Man City predicted XI for Champions League final as Pep Guardiola weighs on crucial decisions

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Man City predicted XI for Champions League final as Pep Guardiola weighs on crucial decisions

On Saturday, Manchester City will confront Inter Milan in the Champions League final under intense pressure. A victory in this match will secure their place in history as only the second English team to achieve a treble.

 Manager Pep Guardiola faces significant decisions after their narrow triumph over Manchester United in the FA Cup final. 

Despite having a complete squad of players who won the Premier League, Guardiola has the luxury of choice as he has taken 23 players to Istanbul’s Ataturk Stadium for the final, even though he has typically utilized only 18 players throughout the season. 

City supporters hope that Guardiola doesn’t make excessive changes, considering the recent haunting memories of their Champions League defeats. 

The defeat in the 2021 final against Chelsea, where Guardiola left out Rodri and opted for Raheem Sterling instead, still resonates. That decision backfired, resulting in a 1-0 loss. 

This time around, City’s goal-scoring captain, Ilkay Gundogan, who played as the holding midfielder in the previous final, is expected to start in a more advanced position following his heroic brace in the FA Cup final.

It is highly likely that Kevin De Bruyne and Ilkay Gundogan will start together, benefiting from a solid midfield foundation provided by John Stones, who is expected to advance into the midfield alongside Rodri. The anticipated defensive lineup comprises Kyle Walker, Ruben Dias, and Manuel Akanji in a back three formation, although Nathan Ake might return to the starting lineup after recovering from injury.

Manchester City’s defense will face a challenge in the match, as they will uncommonly encounter a striking duo due to Inter Milan’s 3-5-2 system. Lautaro Martinez and Edin Dzeko had great success in the semi-final against AC Milan, posing a significant threat. Additionally, Romelu Lukaku, who has regained full fitness after a challenging season, could also feature in the match.

Guardiola may have to make some difficult decisions, as employing a back three could potentially create vulnerabilities for Inter Milan’s striking duo to exploit, unlike a back four where defenders can directly mark their opponents. However, given Guardiola’s history of “over-thinking” in crucial Champions League moments, it is likely that he will stick with the 3-2-4-1 system that has brought Manchester City success and brought them within reach of a treble.

The tactical adjustments made by City this season can be attributed in part to the arrival of Erling Haaland. Initially, Haaland seemed ill-suited to the previously utilized 4-3-3 formation. However, by incorporating four creative-minded players in midfield to provide support to the towering Norwegian, City has found an extra level of performance that Inter Milan is predicted to struggle to match.

Phil Foden, who started in the previous Champions League final, is likely to begin the match on the bench. Instead, Bernardo Silva and Jack Grealish are expected to be the selected wingers responsible for supplying Erling Haaland with scoring opportunities. Riyad Mahrez is also expected to join Haaland on the pitch, offering City a potent attacking threat if they require game-changing performances in the second half.

Man City predicted XI:

(3-2-4-1): Ederson, – Kyle Walker, Ruben Dias, Manuel Akanji, – John Stones, Rodri, – Bernardo Silva, Ilkay Gundogan, Kevin De Bruyne, Jack Grealish, – Erling Haaland

Man City predicted XI for Champions League final as Pep Guardiola weighs on crucial decisions

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