Predicted XI

Aguero set to return - How Manchester City could line-up against Birmingham City

Pep Guardiola will be hoping to pick up an easy win over Championship side Birmingham City when they face off in the FA Cup

8:00am on Saturday 9th January 2021
Stefan Bienkowski

Following an impressive 2-0 victory over rivals Manchester United, Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City side will be hoping to pick up a quick and easy victory over Birmingham City in the FA Cup.

However, the City manager will have to contend with a host of injuries, positive COVID tests and fitness concerns before he can put together a competent starting XI.

In defence, Guardiola is expected to stick with United States shot-stopper Zack Steffen following his performances against Arsenal, Chelsea and Man United.

The City manager will likely shake things up in his defensive line by starting 18-year-old Taylor Harwood-Bellis and Nathan Ake in a bid to rest Ruben Dias and John Stones. Kyle Walker is available after recovering from COVID, so is expected to start on the right, with Benjamin Mendy at left-back.

With a dip in experience across the back line, Guardiola is likely to turn to Fernandinho to hold the fort in the middle of the pitch with Rodrigo alongside him in a midfield partnership.

In attack, Gabriel Jesus has recovered from COVID and returned to first team training so it seems as though Guardiola will turn to him to take up a wide position against Birmingham. Bernardo Silva and Riyad Mahrez are likely to then sure up the other two positions in the front three.

Up front City fans will then get to enjoy the return of Sergio Aguero, who Guardiola has confirmed will start on Sunday.

Man City predicted XI v Birmingham City

Man City - Football tactics and formations

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