Almost 2 years to the day we were at home to a
Club needing a win
to secure the Premier League title and stop a team in red from grabbing it
instead. The comparisons are just astonishing! London
We never do it the 'easy way'...
But my GOD does it test the nerves and the ol’ ticker at the time! And if we win - or dare I whisper, draw - tomorrow, I’m sure I’ll look back and say that I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. Together with the afore mentioned ‘scary games’ it's all very, VERY exciting too of course. Huh…they couldn’t even do the League Cup final without scaring us half-to-death in the first half…
Just once though…I would like us to win something comfortably; just to see what it’s like to “enjoy” rather than, at the time of it, “endure”.
These Charming Men
I love him to bits. I’m too young to recall the ’Joe Mercer era’ but I’ve spoken to my dad and my mate, Pete, many-a-time about ‘Uncle’ Joe (and I’m ¾s of the way through his book) for me to realise that we have someone very similar in many respects, in Manuel Pellegrini. That’s a BIG compliment to both fellas.
Cool, calm and resolute is our ‘Engineer’. He admits that he gets as nervous as anyone – he’s only human after all. But he doesn’t just keep those feelings under wraps; rather he seals them in a lead-lined, titanium box and locks that box in a 2-feet-thick safe to be stored somewhere deep, deep underground. For that alone I admire him.
That calm exterior must do wonders for the players and, in sharp contrast to Roberto Mancini - a man, whom, I will always be grateful to - Khaldoon Al Mubarak, Ferran Soriano and Txiki Begiristain etc. must be loving his ‘below-radar’ approach.
The arrival of the ‘warm-hearted, cool exterior one’ couldn’t have come at a better time, in many ways, too; with explosions going off ‘down the road’ and the return of Mourinho’s slapped-arsed-face and big mouth discharging all over the shop (as usual) too.
But although Manuel is ‘all that’ and more; never have I seen him so utterly focused as I did when I watched the West Ham, pre-match press conference (part 2 here). I’m not a player in the dressing room of course but even I got a buzz and a 20% boost when I watched and listened to him this morning.
I say again, he must do wonders for the boys in blue…
My plan is simple…
Meeting up with Pete at 12-noon (not decided where yet), few beers and a chat about the up & coming day’s event, get in the ground for 2:00pm, couple more cups of ‘loud-mouth soup’ and to our seats for about 2:40pm. Sing, shout and cheer our boys to ultimate victory!
Pellegrini Quote: “The whole squad is fit for tomorrow”.
What a boost at such a vital time that piece of news is! Presumably he even means that Nastasic is available for selection? But anyway…
Hart, Zaba, Komps and Demichelis of course. Again, at home, I think he’ll go for the more-attacking Kolarov option, which worked well – with Zaba doing likewise on the other side - last Wednesday night.
Likewise Nasri, Toure and returning-to-fitness Silva are ‘shoo-ins’. I keep getting it wrong by sticking Fernandinho in there - so I’ll probably get it wrong again by going for recent-favourite Garcia this time round...
I did ask quite recently what the ‘Fernandinho thing’ might be all about. I’ve since come up with an idea, which is that the fella might just be getting a bit too excitable for Manuel’s liking. I keep reading different and progressive stories as the days and weeks pass by about how this is the best time of his life and that winning the league will make it all a perfect time for him etc.
That’s all well and good but, and I might be WAY off here, I think this is the reason our manager is going for the cooler head of Javi as our ‘protection’ in midfield – he’s less likely to go on a 'hero quest'; gallivanting forward in an attempt to score a screamer…
Predicting the line-up is, of course, simply measured guess work...and so I’m GUESSING that Aguero has been prepped to start for this game. This means that his place alongside Dzeko up front will push Silva back out wide-right; meaning that Milner loses his starting place. That too has another knock-on affect.
Assuming he’ll want Clichy & Lescott on the bench as ‘security’ and, of course, Jovetic and Negredo if / when needed too; that means with Fernandinho an almost certain ‘bench man’; either Milner or Navas get to watch the game from the stands. Going off both Milner’s form and Navas’ recent injury, I guess (there’s that word again) it’s James who’ll get ‘the nod’ ahead of Jesus.
Result? They have players who can hurt you in Nolan and Carroll (to name just two) and I will get edgy at corners and other set pieces.
But it’s a City win!
But it’s a City win!
"...we fight to the end". Enjoy...