Thursday, 19 February 2015

‘Toon’ing up for the ‘big push’

Unless there have been some niggles picked up during training in the 10-day break, our ‘Engineer’ has all the tools available at his disposal this Saturday. All personnel fully fit & available and ready to be unleashed on a Newcastle side with (apparently) defensive injury concerns.

Without wishing to tempt fate or “assume” – I’m really looking forward to this one…

Me v Manuel

Although I have recently done so, I very rarely do a ‘who I would pick’ as well as a ‘predicted line-up’ etc. However, with two goalkeepers; 2 left-backs, 2 right-backs, 4 central defenders, a whole array of defensive and attacking midfielders / wingers AND 4 strikers to chose from, which includes the returning Yaya Toure and new-signing Wilfried Bony; wide-eyed and slightly salivating I just couldn’t resist the temptation to put on paper my 11.

Me v Newcastle United…











I’d love to be able to say Mangala in for Demichelis as I want to see the fella ‘in there’ for the long-term partnership with Vinny. But I just don’t trust the guy from what I’ve seen so far.

And neither Mancini nor Pellegrini see Milner as a central midfielder but I think he’d do a cracking job next to Toure.

And although, with 2 days of further training to go, Wilfried has said that he still has some way to go to be 100%; he’s surely not far off and, therefore, I’d stick him right in there alongside Sergio at home.

On the bench…

Right and left-sided defensive cover available and I’ve saved Lampard for his experience in the Champions League on Tuesday night; where a subs-bench-appearance might prove very useful.

Kolarov & Fernando also miss out in my line-up.

v Newcastle United

Predicted starting 11, subs and outcome…











Subs: Caballero, Sagna, Mangala, Fernando, Milner, Lampard, Navas, Bony

Update - 21.02.2015: James Milner out with a knee injury. So not ALL the tools available...

I'm fairly certain that our manager will go 4-4-2 for this one and we agree here on the back 5 (keeper included). I’ve got a feeling he’ll use the more-pacy Mangala against Barcelona.

Almost the same midfield 4 too but, as I say, I just can’t see him giving a starting place to soon-to-be-out-of-contract Milner. Fernandinho to get the nod ahead of both James and Fernando who both make the bench.

Now I’ve got a feeling here that he’ll want to introduce Wilfried a little more gently; both allowing him to observe play for the first 45 or so as well as to give Edin a (one last?) chance to prove himself – a pressurised kick up the backside for the Bosnian with the new signing ready to step in…

And with our manager’s love for Navas, who drops to the bench, there’s no place for either Frank or likely-summer-deportee Stevan.

Result? With all those weapons in our armoury, I’d be truly shocked if we didn’t win this one…and by a comfortable margin.

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