FC Porto Vs. Manchester City, 2012 Europa League: Dragons Without Cup-Tied Additions

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 15: Roberto Mancini the manager of Manchester City talks with Samir Nasri during a training session held ahead of their UEFA Europa League match against Porto at the Carrington Training Complex on February 15, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Manchester City travel to Porto for a tricky first match in the Europa League.

Manchester City could opt to rest some of their big stars like Sergio Aguero, David Silva and Vincent Kompany against FC Porto, but they'll still be able to field a very competitive lineup that indicates that they're taking the competition seriously. The Dragons aren't having the best season in Europe or domestically, but have the core of the team that won last year's Europa League.

New signings Marc Janko and Lucho Gonzalez will not play, as they are both cup tied. Striker Kleber is ill, meaning that Hulk could move to a center forward position with both of Varela and James Rodriguez getting starts. Djalma has recently returned from the Africa Cup of Nations and could also get some time.

Yaya Toure and Kolo Toure are both back from the ACN as well, while Carlos Tevez is back from his exile, but none will feature on Thursday night.

The biggest battle in this match is likely to be down the flanks. Porto's fullbacks are excellent at getting forward and giving them team width when their wide forwards cut inside, but that will provide space with City to counter into. They're great at countering quickly down the wings, so the positional discipline of Danilo and Alvaro Pereira, as well as how well the holding midfield players cover them, will be key.

FC Porto injured/unavailable: Marc Janko, Kleber

Manchester City injured/unavailable: Carlos Tevez

Projected Porto Lineup (4-3-3): Helton; Alvaro Pereira, Nicolas Otamendi, Maicon, Danilo; Fernando, Joao Moutinho, Steven Defour; James Rodriguez, Hulk, Varela

Projected Manchester City Lineup (4-4-2): Joe Hart; Gael Clichy, Stefan Savic, Joleon Lescott, Pablo Zabaleta; Samir Nasri, Nigel de Jong, Gareth Barry, Adam Johnson; Mario Balotelli, Edin Dzeko

FC Porto vs. Manchester City

Game Date/Time: Thursday, February 16, 3:00 p.m. ET, 8:00 p.m. local

Venue: Estadio do Dragao, Porto, Portugal

TV: DirecTV Soccer (USA), ITV1 (UK)

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