Manchester City potential 2016/17 starting XI when fully fit
Robbie Purves | June 2, 2016
With Pep Guardiola ready to grace the Northwest with his presence, his new look Manchester City side is already taking shape.
The Sky Blues recently announced the capture of highly rated German midfielder Ilkay Gundogan, who is unlikely to play before Christmas.
— Manchester City FC (@MCFC) 2 June 2016
Pep’s first signing should open the floodgates as he looks to remove City’s deadwood in search of Premier League glory in his first season.Guardiola is 9/4 to win the top flight next campaign.
With that in mind, Coral football writers have picked a potential starting XI plus subs for the 2016/17 season…
Goalkeeper: Joe Hart
England’s number one experienced a rather average campaign in the Premier League last season, though was in top form in the Champions League.
However, Hart is tremendously experienced and has two top-flight titles to his name. Guardiola will be thankful of every drop of knowledge he can give the debut City manager and provide a solid base on which the Catalan coach can build.
Right back: Pablo Zabaleta
The strong Argentine is a cult hero at the Etihad and has won all three of English football’s major honours since arriving in 2008 from Espanyol.
Zabaleta is a superb tackler and possesses a quality Guardiola will love, a superb eye for a pass. The 31-year-old could also be moved further out wide to stretch the play or even be more central as Pep did with Philipp Lahm.
Centre back: Vincent Kompany
Despite missing out on Euro 2016, when he’s fit, Kompany is one of the best centre backs in the league and will start.
The Belgian failed to make an appearance in 34 games last term through injury with a mixture of Martin Demichelis, Eliaquim Mangala and Nicolas Otamendi slotting in.
Otamendi was the main contributor and could be a favourite of Guardiola thanks to his athletic, ball playing style.
Centre back: Aymeric Laporte
Man City are reportedly ready to pay the €50m (£39m) release clause to sign the French defender and is a perfect Guardiola centre back.
Laporte is a silky centre back with supreme passing and reading of the game. According to reports Pep has made him a priority and will be a mainstay in the side if he arrives.
Left back: Gael Clichy
The Frenchman can provide the width from defence that Guardiola demands and has the stamina to run the flank with ease.
Just like his full back counterpart Zabaleta, he is a strong passer and likes a tackle.
Central midfield: Fernandinho
The Brazilian was a key component in Manuel Pellegrini’s side, playing 50 games in all competitions this term.
Fernandinho is a classic box-to-box player with a powerful shot and great passing range with the ability to break up opponents play.
City were criticised for having a soft core, largely down to Yaya Toure’s reluctance to track back or even muster a sprint. Fernandinho next to City’s first summer signing should provide a stronger base.
Central midfield: Ilkay Gundogan
Gundogan is presently recovering from injury and is unlikely to make his debut for the Sky Blues until around Christmas and, over the last three seasons, the midfielder has missed an incredible 92 games due to injury.
However, when he has splayed, Gundogan has impressed. Blessed with a fantastic passing range, he also possesses a great dribbling ability and eye for goal.
Despite having a tough time in the beginning at Borussia Dortmund, he was able to fit into Dortmund’s explosive playing style by combining creativity and outstanding passing with the defensive attributes and tireless energy needed. Jurgen Klopp, his former coach, commented at the time that he had an ‘appetite’ for learning – something Guardiola will love.
Right wing: Kevin De Bruyne
The Belgian arrived with a huge transfer fee but immediately showed why City had brought to Manchester.
De Bruyne registered 17 goals and 16 assists in all competitions and missed a huge chunk of the season through injury. He one of football’s best playmakers due to his wide range of passing and long-range shooting skills and will be adored by Pep.
Attacking midfield: David Silva
The Spanish star could fulfil the same function Andres Iniesta did for Pep at Barcelona. His role was to be the linchpin on which Barca operated and was key to the intricate Catalan side finding gaps and executing defence splitting passes.
Silva registered 12 assists last season and looks to be in a for a key starting berth under Pep.
Left wing: Raheem Sterling
The former Liverpool man has had a rocky start to his City career but should look forward to next season with Guardiola favouring pace on the flanks.
Douglas Costa was brought in at the start of last season and immediately made an impact with his pace and ability to create.
Sterling could be this player at City and if he is willing to listen to Pep’s methods, should be in for his best Sky Blue season.
Centre forward: Sergio Aguero
On his day, Aguero is one of the best players in the world and scored 24 goals in just 30 Premier League matches this term.
With a reworked system, Sterling bombing down the left flank and Kevin De Bruyne on the right, the Argentine should score even more if he keeps fit.