Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Encouraging performance at Arsenal, at least…

 …but we’re dropping far too many points.

(This post is being released before any Sunderland, pre-match press conference and so predicted team selection / personnel might ‘be a little off’ on this one)

A few weeks ago I produced a mini, 8-game season piece and did so because I saw, at the time, that we were heading into a period of largely tough, banana-skin fixtures; where a ‘minimum points total’ was required if we were to maintain a serious challenge on the title.

Worryingly, we’re now WAY behind on that tally as I predicted (or hoped at least) up to an’ including our trip to the Emirates; I thought we’d have accumulated 11 from 15 points.

The reality is that we could only muster a woeful 6 from those 15 and, even more concerning, is the fact that we can only truly hold our heads up performance-wise in our last outing…and both Arsenal & Leicester City look devastatingly consistent at the moment.

Let’s be unseasonal, then, and take it out ‘big time’ on poor ol’ Sunderland at home…

v Sunderland

Predicted line-up, subs and outcome…








Hart, following another excellent display this time against The Gunners, to start of course.

I don’t think there’s much of an option but to ‘go again’ with Bacary, Nicholas & Eliaquim; but Aleks might have a Boxing Day on the side; allowing Gael the chance to run-off any turkey ‘n’ sprout excesses.

Fabian, withdrawn into the second half on Monday as a precaution (I think), to be our ‘anchor man’ in front of the defence. This, then, should allow for an attacking quartet…and I think that’ll be ‘go again’ Fernandinho & David and largely rested [having come on as substitutes last Monday] Raheem & Jesus.

Sergio to continue his comeback up front and on his own.

Again, with us having most of our attacking players back from injury, it’s a strong bench. But starting from the back, Willy is the ‘keeper cover’; Aleks & Martin the defensive insurance. Then from there on, a bench packed with Yaya, Kevin, Kelechi (who I think needs to be starting now in a 4-4-1-1 with Aguero) and Wilfried is pretty formidable.

Notable absences: Vincent Kompany (injured), Pablo Zabaleta (injured / close to return), Fernando (injured) & Samir Nasri (injured).

Result? Huh…well, there’s a question these days. We are so flippin’ inconsistent at the moment that any lapse in concentration / performance and even the likes of struggling Sunderland can punish you. It’s all about the ‘IFs’.

Looking ahead slightly; ‘IF’ we play with the same intensity, at least, at the King Power Stadium (up next – yikes!) as we did in London yesterday then we CAN come out of that unscathed…and by "unscathed" I’m talking a draw at least. Same again in another very tough away game at Vicarage Road in the very next game; ‘IF’ we play with ‘drive, determination & energy’ then that too doesn’t have to be a daunting trip with the quality we have at our disposal…although I hope like crazy that we have Vinny back before those two trips.

And so…‘IF’ we repeat our performance at least (minus the Mangala self-destruct pass) then we should blow Sunderland apart!


I’m going for us-doing just that – it’s a home win and a very much-needed 3 points to City.

Have a great Christmas everyone – thanks, as always, for taking the time to visit!

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