After a fortnight’s break thanks to the distraction of international football, Man City return to Premier League action with a tricky visit to the Hawthorns, hoping to continue the promising signs of returning to form that have been evident in the past couple of domestic matches. Against Fulham at Craven Cottage, the Blues seemed to be finding their feet after a sluggish opening to the campaign in terms of displays, and then by comfortably brushing aside the potentially problematic Sunderland, they showed more than a few glimpses of the enthralling attacking football that so excited last season.
Confidence should be high after the results so far this campaign in the Premier League and the Blues will need to carry forward momentum into this fixture against West Brom. The Baggies have started the season very well, impressing with their organisation under Steve Clarke, and supporters of both sides will remember the corresponding fixture last season, a goalless draw where the Blues dominated possession but couldn’t find a way through a resilient West Brom defence.
William Hill have some excellent odds for this match: Vincent Kompany to score the first goal is 26/1 whilst Carlos Tévez to score first and City to win 2-1 is hugely tempting at 34/1.
The international break will have severely affected plans for this game, not least with David Silva, so important to City in terms of added that creative spark, returning from Spanish duty with an injury. He is certainly out of this fixture, as is Jack Rodwell who picked up a hamstring injury whilst with Engluand U21s, whilst Maicon and Javi Garcia are both doubtful after failing to recover over the past fortnight from injuries.
Mancini has shown in the past how he likes to pick those who are fresh following an international break so that means the likes of Scott Sinclair, Micah Richards and Gareth Barry are all expected to start, whilst Carlos Tévez and Samir Nasri have both had a break and should be ready to make an impression. Who partners Tévez will be interesting as the trio of Aguero, Balotelli and Dzeko all scored for their national sides and will be raring to be given a starting berth.
Here is the side Mancini could select:
The Baggies lie in sixth position at the moment and have added a measure of attacking fluency to their often-praised defensive organisation. Claudio Yacob arrived in the summer and has slotted in seamlessly in front of the defence, reading the game well, intercepting attacks and using the ball intelligently. Shane Long and Peter Odemwingie cause problems with their pace, tireless workrate and energy, whilst Romelu Lukaku, on loan from Chelsea, has provded a more robust, physical threat.
Referee: Mark Clattenburg – He officiated City’s recent fixture with Stoke and had a terrible game, missing Peter Crouch’s blatant handball for the goal and also not seeing Andy Wilkinson’s violent elbow on Mario Balotelli. Still, he was in charge for the 6-1 humiliation last season on Manchester United!
Prediction: West Brom 1 – 2 MAN CITY – It promises to be a tough fixture, with West Brom’s commitment at the back and threat going forward bound to cause trouble, but the Blues’ extra quality should prevail. Goals to be scored by Carlos Tévez, Vincent Kompany and Peter Odemwingie.
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