Friday, 7 February 2014

Getting back on track

Without wishing to sound over-confident nor complacent; what on earth must be going through the minds of Norwich City players and coaching staff ahead of their game against us? A team who we have, more often than not, beaten (often soundly!) having to now come up against Pellegrini’s men looking to each other for a strong ‘reaction’ after the Chelsea defeat.

Professionalism…and an early goal

There could well be some nerves in sky blue shirts on the Norwich grasses on Saturday, despite having a team full of top-quality internationals who have ‘been there and done it’ on some of the world’s biggest footballing stages.

But it’s a team very much used to winning and so losing their first game since 10th November (I seriously had to look that one up! It was Sunderland away by the way…) especially to a title-chasing rival in front of MILLIONS of TV viewers; just might have put a self-doubting note into some of the player’s minds.

So, as the sub-heading suggests, they need to put that one behind them; stay solid and concentrate 100% on their own strengths and job-roles against a Norwich side who will be desperate to improve a ‘2 wins in 10’ record...and avoid slipping into the relegation zone on goal difference on Saturday (if they lose, West Ham win and Palace / West Brom take a point from each other).

I think an early goal is absolutely vital here too. I don’t normally ‘bang on’ about needing an early goal - particularly these days where even the most stubborn formation and resolute side all-too-often eventually cave in under relentless City pressure. But if we are to ‘wobble’ at all on Saturday – amplifying any doubts that might have crept into their psyche – then it’ll be because we can’t find the net (as we couldn’t against Chelsea just 5 days earlier).

I don’t THINK it’ll be a problem (could be an interesting game this one) and here’s the line-up I think (Manager of the Month for a consecutive month) Pellegrini will choose to allay any possible negative vibes that might exist in the City player’s minds…

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










Hart continues, of course, and…SURELY Clichy gets rewarded (and Kolarov withdrawn) after both a good game against Tottenham and poor one against Chelsea respectively. Zabaleta & Kompany are ‘nailed on’ and (clearly Manager’s favourite) Demichelis will probably start too – assuming his so-adjudged ‘aging legs’ aren’t still aching too much after his hearty performance against all odds last Monday night.

I just wonder if Milner is back to full fitness and if so – and with Fernandinho missing for about 3 weeks – whether Manuel will finally see the benefits of sticking James ‘in there’? Garcia is injured (should be back in training late next week). If the England man IS indeed fit, I think he might just get his place alongside Toure. Silva, once again, to provide a lot of the creativity and likewise Navas gets another run-out whilst Nasri continues his ‘light training’ / rehab.

Right…’up front’. I might be wrong here, of course, but I just wonder whether they’ll be a double-whammy is Pellegrini’s thinking. Will he…

  1. Finally realise that the Dzeko / Negredo combo has rarely (if ever?) worked?
  2. Finally give Jovetic the start that his more-recent performances and reasonably sustained period without injury have merited?
I believe he will on both counts and if he DOES go with this; then the fluid 4-4-1-1 / 4-2-2 could signal a return to another high-scoring win. I'm assuming also, by the way, that Alvaro's shoulder is feeling much better after a 57-minute run-out last Monday...

This section-option allows for SUCH fluidity that this combination could, indeed, be seen as an attacking 4-1-4-1. Play Milner (or whichever defensive midfielder he chooses) a lot deeper just in front of the back 4 and deploy Jovetic as a midfielder or left-winger; and the attacking quartet of David, Stevan, Yaya & Jesus behind Negredo could be a devastating one! Looks mouth-watering in fact!

Alternative positioning…





Keep it on the floor!

We’re not a team that ‘hoofs it’ of course and I don’t think, unless desperate and / or completely out of options, Chris Hughton sets his sides up to play like that either. But although the rain Gods (who have WELL over-stayed their flippin' welcome in the British Isles by the way!) should leave this game alone on Saturday; the winds WILL be upon us. 25 Mph is the average; expect gusts more than twice that throughout the match!

Providing the players and supporters can travel without much incident on the already sodden ground and reach Carrow Road safely (see…not just a footy Blog; you get the weather forecast ‘n’ stuff chucked in too!) then let us hope that it’s…‘Let’s be havin’ you! Manchester City! (it’s an old-un but still golden…)

Result? An eventual away win.

Good ol' Delia Smith...
Aaahhhh…wine. It’s a wonderful drink.

My PC is off to the Doctors in the morning (Saturday 8th February) and I'm HOPING to get it back the same day...

Update (08.02.2014 - 2:56pm): PC back from the shop - all better! Do you think I'll get a prize for predicting both the starting 11 and bench 100% correct? 8- )

No comments:

Post a Comment