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Who Should Start vs. Roma

If we had the ear of Pellegrini

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Alex Livesey

UDPATE: I'm off by three! Zabaleta (who I really should have picked), Glichy (I'm surprised) and Demichelis are on the pitch.

As always, we note for the record that Manuel Pellegrini is better than you, better than me, better than the vast majority of people on terra firma when it comes to managing a football team. And, for the record, he's currently doing a pretty good job. Yes, it's frustrating we didn't blow Hull City out of the water when we up 2-0 before the cushions settled but who knew Mangala would mangle things up so badly? Not me, not you and certainly not Pellegrini who was one hundred percent in starting the Frenchman and 150% correct in keeping him in. But in a crucial--and underscore the word crucial--CL match against Roma, where a win is an absolute necessity, should he stay with Mangala? That's one of several questions to ask before the lineup card is filled. Others include but are not limited to:

  • Joe Hart making disquieting noises about this rotation business (google it).
  • Jovetic is cleared to play and he's got a little experience going for him if Pellegrini gives him the nod.
  • Nasri, Nastasic and Fernando are out and finally,
  • welcome back to the sidelines, Manuel Pellegrini (suspension is over).
Without further ado...

GK--Joe Hart who, if you clicked the link above, was less than subtle in expressing his displeasure at being rotated out of the Hull City match (I was ticked myself because if Hart starts, I would've gone a perfect 11-for-11 in the lineup predictions). Personally, I like Hart playing 70% of the time unless he falters badly which still leaves plenty of time for Caballero. In short, Hart should stifle it until City as a team falters with Caballero in nets. The Argentine did fine this past Saturday.

LB--Aleksander Kolarov for the offensive spark. We've been going for fast starts the past few matches and at home, I think the same will be tried against Roma. That and Glichy is four days removed from playing the full 90+.

CB--Eliaquim Mangala and this is the toughest call on the board for me. Demichelis has done nothing wrong and was an integral part in our title winning effort but if The Favorite Toy (still hoping that sticks) is held out, the message is this: we don't trust you enough in the biggest competition we have. His mistakes were aggressive which is much more preferable to the alternative. Start him and hope he plays as well as he did against Chelsea.

CB--Vincent Kompany who continues to be our team MVP.

RB--Bacary Sagna who is one helluva defensive player, thanks for asking. He doesn't cross as well as Pablo Zabaleta and let's face it, Pablo is just better but Sagna bows to no one in the defensive department. I'm going with the well-rested one here.

LM--David Silva and you're damn right I'm nervous about the left side of our defense. I love Silva and so should you but two of his weaknesses are starting to become outright deficiencies as he gets older: he's not that fast (never has been a burner) and he's just not much of a defensive player. But a ball at his feet is safer than a baby in a mother's arms.

CM--Yaya Toure who has had three straight extremely solid efforts that are still being overshadowed by an insane summer and bomb against Bayern.

CM--Fernandinho. Out 2nd best player this season.

RM--Jesus Navas. Here's a question that might interest only me--is Jesus Navas the most fun player to watch on our team? Taken individually, City is an enormously fun side to cheer for; there really isn't anyone who is boring. Every player has their own distinctive qualities that can entertain but of all of them, Navas for me is as much fun to watch as anyone.

ST--Sergio Aguero. Stay healthy, Sergio.

ST--Edin Dzeko with Stevan Jovetic on the quick standby. Dzeko, if I recall correctly, has played more minutes than any striker but with Jovetic coming off injury and this being an enormously important match, I think our top two need to be used.

A two striker system with essentially our best available players outside of Pablo Zabaleta.

Prediction: City 3-1.