With Aston Villa, Villarreal and Manchester United completing a tough 8 days for Manchester City, the squad will have to be fully utilised in what will be a vital week in the Premier and Champions League.
Carlos Tevez’s actions (or lack thereof) and subsequent suspension appear extremely ill-timed, with important games coming thick and fast – combining with niggling injury problems.
Mario Balotelli played a starring role in the 4-0 demolition of Blackburn, but a back problem kept him out of Italy’s EURO 2012 qualifiers. Yet he came through a full training session on his return to Carrington and is expected to lead the line at home to Aston Villa, before his European suspension rules him out of Tuesday’s Champions League tie.
Sergio Aguero is not fully fit following his groin injury sustained in the opening of the match at Ewood, with him subsequently missing out on Argentina’s Conmebol 2014 World Cup qualifiers. Carlos Tevez was also, unsurprisingly, left out. Their compatriot, Pablo Zabaleta, played all 90 minutes in La Albiceleste’s convincing 4-1 home victory over Chile, but only 66 minutes at the Estadio Anzoategui where Venezuela stunned Argentina with a 1-0 win.
The Ivory Coast completed their African Cup Of Nations qualifying campaign with a 2-1 win at home to Burundi, making it 6 wins out of 6 with 19 goals scored and only 4 against. Both Toure brothers played the entire match, scoring a goal each in the process, with Yaya’s winner coming from a last minute corner.
David Silva was Spain’s star as they finished their EURO 2012 qualifying campaign in style, brushing aside the Czech Republic 2 -0, with the Canarian racking up a rare 90 minutes and also an assist for Xabi Alonso. It was in their home 3 – 1 win vs Scotland in which he really stole the show, with 2 first half goals and a selfless assist for ex-Valencia team mate David Villa. It was game over, with Silva leaving to a standing ovation on 55 minutes.
Vincent Kompany completed 180 minutes for his country and scored in a match which finished Belgium 4 – 1 Kazakhstan, but his EURO campaign came to an end with a 3-1 loss in Germany.
Aleksandar Kolarov’s Serbia suffered a similar fate, going down 1-0 in Slovenia. Aleks did however put in an impressive display in his country’s 1-1 draw with Italy the Friday previous, completing the 90 in both games.
Edin Dzeko was in excellent form, playing the entire 180 plus opening the scoring in Bosnia’s 5-0 home win vs Luxembourg and in their 1-1 draw with France. Samir Nasri’s equalising penalty ensured France qualified directly, sending Bosnia into the qualifiers vs Portugal. Samir played a starring role in France’s fight back against Bosnia, playing the entirety of that match and also providing an assist in France’s 3-0 home win vs Albania.
Costel Pantilimon paid the price for France and Bosnia’s group dominance, with Romania finishing 3rd. Costel’s last performance coming in their home 2-2 draw with Belarus.
Stefan Savic provided the last-gasp equalising cross which clinched a play off position for Montenegro in their 2-2 draw with England; completing a hat-trick of City players to play for 90 minutes in that match alongside Joe Hart and Gareth Barry. Savic also played the entirety of Montenegro’s hangover, a 2-0 away loss in Switzerland.
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