'Challenge him!' - How Man City could line up vs Fulham with huge John Stones call

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is pictured on the left with a hint of a possible XI on the right.
Manchester City head to Fulham on Saturday lunchtime. -Credit:Neal Simpson/Sportsphoto/Allstar via Getty Images.

Manchester City will be going in search of a 17th successive Premier League win when they face Fulham at Craven Cottage on Saturday lunchtime.

City made light work of Wolves last time out, winning 5-1 at the Etihad Stadium. Erling Haaland helped himself to four goals to ensure Pep Guardiola's side moved back to within a point of leaders Arsenal.

City play first this weekend, meaning they can move above the Gunners with three points on the banks of the Thames. Arsenal face Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon knowing a victory, regardless of City's result on Saturday, will see them end the weekend at the summit.

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Ahead of the trip to the capital, City manager Guardiola has confirmed that he has a fully-fit squad to pick from. Below, our writers have had their say on how they think the Blues should line up at Craven Cottage.

Joe Bray

The temptation is to bring Stones and Dias back – but that would mean dropping two of Walker, Akanji, Ake and Gvardiol. Those four have done well in recent games and deserve to keep the shirts. Stones and Dias can come off the bench if necessary, and it may be better to hold back one or both for the Spurs game. At this stage, the cliche of not changing a winning team should trump the cliche that you always play your best players.

I'd use the Fulham game to bring back Jack Grealish and challenge him to show why he deserves to start the final three games. Mateo Kovacic has done well, but not perfectly, and Bernardo Silva can drop into the number eight role with Phil Foden swapping wings to accommodate Grealish.

The rest of the team picks itself, and then Guardiola can bring the likes of Jeremy Doku, Julian Alvarez and Kovacic off the bench to freshen things up and rest some legs for Tuesday's trip to Tottenham.

George Smith

Guardiola has the luxury of having every first-team player available to him this weekend, meaning selecting a starting XI will not be easy. While many will consider Tuesday night's trip to Tottenham Hotspur as the toughest of the three games City have left, they need to approach each of them like a cup final.

That means Stones and Dias should return to the heart of the back-four, with Kyle Walker and Josko Gvardiol occupying the two full-back slots. In midfield, there feels like little point in disrupting the the trio of Kovacic, Kevin De Bruyne and Rodri.

As for the front-three, Haaland is a shoo-in after scoring four last weekend. Bernardo and Foden deserve to start either side of him.