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Opposing View: Manchester City

Opposing View: Manchester City
Manchester City supporter Danny Pugsley helps us preview Saturday's visit to the Etihad in the F.A Cup...

What's changed & how have City improved since our meeting in R3 last season?

A new manager principally. To what extent the reports of dischord between players and manager last season were true is unknown but the squad has a more harmonious feel to it and the formation and set up deployed probably utilises certain players to greater effect.

That said, under Roberto Mancini City were an attacking side (far from the defensive outfit many thought) but a look at the numbers show that City are creating chances and shots in far better positions this season and also converting at a far higher level.

100 goals for the season chalked up last weekend: what's been the secret?

Pellegrini has instilled a real commitment to attacking football from the very start.

The players that Pellegrini has brought in, whilst not perhaps being household names, have fitted into this system perfectly.

It is not entirely gung-ho football, abandoning defensive duties, but Pellegrini is prepared to commit to the attacking game.

Vincent Kompany was talking about the quadruple last week - presumably City are taking the F.A Cup seriously in that case?

Definitely. Expect some changes to what would be considered the strongest side (and there are one or two injuries at the moment as well) but Pellegrini had the luxury of changing virtually an entire side for the midweek game at West Ham so it will be a strong side that is put out.

Now the cup competitions have come around in earnest it has been noticeable that talk of the quadruple has begun to rise. Such talk is rather premature (particularly with facing Barcelona in the Champions League) but they are certainly well placed domestically.

Three games in eight days: will Manuel Pellegrini rotate for Watford?

As mentioned above the first leg cushion allowed Pellegrini to make seven or eight changes this past week. City do face Tottenham next Wednesday so there may be half an eye on that game but I would expect more or less a full strength side with the likelihood of utilising all three substitutes during the game.

Who will be your key man on Saturday?

Can we narrow it down to to one?!

City's success this season has been predicated by having their big players all hitting top form for the most part. A debate over player of the season would have you scratching your head trying to pick from one of five or six.

You have the power and dominance of Yaya Toure and Fernandinho in midfield, the guile and craft of Samir Nasri and David Silva and all three strikers are scoring for fun. Add to the mix the return to the team of Vincent Kompany and the return to form of Joe Hart and it is difficult to find a weak link to exploit.

I would always make a case though for Silva as being the soul of the side, able to create so much and bring other players into the play.

Any injuries or suspensions?

Nasri is out for the next six weeks or so following his recent injury but there is largely a clean bill of health now Aguero has returned to the side. As mentioned before, there will be one or two changes but the expectation is that a near full strength side will be fielded.

Match prediction?

City's home record this season has been phenomenal, as it has been the past three seasons or so to be honest so to even contemplate anything other than a City win is hard to do. Maybe a slight scare at some point but City to come through 3-1.

Danny Pugsley is the editor of Bitter and Blue and Manchester City club reporter for The Metro.

Writer:Tom Bodell
Date:Friday January 24 2014
Time: 9:15AM

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