Manchester City v Birmingham City preview

I would like to build this up as a game of two managers. Sven Goran Eriksson’s star is on the high after a series of scintillating performances at Eastlands ironically when the calls for the head of his England successor Steve Mclaren have reached a crescendo. Some say that Steve Bruce will lose his job after Asian tycoon Carson Yeung takes over the charge of the club. But he would do well not to get distracted by such rumours as he takes his body to a tough encounter against at CoMS.

2007-08 has been the best ever start for City in their club history and Birmingham on paper are a soft target. City have been playing a very attacking brand of football at home and will go in as favorites for the game. Rolando Bianchi is fit and will be part of the squad. In all likelihood, Mpenza will continue to be the sole striker up front. Elano has just returned from international duty where he even scored for Brazil, so there might be a case for resting the mercurial Brazilian. It would be interesting to see if Bianchi gets a game ahead of Elano with the latter on the bench.

Isaksson is back to full fitness but Joe Hart should continue in goal. Didi Hamann is on four yellows and one more could mean his first suspension of the season. Valeri Bojinov remains on the injured list.

Birmingham have lost their last three games scoring just one goal in the process. They have found it difficult to get a rhythm going and have struggled offensively. Damien Johnson has a hamstring worry and will most likely sit out. Mikael Forsell is again a touch and go situation. Swiss defender Johan Djourou is all but out with a hamstring injury which he picked up on international duty.

My Verdict: 2-0 to City. I don’t think Birmingham have the potency to penetrate through City’s stable back four. I back Bianchi to come good , given of course that he gets a decent run on the pitch. Petrov to score too.

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