Micah Richards Ruled Out Of FA Cup Semifinal

Looks like that oxygen chamber didn't do Manchester City right back Micah Richards all that much good. The defender has been ruled out of his club's FA Cup semifinal clash against Manchester United following a hamstring injury incurred on international duty with the England U-21s, despite desperate efforts by both Richards and the City medical staff to get him fit on time. With Jerome Boateng damaging his meniscus last weekend (the club is now looking for a second opinion on whether the German fullback needs surgery to correct the problem, because they really didn't like the first one) and several other defenders absent for various reasons, Roberto Mancini has a real problem with his back line.

Assuming Boateng does indeed go under the knife, there would be just four defenders available to Mancini, although England midfielder James Milner is versatile enough to play right back (albeit very badly). Aleksandar Kolarov, Vincent Kompany, Joleon Lescott, and Dedryck Boyata are the men who'll have to hold the fort until some of the absentees return to the squad, but if one of those players gets hurt or suspended there's going to be a lot of juggling going on. Mancini might actually be best served by going to a 3-5-2 with Kolarov and Milner as wingbacks, but considering his tendency towards gross conservatism we probably have a better chance of seeing him sprout a second head than switch to a three-man back line.

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