Saturday, 28 September 2013

Away the lads!

So, it's away at Villa today then. And “away” was the topic of a conversation that I had in work with a fellow Blue the day after the demolition of Wigan.


Don’t forget your toothbrush!

My work colleague-Blue was slightly bemoaning our draw for the 4th round of the League Cup and he couldn’t quite understand why I didn’t see it as a bad'n too. So, slightly perplexed myself I said, “Well perhaps an away game against Newcastle is a little tricky but it could have been a lot worse”.
However, it soon transpired that my fellow Blue had looked into things a little deeper than I had done; whereas I watched the draw, shrugged my shoulders, turn the TV off and had gone to bed on the Wednesday night, he’d looked at the fixture date to see how it slotted in with our other games. ‘Must try harder’ I thought to myself…
I could instantly see his point as he listed the run of away games, which culminated in our trip to the North East.
Saturday 19th October            -           West Ham United away (Premier League)
4 days later…
Wednesday 23rd October       -           CSKA Moscow away (Champions League)
4 days later…
Sunday 27th October              -           Chelsea away (Premier League)
3 days later…
Wednesday 30th October       -           Newcastle United away (League Cup)
And the West Ham fixture, he continued, falls just after a hell of a lot of players have been away all over the world on international duty. Fair enough…YIKES!
If these fixtures hadn’t fallen after such big, World Cup qualifying trips around the world I would probably not be too concerned at all. But that does leave us (not just us of course) at some risk of not being able to fully assess returning players in time for the West Ham game.
But before I sound like a whinging, conspiracy-theorist David Moyes; this is why you have big squads full of quality players. Not everyone will be playing international games or will even be travelling with their countries; this is where the likes of Micah, (the recovering) Demichelis, (the recovering) Guidetti, Jack Rodwell and a whole host of EDS players will need to step into the side and cover for the aching limbs (or worse) of their returning colleagues.
And besides, unless you are unlucky enough to get drawn away in every leg of the both the League and F.A.Cups, you have to play pretty much the same number of home and away games throughout the season. Just look at November's fixture list of 5 games, 4 at home...followed by another home game on 1st December.
Besides, I’ve found when watching City down the years that a run of consecutive away games of 3 or more seems to focus teams. The early acceptance (and planning) that you and your colleagues are going to be 'on the road' a heck of a lot seems to somehow galvanise players. It’s often the returning home fixture where our lads in the distant past have shot themselves in the foot after a good set of results away from home…
However, that is certainly a lot of toothbrushes that will need to be packed in time for October…although these days the players are more concerned with packing their headphones, iPads ‘n’ the like.

Absentees both good and bad

No disrespect to Aston Villa’s other attacking players but it’s extremely good news that their main threat, Christian Benteke, is out of this game with injury.
Not so good news is the continued absence of David Silva and the slight concern over the missing in action, Sergio Aguero. A slight worry perhaps that they’re not going to be playing in a top-flight Premier League away fixture…but that’s where the jitters end for me. From what I’ve heard, had we not have been playing such a hard Champions League fixture just 4 days later against Bayern, I recon these two key players would have been risked for our trip to Villa Park.
Once again it’s being made perfectly clear that the European competition is firmly in the sights of Pellegrini & Co. Thankfully, unlike the many rested players against Stoke before the trip to Plzen, we have more players at our disposal to choose from and we go into this away game in better form and confidence than we did at the Britannia Stadium.
Probable line-up against Villa then…

Subs: Pantilimon, Clichy, Richards, Lescott, Rodwell, Milner, Jovetic
Should be a win…

2:27pm update...

Actual line-up against Villa…

Subs: Pantilimon, Clichy, Richards, Lescott, Garcia, Navas, Jovetic

Still should be a win…

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