Following the commencement of the Premier League’s ‘Project Restart’ the matches for Manchester City are coming thick and fast.
After over 100 days away from professional football, Manchester City have returned to action with a bang. Straight wins, no goals conceded and no opposition shots on target so far.
However, the games are coming with such a frequency there is barely time to bask in the victory before we are all preparing for the next match.
For manager Pep Guardiola his concerns are all about the condition of his players. Have they recovered from the previous game? Are they ready both mentally and physically for the next?
More from Man City Square
There is also an additional level of complexity for Guardiola. Now he must also cast his eye towards the upcoming FA Cup match against Newcastle too.
The Premier League has long since departed and the only interest in that competition is to acquire the 8 points from the remaining 8 games to guarantee a possibility of European football next season.
Yet the FA Cup still bristles with potential this season and during his press conference yesterday, Pep intimated he would pick the side to face Chelsea with that in mind.
Guardiola has the benefit of all of the first team taking part in training barring Sergio Aguero who is out for around 6 weeks following knee ligament surgery.
The big question is whether Guardiola leads with his big guns for this Chelsea game and plans to withdraw them early to save some energy for Newcastle or rests them entirely. The truth is most likely somewhere in the middle.
Chelsea are a good honest side with some steel and lots of energy. They have the capacity to seize upon moments of carelessness in our play – of which there have been plenty so far.
Without doubt they represent the sternest test of our return to action so far, but quite how the game will go is difficult to predict. Football post Covid in empty stadiums isba different game.
I believe the defence may be the simplest to predict. Ederson will assume his outfield goalkeeper duties with Aymeric Laporte and Fernandinho alongside. Full backs will be second string, with Cancelo and Zinchenko starting, saving Walker and Mendy for Newcastle.
Midfield is where the selection becomes harder as the options increase. I believe we will see Gundogan in the defensive midfield role, flanked by Kevin de Bruyne and Phil Foden.
Gabriel Jesus will lead the line and Sterling and Bernardo will feature alongside. In the ongoing stand off with Bayern Munich this is a match I would select Sane to play in but after the Charity Shield I am not sure Guardiola would.
Of course a loss would mean Liverpool are Champions, taking away their ability to win the title at the Etihad next week. So not all bad after all.