VMC Preview: West Brom v CITY
Sunday, 7th November
After two successive league defeats and with the spotlight pointed towards Mancini - he will be looking for his players to put a good shift in and come home from the Midlands with a respectable scoreline. West Brom have started their season really well but City need to assert their dominance and show some passion..
'"It will be difficult because West Brom play good football and have started the season very well, but we most go there looking to end a disappointing run.
"We didn`t deserve to lose in Poznan, but that is football and that is in the past now. We created enough chances, but were unfortunate on the night - I`m sure our luck will return soon.
'We go into the game in fourth position in the Premier League and if that is where we finish next May, perhaps having won the FA Cup or the Europa League, too, I think we will have done a fantastic job and enjoyed a great season.
'The derby is coming up, but right now the most important match is West Brom. We must keep our focus on that, because we really need to win it. Sometimes you lose games but losing three in a row is not good because you lose confidence. Now we have to be positive. We have to be ready for West Brom and then for the derby next week.'
Roberto di Matteo:
"Are you joking? I think City have to win, and we would like to win. I think that`s the situation. They are the favourites, and we would just like to continue to play the way we`ve been playing and be competitive. That`s our ambition.
I think we`ve been playing with confidence for a while now, but we`re going to have a few players out. We`ll have to shuffle the team around a little bit, but I`ve been pleased with the way we`ve approached every game since the opening match. Every team is going to lose a game or two during a long season. But you look at their squad and the players they have in the squad, it`s quite impressive in my opinion."
"I think with the squad they have got they have to be challengers. With their spending power, I`m sure they`ll bring in some new faces in January as well. I don`t think you can write them off yet. We`re ready to play any team at any point after we had those big away games at the start of the season. Especially with them coming to our ground, where we`ve been performing well, we`re hoping for another good display."
West Bromwich Albion Team News:
West Brom are without their influential centre half Jonas Olsson who is still out with an Achilles injury and will have to sit out. Peter Odemwingie, The Baggies` leading scorer is in contention for a starting place but I`m expecting to take up a place on the bench with Fortune leading the line. Gonzalo Jara begins his three match suspension whilst midfielder James Morrison has also made a recovery but should too find himself on the bench, with Simon Cox taking his place in midfield.
Probable West Brom Team
12) Reid - 30) Tamas - 6) Ibanez - 20) Shorey
33) Scharner - 31) Cox - 21) Mulumbu
11) Brunt - 28) Fortune - 14) Thomas
Player to watch: Graham Dorrans
Despite returning from injury, the Scot is easily West Brom`s best player. He was their shining light last season and was their best player against Blackpool, linking midfield and attack with some mazy runs and some quite brilliant passing. If there is one player who will be looking to make a real impression on the Premier League this season at the Hawthorns it will be the 23 year old. He has the ability to wiggle his way through tight holes and score some spectacular goals.
Manchester City Team News:
City`s talismanic captain Carlos Tevez was back at Carrington today and he completed the full training session on his return from Argentina. However, doubts hang over his fitness meaning Emmanuel Adebayor will probably continue up front. Otherwise, I expect to see the return of the midfield triangle with de Jong added some much needed tenacity in the middle. David Silva should start and due to his brilliant engine, I expect Milner to start too.
Aleksandar Kolarov will start at left back whilst I think Boateng will win the battle for right back slot ahead of Richards. Presuming both the Toure brothers are fit; they will start. This should leave us with great options from the bench in Adam Johnson and Mario Balotelli. The only issue I have with what I deem will be our starting line up tomorrow is that it will not include Emmanuel Adebayor, who im my opinion, has been really good in Tevez`s absence. Even if Tevez is 'fully fit` then I think Ade still deserves to start - save Carlos for the derby on Wednesday.
With all in mind I`m going to say the following is what Mancini will opt for come 3pm tomorrow:
Probable City Team:
17) Boateng - 28) K Toure - 4) Kompany - 13) Kolarov
21) Silva - 42) Y Toure - 34) de Jong - 18) Barry - 7) Milner
Player to watch: Nigel de Jong
We`ve really missed our little Argentine of late but I believe we have missed someone even more than he - Nigel de Jong. In our last two defeats (Wolves & Poznan) we`ve been completely steam-rolled in midfield. The opposition have exploited our lack of pace and tenacity in the middle of the park to good effect - the return of our Dutch terrier will give the side such a boost. Nigel is such an important player for us and it`s difficult to appreciate the work he does but his recent absence has highlighted what an important player he is.
Match Facts & Stats
West Brom have won their last three Premier League home matches against Manchester City.
Albion have won 49 of their previous 126 league meetings, with City winning 51.
Albion have only won two of the 18 Premier League games they have played in November.
City are in danger of suffering three consecutive league defeats for the first time since November 2008.
Roberto Mancini's side have been caught offside 33 times this season - the most in the Premier League.
City have failed to win any of the three league matches in which they have conceded the opening goal this season.
This is a real tough one. Carlos is now rated as 'unlikely' to start meaning Ade will probably lead the line. I expect Mancini to opt for the 4-5-1 formation; reliant on David Silva's technical ability to drift in-and-out. But West Brom pose a threat - they are an attacking side who like to play football and spread their play. A brisk look at the probable teams shows the sheer gulf in class in the quality of players. If City can come together with a cohesive performance, getting in the opposition's faces then I think that we can over-power them. The return of Nige will be huge. Prediction: WBA 0 - 1 MCFC.
Wednesday, 10th November v United @ 20:00 (H)
Saturday, 13th November v Birmingham @ 15:00 (H)