Kompany is out with a calf injury which is exactly as bad a piece of news as it sounds. Silva is out because starting your best player on next-to-no rest in an early round Cap One Cup game always works out well. Kolarov is out along with "who the hell knows what's up with him" Nastasic (at least, we assume he's out). Lampard may be back. Everyone else is available.
Pellegrini is better at this, etc., ad nauseam. And you know what? If we lose tomorrow, he's officially in real trouble of not finishing out the year. It's our latest "must win" match and we never get tired of those, do we?
GK--Joe Hart. Is he in the running for our player of year? I've always heard when the goalie is the man of the match your team had a bad game. What about if your goalie is player of the year? Moving right along...
LB--Gael Glichy who won't be complaining about minutes anytime soon.
CB--Eliaquim Mangala who, I believe, is only getting the start because of Kompany's injury. It's not that Pellegrini has completely lost faith in the most expensive signing of a defender in Premier League history but I absolutely believe he trusts the other guy more.
CB--Martin Demichelis a.k.a. the other guy.
RB--Pablo Zabaleta. Personally, I think Sagna should start because the Pellegrini I like best is the one who played everybody in spite of what others thought. He did that last year. When most of the known world saw no use at all for Dzeko and Kolarov, he essentially said, "these are my guys" and those two helped City when their last championship. But now? In spite of what he's saying, I think he's feeling some pressure and with that comes the understandable need to start the very best you have. Personally, I think the entire team will develop better if everyone gets time but if it's me on the sidelines and I'm feeling the kind of heat Pellegrini is no doubt feeling? Yeah, I'd probably go with the A-team as well.
LM--Samir Nasri. About the only good thing to come out of the CSKA Moscow awful, no good, very bad night was Nasri looked pretty good physically. We might see the guy who looked so good before he got hurt.
CM--Frank Lampard. Pellegrini really, really likes this guy. I'm not so sure he's better than Fernandinho or Fernando, especially on the defensive end but it's not like either of the Brazilians have been lighting it up lately.
CM--Yaya Toure. If he's healthy, he plays. Other than the non-existent defense against Doumbia on the free kick and the stupid red card he had a fine match. And yes, I'm well aware of how that last sentence looks and sounds.
RM--James Milner. See the Zabaleta comment above. If he starts Navas, City fans might riot online and in person.
ST--Edin Dzeko. It's not like Jovetic hasn't been given opportunities. Remember when Dzeko was named the no-questions-asked starter last season only he lost the position to Negredo and Negredo went crazy/nuts for goals for about two months? That's what I'm hoping happens here.
ST--Sergio Aguero. What's the over/under on goals if Sergio avoids serious injury? Might make a good poll question.
I honestly think this is our best lineup and I can't remember being so anxious heading into a match against a team that isn't considered anything close to a top tier side.
Prediction: City 2-1 in an exceedingly tight and close match.