There’s that word again; just as in my last piece.
This time it’s more about our manager weighing up the need to progress and trying to win another trophy against giving a few players a little breather and not risking, too much, just-returned players.
That’s what he’s paid for…
Predicted line-up, subs and outcome…
4-4-1-1 come 4-2-3-1:
With Joe still absent, Willy to continue between the sticks. Had a good game against Southampton last Saturday.
Nicholas hasn’t yet played enough minutes, I’m sure, for him to be craving a ‘legs up’ at this stage. However, I’m sure Martin (will he have ever played so many back-to-back games for City?) & head-wounded Bacary wouldn’t might a night off tonight. Sadly for them that is very unlikely; although our manager COULD use this game to give Pablo Maffeo his first ever, first-team start. Aleks, on the other hand, should be able to rest following his last game finishing just 75-hours earlier; with Gael ready to step into the left-back slot with ease.
If you want to try to progress in a cup competition at home to a Championship side AND rest a few key players ahead of your next, early KO game in the Premier League; then what better way to do it than having two mobile & defensive central midfielders [in Fabian & largely-rested-at-the-weekend Fernando], which then allows for the pace and tricky of Jesus & Raheem supplying two strikers? That’s the theory I’m going off in my predicted line-up…
Up front? Well Manuel appears to see Kelechi as a ‘just off’ striker (I don’t see him as JUST that in the slightest) and so what better match and [predicted] system to try this in; just off the desperately-needs-some-confidence Wilfried?
As is often in these cases we have a very strong-looking bench indeed. Richard Wright gets his second go in ‘the 7’; Aleks takes a well-earned side-step for Gael. Pablo Maffeo is likely to start on the bench as cover for Bacary and from there-on it’s a very strong quartet of attacking midfielders / wingers – no striking cover in my predicted line-up / subs but those 4 should be enough security.
Notable absences: Joe Hart (injured), Vincent Kompany (injured), Eliaquim Mangala (Injured), Pablo Zabaleta (injured), Samir Nasri (injured) and Sergio Aguero (slight knock / rested / not to be risked).
Result? Hull are going well in their league; sitting 4th and just 3 points off the sumit after a terrific start and despite a draw and defeat in their last two outings. They will be very hungry for success and a big scalp in this competition and we need to be slightly wary of that. However, if our manager doesn’t take this one TOO lightly, which he shouldn’t and I doubt he will, then this one is a home win. Semi-finals here we come!