Team news & predicted starting line-ups for Man City v Sunderland
Manchester City have been trying to bring Pep Guardiola to the Premier League for years and the former Barcelona coach will finally make his English football debut this weekend.
Guardiola’s City are just about the pre-season favourites for the Premier League title and they have a relatively easy game first up as Sunderland visit the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.
The Black Cats also have a new manager in the form of David Moyes, but what do fantasy football players need to know about this fixture?
Manchester City fantasy player to watch
While Agüero will be at the top of the list for a lot of daily fantasy football players this Premier League season, he is also going to be among the most expensive stars on most games.
At the other end of the scale is Stones, who is likely to be a bargain pick, especially compared to the £47.5 million it cost City to buy him in real life.
City’s defensive issues without Kompany were clear last season and with Eliaquim Mangala out of favour, Stones is expected to line up alongside Nicolás Otamendi in the City back line.
Sunderland often struggle for goals and their chances of scoring at the Etihad will be cut even more should Defoe miss out as expected, so City and Stones should collect a clean sheet here.
Man City team news
John Stones could go straight into the City XI just a few days after completing his big-money move from Everton, as captain Vincent Kompany is injured. Gaël Clichy is expected to get the nod at left-back over Aleksandar Kolarov, with Pablo Zabaleta on the right.
Leroy Sané and Samir Nasri are not likely to be involved and Ilkay Gündogan is out, but Sergio Agüero is fit and ready to lead the line for his side again, with another summer arrival, Nolito, expected to be selected on the wing with Raheem Sterling on the other flank. Kevin De Bruyne and Bacary Sagna may have to settle for a place on the bench.
Guardiola is known as one of the most flexible coaches in football history and it is anyone’s guess what formation he uses at City, but he might stick with their typical 4-2-3-1 shape, at least at first or even opt for a 4-1-4-1.
The lack of a top-class partner for Agüero means a two-pronged strikeforce is unlikely.
Predicted starting line-up for Man City
Sunderland fantasy player to watch
Defoe is the most obvious fantasy player in Moyes’ squad, but although he is back in training he is far from certain to start at the Etihad Stadium, so it is best to leave him out this weekend.
Instead, set-piece specialist Wahbi Khazri is worth considering for daily fantasy football teams, with his dangerous corners and free-kicks a major part of Sunderland’s attacking threat since he signed for the club back in January.
From just 13 Premier League starts last season, Khazri provided two goals and an assist and he will be a key asset for Moyes at the Stadium of Light this season.
Khazri’s numbers before joining Sunderland last year were even more impressive, the Tunisian international contributing five goals and seven assists in 20 Ligue 1 starts for Bordeaux.
Sunderland team news
Sunderland’s options are obviously more limited, especially as they had only signed one player, Papy Djilobodji from Chelsea, before Moyes made a double swoop on his former employers Manchester United for Paddy McNair and Donald Love this week.
Sebastian Larsson and Jan Kirchhoff are injury doubts but more importantly, Jermain Defoe is rated at 50/50 to be fit after missing a lot of pre-season. Billy Jones is another in the Black Cats’ physio room, while Djilobodji, Love and McNair could feature. Lamine Koné may not start in defence for Sunderland after handing in a transfer request and he remains a target for Everton following Stones’ sale.
Sunderland are expected to line up in a 4-3-3, but with Yann M’Vila’s loan spell over and Kirchhoff not likely to be available, their two best midfielders from last season are missing, with Jack Rodwell getting a chance to impress in the heart of the pitch instead.
Fabio Borini and Wahbi Khazri will take the wide forward roles alongside Defoe if he’s passed fit.
Predicted Sunderland starting line-up
Will Pep Guardiola make a winning Premier League bow?