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How Manchester City Will Line Up Against Tottenham Hotspur

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 19:  Manuel Pellegrini the Manchester City manager looks on prior to during the Barclays Premier League match between West Ham United and Manchester City at Boleyn Ground on October 19, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)
Warren Little/Getty Images
Tim OscroftContributor ISeptember 4, 2016

Manchester City have the chance to get back on track in the Premier League against Tottenham on Sunday, having lost on the road yet again at Sunderland last time out.

Their four defeats have all come away from home, and that form could prove to be an Achilles heel if it continues.

But at home it's a very different story for Manuel Pellegrini's side, who have swept all before them in the Barclays Premier League (we'll forget the Bayern Munich defeat) at Etihad Stadium this season.

But such was the galling nature of that loss at the Stadium of Light two weeks ago that nothing will be taken for granted on Sunday, even if the Blues' opponents have failed to score in their last two league outings.

So, who will Pellegrini opt for on Sunday?

Pablo Zabaleta was left out in favour of Micah Richards at the Stadium of Light
Pablo Zabaleta was left out in favour of Micah Richards at the Stadium of LightMichael Regan/Getty Images

Here's my prediction: Costel Pantilimon; Pablo Zabaleta, Martin Demichelis, Matija Nastasic, Alexsandar Kolarov; Fernandinho, Yaya Toure; Samir Nasri, Jesus Navas, Sergio Aguero; Alvaro Negredo.

The Citizens' Chilean coach was as inscrutable as ever when asked whether Joe Hart may be back in for Pantilimon"I don't know. We will see on Sunday the starting 11." That was as effusive as Pellegrini got at his pre-match press briefing, per Sky Sports

Given that Pellegrini is as unreadable as a googly from Shane Warne in his pomp, this is totally speculative (but, hey, that's why we're here!), but I'll go for him sticking with the tall Romanian custodian.

Pellegrini made wholesale changes to his back four at Sunderland, and I think he'll have to change again to be sure against Spurs.

As much as I like Micah Richards, he's done nothing to convince that he should supplant Zabaleta at right back. That's a shame, as I'd like to see Richards get back into the England squad for the World Cup, but the Argentine will return against Spurs.

With Vincent Kompany still out with a groin injury, Nastasic and Demichelis will be the first-choice centre-back pairing, although the former must convince that he can perform without the Belgian by his side.

Left back is a dilemma, as neither Kolarov nor Gael Clichy have pulled up trees this season, but I see Nastasic's fellow countryman getting the nod on Sunday.City need to attack and Kolarov is best suited to getting his side onto the front foot.

Whoever Pellegrini picks could have their hands full coping with Andros Townsend.

Jesus Navas, here sporting City's rather nifty European away kit, should get the nod for Spurs on Sunday.
Jesus Navas, here sporting City's rather nifty European away kit, should get the nod for Spurs on Sunday.Epsilon/Getty Images

Paul Gorst from the Daily Mirror reports that Fernadinho will return from injury to face Spurs to partner Yaya Toure in the middle of midfield.

Nasri's sublime form will see him start again, but David Silva's calf problem forces the Spain man to miss out again, giving compatriot Jesus Navas a chance to impress.

The former Sevilla player has not consistently shown why City brought him in during last summer, but with the onus on them to attack at home I think he should get the nod over the more prosaic James Milner.

Aguero is in the form of his life, but will have to put a shift in with Stevan Jovetic also injured and unable to provide an option off the bench. His partnership with Negredo will continue, which is tough on Edin Dzeko.

The Bosnian has done little wrong but will have to impress off the bench at best, disappointing his legions of followers, per the Daily Mail

I predict a comfortable win for City on home soil, but what do you think? Get in touch via Twitter @br_uk.


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