Manchester City must cope without star men against AS Roma

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Manchester City travel to AS Roma on Wednesday knowing exactly what they need to progress to the knock-out stages of the Champions League.

However, Manuel Pellegrini's side also know they'll have to cope without suspended midfielder Yaya Toure, while Sergio Aguero is a massive doubt for the game due to a knee injury.

There are few teams in the world who could cope without players of that calibre, but that's exactly what City must do if they're to qualify from Group E.

A win will almost certainly see City through, but they could also qualify with a score draw should CSKA Moscow lose to Bayern Munich.

Even at full strength, a trip to Serie A's second placed side would be no easy task, but can City get the result they need without their key men?

Must score

The only certainty going in to the game is that Manchester City cannot qualify if they fail to score in Rome.

With Aguero leading the line, the Premier League champions look likely to score against any team they face, but in his absence they'll be reliant on Edin Dzeko and Stevan Jovetic, although both have suffered injuries of their own.

Dzeko returned to the bench against Everton after a month long lay-off with a calf strain and featured for 30 minutes, while Jovetic was left out of the squad having picked up a knock against Sunderland.

In the absence of a fully fit striker, Pellegrini will be hoping the likes of Samir Nasri and Jesus Navas can provide an attacking threat, while veteran Frank Lampard is a regular goalscorer from midfield.

Defensive concentration

City may not be in this do-or-die situation had they defended better in previous games, notably the 2-2 draw in Moscow in which they'd lead CSKA 2-0.

Despite not being at his best this season, a fit Vincent Kompany improves the City defence tenfold, and Pellegrini is hoping he'll be available, having said prior to the Everton fixture: "Vincent is not in the squad list but he’s working. We will have a test on him on Monday or Tuesday."

However, should he prove he's recovered sufficiently from the injury which kept him out of games against Sunderland and Everton, the skipper will certainly start in Rome.

One of his main tasks will be to keep Roma icon Francesco Totti quiet, something he failed to do when the two sides met at the Etihad earlier in the campaign.

If the Belgian doesn't win his battle to be fit, Martin Demichelis will be left with the responsibility to guide the eratic Eliaquim Mangala through his biggest test to date.

Experience is key

Although replacing Aguero may seem like mission impossible given his goalscoring form, City do have a man ready to step in to Toure's rather large shoes.

Step forward Mr Lampard. The Champions League winner rolled back the years with a fine display against Bayern Munich in the famous 3-2 win, and he could be the difference for City on Wednesday.

Coming up against the formidable Daniele De Rossi will be no easy task, but if there is a midfield in world football who can pop up with a goal when it's most needed, that man is Lampard.

The former Chelsea hero has vast experience in this competition, and his backs against the wall run to the 2012 final with his former club will put him in good stead to lead this City team into the knock-out stages this year.

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Gnegneri Toure Yaya
UEFA Champions League
Sergio Aguero
Manchester City
AS Roma

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