Every other manager in the Premier League would envy Roberto Mancini’s selection dilemma ahead of the Manchester derby: he must select two from Edin Dzeko, Mario Balotelli, Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero. That’s over £00m worth of talent.
Crucially, each player offers something different, meaning Mancini can alter the balance of the side subtly. Dzeko is a penalty box presence and a reliable target for crosses, but has proved more effective in the supersub role he dislikes; not only does he regularly score after coming off the bench, he’s been very quiet when handed a rare start.
Aguero is an interesting player, able to play two separate roles; either as a ‘number ten’ floating between the lines, or as the primary forward, using his incredible acceleration to burst in behind the defence. He’s a sure-fire starter, and his role will depend upon Mancini’s other forward.
Essentially, Mancini’s decision is this: does he play Balotelli upfront to get in behind the United defence, with Aguero behind, or use Tevez as the number ten and Aguero upfront? Both combinations were used against United last season, with Balotelli playing a key role in the astonishing 6- win at Old Trafford, scoring the opener and getting Jonny Evans sent off. Tevez was quieter in the -0 victory at the Etihad.
I think Mancini will be reluctant to field Balotelli because of disciplinary concerns, and Tevez has often been influential against United since leaving the club in 2009. His relationship with his compatriot Aguero works excellently, and with United lacking a proper defensive midfielder, Tevez’s work between the lines could be crucial.
This post courtesy of Pick Our Team is by Michael Cox. PickOurTeam is a new type of football community giving fans an opportunity to have a meaningful say on the formation and selection of their team. PickOurTeam is the voice of the fans – collecting views on who should play where and ratings on how the players, manager, and referee perform each week. Every match the findings are compiled and presented back to the fans.