Manchester City kick off their Carabao Cup defence against League One outfit Wycombe Wanderers on Tuesday with some fresh faces set for a run out.
City have won the competition for the last four seasons on the trot and this season have had a stop-start beginning to their campaign outside of the cup. Three wins, a draw and a defeat in their opening five Premier League games alongside a thumping win in the Champions League has got most fans in good spirits.
But with injuries and a huge week of fixtures against Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain and Liverpool to come, the manager has some decisions to make for his starting lineup, with a perfect mix of youth and quality needed to help them through to the next round.
Scott Carson – City’s third-choice keeper will likely get the nod here so Ederson can get a rest, with Zack Steffen still recovering from a positive COVID test while on international duty.
Kyle Walker – The England international had a tough weekend and the best way to get him back in the swing of things will be to feature in this game and shake the cobwebs away.
Nathan Ake – Ake and Ruben Dias are the only fit senior defenders, so the Dutchman is likely to keep his place alongside a youngster with Dias protected.
Luke Mbete – A young defender coming through the ranks right now at City, Mbete is tall, commanding and comfortable on the ball so Pep can trust him to continue his philosophy on the pitch.
Josh Wilson-Esbrand – Another youngster, Wilson-Esbrand was involved on the bench against Southampton at the weekend so could make his first-team debut here. A quick left-back with a great eye for getting forward, he should fit in well in the setup.
Fernandinho – A bit of experience in the midfield of a young team, the skipper will likely start here considering Rodri’s status as the first-choice holding midfielder for upcoming fixtures.
Cole Palmer – Palmer has been a regular in cup fixtures under Guardiola and is constantly impressing whenever he gets on the pitch. Technical, direct and an eye for goal, he should get the nod once again here.
Phil Foden – An established member of the first team, but Foden is still only 21. After a long period out with an ankle injury, Foden could do with the minutes and this game can provide that.
Ferran Torres – Torres has been the starting striker in recent games for Guardiola, but his versatility means he can play wide and after missing the weekend game he could come back into the side here.
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Liam Delap – Son of the infamous Rory, Delap is a goal machine at youth football and was kept around to provide cover and competition to the first team this season. What better chance to show what he’s got than here?
Samuel Edozie – Edozie had a brilliant pre-season campaign and started the Community Shield, so Guardiola has shown he isn’t afraid to throw him into the first team and he should start here.
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