Thursday, 3 November 2011

Queens Park Rangers v Manchester City

No doubt City will be buoyed by their rather comprehensive win against a weakened Villarreal side in midweek as they go into the game at Loftus Road on Saturday and take on Neil Warnock's Queens Park Rangers.

QPR's Jay Bothroyd has stated that they must "frustrate" City if they are to take anything out of the game. I take that as a thinly veiled way of saying "we have to get very physical with them" so expect to see a few rather tasty tackles going in during the 90 minutes.

That bothers me about as much as it bothers the players, which isn't all that much at all. Manchester City, for all the flair they have are a hugely robust side and are able to tough it out with the roughest of them as we saw against Wolves last week, twice.

In fact we've got a number of players who rather enjoy a physical game. Micah Richards being one of them. Before the demolition derby he was saying that he loved it in the lower ranks at City as you could get more physical with your opponent without having a foul called. Of course we all want to see a game that's officiated in a fair manner. Hopefully Martin Atkinson will do a better job than Stuart Attwell did last week.

This game will also be Sweeps first game against City since moving in the summer transfer window and I'm sure he will get a very warm welcome from the travelling Blues. We all know what he is capable of and I hope just for this game (and any other time we play against him) he has an off day.

I doubt Joey Barton will get the same kind of reaction and I can see Warnock giving him a man marking job on Silva if David plays after he picked up a little niggle in Spain. We've seen a few try it so far this season but none of been very successful in halting the mercurial genius so far. I wonder if the self proclaimed "best English midfielder" can do.

So who will start for City? Your guess is as good as mine really, but it doesn't seem to matter what team Mancini puts out at the moment as they seem to get the job done regardless. The team's performances always seem to produce more headaches for Mancini. By that I mean selection headaches of course and not the kind he inflicted upon himself in Spain after hitting his head on the dugout. 

One thing is certain though, we wont see Vinny in the lineup as he serves his suspension picked up against Wolves last week. We could see Savic alongside Lescott in the centre again. Although he didn't have too much to do against Villarreal, what he did do looked assured. I would certainly take him over Kolo Toure at the moment taking into account the recent performances of both players. But such is the quality and options within the squad we may even see Micah Richards take on a more central role with Zaba on the right.

Gareth Barry was rested in midweek so we may also see a return for him. Barry is one of the players who has really been in imperious form this season. As the forwards have taken the plaudits, it's the players like Gareth who have been doing the water carrying tend to get overlooked. I would say he was by far the best player on the pitch against Wolves and wouldn't think twice about recalling him for QPR.

As for the forward players, I suspect we'll see Edin Dzeko in the starting 11 after being rested for the Champions League, and as Sergio Aguero only came on as a substitute we may also see him start just behind the Bosnian.

I doubt the odds are particularly rewarding if you're betting on a City win, but as always 100% concentration is needed if City are to maintain their form. With the usual faces at the top of the table playing games they are also expected to win it's important that City continue to set the pace at the front of the pack.

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