Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Beware revitalised Mackems!

Not only will Sunderland want to get the psychological edge over us in this rehearsal of the League Cup final; not only will they want to take advantage of a ‘wobbling’ Manchester City (and will, no doubt, have studied the Chelsea & Norwich videos closely) and not ONLY will they want to move away from the relegation zone…but Gus Poyet’s men will also want to continue their fairly impressive form. We need to be on our toes…


Whatever Pellegrini’s remit from the board might be about the emphasis and effort he must put into the Champions League; the Premier League is the one we should be prioritising above all others in my opinion. Of course we have an F.A. Cup game against a certain Chelsea sitting between those fixtures…but I get the feeling that’s now taken 4th place in our Manager’s current thinking-strategy and so, if that’s the case; we have a decent number of days to recover before the Barca clash. Therefore, on Wednesday night, we must really go for Sunderland’s throat!

Sunderland have been refreshed under their relatively new manager and although they still sit just one place and one point above ‘the drop’, only 2 defeats in the last 10 games begins to tell its own story. In fact before the (shock?) home defeat to Hull City in their last game, they won 3 and drew the other in the 4 previous games…they actually sit a fairly impressive 8th from 20 in the Premier League form guide! They also recently spanked Newcastle away 3-0!

And although I’ve no idea of the circumstances surrounding any of the incidents; I think you can look at the 5 red cards received since the Uruguayan boss took over as evidence of the fight that now exists in the North East team.

And then there’s the ‘Adam Johnson factor’. Not only an ex-Blue potentially doing what most ex-Blues like to do to us; but the hot ‘n’ cold player also has a VERY impressive 6 goals and 2 assists in the last 5 games! He’s very hot at the moment and so let’s just hope he’s due another cold spell…

Please take a step back for a moment Manuel

It’s slightly understandable if our manager is feeling a little perplexed at the moment. His thought processes about his team selection ahead of tomorrow night’s clash must be awash with doubts about trusting certain individuals. If I was him, I’d get over those uncertainties by looking at the facts and sticking all preconceptions and possible favouritisms aside for a moment.

OUT must go Demichelis
IN must come Lescott

OUT must go Clichy AND Kolarov
IN? Well, a training cone perhaps? Seriously, we need to find a 3rd alternative ASAP. I am seriously starting to believe that if we have no left-back in the EDS to begin to introduce into the first team then…step forward James Milner.

”Here ya go fella, here’s your new job for the remainder of the season. Ta very much indeed.”

Has played left-sided (in a more attacking role) before; he’s reasonably pacy, has BAGS of energy and he’s certainly not afraid to get ‘stuck in’. And against Adam Johnson? Who would you rather have? Kolarov, the now-unreliable and inconsistent Clichy or Mr Dependable? Next question please…

OUT, for the Sunderland game, with the 4-4-2.
IN a 4-5-1 and possibly no Negredo or Dzeko if they are still suffering with shoulder and knee problems respectively. Give Jovetic a staring role up front with plenty of supporting, attacking midfielders behind him.

It’s never going to happen of course but, with all of those considerations above, how about…

4-5-1 / 4-6-0:









Bench: Pantilimon, Clichy, Kolarov, Richards, Demichelis, Dzeko, Negredo

You could even play Jovetic deep and ‘do a Bayern / Barcelona’ and just attack Sunderland from all angles; giving them no-one specifically to mark.

Now, of course, I’ll wake up; join the real world, realise that Pellegrini isn’t going to move away from his 4-4-2 and try to predict HIS line-up to face The Black Cats.

Formation: 4-4-1-1 / 4-4-2









Subs: Pantilimon, Clichy, Richards, Demichelis, Rodwell, Lopes, Negredo.

3 changes but pretty-much ‘same again’ really. I think he’ll give Lescott another try and Kolarov will almost certainly get another crack in the shambolic, ‘terrible tussle’ for the left-back slot (fingers crossed against Adam Johnson…).

I almost went for Pantilimon starting for this one. I’ve just got a feeling that he’ll pick the bigger man for this one; seeing as he’s more likely to appear in the final against them on 2nd March. Perhaps that’s a tactical reason NOT to play him tomorrow night, I dunno…

‘Same as’ in midfield and up front apart from a swap with Dzeko for Negredo. I just get the feeling that he’ll try this combination instead and will rest Negredo until needed. Keep rubbing in that Deep Heat Alvaro!

I was wondering if he might stick Jordi Hiwula (or some other EDS player) on the bench? Jordi seems to be a pretty-decent striker – for God’s sake just don’t let Guidetti know!

It’s a shame Karim Rekik is out on loan to PSV. The left-sided central defender-come left-back has 13 appearance (and one goal) for the Dutch side. Previously/recently promoted Emyr Huws is currently on loan to Birmingham City and the midfielder has made 2 appearances for the Blues during his month-long loan, which began on 28.01.2014.

Result? Another one where we’ll have to be patient. I can see it being a little bit fiery (another Sunderland sending off perhaps?) and I think they’ll score. But this will be a home win.

Glad Yaya wasn’t punished. I watched most of the Norwich game live but in true Manager style…‘I didn’t see the incident Gov!’ and so I can’t comment. Now that he’s not being punished? I’m not bovered…

Quick word on Mourinho

Hey? Yer-what?
In response to, when questioned (2:03 minutes), Pellegrini stating that Chelsea had spent the most money in the transfer window; the ‘pedantic one’ questioned our Engineer’s maths skills (huh…priceless). I question Jose’s hearing and suggest that he takes himself off for a test. Perhaps North Manchester General Hospital could fit him in when he pops up again on Saturday…

So just to repeat for Jose’s sake (like he’s gonna read this):

[Said loudly]
Manuel…pointed…out…that…you…had…SPENT…more…money…on…players…in…the…transfer…window, which…is…a…fact. He…didn’t…drill-down…into…your…profit…or…loss…margins…against…player…sales. Alright…love? Want…a…cuppa-tea?

And…what, the ‘Mutt ‘n’ Jeff’ one isn’t seriously trying to off-set the loss of Mata by claiming that he first weakened the team before he bought players to strengthen it, is he? Apart from a 4-game run in the first 14-days of December he hardly PLAYED the frustrated, Spanish player!

QUICKER word on Mourinho…


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