VMC Preview: Lech v CITY
Thursday, 4th November
This really is a massive game for both sides! Lech sacked their boss Jacek Zielinski earlier this week and the 'new gaffer euphoria` will prompt a good performance from the Polish side. Whilst City must get back to winning ways after two successive losses and with West Brom on the horizon who must not be underestimated, oh and there`s just the small matter of the derby on Wednesday night..
'We will probably change some players for tomorrow because with a game every three days it's impossible to play the same players. So we need to make changes but we have good players and they can put in some good work on Thursday.
'I forgot that game in 1992! I want to say good luck, not for tomorrow night but for the season, but I don't think a manager can change things in just one day! I know their players well, they are a good side. We will have to work well to win this game.
'Tomorrow will be a different game to a few weeks ago, the atmosphere will be different and they will probably attack us from the start so we will have pay attention right from the start.'
'It's frustrating. When you are at a club as big as City that is desperate to win things, you are up on a pedestal to be knocked down, people will have a pop at you no matter what happens.
'It is down to us to stick together and ignore these things, and get on with what we need to do, which is win football matches. These things will only make you stronger as a team and as a club. We will pull together and use that out on the field.'
Lech Poznań Team News:
Lech Poznan returned to winning ways at the weekend with a 4-1 win over mid-table over Krakow. This coupled with the appointment of a new manager in JosÚ Bakero means Lech are going to be up for this one! They currently sit in second place of Group A, 1 point ahead of Juventus and with a real possibility of progressing into the next round if they can keep picking up the points. And despite being benched last time for Lech`s weekend fixture, Bakero is expected to release Artjoms Rudnevs, his best player who bagged a hat-trick in Turin a few weeks ago.
Possible Lech Poznan Team:
Kikut - Arboleda - Djurdjević - Henriquez
Peszko - Injac - Bandrowski - Krivets
Player to watch: Artjoms Rudnevs
If he starts, Rudnevs is the obvious threat. After lacking a penetrative force last time around, the brilliant Lech fans will be looking to their talisman to pierce holes in City`s defence. He managed to score three times against the 'Old Lady` a few weeks ago which is no mean feat. He is Lech`s posterboy and is Latvia`s best young player.
Manchester City Team News:
Aleksandar Kolarov is pushing for a start which is great news; as we`ve been chopping and changing at left back for far too long now. However, I expect him to take-up a place on the bench with Mr Unreliable Wayne Bridge getting the nod. Patrick Vieira - the Europa League stalwart should start; but he will be looking to impress after the midfield`s recent below average displays. Both Toure brothers stayed in Manchester with niggles meaning that Boyata could partner Joleon Lescott in central defence and James Milner could turn-out in the middle of the park.
Emmanuel Adebayor and Mario Balotelli should both start in attack as both will be looking bag a goal or two ahead of this weekend`s game, for which Carlos Tevez is unlikely to be fit enough for. Adam Johnson should occupy one wing with SWP down the other.
Therefore, here is what I predict the team to be:
Probable City Team:
5) Zabaleta - 38) Boyata - 19) Lescott - 3) Bridge
8) SWP - 24) Vieira - 7) Milner - 11) A. Johnson
9) Adebayor - 45) Balotelli
Player to watch: Patrick Vieira
Patrick Vieira has done a very good job in Europe thus far despite going fairly unnoticed. The slower pace really suits the French veteran who has looked really comfortable in central midfield. But if there has been one aspect of his game that has been so impressive then it is his passing - it has been crisp and pin-point. The amount of chances he has set up with his threaded delivery has been extremely promising. Also noticeable are his much improved levels of fitness; he`s covering much more ground than he was.
Match Facts & Stats
No stats available.
As I've already mentioned I think this could be a really tasty tie - both sides are desperate for a win. Mancini is expected to name a pretty strong team that should include the likes of Ade, Balotelli and Johnson. Ahead of a very tough away trip to West Brom the players will be looking to return to winning ways and secure progression through to the next round with a collection of three points. As for Lech Poznan, I expect them to be a lot more gung-ho at home, backed by their sensational support. I'm predicting a close encounter but one that City will edge with a late goal from David Silva. Prediction: Lech 1 - 2 MCFC.
Sunday, 7th November v West Brom @ 15:00 (A)
Wednesday, 10th November v United @ 20:00 (H)