Friday, 20 October 2017

Another “test”…



First of all, apologies for no pre-Napoli Blog-posting. With ‘all that is [still] happening’ in life in general I’d rather concentrate on getting, at the very least, Premier League postings out for the time being. 

 

Speaking of which, apologies also for not putting a post-Stoke City Blog-posting on, a wonderful performance that certainly deserved me doing so! WHAT a brilliant, attacking display from our lads that was!


“Testers”.


Not mentioning every fixture we’ve played so far this season; I think it’s fair to say we’ve faced many different “tests” already.

I definitely include Brighton away – their opening fixture back in the ‘top flight’; all pumped up and televised ready for the ‘banana skin’ moment that just didn’t happen, as we came home with a clean sheet and 3 points with a professional 0-2 away win.

Everton, often our bogey side, came next at home and it was a travesty that we didn’t win that one after battering the Toffees for the most part. Still…we passed that bogey test by not losing at least.

Bournemouth away a tricky test? Well although they’re havin’ a ‘mare’ of a season with just 4 points from a possible 24, it’s never an “easy” place to visit. And, sure enough, they thumped in a CRACKER of a narrow-angle goal to take the lead against us. But we are far more resilient than we were last season and we came thought that tester too with a 1-2 away win.

Are Liverpool at home a test? It sure can - and has been - for us over the years. And forget those embitteRED lot from Trafford who point out (or have to me at least) that Liverpool were (deservedly) reduced to 10-men; we dismantled the Merseyside Reds 5-0.

Shakhtar Donetsk attract praise aplenty from ‘those in the know’ and did indeed give us a right good game of it. But, once again, we came through that 2-0 winners.

Biggest test of all, so far, Chelsea away? Well if it was, we passed that one with another clean sheet and 3 away point, with a 0-1’er.

Would tricky, ‘rough & tumble’ Stoke be a test? Well certainly on ‘their patch’ they can be and, perhaps then, not SO much on our own soil…although we did only manage a draw at home against these last season. But if we were to describe this one as a tester, then coming out of it 7-2 winners certainly fits into the “Passed with flying colours” column.

Italian League leaders, Napoli, at home? A team who are drawing all sorts of praise from sporting Journalists and pundits? Definitely a test and one we passed with some excellent, individual performances again in a 2-1 win.

And so that brings us to a Burnley side who sit a very respectful 7th, with just 1 defeat from 8 (drawing 4 and winning 3) and who have only conceded 6 goals from those 8 outings. Furthermore, The Clarets are yet to be beaten away from their home ground this season; with 2 wins and 2 draws.

Another “test” against a well-drilled, organised, resilient outfit? I’d say definitely so.

v Burnley.


Etihad Stadium

Predicted line-up, subs and outcome:
(Number correct from starting line-up in the last game: 11/11…and all subs right too!).

Fluid 4-5-1 / 4-3-3:

____________________Jesus____________________





_____Sane_________________________Sterling____


___________D. Silva_________De Bruyne__________

_________________Fernandinho__________________


Delph___________________________________Walker

_____________Stones______Otamendi_____________





___________________Ederson____________________



Not much to say on the line-up, I don’t think; I’m confident it’ll be ‘same again’.

If they’re not too tired – and I’m sure a lot of ‘em will get a rest in midweek against Wolverhampton Wanderers in the League Cup before our next Premier League game in a week’s time – then why change a very-much winning formula?

Notable absences: Benjamin Mendy (injured long-term), Vincent Kompany (injured).

Do I agree with Pep’s (predicted) line-up?


Yep.

Result? We might have to be even more patient than we had to be against Stoke and one or two other sides but, I believe, we have both the craft and fitness to overcome yet another Premier League side. It’s another home win for me.

Last season’s, corresponding pre-match prediction and result…
Prediction: Win
Result: Win

Friday, 13 October 2017

Back to proper footy…



International break over, let’s get back to business!


Home is where the start is


On Saturday, it’ll be 14th October; marking just 18-remaining days in the month. That being the case, it’s difficult to believe that we have 5 games in just 15 days in October and 4 of them are at home!

Beyond this coming fixture, we’re playing (not in this order) guests to Napoli (Champions League), Wolverhampton Wanderers (League Cup) and Burnley (Premier League); with our only ‘outing’ being a reasonably short journey to the Midlands for a visit to West Bromwich Albion in the league; before a game soon after in early November in the reverse fixture at Napoli.

But the first of the 4 visiting teams comes in the shape of Stoke City, as we resume our league campaign following a 14-day break (but not rest for our many long-travelling players – the most travelled Premier League squad during this break, so I was informed in the media last Sunday).

v Stoke City


Etihad Stadium

Predicted line-up, subs and outcome:
(Number correct from starting line-up in the last game which, for me Blog-wise, was the Palace game: 9/11).

Fluid 4-5-1 / 4-3-3:

____________________Jesus____________________





_____Sane_________________________Sterling____


___________D. Silva_________De Bruyne__________

_________________Fernandinho__________________


Delph___________________________________Walker

_____________Stones______Otamendi_____________





___________________Ederson____________________



No predicted team analysis today as I’ve very little time - I have to head off very soon to ‘sit in’ and wait at a house for a washing machine delivery. ‘Rock & roll’ lifestyle, hey?

Notable absences: Benjamin Mendy (injured long-term), Vincent Kompany (injured).

Do I agree with Pep’s (predicted) line-up?


That’s fine with me.

Result? I’m sure this’ll be another patient, ‘wait to break ‘em down’ game. For some strange reason, I’ve also had a naggin’ feeling for some days about there-being at least one sending off - one for them at least and possible one for us. As I say, I don’t know why…

However, and regardless, this is another home win for us I think.

Last season’s, corresponding pre-match prediction and result…
Prediction: Win
Result: Draw