Due to time constraints this’ll be a fairly standard, pre-match prediction piece. Apologies…
Predicted line-up, subs and outcome…
4-2-3-1 / 4-5-1:
Joe to take up his place back between the sticks following a week’s rest and due to Manuel Pellegrini’s decision to use Willy in both domestic cup competitions.
I’m going for ‘straight swaps’ on both flanks of the defence – Aleks & Pablo played ‘the 90’ at Norwich and so I’m predicting Gael & Bacary to start tonight. No choice in the centre of defence however; the Argentine pairing of Martin & Nicholas to ‘go again’.
Injuries in midfield now-also promotes Fabian to the first 11; something, at home at least, may not have happened this evening. So as he ‘sits in’ and largely protects the back 4, his rested-at-the-weekend partner Yaya to be slightly more attacking. Ahead of him in a largely attacking midfield line-up is likely to be Kevin (having only had ½-hour or so against The Canaries), David (rested completely last Saturday) and can-run-all-year Jesus; rewarded again for an improved-period of play.
A livelier-looking and dangerous, once again, Sergio to lead the line alone this time [after a rare ‘2 up front’ in the last outing].
Back on the bench is Willy and the afore-mentioned ‘swaps’ in Kolarov & Zaba. EDS central defender Cameron Humphreys is likely to make up the defensive insurance personnel. Fernando on the side in case we need to ‘shut up shop’; Raheem & Kelechi in case we need to chase and change things in the attacking department.
Notable absences: Vincent Kompany (injured), Eliaquim Mangala (injured), Fernandinho (injured), Samir Nasri (injured) and Wilfried Bony (injured).
Result? It’ll be a cold one, perhaps even wet with sleet & snow too! But to warm the cockles of the home fans is a win…and I’ve got a sneaky feeling a big-scoreline win too; with devastating performances in particular from David, Kevin & Sergio.
Stay warm - if, where you’re watching the game is cold, of course - and enjoy!