MAN CITY v Birmingham – THE PREVIEW

12 Nov

The storm after the calm? Following a soporific midweek Manchester derby, City have the chance to build on their hard-earned point as Birmingham visit Eastlands. In theory, this match should be a more lively and open affair after the dour stalemate on Wednesday, for which Roberto Mancini took an unfair amount of criticism following his perceived negativity, and the manager has promised he will make some changes for this fixture.

Birmingham are struggling this season after an impressive debut campagin in the Premier League last time around. They currently lie just two points off the relegation zone and were beaten in midweek by a late Stoke goal, but they will be hoping that a win on Saturday can kickstart a run of good form. In Alex McLeish, they have a fiery, but intensely disciplined manager, someone who will demand the best from his players, so we should ignore their quality at our peril.

The visitors, despite their lowly league position, possess a number of individuals capable of influencing any game. Anyone who has played for Arsenal and Barcelona must be extremely talented, so City will have to beware of the mercurial threat of Alexander Hleb, whilst at the same time conscious of the indubitable aerial prowess of Nikola Zigic.

With regards to team selection, my good friend Mancini may decide to hand a start to summer arrival Aleksandar Kolarov, who has returned to the bench for the last couple of games after being sidelined with injury. He would provide a powerful attacking threat from the left, but his introduction would be a tad unfortunate for Pablo Zabaleta, who has performed superbly at left-back in the last couple of matches. Former Barcelona midfielder Yaya Touré can expect to be rested after looking visibly exhausted towards the end of the United game.

Who replaces him is an intriguing discussion. City supporters would hope that Mancini will throw off his conservative shackles and plump for the exciting talents of Adam Johnson, and despite not believing he is fully ready yet, I would like to see our promising youngster on the left wing, where he would face the ageing Stephen Carr. Emmanuel Adebayor is also pushing for a start but I would expect the Blue to line up like this.

                                                          Hart

Boateng                   K. Touré                  Kompany                  Kolarov

                                    de Jong                      Barry

A. Johnson                                  Silva                                          Milner

                                                        Tévez

Subs: Given, Richards, Zabaleta, Lescott, Vieira, Y. Touré, Adebayor

Key Battles

Joe Hart v Ben Foster

As England’s current number one and City’s goalkeeper, Hart has the world at his feet, but he owes part of that success down to his spell on loan at St. Andrew’s last season, where his consistently good form brought him the recognition he deserved. He has been replaced at Birmingham by former United youngster Ben Foster, whose name was often mentioned in relation to the England position. He has been given the chance by McLeish to prove his credentials and is benefitting from an extended run in the first team.

Vincent Kompany v Cameron Jerome

Kompany, along with Nemanja Vidic, has been the Premier League’s best defender so far this season, but he has a real challenge on his hands to limit the impact of the explosive Jerome. The former Cardiff striker is a handful for any defender, with his powerful style causing problems for any faint-hearted bodies.

Carlos Tévez v Roger Johnson

City’s inspirational captain, in the absence of Mario Balotelli, carries the weight of the team’s goalscoring expectations on his broad shoulders and will be hoping to add to his already impressive tally at the weekend. Johnson, another former Cardiff player, has been a revelation in the Premier League and has even been linked with an England call-up. This will be a good test for him to see the level where he is really at.

Referee: Mike Jones – A recent addition to the Premier League roster and is rapidly rising up the ranks, but I’ve never been impressed with him when he has officiated City matches before. After Chris Foy’s excellent performance in the derby, let’s hope that we see another solid display from a referee at CoMS.

Prediction: MAN CITY 21 Birmingham – The visitors have been conceding goals aplenty in recent matches, but they are the Premier League’s most lethal side from set-pieces, so the City defence will have to be strong in the air. Goals to be scored by Carlos Tévez, David Silva and Cameron Jerome.

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7 Responses to “MAN CITY v Birmingham – THE PREVIEW”

  1. Citysince77 12/11/2010 at 8:08 pm #

    I’m hoping for a wider margin in the game tomorrow but I would easily take the 2-1 scoreline you predict to solidify our position in the top four. After this we have two tricky away games on the bounce, the first being against Mr Hughes outfit and we all know what kind of record he had against us when he was manager of Blackburn. So yeah 2-1 would do but I’m thinking it will more likely be by two clear goals with Johnson being the star man in his efforts to impress Mancini.

    • Citysince77 13/11/2010 at 8:37 am #

      You’ve changed your prediction from 2-1 to 3-1 you cheeky little tinker!

      • View From A Blue 13/11/2010 at 10:53 am #

        Can’t make my mind up!! About to change it back to 2-1 🙂

  2. Naz 12/11/2010 at 9:36 pm #

    Fatigue is an issue with a draining Derby game still in the memory bank.

    I hope Yaya Toure plays. He was outstanding at WBA and was the best outfield player in the Derby.

    City to win 2-0

  3. Browny 12/11/2010 at 10:21 pm #

    I think the criticism of City in the derby is unfair, as what did United do to try and win the game?? They played Michael Carrick, Darren Fletcher and Scholes in the middle to go man-to-man with Citys 3 man midfield. Scholes resorted to playing 10 yard sideways passes all night, instead of those 60 yard balls we are accustomed to seeing that open up opposition defences. Then we played Nani, admittedly attacking but well handled by Zabaleta, Park, whose attacking threat is about the same as that of former Stockport County manager and somehow England player Carlton Palmer, i.e. none. And then Berbatov, hardly your out-and-out striker. I would have liked to see Hernandez start with Berbatov alongside him. I thought United were just as negative as City, if not more cos City always line up like that and hit on the counter, but with Uniteds discipline you are never going to be able to counter attack against them.

    Anyway, should be a good game, think Birmingham are a decent side. Also, just another observation, why is Joe Hart v Ben Foster a key battle, as neither are going to face each other in the match, unless Foster gets beaten by an opposition keepers goal kick again, see Paul Robinson for Tottenham against Watford at White Hart Lane I think 2 years ago, possibly 3!

    • JOHN GUIDETTI IS MY HERO!! 14/11/2010 at 11:43 am #

      Dan Brown – what a splendid comment! Really made me laugh and the best bit was >>>

      “whose attacking threat is about the same as that of former Stockport County manager and somehow England player Carlton Palmer, i.e. none.”

      Comedy gold!

  4. JOHN GUIDETTI IS MY HERO!! 13/11/2010 at 1:04 pm #

    Steven, when was the Kolarov picture from? There is no body in the crowd!!

    I do have to disagree with one thing though, and that is your team selection? I think Paddy V will start, Ade will start, AJ will start….I have a funny feeling he will ring the changes with Thursday’s game in mind?

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