Key trio return for Pep Guardiola as Man City prepare for Chelsea
Man City receive boost to the spine
Man City boss Pep Guardiola will undoubtedly be pleased with key trio Aymeric Laporte, Rodri, and John Stones all seemingly fit and available when City clashes with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in one of Saturday’s two lunchtime kick-offs.
Gundogan and Zinchenko weren’t spotted. Lavia and Palmer are included https://t.co/OeQrrgR2LO
— Simon Bajkowski (@spbajko) September 24, 2021
City already trail domestic rivals Manchester United, Liverpool, and Thomas Tuchel’s Blues by three points coming into the weekend, and the top of the table six-pointer could have massive ramifications for the title race in the 2021-22 domestic campaign.
Both Rodri and Laporte coming back into the fold after the pair missed the draw against Southampton and then 6-1 drubbing of Wycombe Wanderers in the third round of the Carabao Cup could not come at a more opportune moment given the weekend opponent.
While John Stones is not expected to start ahead of Rúben Dias, the restoration of depth to the overall Man City squad remains of vital importance given the upcoming midweek Champions League clash against Paris Saint-Germain and then an equally vital Premier League meeting with Liverpool.
Missing key assets leave questions in the potential XI
With additions come squad subtractions for Man City this weekend, however, as both German international Ilkay Gündogan and Ukrainian utility man Oleksandr Zinchenko were not spotted in the weekend squad that begun its journey to the English capital.
Gündogan remains as vital as ever for Man City this season after his goalscoring exploits in 2020-21 helped the Citizens take back their Premier League crown, while Zinchenko’s absence all but guarantees João Cancelo’s starting birth at left-back while Kyle Walker should slot in on the opposite flank.
How could Man City line-up to give themselves the best chance to dent Chelsea’s confidence under their German tinkerman? Here is a guess at their match day XI for the Stamford Bridge meeting.