Pep Guardiola will hope his FA Cup semi-final selection vs Liverpool is justified as Manchester City welcome Brighton to the Etihad in the Premier League.
Guardiola made seven changes as he rested a number of City players for the cup defeat at Wembley, with the previous game with Atletico Madrid clearly taking a toll on the squad. Kyle Walker was absent completely with injury on Saturday, while Kevin De Bruyne was on the bench but not fit enough to come on.
After Zack Steffen’s error, Ederson would be expected to return, while Ruben Dias could make his first start after his injury. Aymeric Laporte, Rodri, Ilkay Gundogan, and Riyad Mahrez were all rested at Wembley so could return.
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Guardiola said Walker would miss out again vs Brighton, but De Bruyne and Dias would be available for selection, although Dias may be assessed to see if he could start and play the full 90 minutes.
Read how our writers think City should line up below and use the interactive team selector to pick your own starting XI:
The caution over Ruben Dias was understandable, but now there would be an opportunity to get him back into action, and to pair him up with Aymeric Laporte once again. That would give John Stones a much-needed rest, and allow Dias to get valuable minutes ahead of the sharp end of the season – they need him fit for Real Madrid, and Karim Benzema, next week.
Aleks Zinchenko should keep his place, with City expected to play on the front foot, and Rodri and Ilkay Gundogan, if he passes a late fitness test, should also come back. De Bruyne may be ready, but a jobshare with Bernardo Silva might be a good idea.
Riyad Mahrez can also freshen things up for the Blues, while Phil Foden can be shifted back to where he is most effective, in the front three.
Pick your best City side to face Brighton here:
The players rested against Liverpool should come straight back in – if anything to justify the rotation at Wembley. Brighton will be far from easy opponents, though, so Guardiola can go strong and make more changes when Watford visit on Saturday.
Ederson will come straight back in, with Joao Cancelo likely needed again despite his heavy schedule in recent weeks. John Stones can get a rest though, with Dias back available and Nathan Ake on form if he’s not ready. Aleks Zinchenko can play again, with Rodri recalled in defensive midfield.
If Kevin De Bruyne is fit, he might need to start as Bernardo looked shattered at Wembley. Ilkay Gundogan can come in regardless in midfield. A front three of Raheem Sterling, Riyad Mahrez and Jack Grealish is probably the fittest front three, with Foden boasting a good record against Brighton and available from the bench.
After an exhausting week and a potentially demoralizing loss to Liverpool, it’s important that City get straight back to winning ways – not least because they now trail Liverpool following their victory over Manchester United on Tuesday night. Guardiola made seven changes for the trip to Wembley and with a comfortable match against Watford coming at the weekend he should name as strong a team as possible to face a resurgent Brighton.
Ederson will come back in along with Laporte and hopefully Dias at centre-back, though the Portuguese may not last the full 90 on his return from injury. I would actually move Nathan Ake across to left-back, too.
In midfield, Rodri, Gundogan and, if fit, Kevin De Bruyne should all come into the side. I would rest Bernardo Silva who is starting to look fatigued after an incredibly long season, though. Mahrez should come into the attack to replace Jesus with Foden and Grealish keeping their spots.
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