Given surgery a success as City breeze past Greeks
FIRST the good news. Shay Given's operation went well and he could be back sooner than expected but there is a sting in the tale. This time, the problem is with his right shoulder.
Initial reports from Manchester suggested that Given had damaged his left shoulder for a second time which would have been bad enough but it now transpires that this is a new injury.
Quite what it means for a goalkeeper to dislocate both shoulders within a few years remains to be seen but it will certainly make it difficult for Given to get the move he desperately needs away from Manchester City. No manager will part with the transfer fee necessary to secure Given without seeing him play several times.
His best hope of some match action is likely to come from Giovanni Trapattoni if he is fully healed by the time the remaining Carling Nations Cup fixtures roll around but if his rehab takes the full three month predicted, it is hard to see how he will be fit to play in the Euro 2012 fixture away to Macedonia in early June.
Either way, Roberto Mancini is likely to enter the critical point in Manchester City's season without a top rank replacement for Joe Hart.
Mancini also faces an anxious wait to discover the extent of Vincent Kompany's hip injury.
The Belgium defender has been a key component of Manchester City's defence this season but was forced off during the first-half of last night's 3-0 win over Aris Salonika.
With so many injuries decimating his squad at present, Mancini can ill afford to lose such an influential member of his first-choice starting line-up, especially with games coming every three days at present.
"We won't know what has happened until tomorrow when we see what the situation is," said Mancini.
"We have a lot of injuries at the moment, so I hope it is not serious and he will be available for Sunday."
City tackle Fulham at Eastlands this weekend as they continue their quest for a top-four berth.
Whether they will throw all their big-name strikers at Mark Hughes' men, as Mancini did last night, is open to debate.
Edin Dzeko profited most from the tactic, scoring twice in the opening minutes to help seal a last-16 meeting with Dynamo Kiev.
However, Mancini can see a flaw in selecting the Bosnian, in addition to Carlos Tevez and Mario Balotelli.
"I thought we did well and in the first half I was very pleased," said the Italian.
"The problem comes when we don't have the ball. If we don't close down every situation, it could be difficult for us.
"We can play this formation, but not often, unless we improve."
Dzeko's efforts doubled his previous tally since a £27m move from Wolfsburg last month.
The Bosnian should have had a hat-trick too after being sent through by Silva in the final minutes of the first-half.
However, the chance went begging when Michail Sifakis robbed him as Dzeko attempted to go round the Aris keeper and it was left to Yaya Toure to complete the scoring with a deflected effort 15 minutes from time.