Richards must fill in for Clichy in Man City derby line-up

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Manchester City have kept clean sheets in all three fixtures in all competitions this season in which they have started Aleksandar Kolarov, but they may pay the penalty if selecting him again for the visit of Manchester United.

Clichy has been struggling with a leg problem of late and the feeling is that he will not be fit to face the Premier League champions at the Etihad.

Kolarov is the logical replacement and from an attacking standpoint, he is one of the best left-backs in the Premier League.

However, he is prone to a defensive error and one mistake is all it may take to cost Manuel Pellegrini’s men victory in the Manchester derby.

While Clichy is unlikely to be passed fit, Micah Richards has been said to be working normally with the rest of the squad, putting him in contention to face Man Utd, which would represent a first appearance of the season.

If Richards is fine to start, Pellegrini may be best starting with his strongest defensive line-up, which would mean playing the England defender at right-back and shunting Pablo Zabaleta to the other flank, where he has deputised solidly in the past.

This may be even more valuable if Man Utd start Antonio Valencia, who would arguably be David Moyes’ leading wide threat given his desire to reach the byline.

Valencia has already shown against Arsenal’s Andre Santos in the past that he has the ability to really run an opposing full-back ragged and it is not that unfair to put Kolarov in a similar defensive bracket to the Brazilian.

If Kolarov does start at full-back, then Pellegrini must certainly a consider a more defensive option ahead of him who will track back, with James Milner looking a prime candidate.

Man City are favourites to win the derby at 23/20, with Man Utd priced at 12/5 for victory and the draw on offer at 12/5.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.