How rare is one of these fixtures? Looking forward to it!
Straight to it then...
With a planned cheese & wine evening after the match the idea is not to have too many pre-match drinks. We’ll see how that goes…
Far clearer in thought will be, of course, Manuel Pellegrini; who will know better than most whether to choose Aguero over the bruised and cut Dzeko and whether to, perhaps at home to Stoke, give Sagna a starting run out. Maybe Fernandinho for Fernando and possibly a start for the impressive Navas.
Mangala & Lampard are still gaining match fitness.
Milner will be looking at this one closely too…and another place on the bench today might go a long way in him deciding his
future. Manchester City
So, with various possibilities here’s my best shot at what the team might be against The Potters (with no pre-Liverpool Blog posting you will just have to trust me that I got the starting eleven 100% spot on).
v Stoke City
So, working from back to front…
Although, of course, there’s a chance Pellegrini might give Willy his first taste of Premier League action and just think, at this early stage - and at home to Stoke – he’ll want to maintain some consistency here. Joe to start again.
If he does go with this back line then perhaps our ‘Engineer’ will want the security of Fernando ‘in there’ - both Kolarov and Sagan do, after all, have a reputation of ‘bombing forward in support’, which might leave us a little vulnerable. But I’ll stick with this; I think he might give Fernandinho his first full run out in place of ‘The Octopus’.
I don’t think Nasri & Toure have hit full throttle as yet and so I’m guessing that our manager will want to give them both another run out for that very reason. Silva, however, already looks close to his devastating best and with Navas playing so well at the mo; I just think he might reward both with a rest and a start respectively.
With his form and with the personnel available; Jovetic is ‘a given’…but the last one is a real 50/50 for me. Dzeko is currently nursing a badly bruised thigh and rather large cut, apparently, and although he is apparently non-the-worse for it; Aguero did take a knock in training on Thursday. So I’m sticking my neck out and will go for Aguero to get ‘the nod’ here; 2 for 2 in terms of goals and the lesser of the ‘patched up’ being my reasoning.
Pellegrini could, of course, break a starting 11 habit of a lifetime and go with an attacking 4-5-1 / 4-1-4-1 set-up…but I doubt that. Equally the likes of Jordi Hiwula might get a place on the bench but once again, I don’t think so.
Milner might be feeling a little aggrieved with a bench start but depending on how the first half goes; I would hope that he manages to get closer to 45 minutes than 15 and can make the most of that ½-game opportunity.
Result? We shouldn’t be complacent of course and, for me at least, Mark Hughes’ side does contain a few relative ‘unknowns’. However, it should be a comfortable home win where, with the usual patience shown under Pellegrini, we should eventually be looking to boost our goal difference too.
HowEVER the European rankings are worked out it hardly seems fair for the Champions of England to be handed, what most people would surely agree is, the hardest group of the competition. Although we were knocked out at the last 16 stage [to
]; as well as winning the
English Premier League we did MAKE it to the knock-out stages [and didn’t get
knocked out in the group stages]. Barcelona
I don’t go - and never have gone in for - conspiracy theories (a little naïve perhaps?) but there is a small voice now telling me that this is yet another F(not-so)FP beating from UEFA.
Bayern Munich (again), CSKA Moscow (again) and Roma? Really? And so who do 3rd placed
get in the Champions League? Schalke, Sporting Lisbon
and Chelsea Haribo
Maribor. Okay so The Pensioners made it to the semi-finals of the competition
last season but, as I say, it hardly seems fair in the Champions League
now does it?
Want some salt in the wounds City? Here then…have the away Bayern Munich fixture slap-bang in the middle of an away trip to Arsenal before a home game to
Yeah thanks for that. Chelsea
Oh well, I suppose that’s what good / big squads are for…