Tactically speaking

The Official Website takes an in-depth look at how Manchester City could line up in Tuesday's Capital One Cup semi-final second leg with West Ham United.

Possible starting XI


Boyata  Nastasic  Lescott  Clichy

Navas  Lopes  Rodwell  Milner

Aguero  Dzeko

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini looks set to ring the changes, with a place in the Capital One Cup final all but assured before kick-off.

City arrive at the Boleyn Ground with a six-goal advantage from the semi-final first leg at the Etihad Stadium 13 days ago.

For that reason alone, the Chilean will surely give a number of his fringe and younger players a run out in east London on Tuesday.

Among those who could well feature are Belgian youngster Dedryck Boyata, Serbia centre-back Matija Nastasic, England defensive midfielder Jack Rodwell, Wales U21 star Emyr Huws and Portuguese attacking midfielder Marcos Lopes.

While his team's strong lead means Pellegrini could probably chose to rest all his senior stars, it is likely a number will feature to retain or gain full match-fitness - among them Spain winger Jesus Navas, England midfielder James Milner and fit-again Argentina forward Sergio Aguero.

Whoever plays, City will almost certainly line up in a 4-4-2 formation, with two banks of four, a pair of out and out wingers and two central strikers.

It is a virtual guess, but Romania goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon seems to have dropped back to being City's second-choice stopper behind Joe Hart. The Barclays Premier League's tallest player is a good shot-stopper who often opts to punch rather than catch high balls into his penalty area.

Boyata is a tall defender who can play at right-back or in the centre of defence. The 23-year-old could start at full-back, or Pellegrini could choose to pick powerful England defender Micah Richards there.

At left-back, Gael Clichy started the first leg and has lost his Barclays Premier League place to Aleksandar Kolarov. Quick and mobile, Clichy is strong in the tackle, has good positional sense and distributes the ball accurately.

With club captain Vincent Kompany set to be rested, Nastasic will likely play to the right of England international Joleon Lescott in the centre. Both centre-backs are composed in possession and like to play out from the back.

In midfield, Milner is likely to start wide on the left. A hard-working player, the versatile Yorkshireman also possesses the ability to make and score goals with either foot.

On the opposite flank, Spaniard Navas is super-fast, direct, likes to dribble past his man and drive crosses low into the penalty area.

With Fernandinho and Ivorian powerhouse Yaya Toure also set to be rested, Rodwell and youngster Lopes could make for an unlikely central midfield pairing.

Rodwell, who has struggled mightily for first-team opportunities since moving to City from Everton in 2012, is a composed player who uses the ball intelligently and is powerful in the air and in the tackle.

Lopes, who featured in the first leg, is an attacking midfielder with good technique and mobility. Another option in that area is Huws, who joined City from Swansea City at the age of 16 in 2009.

Up front, Aguero returned last week after a month out with a calf problem and may see tonight's game as an opportunity to get more fitness in his legs. Short, stocky, explosive and a superb finisher, the South American had been in prolific form before his injury.

Ironically, the man Aguero could partner tonight is the player who took his place - Edin Dzeko. Tall, lean but deceptively skilful and strong, the Bosnian has scored regularly in recent weeks and showed his persistence to bag two goals in the first leg at the Etihad Stadium.