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With the disappointment from the Arsenal game and the deflation that came with the realistic end of our title ambitions still fresh in the air, this home fixture against a battling West Brom side may not have arrived at the perfect time, but it offers the Blues a great opportunity to recover some confidence and return to winning ways.
Just one victory in the past five matches means that our hopes of lifting the Premier League trophy are virtually over, but with the pressure of the title race seemingly off, it is hoped that City can display some positive signs. The visitors held the Blues to a goalless draw at the Hawthorns earlier this season, a result which seemed to be the catalyst for our frustratingly poor run of form on the road, but City’s record at home has been superb throughout this campaign so a win has to be the target.
With regards to team selection, Roberto Mancini may opt to make a number of changes following the defeat on Sunday and with this game coming shortly afterwards. Both fullbacks could swap, with Micah Richards and Aleks Kolarov possibilities to start, whilst Nigel De Jong and David Pizarro are competing to replace the injured Yaya Touré.
Further forward, David Silva is expected to be fit, but Mario Balotelli is suspended after his sending off against Arsenal. The Italian has avoided retrospective action for his challenge on Alex Song, but will sit out the next three matches. As a result, both Edin Dzeko and Carlos Tévez will hope to be given the nod up front, whilst I’d expect Adam Johnson to be named on the right wing.
Here is the side Mancini could select:
West Brom were impressive at the weekend in defeating Blackburn although that was their first victory in the past five matches. Their defence have struggled on their travels and have only kept a clean sheet once in the most recent 35 away fixtures, so expect goals.
Referee: Lee Mason – He was the official at Old Trafford on Saturday who incorrectly sent off Shaun Derry to having the temerity to get close to Ashley Young. He has refereed three City games so far this season and we have yet to win one.
Prediction: MAN CITY 2 – 0 West Brom – The hope is that with the pressure off, we will see a return to the free-flowing football that was so entertaining earlier on in the season. It may not work out like that, but I expect our extra quality to show in the end. Goals to be scored by Edin Dzeko and Sergio Aguero.