First Test Of Squad Strength Could Be In Midfield
As Manchester City takes a massive step into the Champions League unknown against Napoli, it will be interesting to see Roberto Mancini's midfield selection...
We can expect to register a change in personnel up front for sure against the visiting Italians but that will be squad rotation based with big Edin Dzeko coming back fresh from his feet up against Wigan.
But in midfield, Nigel De Jong has been joined on the treatment table by England regulars Gareth Barry and James Milner, both of whom have flourished amid the competition for places this season but have sustained ankle and head knack respectively.
This correspondent still believes that come inevitable injuries and suspensions in this campaign that barring a major crisis, Mancio's reinforced squad has greater quality and depth than any side in England.
That said, with three key options denied the shrewd Blues gaffer, just how will he set his midfield up for the Azzuri?
If the doubtful Jimmy Milner can't shake off concussion, then Owen Hargreaves is off the radar in the Champions League squad but Pablo Zabaleta has been rested following his Indian oddity with Argentina. Zaba could well be the man to partner Yaya Toure in the engine room unless Mancio has other tricks up his sleeve. Maybe Samir Nasri will adopt a central role?
Whatever happens, it's extremely doubtful that City will drop a gear from the blistering attacking pace set so far this season. This is as eagerly anticipated a City game as we've seen in the modern era.
How do you think Mancio will set City's midfield up on Wednesday night?
all times GMT+1
We 14 September 19:45 Napoli, The Etihad, CLGS1
*Su 18 Sep 15:00 Fulham, Craven Cottage, PL
We 21 Sep 19:45 Birmingham, The Etihad, LC3
Sa 24 Sep 12:45 Everton, The Etihad, PL
Tu 27 September 19:45 Bayern Munich, Allianz Arena,
* Date Change
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