VMC Cup Preview: City v Notts, Team Predictions
Heartened by their industrious performance at the County Ground, Notts will come to City with the belief that they can frustrate and possibly progress to the next round. However, despite City`s below par showing in the first leg, we should have more than enough to see off an unspectacular Notts outfit, this time on an acceptable pitch.
City Team News:
With the visits of Aris and Fulham, Mancini will rotate slightly; allowing the likes of Tevez and Yaya a rest. Wright-Phillips and Vieira should both start in midfield whilst Kompany should return to marshal the defence. Mancini has tinkered with his central defensive partnership recently, but I think he will now settle on a pairing and begin to play them together more often. This will leave Boateng and Toure to battle it out for the other spot. I`m not too sure who will be the eventual winner but I can see Jerome getting the nod tomorrow.
Micah Richards may be awarded a well-deserved rest, meaning Zabaleta can return to right back with Kolarov left back. Barry will continue in midfield due to the absences of de Jong and Milner through injury. Now for the good and the bad news. Good: Mario Balotelli will make his first start of 2011 after impressing in training upon his return. Bad: Michael Johnson will not make the bench after his knee swelled up on the return flight from Aris.
Probable City Team:
5) Zabaleta - 17) Boateng - 4) Kompany - 13) Kolarov
24) Vieira - 18) Barry
8) SWP - 8) Silva - 45) Balotelli
Notts Team News:
Liam Chilvers and and Lewis Gobern are both rated as 50/50 for tomorrows game. The pairing could make the bench but I wouldn`t be overly surprised if both don`t make it. On-loan Derby winger Martin is ruled out with a groin injury, meaning Westcarr and Ravenhill should occupy the wide berths. Lee Hughes could get support from a partner this time, with the most likely being Alan Gow.
Probable Notts Team:
26) Harley - 12) Pearce - 4) Edwards - 2) Darby
20) Westcarr - 10) Bishop - 21) Martin - 8) Ravehill
9) Hughes - 19) Gow
City should have too much. Notts probably spurned their chance of an upset when Edin Dzeko equalized with not long to go. Their chances of coming to Eastlands and beating a expectedly attacking side are slim. Mancini is likely to hand starts to Balotelli, Dzeko, Silva and SWP. The team should use this opportunity to get back to confident, winning form after the demoralising loss at the Swamp and a draw in Aris. Notts are a decent side, and in Ian Bishop they have a midfield general who will do his best to stem the flow of City`s attacks, before making timely advances up-field. Hughes is the biggest goalthreat and will have to be monitored but should Kompany return, I`ll have no worries. Dzeko is in desperate need of a goal and hopefully he`ll bag a few. And knowing Mario he`ll probably bag a brace without even trying. Prediction: MCFC 3 - 0 Notts County.