MAN CITY v Man Utd – PREVIEW: City’s Probable Team

14 Apr

Twelve years ago, it was Gillingham at Wembley. Now it is Manchester United. And strangely enough, the Gillingham game was far more important. Languishing in the third tier of English football, we needed that victory for the future of Man City. A defeat in that match and City as we know it would most likely not be here today. Now, we’re playing in a semi-final of the FA Cup against one of the best sides in the world.

That is a measure of just how far we have come in such a short space of time. From Crooks to Kompany and Taylor to Tévez, we are now able to challenge for trophies. 35 years may have passed since our last major success, but that wait will soon end. It may not be this year, but rest assured, it will be very soon. This game is important, but a sense of perspective is needed. Just remember how important that Gillingham game was.

But time to focus on this game. After receiving plenty of criticism for his team selection against Liverpool, where he rested David Silva and Nigel de Jong, Roberto Mancini has some tricky decisions. That duo will undoubtedly return, adding creativity and solidity respectively, whilst Micah Richards has handed the manager a major boost by returning to fitness. He should return at right-back with Pablo Zabaleta replacing Aleks Kolarov on the left.

In the middle, I would expect Mancini to go with his tried and trusted trio of De Jong, Gareth Barry and Yaya Touré. However, it is slightly further up the field where the boss faces his trickiest selection. Devoid of the services of Carlos Tévez, Mancini will play just one up front, this likely to be the mercurial Mario Balotelli. He will be supported on one side by Silva, whilst I’d expect James Milner’s workrate to get him the nod ahead of Adam Johnson and SWP.

Thus, this is the team I think Mancini will select:

Manchester City 4-2-3-1 football formation

As much as I detest Manchester United, and as much as it pains me to say this, they have been playing some wonderful football of late. Their counter-attacking play is something that we can learn from,  and the pace with which they break is what we lack. As is their winning mentality and desire to win at all costs. But they’re not invincible.

Javier Hernandez has taken the Premier League by storm and is a natural goalscorer, but with Wayne Rooney absent, I expect United to play just one up front. That could well be Dimitar Berbatov and I’d rather he faced our defence than the ‘Little Pea’. Their defence is, for the most part, as solid as you get, but remain susceptible to pace, which Balotelli has in abundance.

Key Battle

David Silva v Michael Carrick

Carrick hasn’t had the best of seasons, but performed admirably in the games against Chelsea. He likes to operate from deep, is controlled in possession and keeps United ticking in the centre of the park. For City, Silva is the one players who gets us playing. His presence in the side brings with it composure and creativity. He will nominally be on the left, but will drift all over, looking to get involved at all times. Whichever of these two passing maestros influences the game more may well determine the winner.

Referee: Mike Dean – Expect a penalty at some point. As good an official as Dean is, and he’s clearly rated highly by the Premier League, he has a penchant for penalties. He will need to be firm but fair.

Prediction: MAN CITY 12 Man Utd – After seeing both sides performances in the past week, I’m less confident than ever. But as the saying goes, in a derby form goes out of the window. We are more than capable of scoring and keeping things tight, but I have that nagging feel that United will beat us again. Narrow, nerve-wracking and ultimately disappointing.

27 Responses to “MAN CITY v Man Utd – PREVIEW: City’s Probable Team”

  1. Stretty News 14/04/2011 at 7:20 pm #

    Despite you being a bitter, your preview was very good and I don’t think I can spot anything to disagree with… That’s something!

  2. Matt 14/04/2011 at 7:20 pm #

    The team you’ve picked is the one i would go with, with AJ,SWP and Dzeko as good options from the bench. Lets hope Bobby agrees. Us blues are a bit low at the moment but if we can get in front in this game dont be surprised to see us defend the lead and win 1-0. If Utd score first i think it will be tough. I might pray for the first time on Fri night!!

  3. Siamack 14/04/2011 at 7:24 pm #

    Your team selection is spot on, though I prefer Boyata as CB instead of Lescott. Lescott’s slow pace is going to prove to be our Achilles’ heel.

    • JOHN GUIDETTI IS MY HERO!!! 14/04/2011 at 8:20 pm #

      Couldn’t disagree more with the first part of your comment Siamack

      • View From A Blue 14/04/2011 at 8:27 pm #

        What would your team be John. Or should that be Aleks? ;)

        • JOHN GUIDETTI IS MY HERO!!! 15/04/2011 at 12:29 pm #

          Hart, Micah, Lescott, Kompany, Zaba, AJ, Silva, de Jong, Barry, Kolarov, Balotelli

  4. Bring Bellamy back 14/04/2011 at 7:51 pm #

    It seems were all pretty pessamistic about this game but i hope the players will be wanting to give a stomping performance to erase the memory of the Liverpool defeat.
    Mario is the biggest question mark here. He is as you have previously pointed out an enigma and i have no idea what kind of performance to expect from him. Also is Phillip’s simply no longer an option anymore? I just hope Milner can replicate his performance at stamford bridge but with better end product.
    I just wish Mancini would consider placing Silva in Toure’s position so he can link with Mario and have either Phillip’s or Johnson’s pace and trickery on the wing.

