Europa League preview: Manchester City v FC Timisoara (1-0)

And a big Eastlands welcome to… Jo! Yes the signs are that are Brazilian hitman will take another step in his Lazarus like comeback. Yesterday saw Roberto Mancini singing his praises, recalling the goals Jo scored to against the Italian’s Inter side in the Champions League for CSKA Moscow.

Roberto Mancini on Jo:

“I have been able to see Jo close-up in the last two months and what I have seen makes me think he’s a good player.

“I can also remember seeing him play for CSKA a few years ago when I was with Internazionale and he’s a good striker.”

City produced a solid display in Romania before cutting loose in the closing part of the game to clinch a win thanks to Mario Balotelli’s debut goal. With the hard work supposedly done, tonight ought to see City qualify for the group stages of the Europa League.

However our lead is slender to begin with and the Romanians have nothing to lose. City will want to avoid any early scares and a goal or two before half-time would put us in a position to take it easy for the second half.

The Guardian’s Daniel Taylor was at training yesterday and tweeted:

Mancini working alone with outfield ten: Richards, Boyata, Kompany, Zab; SWP, Vieira, De Jong, Silva; Jo, Adebayor. #MCFC team for tmr?

This would make sense as it offers the rotation which Mancini is looking for in Cup games while enabling the likes of David Silva more game time to adjust to his new surroundings.

This line-up would see a 4-4-2 formation, where either Jo or Adebayor could play a slightly deeper role. Jo used to play this role with CSKA when alongside Wagner Love. Adebayor’s passing is often better than he’s given credit for in a deeper role, and he isn’t offside so much!

Silva would presumably play on the left flank, though if one of the strikers plays deep, the formation may resemble a 4-3-3, enabling the Spaniard more opportunity to drift into the middle. The only downside to this is the limited overlapping abilities of Zabaleta from left-back.

With neither de Jong or Vieira likely to venture to far forward, it will be imperative for one of the strikers to drop deep in the manner we’ve been seeing from Tevez recently.
The Sun are reporting that Shay Given is likely to start and if true this would indicate he’s likely to stay with the club for the time being. Good news for his fans, but it’s doubtful Shay will be happy knowing that whatever he does Joe Hart will be back in goal on Sunday.

Even with the rotation, this still looks a strong City side capable of providing plenty of entertainment. The third tiers at Eastlands are closed tonight but hopefully they’ll be a sizeable crowd.

Despite the Europa League being the most ridiculously bloated competition, it’s still an opportunity to see some fantastic City players in action.

Blue Days line-up: (4-4-1-1)
Richards – Boyata – Kompany – Zab
Wright-Phillips – Vieira – De Jong – Silva

Prediction: 4-0 to City.

Remember this? Are we finally to see the CSKA Jo?

What to make of Jo appearing ahead of Adebayor
Player ratings: Manchester City v FC Timisoara

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