The defeat to Arsenal at the Etihad put the Citizens…
Manchester City have done incredibly well so far this season, winning all of their opening competitive fixtures. Recording impressive wins like the 4-0 thrashing of Borussia Monchendgladbach and a 1-2 away win against Manchester United in the derby, Guardiola’s men look to stamp their dominance in the league and Europe. Pep will eventually have his best XI sorted out, so which names will be included?
GK: Claudio Bravo
One of the easier names to guess on this list, the Columbian goalkeeper was specifically brought in to carry Guardiola’s style of playing, specifically with playing from the back. This was a feat that Joe Hart wasn’t able to deliver which subsequently led to this controversial loan to Torino. With Willy Caballero as his competition, Bravo looks set to be the number 1 keeper for City this season.
LB: Gael Clichy
Clichy brings a much more balanced look to the side than Kolarov, who looks to be a player Pep considers to play at the center of the defense. Clichy would combine better with Nolito, as both rely on pace and attacking prowess to get up the pitch. Clichy also has already played this season under Guardiola with a solid impact.
CB: John Stones
Stones is another easier submission on this list. Being the most expensive acquisition this summer, Guardiola will want to develop the former Evertonian into a full-fledged English international center back. With the passing ability from the back, Guardiola will be patient with the inevitable mistakes Stones will make. Yet with his partner, it will look a balanced and tidy back line.
CB: Nicolas Otamendi
Kompany would be the more obvious choice on paper, as he is the captain and has long been the best center back for Pep. Yet Otamendi would get the nod seeing as the Argentine has already played much of his football in La Liga, which is the league where Pep’s style heavily derives from. From Kompany’s side, he has been more often that non injured most recently. Would Pep upset the potential partnership that Stones/Otamendi would bring in order to bring back City’s stalwart? He may, but with the dismissal of Hart, Kompany’s inclusion is not guaranteed, at least at first.
RB: Bacary Sagna
Much more capable at right back currently than his Argentine counterpart in Zabaleta, Sagna offers more pace and directness. He was also comfortably the better right back last season, a fact that doesn’t look to change anytime soon; what with Zabaleta’s aging and Sagna’s consistently solid performances.
He has been, quite simply, one of City’s best players under Pep Guardiola. He offers energy and passing incision in the center that few others are able to compete with on the squad. Besides that, his performances warrant his consistent inclusion for the forseeable futre as the season rolls on.
CM: Ilkay Gundogen
The most exciting transfer in the window for City has to be the former Dortmund playmaker in Gundogen. At one point, the German international was one of the best midfielders in Europe. Already with his cameo against Monchendgladbach Ilkay looked one of the more talented players on the pitch. If he remains fit, City will have a dominant midfielder for years to come.
RM: Kevin De Bruyne
Potentially a PFA candidate, Kevin De Bruyne had a quietly impressive season for City last year. A former Bundesliga player of the year, the Belgian looks to be the driving force together with Sergio Aguero to lead Manchester City to honors this season. He has already a man-of-the-match performance against United in the derby. Under Pep, De Bruyne can grow into an even more incredible player.
CAM: David Silva
Arguably City’s best player in history, the Spanish playmaker looks to be given a new lease of life this season. Even though he was a solid performer last season, he wasn’t quite back at his brilliant best for the club. Now enthused with Pep’s possession style football, Silva can look to be one of the best playmakers in the world, feeding balls behind Sergio Aguero.
LM: Raheem Sterling
An incredibly divisive figure last season, many considered the young English winger to be a flop for the blue side of Manchester. This season, Sterling looks well the amount of money that was paid to secure this services from Liverpool last summer. He has more end product to his game, and his willingness to take on opposing defenses has grown significantly. He will offer the pace + end produce that many of Pep Guardiola’s past teams worked with.
ST: Sergio Aguero
Very much the easiest inclusion on the list, the Argentine striker is undoubtedly the best player in the Premier League on his day. The forward can score at will and can potentlally be “Guardiola’s Messi” (for lack of a better term) at City. He has the pace, technical ability, and finishing that makes him the scariest player in England when on form. Whatever success City may enjoy this season, much of it will be pinned on this man.