With a huge match against Arsenal at weekend, Pellegrini could opt to rest some of his top stars with the only hope of winning Group D being a win by 3 goals (3-0, 4-1, 5-2) – and let’s be honest, the chances of this are slim against an incredible Bayern team enjoying a long unbeaten run.
Another view is that Arsenal will have to be near enough full strength against Napoli to ensure they win the group, and they play a day later than City – so City might be able to go full strength without suffering too much for it on Saturday.
Pellegrini confirmed that City will be without Jovetic, Nastasic and Clichy through injury tomorrow. The absence of Jovetic is a disappointment as it was thought he’d be back in time for this game, which would have been a great opportunity for him.
Yaya Toure also misses the game through suspension after picking up what looked to be a tactical yellow card against CSKA, ensuring he will be eligible for City’s last 16 game next year.
The good news is that David Silva is back and Pellegrini might want to give him minutes before unleashing him against Arsenal on Saturday.
Predicting the team tomorrow depends on just how much Pellegrini wants the win.
A 1-0/2-0 win or even a draw wouldn’t change anything, but would send a message that City can compete with the champions of Europe, while earning the club more bonus money and coefficient points.
But a defeat with a weakened team, assuming it wasn’t too embarrassing, could be considered a worthwhile sacrifice.
Four City players have been nominated for the prestigious FIFPro World XI, which will be announced on January 13 in Zurich.
Despite excellence from several City players in recent years, not one has made the final 11, with even Kompany missing out.
Vincent Kompany and Pablo Zabaleta are on the list of defenders, Yaya Toure on the list of midfielders, and Sergio Aguero on the list of forwards nominated.
There are 55 players nominated in all, so it won’t be an easy task for any City player to make the final cut, but we live in hope!
Speaking of Yaya, he has been at number 10 today, having been left behind by City as they jetted off to Germany. Yaya for PM!
Samir Nasri is set to be offered a new 2-year extension to his City contract in the New Year, according to Goal.
Nasri’s future was in doubt last summer after a disappointing season, but the arrival of Pellegrini has liberated the French playmaker, who has been one of City’s best performers this season.
According to Goal, the financial terms of Nasri’s contract, thought to be worth around £150,000-a-week, will remain the same, but the new deal will keep him at the Etihad until 2017.
City are responsible for some legendary transfer blunders over the years. Who can forget Lee “Badbuy” Bradbury, Barry Conlon, Matias Vuoso, Georgios Samaras, Roque Santa Cruz, Jô… ah, I could go on for a while.
But what about the players we haven’t bought when we had the chance?
A couple of summers ago City had the chance to sign the prodigious Paul Pogba after his United contract ended, a player now valued at £30m+ and who City have been linked with in recent months.
Roberto Mancini, now coach of Galatasaray, who face Pogba’s Juventus in a crucial Champions League tie tomorrow night, confirmed today that City could have had the young French midfielder:
“Two years ago we could have brought him to City on a free transfer. I can’t really remember why we decided not to.”
Can’t remember? OK.
After snubbing the chance to sign Pogba, then failing to land Daniele De Rossi and Javi Martinez in the same summer, the club signed Javi Garcia from Benfica for £16m.
The Bosnian, constantly linked with a move away, is happy to stay at the club until the end of the season according to Di Marzio, despite interest from Inter and Spurs.
Next summer, Dzeko will only have one year left on his City deal, putting him in a strong position to join his preferred club at a reduced fee. And, of course, also increasing the chances of the £110,000-a-week striker earning a nice signing-on fee at his next club.
Remember the “Bluemoon Black-out” games several years back when City turned the lights off before kick-off?
After surveying fans about the atmosphere, reviving this was one of the most popular ideas and the club plans to bring it back over Christmas.
With Liverpool on Boxing Day being the only kick-off in full darkness this month, that could be the day we see this again…