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West Brom v City: Team news and tactics

John Stones in training on Friday

John Stones in training on Friday

How the teams line up and what we can expect...

Only Nicolas Otamendi, Fernando and Nolito keep their place from the side that lost to Manchester United on Wednesday – and Guardiola will be hoping there’s a freshness to the team after six matches without a win.

Starting XI: Bravo, Fernando, Stones, Otamendi, Kolarov, Fernandinho, Gundogan, Silva, Sterling, Nolito, Aguero

Subs: Caballero, Kompany, De Bruyne, Navas, Clichy, Iheanacho, A. Garcia

Aguero leads the line

Sergio Aguero, who has 11 goals already this season, leads the City attack at the Hawthorns today.

The Argentine has been lethal in the final third so far in this campaign. His injury troubles are a thing of the past and there’s a real sharpness to his play inside the box.

He has a talented support cast this afternoon – Nolito, David Silva, Raheem Sterling and Ilkay Gundogan – all of whom will be looking to provide him with chances.

It’s an exciting, attacking lineup.

De Bruyne back

The star of City’s season? Kevin De Bruyne has been in sensational form this term – and after going off at half-time in last weekend’s draw with Southampton having suffered a minor calf problem, he returns to take his place on the bench this afternoon.

It would be a welcome sight for all City fans if he could get some game time today ahead of Tuesday’s crucial home match with Barcelona in the Champions League.

Three at the back?

It looks as though Guardiola’s experimentation with three at the back continues against West Brom.

It’s a system he used throughout his final year at Bayern Munich. Against sides who lack out-and-out width, the Catalan believes it works well, allowing an extra midfielder who can influence the game in the final third.

Fernando appears to be playing in the holding role just in front of the back four, which allows the brilliant Fernandinho licence to get forward and contribute in the final third.

City need to contain Salomon Rondon

West Brom pose a difficult test for City. They are direct, physical, well-organised and excellent from set pieces.

Key to their style is striker Salomon Rondon, a powerful focal point of their attack who is capable of bullying defenders and scoring goals.

Keeping him quiet won’t be easy – but it's key to getting a positive result. 

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