Writer: Tranmere Loyal
Date:Monday August 23 2010
With City not having a match to play over the weekend 'proper' most of the news seems to revolve around the players that have left the Club either on loan or permanently experienced life with their new employers.
King of the weekend and to no great surprise was Craig Bellamy. As he laid on 2 goals for the Bluebirds and scored from a free kick well outside the box it is evident that as suspected he is too good for Championship football. His skills were there for all to see including having a go at the ref. He says there is more and better to come and we'd better believe it.
Vladimir Weiss was introduced as a substitute in a Rangers side reduced to 10 after Kyle Lafferty got himself a red card. The Ibrox faithful took to him straight away as he laid on a goal for Miller before parading his trickery and skills on the wing.
What a stark contrast to Stephen Ireland's fortunes at St James Park where his new Club Aston Villa produced the surprise result of the weekend finding themselves on the end of a 6-0 hiding against newly-promoted Newcastle United. Even the most die-hard Geordie could not have expected Newcastle's first foray at home to end with a scoreline like that.
So after the diatribe that Ireland delivered upon his exit from Eastlands, he played for the full 90 minutes and did....nothing. This is hardly inspirational stuff from a man who is at least as good as the players brought into City by Mancini (or so he would have us believe). In reality it couldn't have worked out worse for him. I'm sure that he thought he would get on the scoresheet and play well against a team that last season played in the Championship and hadn't done much to strengthen itself, but it didn't really happen.
Welcome to life away from Eastlands, Stephen. Here's what you could have won.
So who does Mancini select tonight and what tactics will he play? With Milner filling the back pages with 'I'll play anywhere' and most newspapers expecting him to make his full debut, one of the holding midfield trio must be feeling nervous this morning before the team sheet goes up at Carrington.
My suspicion is that his former Aston Villa team mate Gareth Barry could feel the draught because not only can Milner play in central midfield but he is more adept at providing the link between midfield and the front men. I expect to see Milner play to the left of the 3 and drift out to the left on attack. This leaves a competition between Silva & Johnson for the right hand side and I think that Silva will get the nod in the starting line-up with Johnson providing the impact later on.
Milner's inclusion should make the middle 3 look less static and enable them to break forward more quickly with both Yaya Toure and Milner, leaving De Jong to guard the door.
My team for today is:
Zabaleta, Toure, Kompany, Lescott
Yaya Toure, De Jong, Milner
Silva, Balotelli, Tevez
If Super Mario's knee injury gets the better of him then expect Adebayor to start.
Date:Monday August 23 2010
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