Good lord what an awful week. Moscow was bad enough but the loss to West Ham? Gutted as you folk might say, just gutted. I'm not getting this team. On the one hand, I want to be enthusiastic about the better effort against the Hammers, the number of attacks we made but, sweet Christmas, is it too much to ask that we beat a team that isn't as good as us? Apparently so, based on the last two matches.
Before we get to an immensely important derby, we've got a Capital One Cup clash vs. Newcastle. Our CL results and our current form in league play might lead one to believe this to be an important match for Pellegrini (better than us at this, etc.); more than one pundit has ventured forth the opinion that our best hopes for a trophy lie with the CC and FA Cups. Keeping in mind City's stated goal of five trophies in five years, it's safe to conclude our fearless leader will find this match to be important; perhaps not as important as burning through our best guys before Man United comes to town but an important match nonetheless.
Frank Lampard is out but welcome back, Samir Nasri. Here's the lineup:
GK--Willy Caballero whose time has come.
LB--Aleksander Kolarov. I'm in a minority of one here but I don't think Gael Glichy was that bad against West Ham. Both of our LB's have had decent past success against United so either could start this weekend. Pellegrini consistently prefers Glichy this season so I'm thinking Kolarov (my personal choice for this weekend) gets the nod here.
CB--Eliaquim Mangala. Tempted to say Nastasic but I think Mangala, barring fatigue and a knock, needs as much English football as possible.
CB--Martin Demichelis. Again, Nastasic is tempting here but I think Pellegrini is going to go with a guy farther up the food chain.
RB--Bacary Sagna. Get some rest, Pablo.
LM--Samir Nasri. Before this guy got hurt, he was having a helluva season, especially on the defensive side of the football. I'm exceedingly glad to see him back.
CM--Fernando. Like Mangala, he needs time on the English pitch.
CM--Fernandinho. He's rested and he was playing damn well before sitting out this pas Saturday so why not?
RM--Jesus Navas, who will enjoy all the protection he'll ever need with Sagna behind him.
ST--Edin Dzeko. I'm ready for this guy to have a complete match. I'm ready for this guy to avoid making four touches before attempting a pass. I'm ready for this guy to start playing well.
ST--Stevan Jovetic who looked active and polished against West Ham. This guy? He's ready to start some big games for us.
That's an awful lot of frontline talent for an early Cap One Cup game but
- City needs a win and
- See number 1, above.
Prediction: City 2-0 but I've written that before (sobs).