Europa League preview: Manchester City v Lech Poznan
City face a potentially tricky fixture against the Polish champions with Roberto Mancini having to be mindful of Sunday’s game against Arsenal. The manager has spoken of resting Carlos Tevez while bigging up Adebayor’s performance against Blackpool.
Presumably this is an attempt to kickstart the Togolese into some goalscoring form while we wait for Balotelli to gain full fitness. Mancini’s brushing aside of the Rooney speculation can in part be put down to not wanting to further alienate Adebayor. We need a striker other than Tevez to score some goals, as tonight’s match illustrates.
Kolarov is now taking a full part in training and could make an appearance tonight, possibly from the bench. Mancini will be keen to give the Serbian more experience of being around the first team squad.
Against Blackpool, Wayne Bridge looked like he needs a few more games and the dilemma for the manager is whether he can play him tonight and have him fresh for Sunday. There’s a case for playing the defensively stronger Zabaleta against Arsenal.
Zabaleta could make an appearance at right-back, though Micah Richards is more likely. In defensive midfield it’s likely to be Vieira and one other.
Shaun Wright-Phillips will hope for a return to the first team after neither Johnson or Milner overly impressed last Sunday. Milner is renowned for his stamina, and his form hasn’t benefited from a break when previously rested, so he might as well play tonight.
If either Johnson or Silva start tonight, then they’re unlikely to start on Sunday. That’s the way it needs to be with rotation ahead of a big game.
“Any trophy would be very welcome.”
Having drawn 3-3 at Juventus and beaten Salzburg, the Poles have signalled their threat and currently top the group. They won’t be short of support either, with 6,000 fans expected at Eastlands tonight.
Given the number of ex-pat Polish fans in England, City have taken the unusual step of letting them have the top tier of the East Stand. Those coming over from Poland will be in the usual blocks of the South Stand. It should make for quite an atmosphere, which isn’t always the case in European group stages.
Mancini is likely to put his faith in the depth of our squad. It’s to be hoped he gets the balance right, and we see a return to the clean sheets which the manager values so highly.
Blue Days line-up (4-2-3-1):
Richards – Boyata – Kompany – Bridge
Vieira – de Jong
Wright-Phillips – Jo – Milner
Prediction: 2-0 to City.