18th May, 2019
The Blue side of Manchester have surely had a swell season as they not only won the coveted British Premier League title back to back but also got the Carabao Cup.
And as if that is not enough already, they are bent on making history by adding the FA Cup to their kitty later this evening when they take on Watford in the competition’s final match.
If the “Sky Blues” win today’s game as expected by many, they would make history by becoming the first team in English football history to claim a domestic treble. That surely will be a great catalyst to the Guardiola tutored side as they prepare for this all important game this evening.
Manchester City have surely had a great second half of this season’s Premier League as they won 12 straight games in a row in their march to the title triumph despite the ever present pressure from a remarkable challenger in Liverpool.
They were equally remarkable on the final day of the season as they surprisingly fell behind to Brighton in a match that was recorded as the first one in which City actually fell behind since the defeat to Newcastle at the end of January – and not exactly unexpectedly, Brighton’s lead lasted just the 83 seconds.
Except for the odd surprise inclusion now and then, Pep Guardiola has largely stuck with the same team in recent weeks and his trust has brought positive dividends with the performances he’s received in return.
It surely would be a serious surprise if the Manchester City boss deviated from his usual strongest 11 for this game, though there may be one surprise return. That is likely going to be the inclusion of erstwhile injured Kevin De Bruyne.
City’s defence line can these days be easily predicted as Kyle Walker, Vincent Kompany, Aymeric Laporte and Aleks Zinchenko have solidified themselves as the first choice back four in recent weeks after months of rotation earlier in the season.
The team’s midfield area is where there could be a change or two from the side that strolled to victory against Brighton as it is likely that Ilkay Gundogan will continue to deputise for the semi-fit Fernandinho in the defensive midfield role, especially after his excellent performance against Brighton, and he most likely will be flanked by David Silva.
It was confirmed that Fernandinho trained on Thursday and Friday though it’s not yet known if he will be fit for the game.
The more likely change to the midfield is that of Kevin De Bruyne returning to the starting line-up as he returned to action for the first time since April 20 with his 10 minute performance towards the end of the game against the Seagulls and with City missing his incisive passing and drive from deep, he may be drafted in to help disorganise a stubborn Watford defence.
The return of De Bruyne would most likely mean that Riyad Mahrez would drop out of the side, despite his brilliant goal in the last match.
The Belgian’s inclusion also means that Guardiola can revert back to his usual 4-3-3 formation after he experimented with an unorthodox 4-4-1-1 against Brighton.
That change would likely push Bernardo Silva further forward onto the right of an attacking three and also make Raheem Sterling move from behind the striker to the left flank with Sergio Aguero surely starting up front.
Predicted Man City Line-Up For The Game:
Ederson; Walker, Kompany, Laporte, Zinchenko; De Bruyne, Gundogan, Silva; Bernardo, Aguero, Sterling.