Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Hart – Beggars belief or very sensible planning?

Reports are rife this morning that we are lining up a £15M move for Stoke City’s, Bosnia and Herzegovina goalkeeper Asmir Begovic; with Joe Hart going to Stoke on a ½ season loan. It’s both a little bizarre and quite unexpected…but at the same time has a tone of, ‘this could well happen’ about it.

End for Costel? And…remember Birmingham?

First of all this isn’t the first time we’ve been linked with the Stoke stopper. Apparently had Roberto not been shown the exit door in the summer Asmir was one of his top summer targets – and we may well have been saying our permanent farewells to Joe!

Bringing in the 6’ 6' keeper from the Potteries and retaining Hart on the books would, of course, soon see the end for Pantilimon at City; a keeper, whom, has still yet to make any major mistakes.

However, IF there is any truth to this we would have two unbelievably crackin’ keepers on our books! But equally, of course, two goalies who should in their own right be playing most games at any level across the world. One of ‘em, therefore and quite naturally, would be very unhappy indeed. And with both being 26 years of age; neither would be planning on slowing down and moving aside any time soon….

But if we are, indeed, aiming to join the very highest elite of teams in the world (I think that’s the long-term plan unless I’ve got the owner’s message wrong) then having two terrific keepers in Joe and Asmir makes excellent sense…and would most certainly fit in with our proprietor’s long term vision for the Club.

And if we are to compensate Stoke by sending Joe out on loan for the remainder of the season; just remember what a hugely improved version of Joe we got back after he spent a season on loan at Birmingham City.

Anyway, it’s all irrelevant now; Pellegrini has already completely pooh-poohed the idea; stating the in the pre-Plzen match interview that we are in no way in the market for ANY keeper in January. So that was a complete waste of keyboard-finger exercise…

So let’s crack on with tomorrow’s game…

Briefly then, here’s my predicted starting line-up and subs…








Subs: Pantilimon, Zabaleta, Clichy, Kompany, Rodwell, Lopes, Guidetti, Negredo
Update/Correction: John Guidetti, I discovered this afternoon, isn't registered to play in the qualifying stages of this competition.
Rumour has it that Kompany looked sharp in training today and so I think he might give him 20/25 minutes toward the end ahead of the Swansea City game - while Nastasic, apparently, seemed to be struggling somewhat and didn’t even complete the warm-up this morning. Kolarov looked to have got over his recent illness too. Hurraaaaay…

I’d love to think that he’d stick Rodwell in there from the start but I very much doubt it. I think too that Guidetti will get a game but not before Aguero gives Dzeko some fair support for the first 45 minutes.

Fernandinho and Navas, like Milner, look like they could run all season and not get tired and so I think they’ll both start again. I hope to see Lopes get on at some stage too.

And although any kind of consistency in defence is key for us at the moment I can just see a completely different back line starting against the Czech side. With us already having qualified it is wise to save Clichy for the Swansea game (although I’d LOVE to see us pluck a left back from the EDS to have a crack at tomorrow night’s game). Richards definitely needs a run-out and Lescott played really well when replacing Nastasic in the second half against Spurs. Could be too soon for Demichelis following Sunday’s game and, regardless; like Micah Boyata deserves a crack too.

Apparently Jovetic didn’t train at all today.

Result: A fairly comfortable win.

Let’s hope CSKA put up a good fight; giving us a slim chance of top spot to keep it interesting at least…

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