Date:30th April 2022 at 11:30am
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Manchester City travel to face Leeds United on Saturday, aiming to move a step closer to regaining their Premier League crown. 

Pep Guardiola’s side feature in the late game, though, meaning that they may sit second by the time they kick-off in Yorkshire, if Liverpool beat Newcastle in the early match.

The two sides are set to go head-to-head over the final five games of the season, as they jostle for top spot after a hard-fought season.

The game against Leeds will be City’s first since their thrilling 4-3 victory over Real Madrid in the Champions League on Tuesday, and Guardiola may be tempted to shuffle his pack before facing an energetic Whites side.

Here, we predict the XI that the Spaniard will select.

Goalkeeper

Ederson remains the club’s first choice ‘keeper and has started 32 of their 33 league games so far this season. The Brazilian is also in his own individual battle for silverware, rivalling international teammate Alisson for the golden glove award. The Liverpool ‘keeper is currently one clean sheet ahead of Ederson’s 18, but that could still all change between now and the end of the season.

Defenders

Guardiola surprised everyone by starting John Stones against Madrid in midweek, having insisted that the defender would join Kyle Walker on the sidelines. Stones limped off in the first-half, though, and the pair will miss the trip to Leeds. Joao Cancelo will return though after missing the Champions League game through suspension, and will fill in at right-back.

In the middle, Ruben Dias will likely be partnered once again by Aymeric Laporte. The pair started together in midweek, and in the absence of Stones look set to do so again. The duo have 55 Premier League appearances between them so far this term, and will provide a tough test for Leeds’ front line.

Dias has impressed for City this term

On the left, Oleksandr Zinchenko will likely start ahead of Nathan Ake, who has been used as a full-back on occasion of late. The Ukrainian impressed against Real, and will be looking to cement his place at left-back with another strong showing.

Midfielders

Fernandinho could be handed a rare start at the base of City’s midfield, in place of Rodri. The Brazilian will depart the Etihad this summer, and will undoubtedly be keen to feature as much as possible in the final weeks. Rodri has started each of City’s last eight league matches and may be rested to allow the club captain, who filled in at right-back when Stones wen toff injured on Tuesday, a start.

Fernandinho will be hoping to make his eighth league start of the season

Kevin De Bruyne will also start, having opened the scoring last time out. The Belgian has been in sensational form this term and looks to be the only candidate capable of denying Mohamed Salah the Player of the Year Award. De Bruyne has 11 goals and six assists in the league this season.

Bernardo Silva has started 30 league games so far this season, and may be given a rest on Saturday. Ilkay Gundogan will step in to his place, having fallen slightly out of favour this term. The German has only started 17 league games.

Forwards

Guardiola may alter his front line for this one. Jack Grealish has only started four of City’s last ten in the league, and will be hoping to impress if given the chance. The England international has so far failed to warrant his £100 million price tag, but a winning goal in the final weeks of the season could be priceless.

Phil Foden could be used as a false nine with City’s only recognised striker, Gabriel Jesus, likely to return to the bench. Foden scored City’s third in midweek and looks almost certain to win the Young Player of the Year Award.

Foden will be looking to continue his impressive run of form

On the other side of Foden, Raheem Sterling could return to the starting line up. The Englishman came on as a late substitute on Tuesday, and has started half of City’s last six in the league. He will be looking to make the most of a start if he is given one.

As the Premier League season nears its dramatic climax, any slip up from City or Liverpool could quite easily hand the other the title. If the Reds do beat Newcastle and move ahead of City before they play, could it have a psychological impact on Guardiola’s side?

 
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