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Guy Demel is expected to retain the right-back berth after ousting Joey O’Brien in the previous win at Spurs, while James Tomkins has now started the last two ahead of James Collins at centre-half and looks a secure starter now that the Welshman has sustained a hamstring injury. Stewart Downing’s installation to the XI forced Matt Jarvis onto the bench last time out, though the likes of Joe Cole could also come into contention for a wide role after returning from injury. Sam Allardyce is likely to keep faith in Ricardo Vaz Te as the lone frontmen after the Portuguese notched at the Lane.
Vincent Kompany is set to miss out with a groin problem once more, while Martin Demichelis still remains sidelined despite stepping up his comeback from injury earlier in the week by turning out for the Under 21 side. Manuel Pellegrini could shuffle his pack ahead of the upcoming Champions League matches, with the likes of Samir Nasri, Stevan Jovetic and Edin Dzeko all offering attacking options should he decide to ring the changes.