Pep Guardiola might have confirmed nine Man City starters vs Real Madrid

What people are saying about Saturday’s Premier League game between Sam Allardyce’s Leeds United and Manchester City at the Etihad.

There are nine “confirmed” starts for Madrid.

Pep Guardiola said he wouldn’t think about Manchester City’s trip to Real Madrid on Tuesday until they beat Leeds, but his teamsheet showed otherwise. Jack Grealish sat on the bench for the first time in 12 league games, Ruben Dias hadn’t started in 15 games, and Rodri had played every minute of the previous 25 Premier League games.

Kyle Walker, John Stones, and Bernardo Silva also had the day off, and all seven players are set to make their Champions League starts at the Bernabeu after resting.

After Ederson, Kevin De Bruyne, and Erling Haaland were sure to start, there were only two starting spots left on Tuesday.

If Bernardo played there in Spain and Ilkay Gundogan played there, Phil Foden and Riyad Mahrez might both try out for the right wing spot against Leeds. Then, Nathan Ake will probably start at left back, but did Manu Akanji or Aymeric Laporte prove they should be added as a surprise?

On Friday, Guardiola didn’t express trust in Kalvin Phillips’ long-term future at City. Instead, he praised another player without being asked to, which shows how hard it will be for Phillips to fit in with this group.

Rico helped us figure out what we needed to do to play better and better, said Guardiola. “Without Rico, it would have been harder for us to make progress as a team this season. I’m mostly sure that’s true. His movements make a lot of things work better.

Guardiola said that Lewis helped Kyle Walker and John Stones get better, and he told the young player to start against Leeds for the second time this year.

Lewis didn’t seem to be missing. He played his usual role of pressing into defensive midfield and ignoring the physical abuse to let Kevin De Bruyne and Ilkay Gundogan take control of the middle. Guardiola said that he made the people around him better.

trying out new plans for the coming season?

Pep Guardiola said that after Julian Alvarez played well at Fulham in the “De Bruyne” spot behind Erling Haaland, he would need to find a way to play Alvarez with both De Bruyne and Haaland instead of just one of them. When De Bruyne came back from his injury and all three of them started against Leeds for the second time this season, he did it right away.

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