NOTE: This has been updated and thanks to commenter pwmccorm for staying on top of things.
You'd be hard-pressed to find a team that Man City has enjoyed playing more than West Bromwich Albion. Going into Saturday's match, City has a 13 game unbeaten streak against the Baggies with 12 wins. The last time City lost to them was in the 08/09 season.
Naturally, I'm concerned.
The Baggies aren't in bad form. Winless in their last two, sure, but over their last 6, they've got three wins and two draws which is not bad at all. For the last two months, they've been one of the ten best teams in the league. City cannot make the same claim. At home, City has lost three of their last four with the lone win against Aston Villa who is hopeless. Add to this toxic mix that City will be a few days removed from an enormously emotional match in Paris (letdown alert) and, yes, there is reason for concern.
On the one hand, I'm tempted to put in some new players that we didn't see against Bournemouth and PSG. In those matches, City manager Manuel Pellegrini used the same players with two exceptions: at goalkeeper when Hart got healthy and at right back with Sagna replacing Zabaleta. It may be asking too much, not to mention the injury risk, to use virtually the same lineup for the third straight match, especially with a cup tie just three days later. On the other hand, City is playing some pretty good football right now and Pellegrini might not want to risk his lineup's good form. Being a manager is tricky business.
City: Yaya Toure was initially ruled out but he's available and will play. David Silva is definitely out with ankle issues, along with Kompany and Sterling. I can't remember the last time City had only three players hurt. Captain Kompany might be available for Tuesday's cup tie. Belgian International Team manager Marc Wilmots has expressed his concern that Kompany should be rested. Pellegrini, when informed of this, responded, "No, I am not concerned about their opinion." You go, Manuel.
WBA: Chris Brunt is out while James Morrison and Callum McManaman are questionable.
GK--Joe Hart I honestly wouldn't blame Willy Caballero for leaving because he's good enough to start for a lot of teams. I frankly hope he stays. I'll add that while Jack Butland is good, he's not Joe Hart. England should look to Man City for their number one.
LB--Aleksander Kolarov It's time to rest Gael Clichy.
CB--Nicolas Otamendi The two center backs might very well be auditioning for a Champions League starting spot. Kompany could play and if that's the case, Pellegrini has a decision to make. Mangala has been extremely steady, if unspectacular. He rarely closes out attackers, preferring the attackers to come to him. Otamendi, on the other hand, goes after attackers all over the damn pitch and if he gets left behind, so be it, I guess. It's a fun way to play football and it's fun to watch (it certainly was against Bournemouth though less so against PSG). On the rare days when all three were healthy, Pellegrini has almost always used Kompany and Otamendi. I suspect he might be leaning toward Mangala but we'll know more after Saturday.
RB--Pablo Zabaleta I watched the PSG match three times and with each viewing, I came away enormously impressed with the effort Bacary Sagna put in. He's got to take a breather.
CM--Fernando Pellegrini has always allowed players who have made mistakes to get another match sooner rather than later so they can make up for it. He's not stupid. When he recognizes a player has lost it (Demichelis), that player doesn't play. But when a player has a bad performance, Pelle usually uses the player in the next match and he usually gets a good performance out the player in question. Fernando is this weeks player in question.
CM--Fabian Delph Fernandinho is up to 96% of available minutes played. With PSG in three days, it's time to reduce that number. I think Pelle plays him anyway and I'm not sure he's wrong but overuse can and will lead to injury. Sometimes, you have to overuse a player. I'm not sure this is one of those times. If Delph is ready, use him. If he's not, use Fernandinho.
CM--Yaya Toure I, for one, am ecstatic to have him back. I'd give him the KDB treatment (see below). Either Delph or Fernandinho can finish up for him after halftime.
LM--Kevin De Bruyne Keep him in good form and take him off after halftime. That sure seems to be working for City's hottest player.
RM--Jesus Navas We just might see Samir Nasri here though I'm in favor of Navas who appears to be immune from overuse and is having a wonderful month of April. (UPDATE: Pellegrini says Nasri will likely start so slot him here).
ST--Sergio Aguero If we're up two at the half, take him off. If we're up to at the half and he's still on, I might find a way to teleport to Manchester and put a stop to things. I might be exaggerating.