Roberto Mancini placed his faith in 19-year-old defender Dedryck Boyata to stand firm in Manchester City’s defence against Premier League leaders Chelsea at Eastlands.
With Wayne Bridge failing a pre-match fitness test, and neither Jerome Boateng nor Joleon Lescott considered fit enough for anything more than a place on the bench, Boyata was introduced to the Blues side for only his fourth league appearance.
Chelsea had problems of their own with Frank Lampard still out following his hernia operation and Salomon Kalou missing with a thigh injury.
But the returns of skipper John Terry and Nicolas Anelka to the side that hammered Blackpool last weekend showed the strength at Carlo Ancelotti’s disposal.
Man City: Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany, Toure, Boyata, Milner, De Jong, Barry, Toure Yaya, Silva, Tevez. Subs: Given, Adebayor, Adam Johnson, Boateng, Lescott, Vieira, Jo.
Chelsea: Cech, Ivanovic, Terry, Alex, Cole, Ramires, Mikel, Essien, Malouda, Drogba, Anelka. Subs: Turnbull, Zhirkov, Ferreira, Sturridge, Van Aanholt, Kakuta, McEachran.
Referee: Andre Marriner (W Midlands)