Having spent £122m on players in this transfer window that isn’t even completed yet, Manchester City will kick off their 2016-17 BPL campaign with a home game against Sunderland. The biggest signing, England defender John Stones, is expected to go straight into the starting eleven.
Reason being, all others are unavailable so Stones will be rushed in. Vincent Kompany is still sidelined and Eliaquim Mangala is lacking match fitness, while Nicolas Otamendi requires a fitness test after a tendon problem. Stones will likely be partnered with 18-year-old Abdul-Nasir Oluwatosin “Tosin” Adarabioyo who will make his first appearance for Manchester City, provided Otamendi doesn’t pass the fitness test.
Two other signings Ilkay Gundogan and Leroy Sane are injured, but left winger Nolito and midfielder Oleksandr Zinchenko could make debuts. Nolito will be in the starting lineup and 19-year-old offensive midfielder Zinchenko will wait on the bench.
Kevin de Bruyne is lacking match fitness following an extended summer break, but could still feature in the starting eleven.
Manchester City provisional squad: Hart, Caballero, Sagna, Zabaleta, Otamendi, Stones, Adarabioyo, Denayer, Mangala, Kolarov, Clichy, Toure, Fernando, Fernandinho, Zinchenko, Delph, Navas, De Bruyne, Nasri, Silva, Sterling, Aguero, Nolito, Bony, Iheanacho.
Manchester City (4-2-3-1): Hart – Sagna, Stones, Adarabioyo, Clichy – Fernandinho, Fernando – De Bruyne, Silva, Nolito – Aguero. Manager Josep Guardiola.
New signings Adnan Januzaj (loan), Paddy McNair and Donald Love will go straight into the Sunderland squad.
Manager David Moyes will have to do without Seb Larsson who is facing up to six months on the sidelines following knee surgery, while Lee Cattermole (groin), Jan Kirckkoff (hamstring) and Billy Jones (hip) are also out.
Jermain Defoe was in a race against time to be fit for the new season, and it seems like he won it, and will be in the starting eleven.
Provisional squad: Mannone, Pickford, Love, Kone, Kaboul, Djilobodji, McNair, O’Shea, Van Aanholt, Rodwell, Lens, Khazri, Borini, Januzaj, Defoe, Watmore.
Sunderland (4-2-3-1): Mannone – Love, Kaboul, Djilobodji, Van Aanholt – Rodwell, McNair – Borini, Januzaj, Khazri – Defoe. Manager David Moyes.
Sunderland never won on Etihad, posting a 0-2-10 score, and City usually perform great in the opening matches, winning six of last seven. However, City only have a 3-5-0 record in home opening games.
If you want to bet on this match, head over to OddsNavigator.com and see all the Manchester City vs Sunderland betting options. Home win is priced at around 1/4 (1.25).