1. How will we react following a Champions League game in midweek (a scenario we have sometimes come unstuck from)?
2. Will a Villa ‘new manager’ have any affect?
3. And what about the ex-City player factor?
To answer those…
- On this occasion this shouldn’t be an issue at all – it was a fantastic team display that should leave the players buoyed going into this Premier League clash and one, which, we came out of with no fresh injuries (for a nice change!) Additionally, the game in midweek was played on a Tuesday and to add to that; the Sunday, early afternoon, televised KO (1:30pm GMT) gives the players PLENTY of recovery time ahead of this clash.
- It most certainly could. I know little about him other than what I’ve recently read – an ex-Arsenal player with 31 games for The Gunners but that was back in the late 1990s and, so, I don’t think he comes with any reputation for necessarily ‘knowing the Premier League’ as such…although I’m sure he has a telly and computer. In his time as Lyon manager he generally finished in a reasonably high position and so he must have something about him. I have heard that he can be a little fragile and can crumble / run away when under pressure after a time. But this is the very START of his managerial career in the Premier League and for The Villains and so I repeat; this could be a big positive for the home side in terms of the players being given a re-fresh, ‘new starting point’ for their season; a factor, therefore, we’ll need to be ‘on our toes’ regarding.
- Yes indeed – given this new opportunity to shine for their new manager and to ‘kick start’ their season are just two factors; so add to that three players in Micah Richards, Joleon Lescott and Scott Sinclair who would love to ‘get one over’ their old team and it all adds up to a potentially dangerous time to visit the Midlands club.
v the Villa
Predicted line-up, subs and outcome…
4-5-1 come 4-1-4-1:
Same ‘back 5’ (Joe included) as faced Norwich City in the last Premier League game.
I’ve just got a feeling that with some of the considerations in my opening 3 questions and the fact that we’re away from home; Manuel Pellegrini will deploy the same, central ‘midfield 3’ as he did against Sevilla. This’ll mean a good balance [again] of defence and attack-releasing-properties for both Fernandinho and Yaya from the middle of the pitch; with Fernando ‘mopping up’ / protecting.
I can see a little rotation ahead of that too – Jesus to keep his place, I think, but the rested [in midweek] Kevin to step in for Raheem, despite an excellent display in Spain from the England man on Tuesday night.
Bony to continue his lone ‘spearhead role’.
Strong and, in some ways, a new-look bench. Willy as back-up keeper and it’s nice to see Gael back on the bench at least. Eliaquim as central defensive cover; likewise Martin who can cover both there and in a defensive midfield role. However, the specialist defensive / central midfielder is back in the form of Fabian who, ironically with so many ex-City players available for Aston Villa, could face his old team too if selected to come on from the side. Raheem and Kelechi to provide some excellent attacking danger-options from ‘the 7’.
Notable absences: Pablo Zabaleta (injured), David Silva (injured / close to recovery), Samir Nasri (injured / close to recovery) and Sergio Aguero (injured). At varying stages of their recovery; all should be back / available for their club following the international break [following this game]. Great news!
Result? If this one was going to be all about the class / ability of players and ‘team effectiveness’ then this is a one-sided, mauling by Manchester City. However, as it often is at ANY level of football - and taking some lessons from last season’s League & F.A. Cup early exits – it’s also very much about ‘desire’ and ‘fight’.
Villa are scrapping for their Premier League lives already [in November] and, as I’ve already alluded to, their players will be very keen to impress their new boss. They’ll fight for everything and, I think, they’ll score too.
But they’re not at the bottom of the league for nothing; with 1 win, 1 draw, 9 defeats and a goal difference of -10 after just 11 games - it’s the same set of players and if we can ride any mini-Villa storm or two AND match them in a 90+ minute tussle in general, then I think our class will tell and, therefore-eventually, I can see this being a fairly comfortable away win.
Brandon Barker has joined Championship side Rotherham United on loan for 2 months. The South Yorkshire side currently sit 5 points adrift of safety at the very bottom of the league with just 2 wins from 15 and a goal difference of -13 and, so, they’ll be hoping the 19-year old winger can ‘do the biz’ for them from now until early January 2016. In that period of time and if selected, there should be plenty of games for him to test himself against decent opposition.
Brandon joins recently-departed EDS / youth players Bruno Zuculini and George Evans who joined, on loan, Middlesbrough and Walsall respectively.
And then there’s this, which brings new meaning to ‘sliding down the table’…