Europa League preview: Dynamo Kiev v Manchester City

City embark on the latest round of the Europa League with a trip to the Ukraine and a potentially difficult tie against Dynamo Kiev. With a tired squad, it will be interesting to see the level to which Roberto Mancini rotates from the side that narrowly beat Wigan.

The manager has recently complained how injuries have reduced his options. This wasn’t entirely true, particularly for the likes of Boyata and Jo. As we showed previously, with the prospect of playing twice a week every week for the remainder of the season, Mancini needs to make use of all available players.

Mancini selected a strong line-up for the away leg against Aris in the hope of killing the tie and being able to rest players in the home leg. The plan backfired as the game ended in a goalless draw and Mancini selected a similarly strong line-up for the home leg. The following weekend we only managed a draw against Fulham.

Following the second leg of this tie, City have a hugely important trip to Stamford Bridge at the weekend. Consquently it could make sense to play a strong line-up in the first leg and hope to be in a position to rest players for the second leg.

The manager has an intriguing dilemma with regard to whether this game or that against Reading requires the stronger line-up. Kiev away is likely to be the tougher fixture, yet beating Reading sends us on a maiden trip to Wembley and leaves us only two games from a trophy.

The need for players like Barry, Silva, Yaya and Tevez to have a break before the Chelsea game is increasingly evident. Therefore Vieira is again likely to start. Nigel de Jong could improve his match fitness with a game.

Milner and Adam Johnson haven’t travelled as they continue to work on their fitness. Hopefully Milner will be available for the second leg.

Due to the injury to Milner and Barry looking in desperate need of a rest, either Yaya or Silva could start. It’s to be hoped that neither plays for more than an hour.

Roberto Mancini:

“We will try to reach the final if it is possible, both in the Europa League and the FA Cup. It depends on our players recovering their strength.”

If Mancini does decide to rotate his players and gamble on a weaker side getting the result then it makes sense to look ahead at selections for the other upcoming matches. By doing this we can see how best to rotate players so those required for Chelsea don’t have to play twice a week.

Below are the line-ups we’d choose for the upcoming fixtures, though this gambles on squad players being able to get a result against Kiev. Mancini has talked up the Kiev game and maybe he is going to risk Champions League qualification by playing close to his strongest line-up in all games. Then again, Gerard Houllier talked up Villa’s FA Cup tie against us prior to the event.

Ideally City will secure a two or three goal victory in the away leg and simply play out the second leg without too much exertion. It’s time to put faith in the squad players and Mancini’s tactical nous to keep it tight and get a result.

Blue Days line-up for Kiev away:
Zabaleta – Boyata – Boateng – Kolarov
Vieira – De Jong
Wright-Phillips – Silva – Jo

Prediction: 2-0 to City.

Blue Days line-up for Reading:
Richards – Kompany – Lescott – Kolarov
De Jong – Barry
Silva – Y Toure – Balotelli

Blue Days line-up for Kiev home:
Zabaleta – Boyata – Boateng – Kolarov
Vieira – Milner
Wright-Phillips – Y Toure – Jo

Blue Days line-up for Chelsea:
Richards – Kompany – Lescott – Zabaleta
De Jong – Barry
Silva – Y Toure – Balotelli

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  1. It’s time for mancini to prove he is the right man for the job.We will need at least a draw away to keiv to have any sort of comfort in our other 2 games.

  2. I wouldn’t be so confident about Kiev away mate, they are very good. A win would be a sublime result

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