What Jose Mourinho’s Man City B team would actually look like – Stuart Brennan
“The two best teams in Manchester? United and United reserves,” they used to say, more with a sense of mischief than any real belief it was true.
But Pep Guardiola has not only reversed the joke, he has made it close to the truth.
City’s aim has been to get two top-class players in every position, and the addition of Rodri and Joao Cancelo this summer has taken them two big steps towards that.
So how strong would a City B team actually be? And could they really break into the top four – obviously if they were not subject to the usual vagaries of injury, suspension and so on?
City A team
Just picking an A and B team is contentious, and liable to change from week to week, but we think that once the current squad is fully fit, this would be how the second XI would shape up.
GOALKEEPER – Claudio Bravo’s return from injury makes him the obvious choice, and his much improved form after a harrowing debut season means he would be a decent starter.
RIGHT BACK – Kyle Walker is still the man in possession but Joao Cancelo is tipped to push him hard. Cancelo comes with a strong reputation but it is hard to judge until we have seen him.
CENTRE BACKS – This is the area where the B team might struggle, after Vincent Kompany’s departure and the failure to land Harry Maguire. Nicolas Otamendi is the current third choice, and a partnership between him and Eric Garcia or Taylor Harwood-Bellis would lack experience and pace.
LEFT BACK – A fully fit Benjamin Mendy is likely to reclaim his place, making Aleks Zinchenko an extremely good starter for the B side.
City B team
DEFENSIVE MIDFIELDER – Rodri is the man in possession as Fernandinho returns to fitness, so the Brazil international would be a brilliant second team sitter!
ATTACKING MIDFIELDERS – Ilkay Gundogan and Phil Foden would be a strong pairing, although still some way short of first choices Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva.
WIDE ATTACKERS – Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva bossed these positions last season, so the B team wingers are more likely to be Riyad Mahrez – who had a sensational start to the season – and Leroy Sane. Not bad!
STRIKER – Gabriel Jesus has started the season, but he remains the deputy to the legend which is Sergio Aguero. Still, the Brazil number nine is not a bad spearhead for your reserve side, with 21 goals in 46 games last time round.