Sporting v City: Guardiola makes five changes

Manchester City have made five changes for the first leg of our Champions League last 16 tie against Sporting.

Men’s Team

Sporting v Manchester City: Match Day Live

John Stones, Aymeric Laporte, Joao Cancelo, Rodrigo and Kevin De Bruyne come into the side in place of Kyle Walker, Nathan Ake, Oleksandr Zinchenko, Fernandinho and Ilkay Gundogan.

Walker is not involved as he serves the first of a three-game European suspension following his sending off in the final group stage game against RB Leipzig.

Jack Grealish, Gabriel Jesus, Cole Palmer and Zack Steffen are also missing as they remain side-lined with injury, which means the substitutes bench is a mixture of youth and experience, featuring six players from the Academy.



CITY: Ederson, Stones, Dias (C), Laporte, Cancelo, Rodrigo, De Bruyne, Bernardo, Mahrez, Foden, Sterling.

SUBS: Carson, Slicker, Ake, Gundogan, Zinchenko, Fernandinho, Kayky, Delap, Mbete, McAtee, Lavia.

SPORTS: Adan, Esgaio, Coates (C), Inacio, Porro, Palhinha, Nunes, Rets, Sarabia, Paulinho, Goncalves.

SUBS: Paulo, Virginia, Feddal, Tabata, Slimani, Santos, Neto, Ugarte, Vinagre, Edwards, Braganca, Esteves.


With City reverting to the same starting XI which overcame Brentford six days ago, it looks as if we will line up in a 4-3-3 formation.

Stones will return to the right-back role in which he shone against the Bees, with Cancelo on the opposite flank and Laporte and Ruben Dias at the heart of defence.

Rodrigo will sit deepest in midfield, behind playing duo Kevin De Bruyne and Bernardo Silva, with Phil Foden, Riyad Mahrez and Raheem Sterling retaining their roles in the front three.

It was Foden who led the forward line against Norwich City on Saturday, though, as always, expect City to be fluid in attack.

match stats

  • We have met Sporting once before, in the last 16 of the 2011-12 Europa League, with the Portuguese side progressing on away goals after it ended 3-3 on aggregate.
  • City have only lost one of our eight matches against Portuguese sides in European competition (W5 D2), keeping a clean sheet on four occasions.
  • We have won each of our last four Champions League knockout stage matches when playing as the away side and, should we win tonight, we will be the first team in the history of the competition to win five consecutive away game in the knockout stages.
  • Riyad Mahrez has scored nine goals in his last 10 Champions League appearances and has been directly involved in six goals in his last six games in the knockout rounds (4 goals, 2 assists). Since the start of last season, Mahrez has scored at least four goals more in the competition than any other Manchester City player (Gabriel Jesus, 5).
  • City have registered the highest expected goals tally in away games in this season’s Champions League (7.9).
  • No manager has seen his teams score more goals in Champions League history than Guardiola (336). The Catalan has the best win rate of any manager to take charge of 50+ games (63.4%).

City host Sporting in the second leg of our last 16 tie on Wednesday 9 March. Don’t miss out on the chance to cheer Pep Guardiola’s men onto the quarter-finals. Get your tickets now

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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