Manchester City are reportedly set to give their squad’s fringe players a couple of opportunities in a busy week for the defending Premier League champions.
Having come out relatively unscathed in their recent busy fixtures, with no injuries to any key personnel, some key fixtures – season-defining games – are upon them, so it makes sense to give their star players a rest if they get the chance.
City face Schalke in the Champions League Round of 16 Knockout game before playing the Carabao EFL Cup final against Chelsea. Pep Guardiola and his boys could pick up an early title this term if they see off the Blues, after a recent 6-0 demolition in the Premier League.
While Chelsea would be seeking a possible revenge which would come with a trophy, City probably won’t be taking any chances. It is likely that Guardiola will play full strength squad against Schalke and Chelsea due to their obvious importance.
Thus, for the fifth round FA Cup clash with Newport, fresh legs will get the nod, and the stars will be rested. Whilst Guardiola played Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva, Leroy Sane et al in previous FA Cup clashes but must surely give chances to other players – to give the top guys a rest and also to give fringe players a feel of top level competitive games.
With demand for tickets at Man City at an all-time high, if you want to see the top stars in action, you probably don’t want to be going to their FA Cup matches! Danilo, Garcia, Otamendi, Fabian Delph, Phil Foden, Riyad Mahrez, Gabriel Jesus and Sane are likely players to make the cut for Newport as against the regular mix back to back.
Guardiola is looking to do The Treble or at least a domestic treble this term. They are putting Liverpool under pressure with three months left, aside being favourites to lift the EFL. If they can manage the FA Cup, then they would make the record books in England. There is yet the Champions League to fight for to prove Guardiola is beyond a ‘Chequebook manager’ he is often referred to as in coaching circles.