MAN CITY v Aris Thessaloniki – THE PREVIEW: Teamnews and Prediction

23 Feb

Prepare yourself for an evening of tension, nerves and an atmosphere like no other! Any knockout game in a competition is fraught with the knowledge that one mistake could lead to disaster, whilst one moment of brilliance could send your side soaring through to the next round. This might not be the latter stages of the Europa League, as it was when we faced Hamburg in that unforgettable encounter, but it nonetheless matters greatly. After seeing off Notts County in the FA Cup, it’s imperative we progress in this competition.

The atmosphere to which I referred should at least provide a background of noise and anticipation. The Greek fans, so boisterous and enthusiastic at the Kleanthis Vikelidis Stadium, are likely to bring the same passion to Eastlands, creating the sort of atmosphere under which players should thrive. In the first leg, Aris showed a decent amount of potential, defending resolutely but displaying pace on the counter-attack; an aspect which we need to beware of.

I’d expect Roberto Mancini to continue his policy of rotation as we are in the midst of a hectic fixture schedule. Nigel de Jong will miss the game thanks to his ankle injury and is also expected to miss the Fulham match at the weekend, whilst Shay Given is out for the season after injuring his shoulder, albeit a different one to last season.

James Milner is still stuggling for fitness, whilst it is reported that Micah Richards is alos set to miss this game due a calf strain, meaning that Academy prospect Reece Wabara has been called into the squad. After showing promise against Notts County, I think Edin Džeko and Carlos Tévez will be the strike force, with the volatile Mario Balotelli providing the extra option from the bench.

This is the side Mancini could select: (4-4-2)

                                                   Hart

Zabaleta             Boateng                Kompany               Kolarov

                                                 Vieira
                              Y. Touré                 Barry
                                                  Silva

                                Tévez                     Džeko

Subs: Taylor, Wabara, K. Touré, Lescott, SWP, Balotelli, Jo

Although we are firm favourites to progress, the 0-0 scoreline poses the problem of the valuable away goal. Were the result to be a score draw, our Greek visitors would advance at our expense, so expect Aris to defend deep and narrowly again, relying on the counter-attack to create any sense of pressure. Darcy Dolce Neto, a bargain signing, impressed last Tuesday, whilst Ricardo Faty looked to be carrying a bit of extra weight!

Referee: Pavel Kravolec: The 33 year old referee was born in the Czech Republic and is an engineer by day. Let’s hope he can engineer a good result for City. (Please note UEFA, if you’re reading this, I had never previously heard of the ref, and have never offered him any money to fix the game. It was merely a horrific pun)

Prediction: MAN  CITY 2 – 0 Aris Thessaloniki – I think it will be a cagey opening, but as the match progresses, we should stamp our authority of the game. Goals to be scored by Edin Džeko and Carlos Tévez.

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8 Responses to “MAN CITY v Aris Thessaloniki – THE PREVIEW: Teamnews and Prediction”

  1. nathangunn 23/02/2011 at 7:26 pm #

    Is this match on TV anywhere?

    • Paul Howarth 23/02/2011 at 8:57 pm #

      It’s on ESPN.

  2. Siamack 23/02/2011 at 8:33 pm #

    I believe Mancini should rest Yaya Toure; otherwise, he will not be performing at par/above par both Tomorrow and later against Fullham. Why on the earth Mancini still puts JO on the bench instead of GUIDETTI is becoming a mystery to me. I think it is time for Mancini to snap out of the two goals JO scored against Inter some years ago.

    Is there any news on the status of Micheal Johnson knee. I personally can not wait to see this lad in action. And as a final note, I believe Boyata deserves a chance. Certainly his two major mistakes [against Arsenal and EUROPA league qualifying games] have not been worst than Vieria’s so far.

    • View From A Blue 23/02/2011 at 10:10 pm #

      Personally, I believe that this game is more important than the Fulham one. Failure to progress in Europe would be disastrous, and thanks to Blackpool’s result against Spurs earlier this week, we have a touch more breathing room. And at home we should beat Fulham. So I would play Yaya in this game and see how he is feeling afterwards.

      With regard to the fitness of Michael Johnson, he started tonight for the EDS but clearly is still a long way off match fitness.

      • Siamack 24/02/2011 at 2:02 pm #

        I can not agree with you more on Spur’s slip-up. From now till the end of season, City can not afford to give away “must-win” games like Fullham. People may disagree with me on this, I personally prefer Championship league spot for City to any silverware this season [Europa league or FA cup] due to income generated for the Club and the lure of a few mouth-watering signings. Keep in mind that if City end up fourth and presumably Chelsea or Spurs end up fifth and manage to win Championship league, City will not be qualified for Championship league.

  3. JOHN GUIDETTI IS MY HERO!!! 23/02/2011 at 11:42 pm #

    Steven, as good a preview as ever.

    I doubt it will live up to the highs of the Hamburg game which we all witnessed at CoMS, but even if it is scrappy, so long as we win and progess I am happy. I do have a funny feeling it will go to extra time though. The fact that they only need a score draw to go through worries me slightly.

    I do think he’ll play his best side possible, although he hinted at Vieira being on the bench. Silva will be as influential as ever, and hopefully the goal at the weekend has done Dzeko a lot of good and he can score. As for Balotelli, this European game would be a good way of getting him back to match sharpness, so hope he plays some part too.

    In response to one of the above comments, Yaya should not be rested, he should be dropped. Bring someone in who will at least play with passion. If that means SWP so be it. Milner will be a miss.

    Boyata will not be on the bench though…..he doesn’t like him.

    🙂

  4. bluemoons rising star 24/02/2011 at 12:39 am #

    …time to blood someone’s new hero…?
    hart
    micah-toure-company-kolarov
    swp-barry-balliotelli
    silva-tevez
    gudetti

  5. bluemoons rising star 24/02/2011 at 12:40 am #

    …time to blood some1’s new hero…?
    hart
    micah-toure-company-kolarov
    swp-barry-balliotelli
    silva-tevez
    gudetti

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