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Media City: Blues can win Champions League

JUMP FOR JOY: Silva and Gundogan embrace after the German's strike

JUMP FOR JOY: Silva and Gundogan embrace after the German's strike

With one more vital match to go before the latest international break, most of the City talk today centres around this afternoon’s match with Middlesbrough.

City sit top of the table – but just one point separates the entire top four. It looks set to be a tense title race this season.

Over at the Manchester Evening News, they’ve been having their say about the team Pep Guardiola should play today – and Stuart Brennan believes reverting to a three-man defence to combat Boro’s likely parking of the bus makes sense.

He writes: "Pep faces the dilemma of whether playing his big stars for the third game on the trot runs the risk of fatigue - or whether the adrenalin of beating Barcelona will see them sweep onwards.

"Personally, I would go for a mix of the two and revert to a 3-4-3 against a Boro side likely to park the bus.

"Kevin De Bruyne did not start last weekend so should be good to go, but Nolito is a wily option against flooded defences and Leroy Sane deserves another go after being frozen out of the squad for the last couple of games.

"City should be able to stock the bench with names like Sergio Aguero, David Silva and Fernandinho and still win the game - but have those names as back-up if things go wrong."

Aguero may need a rest, says Stuart Brennan at the MEN


Meanwhile, another MEN scribe, Simon Bajkowski says City's medical staff will be passing on strict guidance to the Belgium FA about how to handle Vincent Kompany during the upcoming international break. 

The Blues captain is due to join up with his international side - but is recovering from a series of muscle complaints over the past two seasons, leaving the club keen to see him handled with care. 

Bajkowski writes"Roberto Martinez will get instructions from Manchester City on Vincent Kompany's medical situation for the upcoming internationals.

 "The Blues centre-back has been called up to the squad for the first time in over a year for games with the Netherlands and Estonia.


"That 2015 call-up angered then-manager Manuel Pellegrini as the skipper played for his country despite having missed the last month for City and turned up with a medical report from the club indicating he was not fit.


"Kompany's injury problems continued to dog his season and he missed out on Belgium's Euro 2016 campaign as well as the start of the new season under Pep Guardiola after pulling up in the Champions League defeat to Real Madrid in May.


"He has not been rushed back into the team; a league cup appearance against Swansea saw another setback and the player did not return for the second half against United in the next round, having played 70 minutes against Southampton a few days earlier."

And, finally, Sky pundit and former Liverpool midfielder Jamie Redknapp believes City are now genuine Champions League contenders after Tuesday’s impressive 3-1 win over Barcelona.

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Speaking on a Sky Bet Facebook live chat, Redknapp said:

“They are genuine Champions League contenders because of the players they have got and because Guardiola has got that pedigree.

"It wouldn't surprise me one bit if they won it.

"The quality City have in the side…and they now have a manager who has got them at it, there is a hunger and desire that they didn't have under [Manuel] Pellegrini. [Kevin] De Bruyne is a fantastic player and [Raheem] Sterling was excellent in the first half against Barcelona.

First Team News

Otamendi: We must build on momentum to stay top

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Nicolas Otamendi has insisted it is business as usual within the City squad ahead of Saturday’s Premier League clash with Middlesbrough.

After an unforgettable victory over FC Barcelona in the Champions League on Tuesday night, City may have been forgiven for taking a moment to celebrate.

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Pep Guardiola has acknowledged the threat Alvaro Negredo will pose to his side when he returns to the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

The Blues’ boss admitted he knows all about the striker’s Premier League pedigree.

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City’s Premier League campaign continues this weekend as they welcome Middlesbrough to the Etihad Stadium.

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