How Manchester City Will Line Up Against Newcastle United
(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Manchester City's owners charged Manuel Pellegrini with snaffling five trophies in five years, and the visit to Newcastle for Wednesday's Capital One Cup match is a good chance to take another step toward some silverware for the Chilean.
With David Bowie up for the Mercury Music Prize this week, it's apt to say there will be "ch-ch-changes" to the City line-up from the one that lost to Chelsea on Sunday. That would have been the case anyway, but given the circumstances of that defeat those alterations, one especially will be under the microscope.
So, here's my prediction for the City starting 11:
Costel Pantilimon; Micah Richards, Joleon Lescott, Martin Demichelis, Aleksandar Kolarov; James Milner, Jack Rodwell, Fernandinho, Marcos Lopes; Stevan Jovetic, Edin Dzeko.
I think Pantilimon would have been in for Joe Hart for this match anyway, but given Hart's mistake in the dying seconds against Chelsea, the inclusion of the lanky Romanian will garner more attention.
He's not let anyone down in his numerous cup appearances; now the question is, will he get the chance in the Premier League? Pellegrini did not exactly back Hart to the hilt on Sunday, and it looks like the England international might be out for more than this midweek cup tie.
Demichelis did not have a standout debut on Sunday, but he needs game time and should stay in for Newcastle. Lescott appears to have slipped down the pecking order but with Vincent Kompany still on the injured list, and Matija Nastasic looking a different player minus the Belgian, he should partner the Argentine summer signing.
Outside those two, Richards and Kolarov should get the chance to make a case for stepping up on a more regular basis. The Serbian left-back was a baffling exclusion for Chelsea, and with Gael Clichy looking a shadow of the player who helped City to the title in 2012, he can press to be first-choice.
Marcos Lopes was a left-field pick for the 5-0 win over Wigan in the last round but justified his selection with an eye-catching display. The Brazilian-born Portuguese rattled the crossbar and posed problems, and having banged in a hat-trick in City's UEFA Youth League 6-0 thrashing of Bayern Munich he deserves a chance to show his talents on the senior stage again.
James Milner's more prosaic talents should be on show as well, and he'll be keen to prove a point against one of his former clubs. Fernandinho looks to be finding his best form and should stay in the side, but there could be a rare sighting of Jack Rodwell alongside the Brazilian.
The young England international recently declared himself fit again after a hamstring problem, per the Mirror's David Anderson, and Newcastle would be a chance for the former Everton midfielder to throw his hat into the ring.
With squad rotation all part of Pellegrini's philosophy, Dzeko and Jovetic will be in action. That will allow the in-form Sergio Aguero the chance for some rest, but the Bosnian and the Montenegrin have been in good nick when given the chance.
Pellegrini could do with a selection headache to shake up his thinking, especially after the defeat on Sunday, and he could have one if Wednesday goes according to plan. How Newcastle will approach this cup tie will be interesting. Thirsting for revenge after their derby defeat? Capital One Cup an irritant with the league to concentrate on?
On paper, City's squad has too much strength in depth, but football games aren't won on paper. Or in predictive pieces like this—as ever, let us know what your starting line-up will be, and don't forget that Bleacher Report will have this tie covered on Wednesday, starting at 19:45 UK time.
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