Preview: Fulham v Manchester City
After the thrill of the Champions League it’s back to the even more important job of qualifying for it next season. After pulling out a few surprises in his midweek team selection, it will be interesting to see who Roberto Mancini rotates in on Sunday.
Thanks to Fulham playing in the Europa League there’s an extra days rest for City’s players. That won’t be enough for Milner and de Jong who are still injured. Worryingly it’s now debatable whether the Dutch international will be back in time for the Bayern Munich game.
That means Barry and Yaya are likely to anchor the midfield again. Arguabley of greater interest will be whether Owen Hargreaves is on the bench. Abdul Razak could also make an appearance.
The strength of Kompany and Lescott will be best served against Zamora, while it would be good to see Richards and Clichy back in the full-back positions.
The attack is likely to see the most rotation with Johnson, Tevez and Balotelli all fresh and looking for a start. The three of them are more than capable of causing Fulham a host of problems while Dzeko, Aguero and Nasri could lie in wait on the bench.
Alternatively Mancini may continue with Wednesday’s attack and save the rotation for the Birmingham game. Either way there is plenty of quality and creativity.
Martin Jol rested several players for their Europa League tie and there is a danger of Fulham being fresher than the blues. Barry and Yaya aren’t the most dynamic in these situations and City may well sit deeper than at other times this season.
Mancini has shown himself capable of adapting his tactics to the situation and hopefully we can come away with another three points. Apparently it would be the first time we’ve started a campaign with five league wins since the 1912/13 season (when we began the season without a manager!).
Blue Days line-up:
Richards – Kompany – Lescott – Clichy
Barry – Y Toure
Johnson – Silva – Balotelli
Prediction: 3-1 to City.