For the despair, there is now hope. For the deflation, there is now optimism. Cautious optimism at that, such is our propensity for City-itis, but positivity reigns supreme and with the title in our grasp, so it should. The form book suggests tomorrow should be a formality. City have the best home record in the Premier League and QPR possess the worst away record, so, logically speaking, it should be a relatively simple Blues win. How we wish life was that easy!
It won’t be straightforward. It will likely be fraught with nerves, tension and anxiety, but the squad, due to successive victories over United and Newcastle, are confident and full of self-belief. The visitors are fighting for their lives and need a point to be sure of survival, but few are predicting anything other than a City win. Let’s hope they are right.
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With regards to team selection, Roberto Mancini has a fully-fit squad to choose from. Having rotated all season, the manager seems to have settled on a favoured eleven and the Blues have been unchanged for the past three matches. That could very well continue on Sunday, with Micah Richards for Pablo Zabaleta the only possible change.
Nigel De Jong, whose introduction at St James’ Park was so vital, is likely to stay on the bench, whilst Mario Balotelli is pushing for that, having been left out totally last week. For all his off-field antics, I’d have no hesitation in bringing on Balotelli tomorrow if we are in need of a goal, though with Adam Johnson and Edin Dzeko other attacking options, Mancini may well ignore his fellow Italian once again.
This is the side Mancini could select:
As for the visitors, Sunday sees the return to City of Mark Hughes, Shaun Wright Phillips, Joey Barton and Nedum Onuoha. The first of that quartet was sacked two seasons ago and is sure to have revenge on his mind, though since he was replaced as City boss, Hughes has lost one and drawn one of his encounters against the Blues. SWP will receive a welcome reception and would, deep down, love to see City lift the title, as I’m sure would lifelong fan Onuoha. QPR do possess great amounts of talent going forward, notably with the likes of Adel Taarabt, Jamie Mackie and Djibril Cissé, though their propensity to leak goals has cost them all season. They will need to improve dramatically at the back if they are to have a chance tomorrow.
Referee: Mike Dean – He has officiated four City games so far this season, all the Etihad Stadium, and we have won them all so that’s a positive omen!
Prediction: MAN CITY 4 – 1 QPR – An early goal would settle the nerves, but even if that doesn’t come we have more than enough quality to prevail. Goals to be scored by Carlos Tévez, David Silva, a brace from Sergio Aguero and a consolation via Djibril Cissé. City to win the league!
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