Manchester City look to continue their fine form when they play hosts to struggling Brentford on Saturday lunchtime, knowing that a win would take them back to the top of the Premier League until at least Arsenal take to the field later in the day.
The Cityzens have lost just one of their last 5, and comfortably dispatched Chelsea in the Carabao Cup in midweek to move on to the fourth round of the competition. On the flip side, their London opponents have won just one of their last five games, though they have drawn three of those, and currently sit marooned in midtable.
Read on for the latest team news and how we expect Pep Guardiola to line up at the Etihad this weekend.
The latest on Erling Haaland
Fantasy football players will be desperate for news on Haaland, but Pep Guardiola wasn’t too forthcoming about his star man in the days leading up to the clash. Ahead of the Chelsea clash, he revealed that “He is still not perfect still”.
“We will see tomorrow and Saturday [ahead of the Premier League game against Brentford]. He is getting better”, he added.
The Norweigian has been included in the Norway squad for the friendlies that follow the season break, but was an unused substitute against Chelsea and after the game Guardiola hinted Alvarez could continue to play.
“Julian is an exceptional player since day one”, he said after the Argentine netted in the Carabao Cup. “He sets up pretty good, he scores lots of goal, he’s fighting... of course he has to fight against one of the best strikers in the world in Erling. But Erling had problems with his feet, he wasn’t fully fit. We rely on him and Julian 100% and he’s showing the many things he can do.”
One potential concern heading into the clash at the Etihad stadium comes at full-back. Kyle Walker remains injured, though he has been called up to the England World Cup squad.Open in new window
Meanwhile, Joao Cancelo saw red against Fulham and will therefore be suspended for the next two games, leaving Sergio Gomez the only real option at left back, though centre-backs Nathan Ake and Aymeric Laporte have both been deployed there in the past.
Phillips set for more minutes
Finally, we expect Kalvin Phillips to be handed more minutes from the bench as he looks to build up his match sharpness ahead of the World Cup. The summer signing played 40 minutes against Chelsea, and we could see similar again against the Bees.