There are two pieces of factual information that fascinate me as I sit and type.
- City are without a win in their last two league home games. The last time they went three straight with a W was four years ago.
- City have one more point than what they had last season at this time.
Which contradicts two narratives that are currently popular on these here interwebs--that City aren't playing as well as last season and that they have an incredible home field advantage. The impression we aren't as good as last season stems from, in my opinion, Chelsea's incredible play thus far. The impression we're not as good at home is about to be tested mightily this Saturday when we host one of our favorite whipping posts, Tottenham. In the last six meetings between the two sides, 30 goals have been scored--22 by City. (BBC)
The Citizens go into the match in good health with one notable exception--the much maligned Yaya Toure returns from Africa just one day before the match. Toure played awfully well but it's doubtful he'll be rested enough to play which means Pellegrini has some interesting choices for the midfield. Nasri and Nastasic are still out. (UPDATE: Yaya took an express flight and got in a day early. He wants to be available to start. Speaks well of him, I think.)
GK--Joe Hart who is starting off so much better than last season which is good because last season he couldn't have started worse. And I still think he's one gaffe away from second-string.
RB--Pablo Zabaleta. At what point should Bacary Sagna start to raise his hand and say, "Hey, I can play this game, too!" And should we care? Zabaleta is once again having a marvelous season so Bacary might have to wait awhile.
CB--Vincent Kompany. Still my choice for team MVP.
CB--(UPDATED) Martin Demichelis because Eliaquim Mangala's out.
LB--Aleksander Kolarov who will be unfortunately well-rested after the fiasco between Serbia and Albania. There isn't one historian I know who thought a game between Albania and Serbia was a good idea. An idea I like is Kolarov on the pitch--he's improved defensively and he's becoming increasingly invaluable on the attack. I can't believe he spent as much time as he did in Mancini's doghouse.
RM--James Milner, speaking of someone who spent time in Mancini's canile. Did anyone else smile ruefully at Mancini's claim that "nine of his guys" are being used by Pellegrini? I'll always be grateful to the man for the first title in over four decades but, jeebus, there's a reason why he was let go, right? We needed someone who was 'holistic' and not someone whose primary personality trait is pissing people off. One more note: Navas is good enough to play for damn near anybody but just not here. Thanks to AlmostNotReally for this, by the by.
CM--Fernando. Here's a prediction for you: he'll be known as the best holding mid we've ever had, health permitting.
CM--(UPDATED) Yaya Toure. I had Fernandinho here yesterday but that was before Yaya took an express flight--apparently his own doing--to make himself available for tomorrow's match. If Pelle doesn't start him, it could very well lead to Yaya being upset and we really, really don't need that. I'm convinced Pelle will use the duo of Fernandinho and Fernando at some point but it won't be tomorrow.
LM--David Silva. Questions?
ST--Edin Dzeko. Does this guy ever get hurt? Had a helluva good match against Belgium. Watching it, one could not help but feel that his home country has Dzeko play a lot more roles than what we have him doing.
ST--Sergio Aguero with Jovetic replacing either striker before the final whistle blows.