Who will start in Manchester City’s midfield this season?

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The Etihad Stadium outfit have a wealth of talent in the centre of the park, but who will get the nod to play from Manuel Pellegrini?

Manchester City have one of the strongest squads in the Premier League ahead of the new season, and will pose a real title threat again under Manuel Pellegrini. However the new boss has a number of decisions to make when it comes to player selection - none more difficult that who to play in the centre of midfield.

With Pellegrini preferring the 4-2-3-1 formation, it is plausible that up to six international quality players could be fighting it out for the two central midfeld berths.

Sure there will be squad rotation and Pellegrini will need strength in depth to compete on two fronts this term, but with big games coming thick and fast, he will want to play his top players more often than not.

Looking at the City squad, the six players fighting it out for the two central midfield positions appear to be Yaya Toure, Jack Rodwell, Javi Garcia, Fernandinho, Gareth Barry and James Milner.

There is an argument that Toure could play further forward as almost a second striker, but even there he will have the likes of David Silva, Sergio Aguero and Stevan Jovetic to compete with. The Ivory Coast international has been one of the most consistent players in City’s rise to prominence over the last couple of seasons, and in a big game it is hard to imagine the African being left out.

Fernandinho is one of the new players that Pellegrini has brought in, and as such you would assume the Brazilian will be a key man for the new boss. The inflated price tag and reputation that the former Shakhtar Donetsk box-to-box man arrives with suggests he will play a significant role for the club this term.

Javi Garcia is yet to really show the City fans what he is capable of, and will need to work hard to get regular first-team games for the club this term. The fact the Spaniard can slot in at centre-back will be in his favour, however midfield starts for the former Benfica man will be limited this term.

The English trio of Barry, Milner and Rodwell will have a job on their hands to get playing time. City are in danger of losing their English base, with Joe Hart the only home-grown player in the squad now certain of a game. Milner will compete for appearances on the flanks, while Barry’s experience will see him play on occasion.

For Rodwell, his nightmare since moving to City from Everton last summer appears to be ready to continue. The midfield battler has struggled with injuries since his switch to the Etihad, and with extra competition in the squad this season looks in danger of being frozen out at the club.

With cross-town rivals Manchester United desperate to sign a new central midfield, City have no such problems ahead of the upcoming campaign.

image: © geetarchurchy

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