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Manchester City predicted XI to face QPR

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After a seemingly huge step forward against rivals Manchester United, it was a case of two monumental steps back for Manchester City in midweek.

Manuel Pellegrini's side ended a difficult run of results with a deserved victory over their fiercest rivals which should have set them on course to go on and beat CSKA Moscow on Wednesday night.

However, the Russians hadn't read the script and left Manchester with a 2-1 win, meaning City are back to square one.

A shot at redemption presents itself on Saturday in the form of a Premier League clash with QPR.

The 2012 fixture between the two sides is etched into the memory of football fans across the country, but this weekend City need three points to simply alleviate some of the pressure on under-fire boss Pellegrini and prove they can at least mount a title challenge, even if they've once again failed in the Champions League.

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Stability

Despite having millions at their disposal, City have actually kept the core of the side that famously lifted their first Premier League title in 2012.

On Saturday as many as seven players who started the infamous 3-2 win are likely to start, with Samir Nasri finally ready to take his place in the starting line-up having recently recovered from injury.

One of those seven is midfielder Yaya Toure, who may face a backlash from his manager after his foolish red card saw City reduced to nine men for the closing stages of Wednesday's defeat.

Striking options

One big decision for Pellegrini to make is who he selects to partner 2012 hero Sergio Aguero, who's Premier League form this season makes him simply undroppable.

Stevan Jovetic got the nod in the last two games, but was withdrawn at half-time against CSKA, suggesting Edin Dzeko, who netted the important equaliser in that famous game, could get the nod this week.

Failing that, Pellegrini may even opt to just pick the one striker he can rely on and go with a five-man midfield instead, leaving Toure, if selected, to roam free and support Aguero.

Defence

As ever, there will again be a question mark over who starts in the centre of the defence alongside Vincent Kompany on Saturday.

With Aleksandar Kolarov out injured, we can be almost certain that Pablo Zabaleta and Gael Clichy will occupy the full-back positions, meaning the rest of City's defenders will be fighting for that one spot.

Thus far this season Eliaquim Mangala and Martin Demichelis have been given the opportunity to make the position their own, but neither have convinced so far, and it's anyone's guess who gets the nod.

But Pellegrini has confirmed that Kompany will be out for the game meaning the pair will get the chance to play together. How they will cope without the talismanic Belgian next to them will be of concern, but it is a great chance for both to show they are capable of partnering the captain long-term.

Pellegrini said in a press conference: "The injury situation is that Kolarov is still injured, David Silva has his ligaments problem and Vincent Kompany has his calf problem.

Unavailable

As mentioned, Kolarov is still missing having picked up an injury during the warm-up against Manchester United.

Joining him on the sidelines is David Silva, and the Spaniard is not due back anytime soon after suffering a knee injury in the League Cup defeat against Newcastle.

On a positive note, Frank Lampard is back in training, and although Wednesday was deemed too soon, he should return to the matchday squad on Saturday.

Predicted line-up

Hart; Zabaleta, Demichelis, Mangala, Clichy; Milner, Fernando, Toure, Nasri; Aguero, Dzeko

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Topics:
Sergio Aguero
Manchester City
Premier League
Gnegneri Toure Yaya
Football

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