  5. Kaptain Kompany 14/04/2011 at 8:58 pm #

    I think that Mancini will start with Adam Johnson on the wing instead of Milner. And I also prefer a different center back to Lescott, but I would have Richards moved back to Center back for this game and then slot Boyata in at Right Back. Remember, Micah burst onto the scene as a center back and that is when everyone was high on his abilities

  6. Wooderbeen 14/04/2011 at 10:46 pm #

    My team (for what it’s worth):

    GK Hart
    RB Richards
    LB Kolarov
    CB Kompany
    CB Lescott
    CM De Jong
    CM Toure
    R/LM Milner
    R/LM Johnson
    F Silva
    F Balotelli

    I’m not confident either. We NEED to take the game to United. Say what you want about Richards and Kolarov but they do try to get forward as much as possible. Johnson may be hit and miss but I think there are few defenders who relish going up against him. I agree with many who say it’s probably not hyperbole to suggest that the game rests on which Balotelli decides to turn up.

    Prediction: Either 2-1 City OR 3-0 United (that’s right, splinters in my arse from the fence).

    • philmac 15/04/2011 at 11:59 am #

      Kolarov really, instead of Zab why? Hes shockingly bad.

  7. Siamack 14/04/2011 at 11:25 pm #

    Not only should Kolarov not be in starting 11, but also he should not even be on the bench till he burns candle at the both ends to be able to deliever a decent game. McGivern should replace him on the bench, I am sure he performs better given the chance. Unfortunately, more ofteh than not it seems “price-tag” takes priority over cheap City talented youth.

    • Wooderbeen 15/04/2011 at 12:02 am #

      Not sure quite what you mean by ‘burn the candle at both ends’, but anyway… I suppose I feel about Gareth Barry the way you feel about Kolarov. In the past I’ve defended Barry to the hilt against supporters from other clubs questioning what he does, but over the last numerous performances I’ve had to admit, I don’t know what his role is either. He doesn’t get forward much (see Toure), he rarely breaking down attacks (see de Jong), he never plays the killer ball (see Silva), he never beats a man (see Johnson), his work rate isn’t exactly stand out (see Milner) and he has no pace (see SWrongP). Can somebody please tell me… what does he do?

      At least we agree on Lescott and his unnerving lack of pace and agility.

      • Siamack 15/04/2011 at 1:18 am #

        “To burn candle at both ends” means to work very hard. I believe the expression was first coined in 18the century. Anyways, You do have quite some good points about Barry. In any race where team perfomance is a determining factor, the team is as fast as the slowest memember of team, no matter how fast the others are. At this moment, with Barry, Kolarov, Lescott and Yaya [who only has only a few crazy runs during the game and stumps most of the game] in starting 11, City is finding it very hard to cope with pacy teams like Tottenham, United, etc.

  8. nelly777 15/04/2011 at 10:23 am #

    I would drop toure and play silva in his position with dejong and barry behind (barry can hold the ball and dejong will do his running ). Silva gets through a surprising ammount of work and can create for us,whereas toure looks like hes gonna have a cardiac arrest everytime he runs 30 yards . SWP would play on the right as he causes evra problems everytime we meet and play johnson on the left to give dzecko the service he craves .

    • JOHN GUIDETTI IS MY HERO!!! 15/04/2011 at 12:31 pm #

      “whereas toure looks like hes gonna have a cardiac arrest everytime he runs 30 yards” >>> Brilliant comment and 150% accurate

  9. The Truth 15/04/2011 at 11:44 am #

    If Barry plays we’re fucked unless we compensate for his legs being stuck in cement & him being a chinless southern shitbag. He shud drop Toure to centre back (his CL final position against the scum) allowing Lescott to play at LB @ put Richards RB (both av decent pace&can get fwd, esp. in comparison to Kolarov). That’ll allow us to play a fluid midfield with De Jong holding of Silva, Milner & Johnson, & Balotelli up front either with the surprise package of SWP snapping at their ankles or IF & ONLY IF ABS. NEC. an extra midfielder in Barry. The flanks are critical as Evra, Valencia, Park, Giggs & Nani all av gud feet & are quick. If we can shut off or limit their threat from d channels I’d fancy De Jong, Milner, Kompany & Toure to snaffle up anything through the middle. Barry, Zabaleta&Kolarov r simply to slow unless we accomodate 1 of them as the extra midfielder as above.

