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Who He Should Start vs. Swansea City (UPDATED)

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The possession demons from Wales visit with Bayern looming.

Alex Livesey/Getty Images

UPDATE: Kompany has not only been declared fit but he's apparently going to start tomorrow.

So how was your international break? Mine sucked, thanks for asking. I got to see my beloved USMNT (that's United States Men's National Team to you, bub) get run out of Craven Cottage by Colombians before getting waxed by Ireland's B squad. I've had better times.

How's our beloved Citizens? Battered, bruised, and staring head long into being out of two major competitions by Christmas, thanks for asking.

Over the next three weeks, we've got seven matches--and yes, that averages out to a match every three days. Here, I'll show you:

  • Tomorrow vs. Swansea (H)
  • Tuesday vs. Bayern (H)
  • Next Sunday vs. Southampton (A)
  • The following Wednesday vs. Sunderland (A)
  • 12/6 Saturday vs. Everton (H)
  • 12/10 Wednesday vs. Roma (A)
  • 12/13 Saturday vs. Leicester City (A)
That, ladies and gentlemen, is a load of football. Within three weeks, we'll know if we're still playing in the CL (unlikely) or if we're still within a loud shout of Chelsea (here's hoping). And we'll know it while playing with a banged up squad. To wit:
  • Kompany has a calf injury but is back in training and thought to be 50/50 for tomorrow. UPDATE: Ian Cheeseman is reporting Kompany as fit for tomorrow.
  • ilva is still recovering from an injured knee he got while playing an early round COC match (not that I'm bitter). He is also back in training but thought to be less than 50/50 for tomorrow.
  • Dzeko and Kolarov have--take a guess now--calf injuries. Both are out until at least next month.
  • Nastasic is, as always, in "who the hell knows" territory. You ever think we're the only ones who wonder about Nastasic? Fans ask about him all the time but nary a word from the club, the players or hell, even Nastasic. What I'm struggling with, other than the weirdness of it all, is if there has ever been a comparable situation. Find me a time where a young player who had a really solid debut season just disappears within the club with nary a word, not even from the player himself. You can't.
Here's my lineup:

GK--Joe Hart. How viable a candidate is Joe Hart for our Player of the Year? And  if he is a viable candidate, or even the leading candidate (he's played awfully well), what does that say about us? I've always heard if the goalie is your player of the match, that's not a good thing. Well, how about if your goalie is player of the year?

LB--Gael Clichy, who I've been calling Gael "Glichy" for so long, it's in my muscle memory when I type (I don't like talking about it). He's there by default and rapidly gaining in the title of "most abused player online" where currently Yaya and Dzeko reside. I think he's looked pretty good, though there have been some howlers. He's our guy, regardless.

CB--Martin Demichelis, who might be Pellegrini's best signing. Let that sink in for a moment.

CB--Eliaquim Mangala (if Kompany is available, put him here): who, if he's not careful, will be remembered as the most expensive defensive signing in league history unless he starts playing like the guy we saw against Chelsea. To be fair, he's had a knock but since life is often unfair, he's gotta play real well, real fast over these next three weeks.

RB--Pablo Zabaleta. You're damn right, I'm tempted to put Sagna here and rest Pablo for Bayern. I'm not doing it because, as I wrote above, we need to go for the Prem over the CL. Yes, both would be nice but our most realistic shot for major hardware is the league title.

LM--Samir Nasri who has looked like crap since he came back from injury. It's sad for me because I thought he played quite well (especially on the defensive side of the ball) before he got hurt. I'm ready to see pre-injury Nasri again and I'm sure I'm not alone.

CM--Yaya Toure. I thought this made for very good reading. For those too lazy to click, Toure is described as:
  1. Insanely fortunate on free kicks last season which likely won't (and isn't) happening again.
  2. No longer a box-to-box mid and should be considered an offensive threat only
  3. Still one helluva an offensive threat and
  4. Has at least two years of effective attacking play left in him.
CM--Fernandinho. Personally, I think we need to get the guy who was so good last season playing like the guy who was so good last season. I think Pelle has him third in line behind Lampard and Fernando. I think Pelle has it exactly backwards.

RM--James Milner. Is there a more popular Citizen than Milner online? Maybe Silva. I've always thought if James Milner was your best player--and he has been for stretches this season--the team is in trouble but I didn't mean that as a criticism of James Milner. It's been written so often that Milner gives it  his all we're dangerously close to cliche territory but in another sense, I don't think it gets said enough. He's having one of his best seasons and I see no reason why that shouldn't continue.

ST--Sergio Aguero. Player of the Year if he's healthy. Big 'if', as always.

ST--Stevan Jovetic. If he doesn't play well tomorrow, he might not see the pitch again for a long, long time. The idea of Joevtic is so enticing and hell, it wasn't that long ago when he was thought to be a budding star. He seems likable, works hard and if that was all there was to being a star, he'd be a star. He's gotta score or create scoring opportunities and he's done neither for weeks now.

Prediction: City 2-0. For some reason, I think our defense is going to shine. Call it a hunch.