Pellegrini confirmed at his pre-CSKA presser today that Kompany and Jovetić will miss tomorrow’s game against the Russians. He also revealed that “Jo-Jo” will be out for at least 3 weeks with the calf injury he picked up against Newcastle, but luckily a big chunk of that will be the international break.
Pellegrini was kind enough to inform the press that perennial third choice goalkeeper Richard Wright is also out with an injury, so at least the boss is thorough!
Negredo is fit and was taken off at half-time on Saturday because of the long shift he put in against Newcastle during the week. Garcia also looks to be fit again after missing the Norwich game.
Remember, if City win and Plzeň fail to beat Bayern, City are through to the knockouts with two games to spare!
City must not underestimate CSKA, who are on a run of two wins since their home defeat to the Blues. Doumbia has improved his fitness since that game, while former United winger Zoran Tošić has scored 5 goals in his last 3 games. Swedish midfield ace Rasmus Elm, who missed the reverse fixture, is also back from injury and appeared as a substitute on Saturday.
Possible teams for tomorrow’s game:
City: Pantilimon, Richards, Demichelis, Nastasić, Kolarov, Fernandinho, Yaya, Nasri, Silva, Aguero, Negredo
CSKA: Akinfeev, Ignashevich, Berezutsky, Nababkin, Shchennikov, Wernbloom, Honda, Tosic, Milanov, Musa, Doumbia
Referee: Carlos Velasco Carballo (Spain)
Ticket sales have been slow for the CSKA game with many still remaining tonight. Even with the discounted bundles, many City fans seem to feel the prices for non-glamour games in this competition are too high. Perhaps a pricing plan similar to last year’s FA Cup, where the Etihad was sold out for three games against lower league opposition, would be better for the less attractive Champions League games?
Yaya has called on City fans attending the game to show the traveling Russians just how welcoming Mancunian football fans are, following the racist abuse he suffered in Moscow.
CSKA have been expected to bring around 500 fans to Manchester, but you can knock a few off that number after several of their fans were arrested earlier. Around half a dozen CSKA fans became so unruly on an EasyJet flight that the plane made an emergency landing at Copenhagen airport.
Six were arrested according to the AFP, with three later released and three held in Danish custody.
Good luck to City’s stewards tomorrow.
The U19s also play their CSKA counterparts tomorrow in a top-of-the-table UEFA Youth League match. Both teams are on 7pts and while both look a safe bet to qualify for the knockouts the table toppers will avoid a fellow group winner in the next round. This game is free to attend at Hyde’s Ewen Fields and kicks off at 15:00 GMT.
There is little between these talented sides and the reverse fixture in Moscow finished 1-1.
City’s second match of 2014 has been rescheduled for TV. Newcastle vs. City in the Premier League will now take place on Sunday 12 January at 14:05 GMT, after being moved from the Saturday at the request of Sky Sports.
City will go into that game looking for their tenth win in a row over Newcastle. They must be sick of the sight of City!
A couple of tomorrow’s back pages cover Pellegrini’s comments earlier where he told CSKA fans to learn from their mistakes and stop the obscene racist abuse against players like Yaya. The City boss wants to leave this issue behind and for Russia to set a good example when they host the World Cup in 2018.
The blog is one week old today and if you’re new to it, here are some of the articles we’ve posted so far.
– Five Defenders on City’s Radar (29/10)
– City – big announcement (30/10)
– City chase Brahim, the young jewel of Spanish football (31/10)
– Joe Hart can bounce back and Peter Shilton is living proof why (1/11)
– Hart could quit in January (2/11)
– David Silva’s brilliance in stats by @TypicalBlueMoon (3/11)
– Edin Dzeko’s interview: Lost in Translation? (4/11)