Manchester City will go into Saturday’s away match at West Ham United hoping to stay as close to Arsenal and Liverpool as possible.
It’s been a difficult start to the Premier League season for Manuel Pellegrini, as he’s tried to find his best side quickly while trying to get his side into a good position in the Premier League and Champions League.
Vincent Kompany and Stevan Jovetic are among the first team players in the treatment room at the moment, which means Pellegrini has a couple of big decisions to make with regards to his defence and attack.
Here is the side the Chilean could go with to face West Ham.
GK – Joe Hart
Hart produced a couple of solid performances for England which went a long way to covering up recent mistakes for Manchester City. His distribution at the moment is world class and will be vital for City when they have to counter attack in this game.
RB – Pablo Zabaleta
Zabaleta is arguably the best right-back in the Premier League at the moment and someone Pellegrini knows he can rely on. The Argentinean can tuck inside next to the central defender, press out wide and he’s good enough to be productive in the opponent’s final third.
CB – Matija Nastasic
Pellegrini has tried Garcia at centre back this season but it just hasn’t worked and Nastasic is the safer option. He’s a very quick defender and is more aggressive than many may think, which will be important as the Hammers are likely to use the aerial route frequently throughout this game.
CB – Joleon Lescott
Lescott allows the City back four to retain that strength through experience and leadership. He won’t have a problem playing against the way West Ham play and he’ll be out to make a point now that England have qualified for the World Cup in Brazil.
LB – Gael Clichy
Clichy could feature with Aleksandar Kolarov held back for the Champions League match next week. Clichy is rapid going up and down the left hand side of City’s team and defensively he’s looked solid this season. West Ham will try to exploit him as a weakness so he has to be on his guard.
RM – James Milner
Milner played well on the right of the City midfield in the win against Everton and he could feature again. He offers protection to Zabaleta on that side and can fill in when the full back finds himself out of position. He’s very good at winning the ball back and offloading to more creative and attacking players.
CM – Yaya Toure
The benefits of having Yaya Toure in the team are quite obvious. He’s one of the only players in the City squad who is capable of dragging the midfield forward. He’s also an extremely difficult player to dispossess when he’s at full speed heading for the opponent’s goal.
CM – Fernandinho
Fernandinho has been gradually improving since he first appeared in City colours. He played well against Everton and has started to build up a little bit of momentum after he was criticised for the way he played in the Champions League defeat to Bayern Munich.
LM – David Silva
Silva is one of the best players City have when it comes to protecting the ball and using it well. He’ll be confident after Spain finished top of their World Cup group in the international break and he knows when to tuck inside slightly, with Clichy providing the width on that side.
ST – Sergio Aguero
Aguero is arguably the best striker that the club has. He’s been playing well in important matches so far this season and he’ll relish the hostile atmosphere of playing at Upon Park.
ST – Alvaro Negredo
Negredo’s goal for Spain will probably just get him the nod to start up front in this game. He’s a more mobile, aggressive and proactive striker than many give him credit for and he seems to have finally settled in to what’s expected at Premier League level.
What do you think? Should Dzeko start? What about Nasri on the left?
image: © Tony Austin