Manchester City take on Chelsea on Sunday afternoon as they are coronated Premier League champions.
City would have gone into the game in great spirits regardless after booking their tickets to Istanbul for the Champions League final with a sensational 4-1 victory over Real Madrid on Wednesday night. A Bernardo Silva double and goals from Manuel Akanji and Julian Alvarez secured a final with Inter on June 10.
The fixture will now be City’s championship party in front of their fans at the Etihad after Arsenal’s defeat at Nottingham Forest confirmed them as champions for the third straight season.
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It means Pep Guardiola’s side have never been closer to claiming a historic treble with the Istanbul clash against Inter Milan to follow the FA Cup final against Manchester United.
However, it will be intriguing to see what starting XI Guardiola goes with against Chelsea. Wednesday was a draining match so some changes are bound to happen but how many will the Blues boss go for against a team that is struggling but still has plenty of talent.
There was no update on Nathan Ake’s condition in the press conference and the defender remains a doubt for the match against his former club.
MEN Sport writers have named the starting XI they would pick for the match and you can select your own in the widget below
Guardiola will be delighted to have finished the title chase this weekend but I wouldn’t put it past him to pick exactly the same team as Wednesday night. If you can demolish Real Madrid, you can beat a terrible version of Chelsea.
Riyad Mahrez, Phil Foden, and Julian Alvarez all combined off the bench for the final goal and Aymeric Laporte will want minutes, but Brighton feels like a better option for those to start. Pick the same XI, carry on the same feeling in the stadium from earlier in the week, and City should not have anything to worry about.
Kevin De Bruyne looked absolutely knackered when he was substituted against Real Madrid and maybe he could benefit from a rest even with the title on the line. City have more than enough quality to come in, and a fully-fit Phil Foden or equivalent is better than a Half-fit De Bruyne… just about.
Bernardo can’t be dropped, and if Ilkay Gundogan is fit after his stellar contributions over the last two weeks, he can also help win the midfield battle.
I’d keep the defence largely the same, barring Aymeric Laporte in to keep the squad as fit as possible. And if De Bruyne gets a rest, then Phil Foden has played brilliantly against Chelsea in the cups this season so can hurt them again, this time off the right.
Pep Guardiola has made it clear he will be approaching Sunday’s match as a must-win but changes still have to be made after a draining night on Wednesday.
Rico Lewis has had some of his best City games against Chelsea so it would be a good time to bring him back into defence along with Aymeric Laporte so John Stones and Kyle Walker can be rested.
Kevin De Bruyne was dead on his feet against Madrid and should certainly be given the afternoon off with Julian Alvarez coming in. I’d also start Phil Foden and Riyad Mahrez on the flanks in support of Erling Haaland.
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