How might Man City line up against Norwich without De Bruyne & Gundogan?

Pep Guardiola’s choices may be limited on Saturday if the midfield duo are unavailable.

<p>Manchester City players celebrate scoring a goal. Credit: Getty.</p>

Manchester City players celebrate scoring a goal. Credit: Getty.

Manchester City could be without three key midfielders for Saturday’s Premier League clash against Norwich City.

Speaking in Friday’s pre-match press conference, Pep Guardiola confirmed Phil Foden will not be ready until after the international break at the beginning of September.

The City manager also revealed De Bruyne could not train on Friday and will be assessed ahead of the encounter with the Canaries.

Guardiola went on to tell reporters: “[Ilkay] Gundogan had a little problem with his ankle. We’ll see how he feels tomorrow.”

That means the champions could head into their maiden home match of 2021/22 relatively strapped for options in midfield. In fact, assuming Bernardo Silva is out of contention given the ongoing speculation surrounding his future, then City are left with just three real options in centre-midfield.

Jack Grealish of Manchester City looks on during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Who will start at the Etihad?

Assuming Gundogan and De Bruyne are unavailable, that starting trio are likely to be Rodri, Fernandinho and Jack Grealish, with the club’s new £100m signing almost certain to be given even greater freedom to pour forward in such a set-up, given the two defensive options alongside him.

Another possibility in midfield is Oleksandr Zinchenko, with the Ukrainian predominantly playing in the centre of the park for his country, but rarely at club level.

As for Guardiola’s front three, he will likely start with the same players who began last week’s opening-day loss to Tottenham Hotspur: Riyad Mahrez, Ferran Torres and Raheem Sterling, however, Gabriel Jesus is another option for the Blues.

Pep Guardiola. Credit: Getty.

What about at the back?

Guardiola has far fewer concerns in this regard. Joao Cancelo, Ruben Dias, Nathan Ake and Benjamin Mendy started against Spurs, but Kyle Walker, John Stones, Aymeric Laporte and Zinchenko are all fit again for City.

The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach really could select any combination of the aforementioned defenders, especially against a Norwich side that aren’t expected to cause too many concerns at the back for City

In nets, Ederson will almost certainly start and he’ll be keen to earn a first clean sheet of the season.

Our predicted XI:

Ederson; Walker, Stones, Dias, Mendy; Fernandinho, Rodri, Grealish; Mahrez, Torres, Sterling.