Even with all our injuries, I think we have plenty of options for this game. If I was to try and predict what Bobby will do, I'd say that he won't stray far from his selection against Chelsea but injury prevents him from picking exactly the same side. He may decide it is Gaz's turn for a rest but I don't expect him to rest Yaya for this game. The biggest question mark must be over Ade.
Boateng must surely keep a place in the side but if both Micah and Lescott are fit, the choice between them is not an easy one, IMO. I'd go for whichever is in the best shape fitness wise and if there's nothing to choose on that score, I'd plump for Micah and use Jerome at LB as I think that gives the best attacking options. The centre back pairing doesn't require any debate because Vinnie and Kolo are both undroppable at this moment, IMO. Vinnie is in danger of becoming a colossus for us if he continues to perform consistently at his current level. So the back four I'd choose is MR, KT, VK, JB.
The temptation to play Given against his old team is there for me but young keepers have to be managed carefully and, psychologically, I think Hart needs to play. I'm still not sure if he should have kept their goal out and I'd need to see the Del Piero free kick again from behind the goal to be sure that Hart should have got something on it: did it go over his hand or by it? Had it been on target, would he have got his hand on it? One should not forget that Del P is one of the game's finest from a dead ball and with a fairly central free kick, Hart is going to be behind the wall which could reduce his visibility. There a Del P free kick in the first half that at first look appeared to have been fumbled but replays showed that in fact Hart had deliberately and effectively pushed away.
De Jong must come back into the midfield and crunch the living daylights out of Barton; no offence Joey but you cannot be allowed to shine at Eastlands. Silva is also a must play for me. I'd go with:
NDJ, YT, JM
AJ, CT, DS
with AJ just getting the nod ahead of Ade but with a plan to give three of the subs bench some reasonable game time.
As much as any home game can be at this stage of the season (or always should be?), I rank this as a must win game. At the end of the season, if you end up where you wanted to in the league, none of the games you lost or drew were must win
I'm an analog man in a digital world.