Pep Guardiola must decide whether to stick or twist when star-studded Manchester City resume their title charge against Premier League strugglers Leicester City on Saturday afternoon (5.30pm).
First it was with Arsenal in action 24 hours later, a City win over the Foxes would see them three points behind the table toppers. Guardiola and his men have made it five home wins in a row to pile the pressure on the Gunners ahead of Sunday afternoon’s clash with London rivals West Ham.
A midweek heroics against German heavyweights Bayern Munich required a lot of work from City and the 12 players used, but Arsenal’s ongoing battle for Premier League titles means they cannot rest too many first-choice names.
Guardiola made one change ahead of kick-off against Bayern as Riyad Mahrez was replaced by the impressive Bernardo Silva – who scored and added an assist – while Julian Alvarez was the only man called on from the City bench on the occasion. Both are in contention to start here with De Bruyne and Ilkay Gundogan likely to be rested unless City name an unchanged side.
In this scenario, Bernardo would move inside to allow Mahrez to take his preferred position on the right.
Manuel Akanji, Ruben Dias and Nathan Ake have made shirts their own in this unorthodox formation, in which John Stones occupies a hybrid role. As a result, England team-mate Kyle Walker and Aymeric Laporte have both struggled to maintain regular playing time in defence.
In terms of likelihood, Guardiola will make one or two changes at the most here, even if the return leg against Bayern comes to the Allianz Arena on Wednesday night. Leicester visited the Etihad Stadium with just one point from their last eight Premier League games.
Man City predicted line-up vs Leicester City (3-2-4-1):
Ederson; Akanji, Dias, Ake; Stones, Rodri; Mahrez, De Bruyne, Bernardo, Grealish; Haaland.