Manchester City will be full of nostalgia as they prepare to take on Queen Park Rangers at the Etihad because their last victory against the Hoops saw them lift their first Premier League title since 1968. Two goals from Edin Dzeko and Sergio Aguero at the very last minute helped City register a 3-2 victory over QPR in a match full of drama that included the infamous sending off of former Hoops skipper Joey Barton. However, now with the new season on its way, both sides will be looking a get a positive result in this game.
After having a very good pre-season and defeating Chelsea in the Community shield, Manchester City have looked somewhat shaky in their first couple of games in the Premier League.
They had a very close shave against the newly promoted Southampton, winning them by a narrow 3-2 margin. Despite being very poor in the defence department in that game, the Citizens made a strong comeback to win the game.
City's performance in their second Premier League fixture against Liverpool was also disappointing as they just managed to sneak a draw thanks to a silly mistake by Reds defender Martin Skrtel.
City midfielder Nigel de Jong feels that City will need to improve their game if they are to retain their Premier League title this season.
"I don't know what it is. It is a bad habit. We picked that up from the last game of the season against QPR and have continued that in these first two games of the new season," ESPN quoted de Jong as saying.
"We have to improve and show that we are up for the test wherever we go, away or at home. It is not going to be an easy season. Wherever you go everyone wants to beat the champions. We have to stand tall with each other and improve,'' he added.
However, the good news for the Premier League champions is that their other Argentinean striker Carlos Tevez, who recently expressed his desire to extend his contract at the Etihad, seems to be quickly coming back to form.
"He is on fire at the moment and a Tevez on fire is good for any team wherever he is. I am just glad he is still part of this City team and if he continues like this he will score a lot of goals this season," said De Jong.
Meanwhile, Queen Park Rangers, have had a very poor start to their new campaign, getting a 5-0 drubbing at the hands of Swansea City in their very first Premier League fixture this season. Their second fixture against Norwich City also ended in a disappointing 1-1 draw.
The Hoops, who were nearly relegated last season, have only managed to pick up 21 points from their last 21 League games. Looking at these stats getting three points from the Premier League Champions certainly does not seem on the cards.
The main problem for QPR has been their team chemistry. Although, they have a fairly talented squad they have not been able to gel well. This is evident from the host of poor results they have been having for quite some time.
Nonetheless, the Hoops, who are desperate to offload Joey Barton following his poor conduct against City that earned him a 12 game ban last season, will be relying on the new signings of Park Ji-Sung (from Manchester United), Julio Cesar (from Inter Milan), José Bosingwa (from Chelsea) and Esteban Granero (from Real Madrid) to help them do well this season.
Team News and Tactics:
City's main concern is the injury of their Argentinean striker Sergio Aguero (last season's top scorer). The 24-year-old striker has been ruled out until the middle of September after suffering a knee injury during City's 3-2 win over Southampton. Italian striker Mario Balotelli, who replaced him for the Liverpool game, is expected to do the same in this match.
Defender Micah Richards is also still unavailable following an ankle injury he picked up during Great Britain's quarter-final defeat against South Korea in the London Olympics. City's defensive midfielder Gareth Barry will also be missing this game as he is still suffering from hernia. The good news for City is that their defender Joleon Lescott is expected to make comeback after missing out the last game against Liverpool.
City's summer signing Jack Rodwell, who came as a substitute in the first two games, is also expected to start alongside James Milner and Yaya Toure in this match.
QPR, on the other hand, go into this game at their full strength, with manager Mark Hughes having no injury concerns.
Bobby Zamora is expected to feature in this game along with French striker Djibril Cisse in front despite picking up a nasty head injury during the Hoops 1-1 draw against Norwich. New signings including goalkeeper Julio Cesar and midfielder Estaban Granero are also expected to feature in this game.
Manchester City (4-2-3-1): Hart; Zabaleta, Kompany, Lescott, Milner; Rodwell, Yaya Toure; Silva, Balotelli, Nasri; Tevez
Queen Park Rangers (4-4-2): Green; Fabio, Ferdinand, Onuoha, Traore; Taarabt, Diakite, Park, Hoilett; Zamora, Cisse
Where to Watch Live
Kickoff is set for 5:30pm BST and the match will be shown live on ESPN HD.
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