VMC Preview: MCFC v Leicester, Team Predictions
This cup replay has all the necessary ingredients of a cup classic. A fired-up Leicester side should travel to Eastlands full of belief whilst City will be looking to progress in a competition they believe is a very attainable trophy.
Kick Off: 19:45 GMT
Live on: ESPN
City's Team News:
Silva is set to start after recovering from his swollen knee and impressing in training over the last few days. City have missed the Spaniard`s passing influence in midfield, deploying Tevez in his adopted role against Wolves. Balotelli and Richards are both sidelined with knee and back injuries respectively, Mario could be out for up to a month whilst Micah`s problem is deemed less serious and he could make his return in the next round of the cup, should we progress.
The likes of Barry, Tevez, Yaya and Zabaleta should all be rested after their performances at the weekend, vacating roles in the side for the 'cup specialists` - Lescott and Vieira. Most notably though, could be the inclusion of the much maligned Brazilian striker Jô. To put it simply, he is most certainly not a crowd favourite and after his performances at the Emirates and the Walkers Stadium; the fans have turned against him. And with the forced absence of Dzeko, the disintegration of Adebayor and the injury to Balotelli, this could be Jô`s only real chance to make an impact for the rest of the season.
Boateng should get a start at right back, I`d like to see him deployed at centre back but I think Lescott will get the nod alongside Vinny, after Kolo limped off in the second half at the weekend. Hopefully, Kolarov will continue at left back and will provide that integral outlet down the flank. The ageless Vieira should be partnered by de Jong in central midfield with Milner providing the drive from the middle.
Here is what I expect the team to look like:
Probable City Team:
17) Boateng - 4) Kompany - 19) Lescott - 13) Kolarov
34) de Jong - 24) Vieira
11) A. Johnson - 21) Silva - 7) Milner
Leicester's Team News:
New loan signing Yakubu is ineligible whilst ex-City striker Darius Vassell is a doubt with a hamstring strain. And having sold proven marksman Matty Fryatt to Hull, Leicester will probably name Steve Howard as their lone striker. Miquel Victor is also out with a hamstring injury but Sol Bamba will looking to make a similar impact from centre half than he did in the previous fixture.
Probable Leicester Team:
Naughton - Hobbs - Bamba - Berner
Dyer - Abe - Wellens - King - Gallagher
After showing immense fighting spirit in the initial tie and looking the more likely of the two sides to win, I think Leicester will be slightly frustrated about not taking their chances and finishing the tie off. The team fielded by Mancini at the Walkers as devoid of arguably the three most important players in our side - Nigel de Jong, Vincent Kompany and David Silva. The mentioned trio will probably start the game tomorrow; providing a stern spine to the team that was lacking previously. Mancini could start Tevez from the beginning and bring him off at half time (presuming we are in the lead) but I think he will leave the talismanic Argentine on the bench and bring him on, should he need him. The predicted team should be able to dispatch of a Leicester side lacking attacking penetration due to their absences.
Leicester`s most dangerous player is Andy King who`s late surges into the box must be tracked by de Jong. However, their most likely way of scoring will be courtesy of the pin-point crossing from Gallagher. The bustling Steve Howard will provide more of a physical presence in attack than the channel-running Vassell did and will be keen to attack crosses. Sven will get his team well up for the game but I fear that City will have too much for the promotion-pushers who will struggle to deal with the trickery of Silva. I think Leicester will start well but City will dominate possession (in contrast to last time) and create enough chances to secure the win. If Leicester take the match to extra time I will be very impressed and they will deserve credit for doing so but I think City should have enough in the tank. Match Prediction: MCFC 3 - 1 Leicester.