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Five things we learned about Manchester City in midweek



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Following their 6-0 humbling of Tottenham on Sunday, Manchester City put Viktoria Plzen to the sword on Wednesday night, winning 4-2 in the Champions League.

Manuel Pellegrini shuffled his pack for the clash, and here are five things we can take from the Etihad Stadium outfit’s victory.

Richards looks very rusty

Micah Richards

Given a chance to play at right-back, Micah Richards looked a shadow of his former self and it is clear that his abilities as a top defender have waned due to a lack of opportunities.

With Pablo Zabaleta set to play all the important games for City this term, rotting away on the bench is not assisting Richards’ stagnant career.

With the January transfer window in sight, Richards needs a move. Even a loan switch elsewhere to get regular action would be an improvement for the former England defender.

Defence still an issue

Although City’s victory was relatively dominant in the end, there were times when the hosts looked uncomfortable as Plzen looked to get forward.

The centre-back pairing of Joleon Lescott and a lethargic Martin Demichelis failed to impress here again, with Vincent Kompany’s absence being well and truly felt.

With no back-up options to Kompany or Matija Nastasic at centre-half that invoke confidence, City fans will hope their skipper is back fit and firing sooner rather than later.

Navas in form

Jesus Navas

The Spain international scored twice in the humbling of Spurs, and again looked razor sharp here after coming off the bench in the second half.

The former Sevilla man has the pace, trickery and guile to be a real attacking threat in City’s push for honours, and the fact that he is backing it up with top-class delivery make him one of the most dangerous wingers in the Premier League.

Dzeko still has a role to play

There is no doubt that Sergio Aguero and Alvaro Negredo should be City’s first-choice strike partnership currently, but in Edin Dzeko the Manchester club have a fantastic deputy.

The Bosnia international will not want to sit on the bench constantly, and showed again here that he has all the attributes to be a top-class forward when given a chance to play.

Dzeko has scored some very important goals in his time in England, and continues to pose a real threat to opposition defences when given the chance to play. Despite rumblings of an Etihad Stadium departure, City should think twice before letting the former Wolfsburg man leave the club.

Joe Hart ready for recall

Joe Hart

The English stopper was given a chance to play here and showed enough to suggest that he is ready to be brought back into the team on a permanent basis.

Hart made a couple of good saves, looked comfortable under the high ball and could do little to stop Plzen’s goals.

It will now be interesting to see whether Hart will retain his place in the City line-up for their Premier League clash this weekend, but England fans will hope that he is given that opportunity soon.