Manchester City kick off their Champions League season
Manchester City are set to kick off their Champions League campaign for this season with a tricky home tie against RB Leipzig this evening.
The Citizens are coming off the back of three straight wins, scoring 11 goals and failing to concede in the process. Their opponents, on the other hand, have endured a torrid start to the Bundesliga season. Of their opening four games, they have won just one, and were heavily beaten by Bayern Munich 4-1 last time out.
Your #UCL starting XI for tonight! 💪
XI | Ederson, Cancelo, Dias (C), Ake, Zinchenko, Rodrigo, De Bruyne, Bernardo, Grealish, Torres, Mahrez.
SUB | Carson, Slicker, Walker, Sterling, Gundogan, Jesus, Fernandinho, Foden, Palmer, Lavia.
— Manchester City (@ManCity) September 15, 2021
As to be expected, Pep Guardiola has named a strong side for the tie, including a first start for the season for Kevin de Bruyne, and the return of Phil Foden to the bench, both of whom will be welcome returnees.
However, the absentees mount.
Guardiola explains why Laporte and Stones are missing
Perhaps the biggest surprise was at centre-back, where Ruben Dias is partnered by Nathan Ake, whose only start this season had been during the opening day defeat to Tottenham, and was since replaced by Aymeric Laporte.
However, Guardiola provided insight into why Nathan Ake was starting today by explaining the reasoning behind Stones and Laporte’s omission. Indeed, he revealed that both had been injured on international duty.
The Spaniard said:
“He’s [Stones] injured from the national team. The same like Laporte.”
🗣 | Pep Guardiola speaking to BT Sport on John Stones and Aymeric Laporte: “He’s injured from the national team. The same like Laporte.” @DanMurphyMEN
— City Chief (@City_Chief) September 15, 2021
This will leave some fans scratching their heads given that Laporte played ninety minutes against Leicester just three days ago, but Ake will surely view this as another opportunity to stake a claim in the side.