So this week we are actually playing the team in the title. Last week I had Chelsea on the brain, so that happened.
Team news first: Sergio Aguero has been ruled out of the fixture, as has Matija Nastasic. Aguero isn't far away, but right now no one has any idea what is going on with Nastasic. Very concerning for a talented 20 year old. He's got a good future ahead, but can't seem to figure out what is going on with his knee. Vincent Kompany is back in the lineup, and Micah Richards is available again.
Projected lineup: Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany, Lescott, Kolarov, Fernandinho, Yaya, Milner, Nasri, Silva, Dzeko.
Reasoning for my lineup: I would take Lescott, since none of the United attacking players are going to be super fast. Juan Mata, Shinji Kagawa, and even Wayne Rooney aren't too speedy. Lescott has proved valuable over the past few weeks, and his positioning has been good. He hasn't been caught on the ball, or with some bad back passes.
I really enjoyed Manuel Pellegrini's lineup with Nasri, Silva, and Milner in the attacking midfield roles. James Milner provides some good backbone to the defense. It allowed for Yaya and Fernandinho to venture forward, knowing that there would be cover for them behind. If those 5 play in the midfield positions tomorrow, there is no way on Earth that Mata, Carrick, Cleverley, or Fellaini can handle them.
For the Dzeko/Negredo argument, I would go with the guy who scores more away goals. It's never an easy thing to play at Old Trafford, even if this is an off season. Edin Dzeko has scored there in the past, and I bet that plays into his confidence levels tomorrow. I hope that Negredo can get back on form soon, because we are going to need him soon.
Stevan Jovetic looked good coming on late on Saturday, but he joined a rout that was well in-progress. I need to see a little more out of him before I put him on the spot for an away game of this magnitude.
Prediction: City 4 - United 1. I bet that Rooney gets a consolation goal, to make him feel better about his hair. Fact of the matter is we own Old Trafford these days. Guys like Silva, Nasri, and Yaya feel right at home.
United have looked better over the past two matches, but let's not get too carried away. They should beat Olympiakos and West Ham. That's just part of being the defending champions. Their problems aren't over. Things are going to keep going poorly for them. It's awesome.