Alvaro Negredo and Edin Dzeko have managed just one goal between them in their last 18 appearances for Man City.
In the absence of the injured Sergio Aguero it’s a paltry return that’s likely to prompt much soul-searching for Manuel Pellegrini ahead of the visit to revitalised rivals Manchester United.
Rather than burn the midnight oil, the ghostly Chilean should simply delve into his desk, remove his diary and turn to the page marked September 22, 2013, where it may or may not have read:
‘Dear Diary, won my first Manchester derby today, Alvaro led the line brilliantly setting up two goals, with Aguero behind him in a 4-4-1-1. Mrs P made Curanto to celebrate.
City are 11/10 for victory at Old Trafford, with the Red Devils 23/10 for revenge over their rivals and the draw priced up just a shade longer at 12/50.
The goals may have dried up for Negredo, but his showing in the derby earlier in the season suggests that he’s perfectly capable of playing the role of selfless target man.
Having made two more assists as well as 16 more key passes than Edin Dzeko this term, he’s preferred over the Bosnian for line-leading duites.
In the absence of Aguero, who played in the reverse fixture, Samir Nasri is selected ahead of David Silva or Stevan Jovetic.
The Frenchman played in behind Negredo against Fulham, providing a goal and creating two further scoring opportunities.
Employing the former Arsenal man centrally would allow the peerless Silva to play out of his favoured left-sided mooring, while keeping City’s most creative players on the pitch ahead of the Toure/Fernandinho midfield axis.
One thing’s for certain, goals will required in plural rather than singular form if victory is to be attained, with six of the seven Manchester derbies over the last three seasons seeing both sides bag, an eventuality that can be invested in at 1/2.