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Who Should Start vs. Aston Villa

With only Nasri and Nastasic out, lots of choices

Laurence Griffiths

For Roma, I did not do well, missing three players and to be honest, I'm not sure I was wrong. The lineup I proposed would've been fresher but based on the terrific conversation in the comments here and here, Pellegrini had other concerns beyond who started and who didn't.

Nevertheless, we repeat as always that Pellegrini is better than us when it comes to filling out the card. He's got more experience, he's certainly got more trophies and as of now, there aren't any grumblings about his job being on the line (nor should there be). And that said, tomorrow's match is enormously important not just to win but to play well while doing so. We're assuming as of now that Fernando is available, along with Jovetic. We know that Nasri and Nastasic are out.

GK--Joe Hart. Villa can be very tought, particularly at home. Benteke is back as well. We'll need our best in the nets and I believe that's Joe Hart.

LB--Aleksander Kolarov would seem to be the obvious choice, if for no other reason than Glichy has played many minutes without much of a break; the frenchman started last weekend and again on Tuesday (to my genuine surprise). It's Kolarov's turn--he's fresher and to sit him would send an unmistakable signal that depth don't count at the LB position.

CB--Vincent Kompany who is still my team MVP.

CB--Eliaquim Mangala's first match sine the nightmare at Hull City (future book title?) will be closely watched.

RB--Pablo Zabaleta who never seems to tire. I know he's thought of as the engine that never stops (along with Milner) but in Zaba's case, it literally seems to be true that he just does not tire at all. He'd play every minute if called upon. Sagna is a fine player; no sham in saying Pablo's better.

LM--David Silva with the caveat that he needs to be watched and close. Personally, I don't see him finishing the match.

CM--Fernando who played marvelous football before he was hurt. I'm guessing he starts because Fernandinho just might need a break every now and then.

CM--Yaya Toure who was the primary subject of some extraordinary discourse. Commenter Tom765 brought up salient points that Yaya is emphatically not the problem, that tactics did us in at Roma (outnumbered in the midfield). Click on the links--it's well worth the read--but I think there is one thing critics and supporters of Toure can agree one: we're not winning much without him playing well.

RM--Jesus Navas, who must be well-rested. He was our best player in preseason and I think he's looked good on the pitch (at times, great) but he hasn't played as much I thought. He gets the nod tomorrow.

ST--Sergio Aguero, who might very well be taken off for fatigue/oh-my-god-don't-get-hurt purposes.

ST--Steven Jovetic, another guy who was pretty fantastic before he got hurt. Time to see if he can get his pre-injury form back.

A couple of other notes from the week that was:

  • Rio Ferdinand is not all that bright, 'nuff said. If anyone other than a rag said what he said, it wouldn't draw headlines. A rag ragging on City will always get printed. Paul Scholes was only moderately more intelligent in his remarks.
  • FFP should now stand for "(Bleeping) Foolish Plan." It's name is dichotomous to itself.
  • Prediction: City wins in a struggle 2-1.