Venue: Etihad Stadium
Date: 9 April 2016
Referee: Mike Jones
Kick off: 17:30
West Brom are a very different proposition to Paris Saint Germain. With all due respect to the Baggies (and respect they deserve for surviving another Premier League campaign without ever really looking like going down for the second consecutive season), they’re your average nothing-to-play-for side. Brom sit comfortably in 11th place and will be patting themselves on the back for another solid season. Tony Pulis has his critics, but he offers you that security.
Being described as ‘boring’ by Michael Owen must be something like being told you’ve got a shit haircut by Gerry Francis or a fat arse by Wilfried Bony, but Pulis has managed it. Appearing on Fletch and Sav last year, Owen – with his voice that flows through the airwaves as cleanly as a loaf of bread through a seive – revealed that Pulis’s ‘mind-numbingly’ boring training sessions ‘finished me off.’ But as enervating as the Welshman’s management style may be, it’s certainly effective.
Encouragingly though, Pulis sides are typically poor away from home. Brom have picked up just 18 points on the road this term (only the bottom four teams and Swansea have a worse record) and have never beaten us at the Etihad Stadium. Let’s whisper it quietly, but that humiliating five-month run of not being able to win a consecutive game in the league could be about to come to an end.
With the small matter of a quarter final second leg against PSG to tackle on Tuesday, tomorrow night would be a perfect time to rest a few players. However, on a weekend where fellow top four chasers Manchester United face Spurs and West Ham welcome Arsenal to the Boleyn Ground, it is crucial that Pellegrini fields a strong eleven. David Silva has been ruled out with a ‘small’ ankle problem, meaning Samir Nasri could be handed his first start since 9 December 2015. The manager confirmed in his press conference today that Yaya is fit again and I wouldn’t mind seeing him start alongside Delph in the centre of midfield. After all, it’d be wise to wrap Fernando and Fernandinho – the duo that was so instrumental in achieving that terrific result in Paris two days ago – in cotton wool before Tuesday.
Pellegrini also revealed that Raheem Sterling and Vincent Kompany should be back in action in ‘a couple more weeks’, but says they are not yet working with the squad.
Pulis says he will monitor ‘one or two knocks’ before deciding who is ready to play in tomorrow’s evening kick off. Midfielder Stephane Sessegnon is back in contention after returning from international duty last week.
Our visitors have played seven games this season in which they’ve failed to register a single shot on target. With Eliaquim Mangala beginning to repay the £42m we spent on him in 2014 (only joking, but fair play to the lad, he looks alright at the mo), I don’t see how we’re not winning this one.
Going for a 3-0 win, lads.
Predict the score:
[statsfc-score-predictor key=”D8SJIk7F6vySBuDaFQRSHy11xfbyCt18uXRinj2b” team=”Man City” date=”2016-04-09″ default_css=”true”]