How Manchester City Will Line Up Against Everton in the Premier League

Tim OscroftContributor IOctober 3, 2013

Alvaro Negredo has adapted well to English football.
Alvaro Negredo has adapted well to English football.Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Manchester City return to Premier League matters when Everton visit Etihad Stadium on Saturday, kicking off at 12:45 BST.

Everton had an enviable record at the "Blue Camp" under previous manager David Moyes—just one defeat in their last six visits—and are looking down on City in the Premier League table, having made a good start to life under new boss Roberto Martinez.

He knows how to beat City, having done so memorably at Wembley with Wigan in May, so how will his opposite number in the City technical zone set his team out this weekend?

I think Manuel Pellegrini will pick this starting 11 to begin with:

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 02:  Joe Hart of Manchester City shows his dissapointment during the UEFA Champions League Group D match between Manchester City and  FC Bayern Munchen at Etihad Stadium on October 2, 2013 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by L
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Joe Hart; Pablo Zabaleta, Vincent Kompany, Matija Nastasic, Aleksandar Kolarov; James Milner, Yaya Toure; Jesus Navas, Sergio Aguero, David Silva; Alvaro Negredo.

City's humiliation—there can be no other word—by Bayern Munich in the Champions League on Wednesday will be burning a hole in Pellegrini's preparations and will lead to some changes, but not in goal.

Pellegrini has refused to criticise Joe Hart or any of his players since in public, unlike his predecessor, per Rob Pollard on Bleacher Report. The Chilean has been inscrutable over team selections up until now, and even though Hart should have done much better with two of Bayern's goals, I don't see Pellegrini dropping him yet. Hart could do with the shock of being dropped, but is Costel Pantilimon good enough to step up?

By contrast, Gael Clichy's nightmare against Bayern will see Aleksandar Kolarov make a swift return, and Pablo Zabaleta will be back in place of Micah Richards. That's tough for Richards, but changing both full-backs for Wednesday was too much tinkering, and the redoubtable Argentine has let no one down again this term.

The introduction of James Milner and David Silva on Wednesday saw some improvement on what had gone before, so Milner could replace Fernandinho to shore things up in midfield.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 02:  Jan Kirchhoff of Muenchen battles with David Silva of Manchester City during the UEFA Champions League Group D match between Manchester City and FC Bayern Muenchen at Etihad Stadium on October 2, 2013 in Manchester, Engl
Julian Finney/Getty Images

Following his thigh injury, Silva deserves to start a Premier League match for the first time since 31 August, based on his performance against Bayern, while Jesus Navas will take up his station on the flank.

Sergio Aguero looked unhappy to be replaced in the second half on Wednesday and may have not been completely fit, having missed out against Aston Villa. But if fit, he will start.

Alvaro Negredo will replace Edin Dzeko, who struggled in not-so-splendid isolation against Bayern. Negredo took his chance well, even if his goal did give City scarcely deserved respectability, but he has found his feet in England and will get the nod.

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