Fernandinho vying for City return
Fernandinho could feature for the first time this season when Manchester City play host to Tottenham in the Premier League on Saturday.
The Brazil international was not involved in City’s opening two matches of the campaign against Liverpool in the Community Shield and West Ham in the Premier League, as he returned late for pre-season training after helping his country to Copa America glory during the summer.
Club-record signing Rodri has been playing in Fernandinho’s absence and it is unlikely that the 34-year-old will come straight back into the starting line-up, particularly given the magnitude of Saturday’s match, which means his return to action is likely to come from the bench.
Sergio Aguero is another player that is yet to start this season, but he is pushing for a recall after coming on as a substitute against West Ham.
However, the match will come too soon for Benjamin Mendy, who is continuing his rehabilitation following knee surgery, while Leroy Sane remains a long-term absentee.
Spurs will once again be without injured duo Dele Alli and Ryan Sessegnon for the trip to the Etihad Stadium – the latter is of course still waiting to make his debut following his deadline-day move from Fulham – while Son Heung-min and Juan Foyth remain suspended.
@RyanSessegnon & @dele_official (hamstring) – unavailable, undertaking on-field rehab.
Heung-Min Son (suspended) – serving final game of ban.
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) August 16, 2019
Ben Davies is nearing a return to full fitness following a groin injury, while Mauricio Pochettino could hand a debut to Giovani Lo Celso, who has completed a full week of training with his new club.
Perhaps the biggest decision facing Pochettino is whether he starts Christian Eriksen, who came off the bench to help Spurs to a 3-1 victory over Aston Villa last weekend, but continues to be linked with a move away from the club.
Pochettino was giving nothing away at his pre-match press conference regarding the Denmark international.
Asked if Eriksen will start against City, Pochettino said: “We will see. There are only 11 players who can start. I am happy with the last week with how he is doing, his performance in training (has been good).”
City have won 15 Premier League matches in a row, a run that stretches back to January, and they will fancy their chances of extending that sequence against Spurs, as they have triumphed in the last four league meetings between the two sides.
However, Spurs did get the better of City in last season’s Champions League quarter-finals, albeit with a little help from VAR, while it is not that long since Pochettino’s side last won at the Etihad Stadium, as goals from Harry Kane and Eriksen helped them to a 2-1 win back in 2016.