"If we play for 0-0, we lose." So sayeth our manager. Say what you want about him (and many have) but he is consistent. City have played arguably their best football in non-league games: at Sevilla, at Kiev, the 2nd half at PSG, the Cup Final vs. Liverpool. I haven't the first clue why that is but I notice in three of those games, Pellegrini used all three central mids (PSG was the exception because of injury). Yaya Toure is back--he played the last half hour and change against West Bromwich Albion and we might see him between the two Ferns (thanks, I'll be here all week). Or maybe Manuel Pellegrini thinks that 2nd half against PSG is more indicative of how our defense performs as opposed to that Chaplinesque first half. About the only thing I do know going into predicting this lineup is KDB will start and we will have only one striker whose initials are S and A.
City: As stated above below the headline, Kompany is out along with Sterling. Otamendi and Silva are both playing on gimpy ankles. Silva trained yesterday but Otamendi did not; both are available. In spite of those players being banged up, City seems to be crawling toward a semblance of decent health for the first time since early Fall.
PSG: They've got two players suspended: Blaise Matuidi, who is probably their best midfielder and defender David Luiz, who made CL Team of the Week on a couple of websites much to the delight of everyone who saw David Luiz play the last match. Marco Verratti is back for PSG. There are those who think Verratti is their best mid (they have some terrific midfielders): he's an excellent passer with great vision though not nearly as physical or athletic or capable of making great runs a la Matuidi (a decent passer in his own right). Verratti was suffering from a serious groin injury and was thought to be out for at least the cup tie with City. It's hard to believe he'll be 100% and equally hard to believe he'd be playing if PSG didn't have a significant number of eggs in the CL basket.
THE PREDICITED LINEUP
GK: Joe Hart
LB: Gael Clichy I honestly think Kolarov is playing damn well but Clichy's speed is a necessity against PSG who will be attacking from the opening whistle.
CB: Eliaquim Mangala Let's not tell anyone how well he's playing, okay? Let's let everyone else underestimate that he hasn't had a bad game in a month.
CB: NIcolas Otamendi The opinions about this guy on social media is 50/50: he's either a reckless man with no sense of positioning at all or he's a cagey tackler who at times dominates the game. And I'm damned if I know for sure. I do know that if he gets hurt or shows he's not 100%, I think we'll see almost anyone in the back instead of Martin Demichelis.
RB: Bacary Sagna This is tough to predict. I think Zabaleta could absolutely go here while Sagna is kept in reserve in case he's needed as a center back but then I remember Zabaleta played the full 90 against West Bromwich Albion. I think it'll be Sagna but wouldn't be surprised to see Zabaleta.
CM: Fernando He played pretty well against WBA in my opinion and needed to after the PSG gaffe. I think he'll be placed in front of the back four.
CM: Yaya Toure He's ready. I don't know if we'll see him just ahead of Fernando, as we did against Kiev and in the Cup Final or if we'll see him as the central attacking mid with Fernandinho behind him. I prefer the former but think we'll see the latter.
CM: Fernandinho Playing on the right wing has got to be tempting for Pellegrini, seeing how well that worked previously. Ultimately, I think he'll be placed near Fernando with Yaya moving forward.
LM: David Silva
RM: Kevin De Bruyne
ST: Sergio Agueero City's attack will depend a great deal on whoever moves forward from central midfield.
Prediction: City in the semis after a 1-1 thriller.