Picking a Manchester City Lineup to Blitz Wigan
Manchester City go into Wednesday's trip to the DW Stadium to play Wigan as the only undefeated team in the EPL, and one of the reasons for the 13-match unbeaten run is their depth.
With just two days of rest in between their match against Wigan and their 0-0 draw with Chelsea on Sunday, manager Roberto Mancini will have to rely on some of his bench players to get the win on the road.
There is no doubt that Mancini will make some changes to the starting 11 that drew with Chelsea but how many changes to that lineup is still in question.
Here is a projected lineup that Mancini should throw out on the pitch against Wigan on Wednesday.
Look for Mancini to employ the same formation on Wednesday that he used against Chelsea on Sunday.
It is clear that his experimentation with three defenders has not worked and the City manager has switched back to the traditional four in defense.
Up front, Mancini should use a speedy player like Carlos Tevez to sit behind the main forward and provide some pace to the attack.
That player sitting behind the forward will also be able to drop back into the midfield if needed and gain possession.
Mancini has used the 4-2-3-1 formation as well this season but with the lineup he will put out on Wednesday, the 4-4-1-1 suits those players better.
Projected Starter: Joe Hart
Starting Hart in net is a no-brainer for Mancini as he has no other true options off the bench to give his first-choice keeper a breather.
Hart has recorded two straight clean sheets in EPL action and has not given up a goal in 249 minutes of play, with his last goal allowed in the league coming in the 21st minute against Tottenham on November 11.
The England No. 1 keeper may have to be asked to step up more on Wednesday as Wigan have proven that they can score, unlike in their campaign last season.
Projected Starters: Maicon, Vincent Kompany, Matija Nastasic, Aleksandar Kolarov
The only change in the back four from Sunday's match against Chelsea will be at right back with Maicon replacing Pablo Zabaleta.
Maicon has only made two starts in the EPL since his move from Inter Milan this summer, and Wednesday is a perfect opportunity to get the Brazilian into the mix in the back four.
Kompany and Nastasic have turned out to be a solid pair in the center of defense, and Mancini should not break up the dynamic duo and the positive momentum they have in defense.
Nastasic has been a pleasant surprise since his summer move from Fiorentina and has played well alongside the always reliable Kompany.
Projected Starters: Samir Nasri, Javi Garcia, Yaya Toure, David Silva
Toure has failed to miss a single EPL match this season and he will make his 14th start of the season on Wednesday in the center of midfield with Garcia.
Garcia has been used sparingly in league play to this point, but he will give regular starter Gareth Barry a rest for Wednesday's match and be inserted into the lineup in the center of midfield.
As for the wingers, Silva has been in form since his return from injury and has been one of City's most productive players in the attack all season.
Nasri comes back into the lineup looking to improve on his lackluster performance in his last start against Real Madrid in the Champions League.
Projected Starters: Mario Balotelli, Carlos Tevez
Mancini's decision to start Edin Dzeko has backfired as the Bosnian has proved he is better in the super-sub role while Sergio Aguero will get a break with Everton and Borussia Dortmund coming up on the schedule in the next week.
Tevez has been one of the best players for City this season and was left on the bench for only the second time this season against Chelsea on Sunday.
Look for the Argentina international to be back in the starting lineup along with the troubled Balotelli.
Both players came on as substitutes against Chelsea on Sunday and they will both have a pair of fresh legs to run around the pitch at the DW Stadium for a full match.