Preview: Manchester City v Bolton Wanderers
City fans are set to see full debuts for Adam Johnson and Patrick Vieira as Roberto Mancini rings the changes following the disastrous showing at Hull. A win is essential to get our bid for a Champions League place back on track.
Following the uncertainty in defence, there could also be changes at the back. Boyata was praised by Mancini despite a difficult afternoon at Hull – so that’s him dropped then! Intriguingly the City boss went on to say Vincent Kompany may be fit, and that would be a bonus.
“We have only been able to play Vincent and Kolo together three times, and each time we have kept a clean sheet.
“Boyata is obviously a good player, but he is still only young, and the more experience I have to call on the better.”
Alternatively, Mancini could give a run-out to Nedum Onuoha, who has been waiting patiently for his chance. There’s also a chance Micah Richards may have recovered ahead of schedule to return in place of Pablo Zabaleta.
The make up of the midfield is once again anyone’s guess. Will Vieira replace Barry or de Jong? Or will Mancini elect to play all three, and have one creative player in a free role behind Tevez and Adebayor?
When he’s tried the latter option, we’ve looked very narrow with neither Petrov or Johnson finding enough space to hurt the opposition.
If Mancini goes with a pair of wide players, then either Petrov or Wright-Phillips could partner Johnson. It would be a surprise to see Ireland in a wide role again. Petrov could finally return to his best position on the left flank now that Bridge is back in defence.
Following his comeback at Old Trafford, Wright-Phillips has been strangely omitted in the last two fixtures. Shaun’s World Cup hopes will take a bit of a dent if he finds himself overlooked in favour of England aspirant Johnson.
We need more up front from Adebayor and Tevez as a partnership. Despite his two goals in the last two games, Adebayor in particular needs to offer more. Tevez is the striker in better form, but Adebayor played better at the start of the season with Bellamy’s pace stretching defences in front of the Togolese.
It’s to be hoped Bellamy’s knee knock isn’t serious, and that he gets a chance in attack soon. To much of his energy has been directed at tracking back lately, and he needs to focus on being the potent attacking weapon he can be.
Whilst we will be expecting to win, Bolton are capable of causing problems. They could have scored a bagful against Fulham last weekend, but weren’t able to convert their chances.
Owen Coyle wins praise for having his teams ‘play football’ in a similar way to Roberto Martinez, his fellow graduate from last season’s Championship. What is often overlooked in the good feeling towards both managers is a weakness in defence.
Burnley under Coyle weren’t keeping many clean sheets on their travels and hopefully City can go at Bolton with sufficient intensity to score a few goals. The absence of Gary Cahill is unlikely to improve Wanderers’ situation. Of course, Hull’s defence was the worst in the division and we failed to put that under concerted pressure for an hour.
Hopefully they’ll be enough of a reaction to our last two performances to see the midfield push on and play in the opposition half. To restore the faith, the team needs to put in a better attacking performance, and dominate midfield.
Blue Days line-up: Given, Bridge, Zabaleta, Toure, Onuoha, de Jong, Vieira, Johnson, Petrov, Tevez, Adebayor.
Prediction: 3-0 to City.