    • Siamack 15/04/2011 at 2:59 pm #

      The truth of matter is that we are already messed up and that is because we have paid “world-class” money to buy junk players:

      1- £22 Million for Lescott, a goofball prone to game changing goofs in every game that should not be the case considering the money paid.
      2- £18 Million for JO [no introduction needed]
      3- £18 million for Kolarov. If you thought JO is bad, think again. he is an absolute failure to the letter. He basically can do nothing except to be able to run much like the rest of us with legs. You pay that money for someone whose potentials are materialized and need a month or two to have world class performance.
      4- £24 million for Yaya toure. As stated here, always 30 yards away from cardiac arrest. You feel disgusted when you see a lad like Fellani’s workrate and performance in Everton. Though I have been a fan, but you can not help noticing his lack of athleticism during the game.
      5- Gareth Barry, a slow and inconsistent player.
      6- £26 for Milner, Too much money for a player that is okay but not world class

      When you pay “world class” money to “world class” player, you get David Silva who joined the team around the same time as Kolarov. Other than that you get a junk like Kolarov

      • DAVID SILVA IS MY GOD 15/04/2011 at 8:18 pm #

        As much as it pins me, I partially agree with you here.

        Kolarov, as much as he CAN give us going forward, he is a bit of a liability at the back

        HOWEVER, you are commiting blasphemy of the highest order by stating, so clearly that you do, that anyone is worse than Jo.

        It has been scientifically proven that Jo is crap – end of.

        The prices that we pay for players is simple economics. Take Lescott for example. Everton knew that we wanted him and that we were the moneybags of the league. Hence, they hike their prices up.

        Would we have bought Lescott without the big backers?
        >>> I believe we would have done.

        Would we have paid £22 million for him?
        >>> Certainly not!!

        • Siamack 15/04/2011 at 9:44 pm #

          >>It has been scientifically proven that Jo is crap – end of.

          That is really funny LOL

        • James L 17/04/2011 at 6:20 pm #

          Admit how well Kolarov played on Saturday. If you dont then you clearly just have a thing against him

  10. ENS Ltd 15/04/2011 at 2:20 pm #

    For what it’s worth I have a few points to make….

    Firstly, we need Yaya Toure for his height if nothing else. Yes he looks knackered a lot of the time but when he does break he has an amazing turn of pace and is useful to have in the box when a corner comes in.

    Secondly, people keep alluding to City’s past performances but lets not forget that in the game before we went to Liverpool we beat Sunderland 5-0 (only two weeks ago)and the majority of the team had a stormer.

    Everyone needs to forget what happened at Liverpool and look at some of the other games we’ve played this season and know that City are capable of beating United.

    Absolutely agree that Manchini HAS to make the right decisions tomorrow or we won’t have a chance.

    • nelly777 15/04/2011 at 3:34 pm #

      Cant agree on toure ! lescott, kompany,richards and whoever plays centre forward can deal with utds height ! Yaya is seriously one of the laziest players i have ever seen ! More than once this season ive seen him keeling over after making one run and he uses his ” amazing turn of pace ” once every 5 games.

  11. Citysince77 15/04/2011 at 5:57 pm #

    Although I am not particularly confident I’m sure enough to know that if some key players play well we are more than capable of beating them.

    The back four and the two defensive midfielders are all internationals for high profile nations, and whether you like Barry or not, when he has been given adequate protection (ie De Jong) he can do a really good job for you.

    The attacking midfielders are really going to have to turn it on, and if Johnson, Yaya and Silva are at the top of their game and Milner steps it up a notch then we are going to give them major problems.

    The main worry for me is Balotelli or Dzeko, I feel both are top players but I feel one is not experienced enough and the other has not found his feet yet. It could be one, or both of them get it together on Saturday and they will put in a performance like Carroll (who had also not been doing that well) did on Monday.

    At the end of the day, this is the beginning of a great journey for us City fans, and we must go there believing we can start to create some more history for our great club as we are now in a real position to win some silverware. 2-1 to City (and if you go to Wembley make sure you have a sore throat on sunday) Believe!!!

  12. Everestmindz 15/04/2011 at 6:11 pm #

    we need strength in front and the Man U players will tempt Ballo to get a red card. Jo was our top goal scorer pre-season. Many write off Jo but if he had the kind of chances given to Dzeko, he would have done better. Finally nice team list but i’ll replace Ballo with Jo and Kolarov should play on the left wing with Zab behind him. Silva should be in attack midfield with Barry on the bench.

  13. Alec 17/04/2011 at 8:29 pm #

    Congratulations for yesterday Steven, I can’t wait for May 14th now, hopefully to see us beating you in the FA Cup for the second year running. I’m sure you enjoyed your day at Wembley, as I did, but I was a little disappointed your lot only managed one goal, rather than five against the supposed favourites, pathetic really…

  14. angol 18/04/2011 at 12:33 pm #

    you’re pathetic, you do not know how to celebrate victory, and ape everything from Lech Poznan hheeee, just pathetic

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  1. Manchester City vs. Manchester United FA Cup Semi-Final Match Preview | Manchester United Blog | The Stretty Rant - 15/04/2011

    [...] You can share with us your thoughts ahead of the match and your favourite moments from FA Cup games against Man City on our forum. You can read the a City perspective on the game from our friends over at View From A Blue by clicking here. [...]

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