Man City’s formation is bloody hard to pick. That, along with the plethora of talent they have at the front of the park means that picking their starting attacking midfielders and forwards is simply guess work… But who have I guessed will start?
Firstly, I’m guessing this 3-5-2 crap that Mancini was toying with in the pre-season was just experimental. It didn’t work, nor does it maximise the team’s output. I’m guessing they’ll stick with the 4-2-3-1 variation (where the entire attacking midfield line switches around as they please) as this was what they won the league playing last year.
The centre-backs should remained unchallenged and are penned in. Lescott and Kompany both look to continue their high scoring ways, but the real positional battles are at the full-backs. I’m tipping Zabaleta to pip Richards for the initial RB slot, mainly due to the latter’s involvement in the Olympics. At LB however, it’s anyone’s guess. I think Clichy gets the nod here, due to the fact that Kolarov really can’t defend all that well. In a 3-5-2 formation he would be preferred, as his attacking prowess is far greater than Clichy’s. I think all round though, Clichy will get the nod, but the risk of picking one of them is great enough to put me off getting either.
Yaya Toure will start here, no questions asked. But who will partner him? Barry is normally the obvious choice, but he has been sidelined so far this pre-season with Hernia. Now I don’t know a lot about the condition, but when Joey got it on Friends he was in a lot of pain. Based on this fact alone, I expect him to miss the start with perennial foul masters De Jong taking his spot. But do yourself a favour, don’t put him anywhere near your side. He’s priced at 4.5 for a reason.
Here’s where it gets tricky. This is, for the most part, guess work. Silva will start, as will Aguero. Those two you can lock in. Nasri is, for the moment, in my Starting XI, but if Balotelli comes into the lineup, Nasri could well find himself on the way out. That brings me to Balotelli. I still think Mancini will want to see a bit more discipline from him at the start of the season, before he can trust him enough to start him. Adam Johnson is another interesting case. I believe firmly that he is the best winger England have. Yet he’s being wasted in a midfield packed to the rafters with talent. Expect him to again feature off the bench, but don’t be surprised if he pinches the odd starting spot here and there. Nonetheless, avoid him. Tevez is the other starter I think will start. I consider him to be a bit of a smokey this year, that is of course unless James Milner can force his way into the lineup. I don’t think he’s quite at the level of Nasri, Tevez or Silva though, but if one starts to misfire, Mancini will not hesitate in benching one in favour of the former Aston Villa man.
So what do you take from this? There is a few positional battles and a cloud of uncertainty surrounding most Man City picks given their tendency to rotate heavily. So!
- Clichy and Kolarov are too risky to pick either with full confidence one will play over the other. I’m 75% sure Clichy will start
- Silva and Aguero are the only ones locked into the best XI.
- I’m 50% sure both Tevez and Nasri will start together. I think Tevez is the more assured of the two though!
Sorry for the lateness of the post, my internet has decided to poo-poo itself. Any questions as per usual, hit me up in the twitter sphere!