We’re just days away from the return of the magician, but tomorrow’s game against Southampton will come too soon. David Silva is almost set to light up Premier League pitches again and will return to training on Monday, Pellegrini confirmed today.
Silva could be fit for the Bayern Munich game on Tuesday night, but it’s unknown if Pellegrini would play him there or save him for the crunch game against Arsenal at weekend. City have already qualified for the next stage of the Champions League and it’d take an unlikely win of 3-0 or the equivalent (4-1, 5-2) to win the group.
Vincent Kompany’s comeback will also continue tomorrow with the City captain expected to start after completing a full 90 minutes against West Brom during the week.
Jovetic and Nastasic remain sidelined alongside Silva, but the mercurial Jovetic should be back next week and hopefully we can finally see more than a preview of his talents in a City shirt.
Think City have injury problems? Southampton could be without far more of their players tomorrow, according to manager Mauricio Pochettino.
Victor Wanyama, Nathaniel Clyne, Morgan Schneiderlin, Artur Boruc, Kelvin Davis, Guly do Prado, Danny Fox and Jose Fonte are all definitely out or in serious doubt. Gaston Ramirez should be fit after recovering from an illness.
Even with injuries and off the back of three defeats in a row, Southampton will be very tricky opponents for City and are likely to raise their game.
Last season they comprehensive beat the Blues 3-1 in this fixture, with the infamous Gareth Barry own goal helping them along the way.
Pellegrini has again showered praise on City icon Sergio Aguero with a cheeky comment to the press:
“I never said he’s the best striker in the Premier League. I said he’s the best player in the Premier League.”
Comparisons have been made lately between Aguero and the sensational Luis Suarez, the two best strikers in the Premier League right now. But Pellegrini reckons the City man is the better player.
“He’s [Aguero] the most complete player. He’s different [to Suarez]. Suarez is a very important striker, but I think Sergio has more parts to his game.
“Sergio is only 25, so of course he can improve. This year he has improved a lot, he’s always a top player and he always scores goals. But what he has added is working for the team without the ball and that’s very important.
“Maybe he’s getting better because he is older. For me, a player has his best performances between 24 and 30.
“He [Aguero] started very young, and every year he is improving. This year the best thing he is doing is scoring goals, but he’s added the work without the ball.”
Pantilimon, who hadn’t played a single minute of Premier League football before recently taking Joe Hart’s place, is out of contract next summer and will have no shortage of suitors.
Pellegrini doesn’t seem in a panic over Panti’s situation, telling the press today:
“It’s not an issue we’re talking about at this moment. But he’s doing very well and we will see afterwards about that.
“Maybe it doesn’t just depend on us, as he wanted to go at the beginning of the year – he wanted to go to another club where he could play more. So we’ll talk with him and decide this.
“If he continues with his good performances, then maybe [he will be offered a new deal]. He’s a very good goalkeeper and he’s playing very well.”
You’ve probably already seen the World Cup draw, but here is a rundown of how City players will be involved.
Group B: Spain (Silva, Negredo, Navas) paired with Netherlands, Chile and Australia
Group C: Ivory Coast (Yaya) paired with Greece, Colombia and Japan
Group D: England (Hart, Milner) paired with Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica
Group E: France (Nasri, Clichy) paired with Switzerland, Ecuador and Honduras
Group F: Argentina (Aguero, Zabaleta) paired with Bosnia (Dzeko), Nigeria and Iran
Group H: Belgium (Kompany) paired with Russia, Algeria and South Korea
Of course, that isn’t a definite list. Some may miss out or others may make the trip, such as Fernandinho if Scolari ever comes to his senses.
Here’s an article from last month that examines the chances of City players going to the World Cup.
John Guidetti’s comeback continued tonight with a goal for City’s U21s against Middlesbrough U21s in the U21 Premier League. Guidetti was said to have looked good and set up another goal.
The highly promising Marcos Lopes also returned from an injury as the young Blues eased to victory.
The other goals came from local boys George Glendon and Jordi Hiwula, and Austrian winger Sinan Bytyqi.
Guidetti’s immediate future should be sorted soon with at least nine clubs interested in taking the Swedish striker on loan in January.
After Wembley in May, City fans may be forgiven for wanting to forget the FA Cup for a while. But it’s almost time for the big boys to step in with the third round draw this Sunday at 4pm.
City will be number 25 in the draw and will want to repeat their Road to Wembley, but hopefully with more of a 2011 outcome than a 2013 outcome!
So, which English players are there out there who could a). be signed and b). are good enough to play for City?
My colleague wrote this exclusive earlier about Pellegrini being keen on more British talent in the squad.
I can think of one player who fits the profile and he’ll line up at left-back against us tomorrow…