VMC Preview: Wolves v CITY
Saturday, 30th October
City travel to Molineux to face Wolves, who find themselves one place from bottom with only 6 points registered. Mancini is without his main man Carlos Tevez, City will do well to repeat last season's result, even with the return of Mario Balotelli.
'I don't know, it's difficult to say this. We are a good team. Chelsea is the best team, but we beat Chelsea and played very well against them. It will depend on us.
'If we have the same attitude that we had against Arsenal, then I think that we can beat all the teams. It depends; we must work, we must improve, we must recover the (injured) players.
'But I am happy with the players, they understand they are a strong team. If we play like we played against Arsenal, we'll have a fantastic year.
'We must win every game if we want to play for the top of the table, and every game is tricky. Against Wolves it will be the same as against Blackpool, against Wigan. but if we have the same attitude we had against Arsenal, I think that we can win.
'I don't think that in the Premier League just one game is physical. Every game is difficult. I don't think Wolverhampton deserve to stay at the bottom of the table because usually they play very well, and tomorrow we must play a good game if we want to win.
'I don't think Mario is 100 per cent but now he needs to play. He had 20 minutes against Arsenal and it's important now that he starts to play the whole game - he's a good player who will be very important for us this season.'
"The fans were very good to me. They`ve known me since I was in the youth team there. I think they understood at the time that I wanted to leave for football reasons. They were brilliant to me.
"They`ve not been doing too well recently and they`ve got some tough games coming up so I`m looking for their form to improve; but hopefully not against us! I was very disappointed not to be playing. I found out on Sunday I wasn`t involved and it was hard. But I was there to give the boys my support, and if I`m not playing at the weekend I`ll do the same."
"Although it wasn`t a great challenge at Wigan, because of what happened before it has been made even worse but Karl is not that sort of player. It was one of those things, a spur of the moment thing and everyone has been jumping on the bandwagon. Once you get labelled, it is hard to shake off and that is what has happened. You see him last season and the start of this season and he has not been like that at all. He gets into challenges and breaks play up but he`s not a dirty player."
Wolverhampton Wanderers Team News:
Jody Craddock, Wolves' veteran centre half is out with an ankle injury; meaning Stearman should continue alongside Christophe Berra in the heart of defence. Karl Henry returns after serving a three match ban adding some extra spice to a midfield collision between himself and de Jong. Finally, Stephen Hunt could make his first league start, with the in-form Matt Jarvis occuping the other wide spot.
Probable Wolves Team:
32) Foley - 5) Stearman - 16) Berra - 11) Ward
17) Jarvis - 21) Mancienne - 8)Henry - 14) Jones - 12) Hunt
Player to watch: Matt Jarvis
Jarvis seems to be getting better and better with every game. He was brilliant last week against Cashley; who is arguably the world's best left back. The first moment I began to take real notice of him, was when he completely ripped apart West Ham at Upton Park infront of a packed Wolves end. He has a very good football brain and uses the space available to him wisely, often preferring to bomb down the flank than cut inside. I am not totally sure what flank he will play on but whoever is faced with the task of subduing him is in for a difficult afternoon.
Manchester City Team News:
Roberto Mancini is still without his first choice left back in Aleksandar Kolarov who despite returning to full training, is still not match fit. Kolo Toure is rated as doubtful to make his comeback from a hamstring niggle, with Joleon Lescott expected to retain his place alongside VK. Carlos Tevez is unavailable after injuring himself in the game with Arsenal and returning to Argentina to be with his family, therefore I expect Mario Balotelli to make his first start for the Blues as the lone striker. Whilst Emmanuel Adebayor may have to be content with a place on the bench. Finally, I predict that David Silva will
continue ahead of Adam Johnson.
With all that in mind, I expect the team to be the following:
Probable City Team:
2) Richards - 4) Kompany - 19)Lescott - 17) Boateng
34) de Jong - 42) Y Toure - 18) Barry
21) Silva - 45) Balotelli - 7) Milner
Player to watch: Mario Balotelli
Super Mario is set to make his much-awaitted first start in the City blue. This is mainly due to Carlos Tevez's absence but also important is his his much improved level of fitness. Emmanuel Adebayor may have to be content with a place on 'Berti' despite bagging a hat trick against Poznan just over a week ago. Much has been said about Balotelli, his raw ability and how he will add an extra dimension to our attack, but today he has a big chance to prove his credentials against a Wolves side with a leaky defence.
Match Facts & Stats
Wolves have lost five of their last six league games and have not won since beating Stoke on the opening day.
They are the only Premier League side yet to keep a clean sheet this season.
Carlos Tevez, who will miss Saturday's game, has scored in all but one of City's last 19 Premier League victories.
City are the only side yet to score a headed Premier League goal this season. Their last headed top-flight goal came from an unlikely source - Shaun Wright-Phillips nodded in against West Ham on the final day of last season.
City have gone three games without keeping a clean sheet.
After a break from the Europa League, I'm expecting City to emerge from the tunnel extremely focused and intent in closing the gap on Chelsea. Wolves haven't won since the opening day of the season and despite losing last week to Arsenal, City are relatively high on confidence and playing well. An attacking three of Silva; Balotelli; Milner is expected to be named, and one would hope that those three have enough quality to unlock Wolves' stuttering defensive line. This is our first game without the talismanic Tevez, but it is time for the other players to stand-up and be counted for. Yes Yaya Toure, I'm looking at you! Therefore, I'm predicting an away day victory. Prediction: Wolves 0 - 2 MCFC
Thursday, 4th November v Lech Poznan @ 19:00 (A)
Sunday, 7th November v West Brom @ 15:00 (A)