Saturday, 30 November 2013

Injured players on way back…but just miss out.

Manuel Pellegrini has answered the questions in the pre-Swansea match press conference and the news is heartening. Kompany is close to a return; Silva and Jovetic are not far behind either. Great news!

High volume of fixtures but looking strong

All of the Premier League teams who have European games to play are in the same boat as us of course; a few, like us, also have an added League Cup game thrown into the mix. But we go into an amazing run of 9 games in 28 days looking strong, squad-fitness wise.

As well as the returning Captain; our midfield wizard and the exciting prospect of Steven Jovetic, Rodwell is apparently free from injury and is ready to play and John Guidetti’s appearance on the bench against Tottenham suggests that he’s ready to embark in his latest attempt to shrug off a horrid period of injury setbacks. Rumoured concerns over both Sergio Aguero and Gael Clichy were just that…

The only ‘regular’ with a ‘no return date' would appear to be Matija Nastasic. Correction/Update: Nastasic is reportedly going to be out for around 3 weeks. That would see him in contention for a place against Fulham at Craven Cottage on Saturday 21st December or the home game on Boxing Day against Liverpool.

So, let’s just get right into tomorrow’s game against Swansea City. Here’s my predicted line-up for the strange, 4:10pm (BST) KO that’s not on the telly…










Subs:  Hart, Richards, Boyata, Rodwell, Milner, Guidetti, Dzeko.

Okay, so I’ve left both Kolarov and Garcia off the bench, which might suggest a bit of ‘what I would do’ rather than what our Manager would. But surely the likes of Micah and Jack get ahead of them on the bench.

Despite a decent performance against Viktoria Plzen on Wednesday night I think he’ll stick with Pantilimon for league games for now. I loved the way Pellegrini burst into / bushed over the Hart debate so that he could concentrate on answering other questions / issues

The centre-back pairing picks itself due to injuries and should be solid enough to take on Swansea at home; helped by the more solid Clichy / Zabaleta combo either side of them. Likewise the pairing of Fernandinho & Yaya; Aguero & Negredo.

Nasri of course on the left and with the absence of Silva; Navas gets another opportunity to shine…and hopefully rip apart the Welsh team down that flank.

Boyata should find himself on the bench, which for him is closer than he often gets to playing a game. Milner, though, will probably see this as another frustrating afternoon watching from the side-lines as his teammates play.

Regular readers will not be surprised to see me get a little giddy to see Guidetti possibly getting a crack at some stage tomorrow; and I’ll add that I hope he gets picked ahead of Mr Sulk. Dzeko’s body language – and certainly not for the first time – was shameful against Plzen. Nuff said on him…


Hopefully, but don't count your swans...

We shouldn’t take these for granted at all (we should NEVER take any game for granted). Yeah they’re not playing well with just 2 wins and 3 defeats in their last 7 outings and, yes; we’ve beaten them quite comprehensively at home in the last two meetings. But they’re often quite a stubborn side; we might need to be patient as they’ll, no doubt, pack the midfield and sit deep.

But even without the influential game-changer in Silva we should have enough with that personnel at home there to get a reasonably comfortable win. I might be wrong (hope not of course) but just don’t expect a 4-0 to 7-0 thrashing tomorrow.

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