…our cup-run successes into some real league form in this crucial run of fixtures coming up and starting tonight.
Rotation should help
Due to a recent holiday, announced before the last game, I didn’t get the watch live our game against Aston Villa in the League Cup. Saw the highlights, read the reports and all sounded very good indeed.
Impressive line-up I thought and I read some other comments from Blues before the game who thought so too. I was saying this the other day – injury to ANOTHER key player in Kevin De Bruyne might now see our manager having to think a bit more savvy and, in particular, choose some personnel to start games that some City fans have been screaming about for some considerable time now (I’m thinking, for the most part, various combos of Delph, Fernando & Fernandinho…as well as Toure being used in a more ‘as & when’ basis).
Of course special mention has to go to Kelechi Iheanacho who appears to be living up to our expectations since seeing him pre-season in the summer of 2014. I also read a report post-Villa that Fernandinho (again!) would have been pushing for MotM had it not been for the young striker’s performance – the Brazilian really has come into his own this season!
Other notable occurrences from our 4-0 F.A. Cup win at Villa Park was the late inclusion of not one, not two but THREE EDS competitive-game debutants in Angelino, Cameron Humphreys and Bersant Celina. And, I have to include, the use of Bacary Sagna as a central defender – a back-line-4 suggestion from me post-West Ham (I’ve gotta blow my own trumpet sometimes…)
So…4-0 away to Villa in the cup and all done without (fit & available) Joe, David, Yaya & Sergio! All of a sudden after a season of treatment table nightmares – and despite still so many key injuries – the squad is looking like a decent squad.
Onto it then…
Predicted line-up, subs and outcome…
4-2-3-1 / 4-5-1:
It’s a league game and, so, Joe to regain his place ‘between the sticks’.
Martin was completely rested at the weekend and although I would stick with the back-4 that faced Villa on Saturday; I can full understand Pellegrini wanting to rest a player, in Bacary Sagna, who has been almost ‘ever present’. Martin, then, joins 3 players in Gael, Nicholas and Pablo who all featured in the Midlands just 3 days ago.
Fernandinho did, of course, play in that same game but was withdrawn with 12 minutes of normal time remaining. I think, therefore, that our manger will ‘go again’ with him; and will join a rested Yaya & David in the middle of ‘a 5’. Making up those numbers I can’t see any option but to go with Raheem & Jesus again.
Sergio to regain his place as a lone striker.
Willy ‘back on the bench’ and re-joining the bench should be fit-again Aleks. Bacary & Cameron make up the other defenders on the side. Fernando the defensive midfield option; Brandon & Kelechi the attacking changes if needed.
Notable absences: Vincent Kompany (injured), Kevin De Bruyne (injured), Fabian Delph (injured / slight knock), Samir Nasri (injured) & Wilfried Bony (injured).
Result? Usually a tough place to visit, although we destroyed them in the League Cup there this season. Key for me is the rested personnel at the weekend and, with that in mind, I’m going for a good performance and a comfortable City win in the end (with perhaps a few heart flutters in defence from time to time).
So…Pep has been confirmed as the next Manager (Head Coach - whatever...) for Manchester City.
Now I’m sure that news had many Blues ‘punching the air’ with joy and ‘clinking a few glasses’, which is very understandable indeed! I, on the other hand, was convinced anyway that this was a ‘done deal’ a long while ago and was very please, if not jumping around the room shouting, “Whu-hooo!”, as the news broke.
I was, however, slightly disappointed to-then read a few “city fan” comments on one site at least; that it also confirmed the departure [with glee] of Manuel Pellegrini and can only, from those on-line messages, say that they were either numpty City fans or embitteRED Manyoo fans in disguise (and secretly expressing concern / disappointment). I say that, not least, because we have a manager who has been the most gentlemanly Manager we’ve ever had since ‘Sir Joe’.
Not only that…but we still have a Manager who won the Premier League and League Cup in his first season and who also ensured that we were the league runners-up last season AND, who, has engineered matters so far this season that we are still in all-4 cup competitions come-February…
My opinion on the announcement and the ‘timing off’?
Well for any player at our club ‘worth their salt’; this should be a fillip for both them and the team in general. Whether it’s a case of them-now giving their boss ‘their all’ for the rest of the season [giving him a trophy-filled send-off] and / or trying to ensure that they are in next season’s and beyond plans (I’m sure Pep will be scouting / monitoring our season-remaining progress); I’m convinced they will be ‘upping their game’. The only exception to that – and I pray that I’m wrong – might Be Yaya; who I’m sure won’t be part of any Guardiola plans regardless...
The future, as always, is bright…