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City @ Juventus: Pellegrini, get it right!

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Here we explore how Manuel Pellegrini may line up Manchester City in this vital Champions League fixture away in Turin.

Manager Manuel Pellegrini and Fernandinho attend a Manchester City press conference ahead of the UEFA Champions League match against Juventus at Juventus Stadium on November 24, 2015 in Turin, Italy.
Manager Manuel Pellegrini and Fernandinho attend a Manchester City press conference ahead of the UEFA Champions League match against Juventus at Juventus Stadium on November 24, 2015 in Turin, Italy.
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

[Note for Manuel Pellegrini: Manuel, si lees este articulo, toma muchas notas.]

Anyway, I will try my hardest not to rain too much on Manuel Pellegrini after what can be described as one of his worst matches as City manager. After City's 4-1 loss to Liverpool, it can be said in simple terms that Manuel Pellegrini fielded a very unbalanced starting XI. Upon watching the match, I noticed a two key things that may be changed before City's clash against the Old Lady in Turin.

First, Nicolas Otamendi was really missed by Manchester City on Saturday. Manuel Pellegrini stated that he was rested as a result of having played a qualifying match on Tuesday for Argentina, but I thought that most of Manchester City's played over the weekend for the countries? Anyway, it will not be a justifiable excuse by Pellegrini to rest Otamendi again after it has been a week since he has played from the start. The return of Nicolas Otamendi will definitely give Manchester City a more credible presence after the rather disastrous showing by the center back pairing of Martin Demichelis and Eliaquim Mangala. With the news that Vincent Kompany and Eliaquim Mangala did not train with the first team, it looks practically set that it will be Martin Demichelis and Nicolas Otamendi in an all Argentine center back pair.

Second, Fernandinho's return will see a more solid midfield, which lacked grit and was left exposed on numerous occasions. Having been left out by Manuel Pellegrini for the same reason as was Nicolas Otamendi, he will be a refreshing presence in Manchester City's midfield. He has a higher work rate than Fernando, who was caught out of position by Liverpool on several occasions. In addition, Fernando does not really have the physical and tactical presence that Fernandinho adds to Manchester City when paired with Yaya Toure. Especially against a very tactically intelligent and pass efficient team like Juventus, it will be important for Fernandinho to be disruptive in the midfield to break down Juventus and get the forward line in position to score goals.

Though Bacary Sagna did not play his finest game on Saturday, which he attributed to emotional distress, it does not look like Pablo Zabaleta will get the nod at right back, He is yet to get substantial playing time this season and with his knee injury having occurred twice, Manuel Pellegrini may want to give Zabaleta a little more time to rest. With Aleksandar Kolarov looking good this season at the left back position, it looks like he will start over Gael Clichy, who has been injured all season. Though Jesus Navas was substituted for Fabian Delph at half time on Saturday, he will likely be starting on the right, and Raheem Sterling on the left. Speed on the wings will be vital for the support given to Sergio Aguero and Kevin De Bruyne, who will seek to move the ball efficiently in the attacking third of the field to give Aguero good chances to score.