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Who Should Start vs. Bayern?

The middle of City's extraordinarily challenging week starts tomorrow

Martin Rose

UPDATE: Ribery is out for Bayern and Robben is highly questionable. This could change things dramatically at LB where we might see Kolarov get the nod and perhaps on both wings, though I'm sticking with my lineup below.

I'll again preface by saying Manuel Pellegrini knows more than you or I about the team. He's with them every day, sees them in training and he's still not stopping us from speculating what's best for our side, right? Let's get right to it.

GK--Joe Hart who played quite well after watching a ball roll through the wickets vs. Stoke; a fine international showing followed by a solid performance at the Emirates. And he's still one mistake away from a long-term second-string position. This ain't like last year where Pantillimon was used as a message; Hart's next failure will result in Caballero being in the net for many a moon.

LB--Gael Glichy with apologies to Kolarov who also played quite well in reserve against Arsenal but going against Arjen Robben you just have to have pace and man-on-man defensive skills. Glichy at his best has both.

CB--Vincent Kompany. Meet our team MVP thus far.

CB--Martin Demichelis. Look, I want to see the new toy as much as you do but if the guy's not ready, he's not ready and Demichelis has been extremely solid for weeks now. Put it this way--when was Demichelis last bad game? Play the man you know and develop the prize signing for later (not too much later, though).

RB--Bacary Sagna. If asked to run through a wall of fire the other side of which waits a herd of hungry lions, Pablo Zabaleta would probably do it. But asking him to play three straight tough, tough matches is risking exhaustion and injury and sends the message to Sagna that he's not needed. Additionally, Sagna played well defensively in his only appearance though offensively he was strictly offensive. A tough call but in order to save Zaba, I think our depth needs to be used here. If we see Zaba here, we'll absolutely see Sagna against Chelsea which could also work. (UPDATE: A D'oh moment for me--Zaba's Dad points out accurately in the comments that Zabaleta is suspended.)

LM--Samir Nasri got low ratings from some pundits for his performance against Arsenal and I'm not sure why after seeing the match twice. I thought he had his best defensive showing in a City shirt; a similar effort will be needed against Robben et. al. on the left side. He should have plenty of gas in the tank as he played just half the match.

CM--Yaya Toure, I maintain what I wrote previously; no player will have higher expectations than Yaya Toure. He hasn't come close to showing the amazing form from a year ago and the memory of his summer madness is still very much alive. He can put a lot to rest tomorrow with a MOTM performance and frankly, I think we'll see just that.

CM--Fernandinho who was  nothing short of sublime vs. Arsenal after a choppy start paired with Lampard. If Fernandinho didn't overdo the effort, then City might very well have the advantage in the center of the pitch.

RM--James Milner and don't think I wasn't tempted to start him at CM which he clearly enjoys playing. He's a fresher option to the wonderful Jesus Navas who has to be gassed after his enormous effort against Arsenal. That doesn't mean we won't see Navas at all, though.

CAM--David Silva just behind the striker is always a joy, provided he's on his game. He was a bit off against Arsenal and he's been pushed around in the past against Bayern. However, I think in this match we'll actually be a bit stronger in the center which should help our Merlyn turn his magic. Navas can be brought in here later in the match or he could go out on the wing while Nasri takes over.

ST--Sergio Aguero who showed against Arsenal why, when healthy, he's the best striker in England. The most underrated part of his game is what he gives defensively. I'll got a step further and say there isn't a striker in Europe I'd rather have on my side. That last sentence is debatable; that Sergio will be starting tomorrow should not be.

It is not our very best eleven but, in my humble opinion, it's the best eleven we have for tomorrow.