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Premier League

  • 5 February 2011
  • • 15:00
  • • Etihad Stadium, Manchester
  • Referee: M. Atkinson
  • • Attendance: 46846

Manchester City - West Brom Preview: Concussed Micah Richards set to miss out as loan star Carlos Vela prepares for first start

Manchester City - West Brom Preview: Concussed Micah Richards set to miss out as loan star Carlos Vela prepares for first start


Manchester City

Micah Richards is set to miss out after he was concussed in the 2-2 draw with Birmingham City on Wednesday. The right-back will join fellow England international Adam Johnson on the sidelines after he injured ankle ligaments in training and is set to be out of action until April.

Striker Mario Balotelli is also set to be absent, with the upcoming derby against Manchester United pencilled in for his return. Yaya Toure, is however, believed to have recovered from a sore throat.

Possible starting XI: Hart; Zabaleta, K Toure, Kompany, Kolarov; De Jong, Barry; Tevez, Yaya Toure, Silva; Dzeko

West Brom

Fresh from making his bow against Wigan Athletic on Tuesday, Arsenal loanee Carlos Vela should be thrust into action from the start. The striker's arrival is timely after Peter Odemwingie picked up an ankle knock in the same game that is threatening his participation.

Pablo Ibanez is also in line to miss out with a hamstring injury. Fellow centre-back Gabriel Tamas is back after suspension.

Striker Roman Bednar has been loaned to Turkish outfit MKE Ankaragucu.

Possible starting XI: Myhill; Jara, Tamas, Olsson, Cech; Mulumbu, Scharner; Vela, Brunt, Thomas; Fortune

Title dreams fading

City fans had allowed themselves to dream of a Premier League title push but that target seems a long way off on current form. The Blues twice relinquished the lead against Birmingham in mid-week to see them fall eight points behind neighbours Manchester United.

Such results have become the bane of manager Roberto Mancini's existence and his frustration was clear for all to see on the final whistle. Certainly, the free-scoring performances of mid-January have fallen away in defeat to Aston Villa, and stalemates with League One Notts County in the FA Cup and Alex McLeish's men.

With United now disappearing into the horizon, nothing but a draw against their parachuting visitors at the weekend will be acceptable. Drop more points and the desire to repay owner Sheikh Mansour's investment in trophies will not be quenched.

Fortune needed to beat drop

Marc-Antoine Fortune's leveller against Wigan covered the cracks but the Baggies now seem set for a relegation scrap. The promoted side took to the top flight like they'd never been away at the start of the season as they sat happily in the top half of the table.

A run of one win in their last eight games has stopped the feel good factor at The Hawthorns, however. Boss Roberto Di Matteo desperately needs a change of form from somewhere and the come-from-behind draw on their last trip to Manchester owed much to 'Lady Luck.'

A deflection off Patrice Evra and shock fumble from Edwin van Sar saw a point gained at United. A similar upturn in fortune could see Marc-Antoine's strike not be in vain at the end of the campaign.

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Last Five Matches
Team News
Available Squads
1Joe HartGoalkeeper
17Jerome BoatengDefender
4Vincent KompanyDefender
4Kolo ToureDefender
5Pablo ZabaletaDefender
21David SilvaStriker
18Gareth BarryMidfielder
7James MilnerMidfielder
13Aleksandar KolarovDefender
42Yaya Touré Midfielder
10Carlos TévezStriker
31Shay GivenGoalkeeper
6Joleon LescottDefender
62Abdul RazakMidfielder
-Patrick VieiraMidfielder
11Shaun Wright-PhillipsMidfielder
10Edin DzekoStriker
13B. MyhillGoalkeeper
2Steven ReidDefender
3Jonas OlssonDefender
33Paul ScharnerMidfielder
20Nicky ShoreyDefender
7James MorrisonMidfielder
21Youssouf MulumbuMidfielder
11Chris BruntMidfielder
28Marc-Antoine FortuneStriker
9Peter OdemwingieStriker
14Jerome ThomasDefender
22Scott CarsonGoalkeeper
36Gonzalo JaraDefender
30Gabriel Sebastian TamaşDefender
-Pablo IbáñezDefender
5Somen TchoyiMidfielder
11Carlos VelaStriker
-Simon CoxStriker
Players to Watch
Carlos Tévez
Carlos Tévez
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 10
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
For the first time in his Manchester City career, criticism has begun to surround Joe Hart. The goalkeeper has been blamed for blunders against Leicester City and Aston Villa already, while he could have potentially done better for Nikola Zigic's goal for Birmingham.

With experienced shot stopper Shay Given still at the club following the close of the January transfer window, the pressure to perform is still apparent. A good workout from West Brom's exciting attack could repair his reputation.
James Hurst
James Hurst
Position: Defender
Squad Number: 26
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
After spending more time on the sidelines than the pitch for Arsenal, Carlos Vela is sure to grasp the opportunity handed to him by his loan switch. The Mexican made his bow for his new side as a substitute in the mid-week draw with Wigan and should be handed his first start on Saturday.

The striker will hope to prosper on the supply line from Chris Brunt and Jerome Thomas. With the Baggies expected to be pegged back by City, his speed could be a crucial weapon on the counter-attack.
City have been in ruthless form at home of late and will expect to swat the Baggies aside. With Edin Dzeko gunning for his first Eastlands goal, the visitors could be in for a tough trip.
Editor's Prediction

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