Manchester City are set to get their Carabao Cup defence underway against Wycombe Wanderers, and here are a few things we noticed from the pre-match training photos!
Beating Arsenal, Manchester United and Tottenham in the run-in to their fourth consecutive Carabao Cup crown last season, Manchester City are set to get this year’s campaign up and running on Tuesday night.
Midweek opponents Wycombe Wanderers have enjoyed a successful few years under manager Gareth Ainsworth, and despite relegation from the Championship last season, the Chairboys have undoubtedly made progress.
With Pep Guardiola confirming a growing list of injuries within his first team set-up following the 0-0 draw with Southampton on Saturday afternoon, this fixture will allow some youth players to make their mark.
Here are a few things we spotted from Manchester City’s pre-match training photos…
John Stones and Aymeric Laporte are injured – so up steps: Luke Mbete.
The 18-year-old is a highly-rated central defender who has been thriving in the youth team set-up since joining the club in 2019. Training with the likes of Ruben Dias on a daily basis, Mbete has been given a first-hand look at what it takes to play in a Pep Guardiola team, and he may now have the chance to prove it.
With Ruben Dias and Nathan Aké needed for an important upcoming schedule, we may see Luke Mbete make his first-team debut on Tuesday night.
Speaking of debuts, we can’t discuss youth players without talking about the potential to see Belgium’s rising star Romeo Lavia for the first time this week.
Since making the move from the youth set-up of RSC Anderlecht in 2020, the midfielder has been closely working with Fernandinho during first-team training – a player who is known to be an idol of the rising teenage prospect.
Arriving in Manchester with plenty of potential, Rodri’s injury in the Champions League last week could now have presented Romeo Lavia with the chance of a professional debut, in order to also rest Fernandinho ahead of the weekend’s clash against Chelsea.
3. Zack Steffen returns to training!
We’ve got some good news and some bad news…
The good news is that USA international goalkeeper Zack Steffen has now made a healthy recovery from Covid-19, and has returned to full training with Manchester City.
This would suggest a return to cup duties for the American international, possibly starting with Tuesday night’s clash against Wycombe Wanderers.
The bad news, you ask? We’re now not likely to see the one and only Scott Carson make a surprise appearance for Manchester City this week.
The Carabao Cup isn’t just about providing opportunities to some of Manchester City’s more promising youth talents, and training on Monday proved that some of the club’s bigger names are still maintaining their focus for the League Cup clash.
As seen within Manchester City’s social media posts, the likes of Ederson, Kevin de Bruyne, Phil Foden, and Raheem Sterling have all trained ahead of the clash against Wycombe.
While it is unlikely that the Brazilian goalkeeper would get a start on Tuesday night, the match may present an opportunity for Pep Guardiola to hand Sterling some minutes in an attempt to boost his confidence following a lacklustre run of club form.
As for Kevin de Bruyne and Phil Foden, the midfield duo are in need of match fitness, and the Carabao Cup third round could be the perfect opportunity to get closer to full speed ahead of the triple-header against Chelsea, PSG, and Liverpool.