Sorry, slightly late posting / reduced time – it’s a fairly brief one…
Difficult to predict a starting 11 & subs (but not so much the overall outcome) – at 5-0 up after the first leg there’s an opportunity for Pep to start players who have not begun a competitive game this season.
Fluid 4-5-1 come 4-3-3 come 4-2-4:
Suggestions are that Joe MIGHT start between the sticks tonight and, so, that’s what I’m going with. At 5-0 up from our 1st leg visit to Romania last week, I can’t help feeling that it’s a token, farewell (for now at least) gesture and a bit of an embarrassing / insulting one for the keeper himself. It’ll be good to see him and the crowd reaction though…
An unused sub at the weekend; I think Gael will start tonight. However, on the opposite flank I think it’ll be Pablo to 'start again' as Bacary’s recent ‘little issue’ is more of an official 'injury' now and will be out until after the international break. If I’m correct, it’ll be a young central defence with John continuing to learn under Pep and for his new team partnered, I think, by Tosin.
There’s an opportunity to play a very different midfield and to rest a few regulars and, so, I’m going for the defensive Fernando; slightly ahead of him in a duel role is Fabian and slightly ahead of HIM we might see a new, trim Yaya. Having only played 26 minutes against Stoke at the weekend, I think we’ll see Nolito start tonight. In contrast - and despite a 'full 95' in the same game - ‘work in progress’ Raheem might get another go by Pep tonight.
Surely we’ll see Sergio step aside for Kelechi tonight.
‘Depending’…I would expect to see Pablo Maffeo come on at half time or not long afterwards and perhaps Angelino with 25 or so to go.
Notable absences: Vincent Kompany (in training / recovering from injury), Aleks Kolarov (not selected / rested), Bacary Sagna (injured), Ilkay Gundogan (in training / recovering from injury), Fernandinho (not selected / rested), Kevin De Bruyne (not selected / rested), Samir Nasri (not selected), Leroy Sane (in training / recovering from injury),
Do I agree with Pep’s (predicted) line-up?
Yep…5-0 at 'half time' and at home I’d go with that / give those players a start. Good enough back-up on the bench if needed.
Result? A win on the night and through to the group stages where we should be.
Expected weather conditions during the game: After a warm & sunny day, it’ll be overcast for the match but a pleasantly warm evening nonetheless at 62F to 66F with a slight, North Westerly breeze.