Manchester City will host Red Star Belgrade at the Etihad tonight to start the defense of their Champions League championship.
Guardiola won’t be taking the match lightly since he is so driven to repeat Real Madrid’s feat of successfully defending the Champions League title since its rebranding in 1992. Guardiola has already acknowledged that he would have to start some young players in the Carabao Cup since City still has a chance to win five trophies this year. If there was ever a Champions League match where he opted to do the same, it would definitely be this one.
Oscar Bobb, 20, could be given his big opportunity to shine if Guardiola decides to change things up and rearrange his squad.
The fact that Guardiola nominated just 20 players on his Premier League squad list last month when teams were allowed to identify 25 players over the age of 21 illustrates how tiny his current roster is. Guardiola has never been a fan of overly inflated squads.
Bobb was a standout on the Elite Development Squad, which last season accomplished the same feat as the seniors by winning the league championship for a third consecutive year.
Guardiola was impressed by Bobb’s consistent strong play throughout the season, even though he had yet to play in the Premier League this year. Bobb has played both on the wings and in the center for the EDS, which will certainly be of interest to Guardiola because he frequently uses wide players who are natural midfielders, like Phil Foden and Bernardo Silva.
Guardiola is unlikely to introduce Bobb right away tonight, but if City is comfortably ahead at any stage throughout the game, it wouldn’t surprise anyone if Bobb were to play.
Rico Lewis received his full debut under Guardiola in the group stage of the previous campaign, and on that particular night, Lewis shone as City defeated Sevilla 3-1, with Lewis scoring the equalizer.
Lewis continued to play last season, appearing 23 times and making an impression at right-back, left-back, and even midfield. There is no reason why Bobb cannot emulate Lewis, and the Champions League may also serve as a launching pad for his career.