The match today against Villa will show what this Manchester City squad are made of. Our fearless leader, Roberto Mancini, has been in the press quite a bit over the past week or so, giving some very honest and open interviews about the struggles that this team has had this season. It has shown an insight into why Brian Marwood was moved out, and Begiristain was brought in, as well as Mancini's discontent with certain "star" players.
One of my favorite quotes is this one: "I say what I think and sometimes it's important that a player takes responsibility because when you are a top player you earn a lot of money and you should play at 100% always. I don't like players who never think it's their fault."
This is some straight talk from a very competitive individual. Mancini hates to lose, and it is easy to see how personally he has taken this season. There will be no letting off the gas from him, and he will not allow his team to do that either.
Things I'm looking for today.
1. Samir Nasri to get a start - I think that since we have thrashed Aston Villa lately, and their defense has looked helpless at best, Sami will get a start. Mancini has been really hard on him lately (deservedly), and now it will be time for him to get a start and show what he can do. It wouldn't surprise me for him to play well, but can he and Silva play well together? Not sure yet.
2. Carlos Tevez will play behind Sergio Aguero. This will push Yaya back to the middle more, which I'm actually ok with. Yaya is at his best when he is up in the box, and he can arrive their to get a nice chance served up for him by David Silva or even Tevez. It was interesting to see Yaya play so high up against Chelsea, but I don't think that it will be a permanent option, as it allows only one of our strikers to start. I think that Mancini wants to allow Yaya to arrive in the box, but not play so high up the pitch.
3. Jack Rodwell to play next to Yaya. He did so well last time out that I think that he'll get another run out as the defensive CM. Yaya wants to and needs to push up the field, so Rodwell needs to stay back and help provide cover and link up play with the defense. Javi Garcia was supposed to replace Nigel de Jong in this role, but it hasn't worked out yet. When Garcia starts, Yaya pushes further and further back to help out, and it leaves a huge (Yaya sized) gap in the attack. I hope that Rodwell can provide a better option in the assistant to Yaya role.
4. Matija Nastasic and Kolo Toure to keep playing solidly. I think that Francois Toure has earned himself an extension on his current deal with his play lately. With Vincent Kompany most likely out for today's game, Kolo can prove his worth and earn a nice extension on his deal. He's proven to be much more valuable than Joleon Lescott, especially as City have played with a high line. Lescott is just too slow, and Kolo has shown that his legs are fresh for playing down the stretch.
Poll Time! - Who do you think will start today? Add your ideas in the comments section about how you think Bobby should approach this game.