As you no doubt know, City has a 3-1 lead against Dynamo Kiev in their current CL tie. It is, of course, enormously important for City to advance for the first time ever to the quarterfinals. It is, of course, difficult to believe they won't do so. In order to shatter City's hopes, Kiev would have to make up for the three road goals they gave up last month. More specifically, a 2-0 win does them no good; they have to win 3-0, 4-1, 5-2... it's all but beyond belief it could happen no matter who Manuel Pellegrini decides to start.
So who should start?
We found out today Yaya is healthy enough to play. We also found out a few hours ago that Fabian Delph is training and might play. Silva is still nursing his chronically screwed up left ankle which suffers at least three-to-five specifically targeted tackles a game (damn right I'm complaining) and we're looking at an enormously important derby in a mere five days hence. Pellegrini has to be considering a number of stressful questions: do you risk Aguero? Kompany even? Do you use Yaya or Silva against a very physical Kiev squad? You could start them and take them off at the half or keep them on the bench and use the 'break open only when necessary' philosophy. And at the risk of alienating all of you who have read this far, I'm damned if I know. The only starting lineup harder to predict than this one was that horrific FA Cup tie against Chelsea. Here goes.
Not much mystery here. Barring injury, Willy Caballero's last appearance is the game that will result in free drinks from City fans for as long as he draws breath.
- Who Should Start: Joe Hart
- Will Actually Play: Joe Hart
- Who Should Start: Aleksander Kolarov
- Will Actually Play: Aleksander Kolarov
- Who Should Start: Eliaquim Mangala
- Will Actually Play: Nicolas Otamendi (the only outfield player not to get hurt. Let's not tempt fate, Manuel.)
- Who Should Start: Vincent Kompany
- Will Actually Play: Vincent Kompany
- Who Should Start: Bacary Sagna
- Will Actually Play: Bacary Sagna
Another thing to put it in context when you're talking about goals, since we didn't sign him as a goalscorer - he's got 11 this season. The most David Silva has EVER scored in a season is 12. When he was 21 he scored 6. People need to stop judging him on the number of goals scored, because it's a secondary part of his game.
Last season, when he turned 20, he created 75 chances. Hazard and Ozil are the ONLY two players to create more chances in any of the top 5 leagues the year they turned 20. Messi didn't. Ronaldo, Bale, Silva, Sanchez, Zidane, Kaka, Figo...none of them did, and they're some of the best players European football has ever seen.
And now he's adapting to life under the most intense media scrutiny, all of whom want him to fail. He gets booed non-stop at almost every game. F***ing Norwich were booing him on Saturday. Sure, he needs to improve, but I don't doubt for a second that he will.
I'm not saying he's been awesome, he hasn't, but people need to give him time.
- Who Should Start: Raheem Sterling (he's rested).
- Will Actually Play: Raheem Sterling
- Who Should Start: Aleix Serrano or some other guy.
- Will Actually Play: Yaya Toure
- Who Should Start: Fernando or Fernandinho
- Will Actually Play: Fernandinho or Fernando
- Who Should Start: Jesus Navas
- Will Actually Play: Jesus Navas or Manu Garcia.
- Who Should Start: Wilfried Bony and Kelechi Iheanacho
- Will Actually Play: Wilfried Bony and Kelechi Iheanacho