Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Advanced blog apologies...

Due to up & coming time constraints, there'll be no pre-Chelsea blog-posting. Soz...

Friday, 25 November 2016

Little recovery time could be a factor…

With around, just, 2 days & 15 hours between the final whistle in our game against ‘gladbach and the early KO time of 12:30pm GMT tomorrow, which includes us-having to take a short flight from Germany; the question of ‘preparation time’ ahead of our short trip to our Lancashire hosts has to be asked in my opinion. 


It also makes it a little tricky for me in deciding who Pep might choose to start this game so soon after our Champions League game (not helped by last-minute niggles to at least 2 players)…

v Burnley

Turf Moor

Predicted starting 11, subs and outcome.

Fluid 4-5-1 come 4-1-4-1 come 4-3-3 come 4-2-4…


__De Bruyne___________________________Sterling__




Claudio in between the sticks.

IF the boss goes with ‘a 4’ at the back, then Gael & Bacary are the flanking defenders with Nicholas & John in between those.

Having given himself an early finish on Wednesday night with a sending off in Germany; Fernandinho – who might otherwise have been on the bench / rested a little – should get a start. Joining him is sure-to-start-now in this league game, Yaya...and David, I would suggest also. Either side of those is Kevin & Raheem.

Kelechi gets I start tomorrow I think too.

Willy the keeper back-up; Aleks and ‘young Pablo’ the defensive cover. Ilkay, one of Pep’s understandable favourites, could be allowed some extra ‘recovering time’ as a sub and then, with possibly no Sergio; it’s a trio of attacking midfield / wing / forward replacements in the form of Jesus, Nolito & Leroy.

Notable absences: Pablo Zabaleta (slight doubt / bit of a niggle), Vincent Kompany (injured for up to 6 weeks again!), Fabian Delph (Injured / on way back soon), Fernando (not selected) & Sergio Aguero (slight doubt / bit of a niggle).

Do I agree with Pep’s (predicted) line-up?

With the available personnel, that’s ‘good for me’.

Result? I feel justified in-being a little concerned for us of late; for-both failing to take so many of the chances we so-often create but also for leaking at least one goal in nearly every game. Not wishing to sound complacent in ANY way, shape or form; I’m a little less concerned about the ‘conceding factor’ tomorrow as Burnley’s league-scoring record reads, P12, F (just) 11.

However, before they leaked 4 against WBA ‘last time out’, they were as dogged and as organised defensively (that includes their midfield department) as they were the last time they were in the Premier League under Sean Dyche. In fact, before their defensive collapse at The Hawthorns earlier in the week, they had the joint-third-best defensive record of the bottom 12 sides in the league.

Okay, that ‘statistic’ might not set many pulses racing and nor should it call for a 'firework fanfare'…but it does suggest to me that we are most likely going to face yet ANOTHER set of brick walls to ‘pound at’ tomorrow afternoon, especially as their boss will want to tighten some of those screws that ‘popped out’ in the Midlands last Monday night.

So, it’s up to us and our many creative and otherwise talented players to trick their way past a team that did beat Liverpool at home in their second game of the season; only conceded a 93rd-minute, dodgy goal to lose 0-1 at home to Arsenal and came away from Scaffold Trafford with a 0-0 point.

It’ll be a tough and frustrating afternoon for large parts, I’m sure, but if we CAN keep ourselves organised at the back; I have to think that we have the talent to unlock these. An early goal would help that.

Although, I’m sure, Liverpool & Manyoo fans would have been thinking similarly when-faced with tomorrow’s oppo; I’m going for a narrow City win.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Rested players likely to return for ‘gladbach.

With some players not even travelling to Crystal Palace last Saturday as well as other key players sitting most of the match on the bench; we should look fresh in Germany as we look to ‘put to bed’ the league stage of the Champions League. 


Straight to it then…

v Borussia Monchengladbach

Borussia Park

Predicted starting 11, subs and outcome.

Fluid 4-5-1 come 4-1-4-1 come 4-3-3 come 4-2-4…


__De Bruyne______________________________Sane__





Claudio to continue in net (if we qualify tonight, I expect to see Willy start at home to Celtic).

Rested and not even-having travelled at the weekend, I fully expect Gael & John to start at left back & central defence respectively. Those two fresh-legged defenders to be joined by (go again) Nicholas & (58-minutes played on Saturday) Pablo.

Kevin & Fernandinho are the only 2 of the ‘5 across the middle’ who I think will start tonight and, who, played a ‘full 95’ last Saturday. Ilkay is back; David to start after playing just 28 minutes in South London AND, I think, we’ll see Leroy get a starting place; back-facing a team from a league he knows so very well (that’s my theory anyway).

I was very tempted to suggest that Pep might start Kelechi tonight…but I ‘bottled it’ and, so, it’s ‘our man Serg’ again ‘up top’.

Willy the keeper insurance; Alex & Bacary the defensive cover. Fernando the central & defensive midfield option…and depending on how the game is going I expect ‘The Octopus’ to give Fernandinho some much-needed respite fairly early on in the second half. Raheem, Nolito and Kelechi the attacking choice-changes from the ‘7 on the side’.

Notable absences: Vincent Kompany (injured…and despite holding his side and having his head & neck heavily ‘bashed’ in his clash with Claudio Bravo at the weekend; I did also see at the time his lower leg twist outwards quite awkwardly as he came crashing back down to Earth. Sure enough, it’s his knee that’s ‘gone’ and he could now be out for “weeks” again), Fabian Delph (Injured but close to a return), Jesus Navas (not selected) & Yaya Toure (not included in the Champions League squad list).

Do I agree with Pep’s (predicted) line-up?

Although I would hope that we can put this one to bed fairly quickly tonight so that we can give the likes of De Bruyne & Fernandinho, at least, some extra recovery time before a soon-to-arrive, early KO (12:30pm GMT) against Burnley on Saturday; yep…I’d go with that 11.

Result? At home and with their best, remaining chance tonight of clawing us back and joining us on 7 points; I do expect ‘gladbach to be really up for the fight this evening.

However, 4 points from 4 games in the Champions League and laying 13th (from 18) in their domestic league with just 3 wins from 11; it tells its own story about our German hosts. With the inclusion of some big-talented & fresh-legged players in our starting 11, then it’s City win for me and progression to the knock-out stages before we play the Scots.

Expected weather conditions during the game: Calm, dry, overcast and at around 52F not even that cold.