Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Juventus preview

Prestige European ties return to City. The UEFA Cup run under Mark Hughes was great fun, but we didn't entertain any of the elite. Tomorrow we host Juventus, our first European glamour tie since the 1980s.

I'm certainly excited about it. Having won in Salzburg the imperative to win tomorrow is slightly weaker, and so we can, within reason, relax and enjoy it. We don't get Alessandro del Piero at Eastlands too often.

Because it's so novel, it's hard to search in the precedents for anything meaningful. We have played them before, of course, in the UEFA Cup in September 1976. We won 1-0 at home, thanks to a Brian Kidd back post header but lost 2-0 in Turin. Interesting enough but this is hardly a sign of how things are going to go tomorrow. Will Emmanuel Adebayor be inspired by Kiddo's pre-game reminiscing?

I do think Adebayor will start, for the first time since our last home European game, over one month ago. The question, then, is whether he will be partnered with Carlos Tévez in 4-4-2 or left alone in 4-5-1. I would have guessed our captain would start, but on the other hand I think he'll bring back Adam Johnson too and that precludes 4-4-2 diamond. So it's 4-5-1 without Carlos or a flat 4-4-2 for the first time this season. Ultimately I don't know enough about Mancini or how he plans to use this squad to predict these things.

I don't really know enough to make a prediction, either, but I like the sound of 1-1 so I'll go with that.

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