Tuesday, 17 March 2015

v Barcelona

Still frustrated and seething somewhat at the players’ misfocus, lack of urgency and, in many of the players, an apparent lack of desire against Burnley; it’s with a still-heavy heart that I ‘put pen to paper’ ahead of tomorrow night’s clash with the Spanish giants.

Straight to it then…

It’s getting hard to fathom our manager’s thinking of late and so I make no excuse for getting more-recent – and indeed this – predicted starting 11, subs and outcome nowhere near correct.

Here goes…











Carry on Joe.

Needing a win, the more attack minded Kolarov on the left and the rested-at-the-weekend and slightly pacier Sagna of the right of defence. The more ‘fleet of foot’ Mangala in for the wiser head of Demichelis and ‘our skip’ next to him of course.

Fernando to, hopefully anyway, “protect” and ahead of him a sort of attacking, fluid and interchanging midfield 4, which includes a deep-lying Sergio Aguero behind a, sort of, lone striker in Wilfried Bony.

Key player absentees from this predicted line-up include Gael Clichy (SUSP)Fernandinho.

I’d be happy for our manager to go an even deeper, but counter-attacking, 4-5-1; shoving Sergio further forward and dropping Bony to the bench for an additional, mostly attack-minded midfielder. I’d go for James Milner to be that 100% committed and inexhaustible engine in the middle.

But needing at least a 2-0 or a 3-1 etc., I just get the feeling that Pellegrini will opt for an adaptive 4-4-2.

Result? I can see us scoring; I can see us scoring 2 in fact. But I can also seem them doing likewise. For me it’ll be a passion-fuelled (following the exact opposite last Saturday), creditable but competition-exiting score draw.


My concern...

…isn’t exactly about this game.

I CAN see the players trying to make amends in Spain for last Saturday’s appallingly lacklustre display; trying also, of course, to progress in this much-sought-after cup-competition and, therefore, pouring all of their energies into it.

Then with the players not returning home until Thursday and, most likely anyway, feeling battered ‘n’ bruised mentally-also following their exit from the Champions League; for those reasons I really do-genuinely fear for us as we face West Bromwich Albion in a 12:45pm KO (GMT) on Saturday in the fight for 2nd, 3rd or, dare I suggest, 4th place in the Premier League.



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