…to give EVERYONE a lift (and before we face in-form Arsenal on Sunday) then it’s now! Published before Arsenal were beaten on Tuesday night...
Straight to it – I actually didn’t think for one moment I’d have either the time or energy to ‘pop out’ a pre-match piece before this game.
Predicted line-up, subs and outcome.
Fluid 4-5-1 come 4-1-4-1 come 4-3-3 come 4-2-4…
___________(Outfield player with gloves on)_________
The ‘fella in yella’ to start at the back.
With my-thinking that Pablo might start & feature higher up the field for this one in the absence of Fernandinho; I’m going for Bacary to start on the right in ‘a 4’ at the back (surely our manager won’t make the same mistake as his did v Chelsea and ‘go 3’?). With a heavy heart, I have to say that Pep appears to prefer Aleks over Gael and, so, he fills the left-hand flank of the defence. In between those is John and, returning from a 1-game suspension (I had no idea before the Leicester City game – oooops!), it’s Nicholas…making me nervous as hell with the 'trinity' of Kolarov, Otamendi & the guy with gloves on behind them!
So…Pablo to provide largely defensive, 'midfield combativeness' (if he performs how he did in that position against Celtic then that’ll do for me!), with the more-creative threat coming from Ilkay & David in the middle of the park. Flanking those is likely to be Kevin & the returning from injury / regaining fitness Raheem.
Kelechi to have 'another go' up front.
Notable absences: Vincent Kompany (injured), Fabian Delph (not selected), Fernandinho (suspended: 2 of 3) & Sergio Aguero (suspended: 2 of 4).
Do I agree with Pep’s (predicted) line-up?
As I said before the last league game, aside from the “keeper” and some concerns also about both Kolarov & Otamendi; there’s nothing else wrong with that on paper at least.
Result? Well I watched at lot of Watford’s game against Everton and although the Toffee’s defence was a little suspect at times; The Hornets were good for their 3 points and, now, 7th place in the Premier League. We cannot take these lightly at all and as well as craft to trick our way through another resilient defence, I’m sure; it’ll require graft too.
But surely…SURELY, we’re good for 3-home points here? Peeping out between fingers, I’ll mutter a slightly nervous, “Yes”.
Expected weather conditions during the game: Nothing happening – slight Southerly breeze, overcast, dry and reasonably mild (for mid-December) at 8 or 9C.