Okay, following yesterday’s “notice” I got a bit of time and Pellegrini’s pre-match press conference has come out in print, at least, if not in full on MCFCTV.
…my predicted starting 11, subs and outcome.
Hart to continue in net.
Losing both Gael Clichy & Vincent Kompany to injury means that Aleksandar Kolarov & Eliaquim Mangala fill the left-hand-side of our defence. Martin Demichelis & Pablo Zabaleta to provide security on the other side.
Pellegrini seems to prefer Fernandinho over Fernando and, I suppose, we are at home. The Brazilian, therefore, to provide that deeper, protective role. Ahead of him 4 attacking midfielders that should, on their day, absolutely rip anyone apart! Should…
With very limited strikers available to us – again through injury – I’m going for our manager choose just one…even at home. My only logic though is so that he can “change things” if / when needed.
What a story of injuries the bench tells…
The usual keeper cover of course and Sagna is no stranger to the bench either. Boyata, however, rarely gets a look-in these days and it paints an even more startling picture that he might sit there having only started training again on Thursday after an injury lay-off himself.
Fernando & Lampard provide the only central midfield cover; Pozo & Dzeko the only true ‘front line’.
Result? Which Manchester City team will turn up, the one that beat Stoke away 4-1 and Newcastle 5-0 at home ten days later or the one we’ve mostly had to ‘endure’ since the turn of the year?
It doesn’t now help, of course, that we have so many key injuries in all departments; but we’re in danger here of getting our ‘Great unpredictables’ title back. Thank God I wasn’t able to do a Blog in the 80s & 90s!
On the erratic form we’re in - and being afflicted with key personnel absences - it IS hard to predict this one. We are at home and the players should be buoyed by the fact that with Arsenal being engaged in F.A. Cup duty this weekend and with Manyoo losing to Chelsea (I can’t believe I was having to cheer that result yesterday) we can close the points gap on Manyoo to just 1 (on the same games) and go within 2 of charging Arsenal (who will have a game in hand on us).
Psychologically we can also pull a 7-point gap away from
Liverpool for a while
too. It’s all there for the taking really and our players should get a sense of
However, Allardyce will be rubbing his hands at seeing the left-hand-side of our defence being marshalled by Messrs Kolarov & Mangala and will, no doubt, place great emphasis on attacking down their right. I wonder if our manager will see this and, instead, deploy a 4-2-3-1; with both Fernando & Fernandinho “protecting”; dropping Navas or Nasri to the bench?
losing vital ground also yesterday it will be gut-wrenching if we can’t take
advantage of this weekend’s ‘goings on’ but WITH the afore mentioned weakened
defence and our current form; I just can’t look past a very frustrating draw
I’d LOVE to be wrong…