Defenders
Ederson (GK) – Few current Premier League goalkeepers meet the current demands for the modern shot stopper as well as Ederson. The Brazilian continues to excel equally with his reflexes and with the ball at his feet. Ederson is City’s last line of defence and first in attack.
Kyle Walker (RB) – Known as much for his attacking abilities bombing forward down the right flank as he is for his defensive abilities, Walker will have to put in a disciplined shift on Sunday against a United front line which is full of pace and power. Walker may find himself on the back foot much more than he is accustomed to at the Etihad.
John Stones (CB) – A rejuvenation of City’s back line this season has seen Stones feature far more regularly at the heart of defence this term as the Englishman finally seems to be in the process of succeeding long-time defensive leader Vincent Kompany.
Aymeric Laporte (CB) – Injury problems for Nicolas Otamendi have also seen Laporte handed more regular opportunities to cement his place in the centre of defence this season, though the Frenchman is likely to be tested sternly by the pace and energy of Alexis Sanchez on Sunday.
Benjamin Mendy (LB) – As with Walker on the opposite flank, Mendy may be required to reign in his attacking instincts to some degree on Sunday as the full back faces United’s dangerous pace in the wide areas, particularly on the counter attack. Mendy must ensure he is not caught high up the pitch, leaving City’s rear-guard exposed and outnumbered by United on the break.
Bernardo Silva (CM) – In the continued absence of talisman Kevin De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva has begun to prove his worth after struggling to make any real impact during his first season with City last term. The Portuguese star seems to be the natural successor to midfield partner and CIty icon David Silva.
Fernandinho (CM) – As City’s only recognised defensive midfielder, Fernandinho’s role in his side’s engine room remains as crucial as ever in providing bite and balance in Guardiola’s attacking setup.
David Silva (CM) – Continuing to prove his vital importance to City with goals in each of his side’s two previous wins, Silva’s presence as the heartbeat of Guardiola’s team remains immense, with the Spaniard as influential now as he was in his prime.
Riyad Mahrez (RW) – Largely in competition with Leroy Sane for a place in City’s front line, Mahrez has settled well under Guardiola and demonstrated the impact he can have for his side with the winning goal in City’s recent 1-0 win over Tottenham.
Sergio Aguero (ST) – Though Gabriel Jesus’ midweek hat-trick was a welcome return to form for the Brazilian, City’s all-time top scorer Aguero remains the go-to man for his team in the big games and without doubt the most clinical finisher in Guardiola’s armoury.
Raheem Sterling (LW) – Often a figure of criticism for his country, Sterling continues to come on leaps and bounds for City under Guardiola and has taken his game to another level in goal scoring terms in the last year. A brace last weekend against Southampton and a fine finish in the midweek win over Shakhtar Donetsk will have the winger high in confidence.