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Selection decisions

One thing the game yesterday did show was that defensively we now look more solid, and may have stumbled upon an ideal quartet. With that then, it looks likely that it will have to be changed for Wednesday's replay at Stoke given the likelihood that Roberto Mancini will revert back to a more defensive formation.

The inclusion of the trio of Johnson, Ireland and Wright-Phillips should, in theory, have provided a greater cutting edge than we have seen of late. However, and they were well shackled by Liverpool's tactics, both Wright-Phillips and Ireland largely disappointed and must be sweating on their places ahead of the Stoke game.

The difficulty Mancini will face is a lack of real alternatives. He tried the pairing of Adebayor and Santa Cruz in the recent league to no success so he will be reluctant to repeat that. I do think therefore that he will play with Adebayor as a lone striker given the continued absence of Tevez. The return to fitness of Craig Bellamy was a boost and he will likely return to the starting line-up.

Adam Johnson is of course cup-tied which should mean a reprieve for Wright-Phillips but I would be hugely surprised if Mancini didn't replace Ireland with a more solid, defensive midfielder. Given the lack of actual midfielders available, it does look a straight fight between Pablo Zabaleta and Vincent Kompany. My preference would be for Zabaleta to occupy the role with Micah Richards coming into midfield.

Whilst shoring up the centre of the pitch, with Bellamy and Wright-Phillips it would at least give us the option of pace that was so lacking in the 1-1 draw at The Britannia last week.

Will it be enough to get through?