Manchester City vs Portsmouth Preview

The world's richest club take on penniless Pompey at the City of Manchester Stadium in a game of mass importance for two completely different reasons.

Team News

Younes Kaboul has signed for Tottenham so it looks like Tal Ben-Haim will partner Marc Wilson in the centre of defence. Jamie Ashdown is likely to play in goal due to Begovic's impending sale and James' calf injury.

Jamie O'Hara and Quincy Owusu-Abeyie are expected to go straight into a defensive looking side with Piquionne leading the line up front on his own. Aruna Dindane could be on the bench for this game after his move to Birmingham fell through.

Patrick Vieira is still unavailable for City and Wayne "Scummer" Bridge is injured too, whilst Robinho has been loaned to Santos. Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Adebayor could return to the side but Joeleon Lescott is still out with a knee problem.

The Match

The circumstances surrounding this game are perverse. City can afford to loan their record signing of £32.5 million to Santos without weakening their expesnively assembled squad whilst Pompey have to sell their best player just to pay the wage bill.

City are a wounded animal after being dumped out of the Carling Cup by Manchester United thanks to Wayne Rooney's stoppage time winner and will probably come out of the blocks against Pompey.

Carlos Tevez is in the form of his career and with a rejuvenated Craig Bellamy and a vengeful Adebayor to contend with, I fail to see how our back four, minus its best player of the season so far, will ever keep a clean sheet.

My only tiny hope here is that poor sides in Burnley and Hull have gone to the City of Manchester Stadium and got a draw but that was before Mark Hughes was sacked and Roberto Mancini, once touted as a future Pompey manager, took over and got City back on track.

Pompey can actually escape the relegation zone if they win their two games in hand on the other strugglers, but all I'm expecting is heavy damage to our goal difference.

Predicted Starting Line-Ups

Man City

GK: Shay GIVEN

RB: Pablo ZABALETA
CB: Kolo TOURE
CB: Micah RICHARDS
LB: Javier GARRIDO

CM: Nigel DE JONG
CM: Stephen IRELAND
CM: Gareth BARRY

RWF: Carlos TEVEZ
LWF: Craig BELLAMY
CF: Emmanuel ADEBAYOR

Pompey

GK: Jamie ASHDOWN

RB: Steve FINNAN
CB: Marc WILSON
CB: Tal BEN-HAIM
LB: Hermann HREIDARSSON

RM: John UTAKA
CM: Angelos BASINAS
CM: Kevin-Prince BOATENG
CM: Jamie O'HARA
LM: Quincy OWUSU-ABEYIE

CF: Frederic PIQUIONNE

Last Time: Manchester City 6 Portsmouth 0

Jo, Richard Dunne, Robinho, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Ched Evans and Gelson Fernandes all got in on the act as Pompey collapsed in humiliating fashion at Eastlands. I'm expecting a similar scoreline tomorrow.

Pundit Watch

Lawro: Home Win (2-0)
Sky Sports: Home Win (3-0)
Soccernet: Home Win

My Prediction: We're going to get hammered.

Manchester City 4 Portsmouth 0