Manchester City expected 4-1-4-1 v Tottenham: Star attacker omitted
By Harvey Byrne
Kevin De Bruyne suffered an injury in the previous Premier League clash against Swansea for Manchester City and the Belgium international has been ruled out of Sunday’s tie against Tottenham.
The Manchester side are preparing for a tough battle against second placed Spurs with both teams undefeated in the new campaign.
Senior defender Vincent Kompany and Fabian Delph are also out of the tie, but both of their injuries have been more long-term.
Summer signing Nolito would have been expected to replace De Bruyne on the left wing, but he’s currently the subject of a three match suspension after receiving a straight red against Bournemouth, meaning that fellow addition Leroy Sane will likely come in for them both.
Pep Guardiola is likely to make two other changes to his line-up from the midweek clash against Celtic.
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John Stones and Bacary Sagna will be expected to move back into the starting eleven, pushing Gael Clichy and Pablo Zabaleta to the bench with Aleksandar Kolarov moving back to his more natural full-back slot.
Claudio Bravo is expected to keep his place in goal with Guardiola keen to bring him into the side in the summer to displace Joe Hart.
Regular centre-back pairing Stones and Nicolas Otamendi will protect the goalkeeper in the side’s back four with Sagna and Kolarov either side of them.
Brazil international Fernandinho will also retain his place as the shield in his side’s midfield as he looks to be occupied by Tottenham’s threatening attacking line, likely consisting of Dele Alli, Christian Eriksen and Son Heung-min.
The attacking quartet of Sane, Raheem Sterling, David Silva and Ilkay Gundogan is also threatening enough, without the inclusion of the deadly Sergio Aguero up front, who has recently returned from a suspension himself, marking his return with two goals against Swansea.
In other Manchester City team news, Guardiola has hailed Mauricio Pochettino as “one of the best managers in the world”.