Up for the Cup
For a squad with as many options as Manchester City’s, and a club who have not won a major trophy for 34 years, this season’s League Cup offers the Citizens a great opportunity to claim silverware.
Fittingly, City’s last success came in the League Cup back in February, 1976, when they defeated Newcastle United 2-1 at Wembley Stadium, courtesy of goals from Peter Barnes and Dennis Tueart. The match was refereed by a certain Jack Taylor, who before Howard Webb's appearance this summer was the only English referee to run the rule over a World Cup final, something which even the most diehard City fan will regard as a coincidence, more than an omen.
The Italian is likely to reshuffle his pack for their visit to The Hawthorns, but fielding a side out to win their manager’s praise, as well as the match, City may avoid what could prove to be potential banana skin tie.
Prickly conditions at the Hawthorns
Under Roberto Di Matteo, West Brom have been transformed from the side under Tony Mowbray that tried to outplay their Premier League counterparts with dismal success. The former Chelsea midfielder has added steel to the Albion side, and has clearly learnt from experiences of managing MK Dons in the lower leagues of English football; creating a side whose first objective is to compete, and then try and win in style.
For large periods of their recent match against Spurs, Albion controlled the game, adopting a style similar to that of Birmingham City last season, and in front of a packed home crowd, will be hard to break down on Wednesday evening, something which was demonstrated by their weekend victory over Alex McLeish’s side.
Di Matteo goes into Wednesday’s match with only three absentees. Defender Marek Cech remains sidelined with an ankle injury, while Joe Matlock is ruled out with a foot injury.
Albion will also be without Ishmael Miller, with the striker still yet to recover from a thigh strain, although the former Manchester City forward is set to return in coming weeks.
Possible starting XI (4-4-1-1): Carson; Olsson, Tamas, Jara, Shorey; Brunt, Mulumbu, Scharner, Thomas; Odemwingie; Fortune.
Mancini will be without four members of his first-team squad, while striker Emmanuel Adebayor remains a doubt for the match with a dead leg, but the Italian has already insisted that he will rotate his side for their cup clash.
Defenders Joleon Lescott (groin strain), Jeremy Boateng (knee) and Aleksandar Kolarov (ankle) are ruled out, while striker Mario Balotelli (knee) is sidelined until the end of October following surgery.
Possible starting XI (4-3-3): Given; Richards, Boyata, Kompany, Zabaleta; De Jong, Vieira, Barry; Wright-Phillips, Jo, Johnson.