Friday, 7 March 2014

ANOTHER cup game!

Such is the burden of success, hey? J As we gain more and more games-in-hand in the Premier League; we continue our endeavours in yet another domestic cup competition…before ANOTHER cup game in Europe at Barcelona on Wednesday.

Quick moan…

I wasn’t happy that we’d been given the Sunday, 4:05pm KO in the quarter final of the F.A. Cup. No allowance whatsoever seems to have been made that we’re playing one of best teams in the world just 3 days later; having to factor-in recovery time, travelling and training. The culprits? BT Sport – yes one of our flippin’ main partner-sponsors!

BT City Square at the Etihad
Soon after the date announcement a spokesman for BT Sport said that all ‘interested parties’ are happy with the date…and this, they said, included the Manager, Manuel Pellegrini. Indeed, not long afterwards in a pre-match interview, the Chilean was questioned about the fixture date and he…said…he was okay with it. It looked to me more like he was simply ‘toeing the party line’…   He just CAN’T be happy with it when they could have played it on the Saturday instead.

Not that I was ever na├»ve to the fact; but TV most definitely rules these days…


Still suffering with severe headaches / now whiplash-like symptoms, I’ll get straight to it if you don’t mind…

Formation: 4-4-2










Hart is mostly likely to get his place back despite being, probably, the one ‘between the sticks’ against Barcelona; Pantilimon quite rightly having played in the League Cup final last Sunday.

I think he’ll go with Clichy - I personally will be please but I’m also guessing that Pellegrini with go with Kolarov against the Spanish giants. Demichelis is suspended for the forthcoming midweek game and so I’m guessing that our manager will, once again, plumb for the Argentinean ahead of Lescott against Wigan. Lescott SHOULD get ‘the call’ in Spain. I’d love to think that Zaba would get a rest on Sunday and that Micah will be up to the task. Sadly I just can’t see either to be honest. I can’t even see Richards making the bench…

I’m guessing that he’ll go with the 4 'usual suspects' across the middle; of course he MIGHT give Garcia a start instead of Fernandinho...he might even choose Milner or Navas to start in order to give Yaya a rest ahead of Wednesday's game.

Up front? Well here’s a bit of a poser. Although in his pre-match press conference he doesn’t list Dzeko as being injured - and nor does he mention the fact that Negredo is, apparently, still shoulder-sore and not quite 100% - I think he’ll go with his best 2 pairing against the Latics and stick Edin on the bench. Simply put, Alvaro has had a considerable rest recently and with regards to Sergio; I’m sure Manuel will look at this game as another fitness-comeback-game ahead of our trial in Camp Nou. If there is a doubt about Dzeko, I wonder if he’ll go for EDS striker Devante Cole…or go for 'no substitute striker' at all and stick Marcos Lopes on the bench instead?

Result? Under Uwe Rosler Wigan are a very tough outfit indeed – only two defeats in 17 games and 5 wins from 5 in all competitions is testament to that! Take these lightly – even at home – and we will regret it for sure. However, address this game seriously, as I’m sure we will, and we should see these off. ANOTHER trip to Wembley [for the semi-final] awaits!


  1. I think Lescott will partner Kompany; Richards at RB; Garcia for Fernie, Milner for Nasri are the only differences I have to you, Steve.
    I agree, we should be wary of Wigan, but, hopefully, home advantage should play a big part in securing a victory. 3-0 City for me.

  2. Hi Colin... You could well be right. It IS a tricky one.

    Although I'm sure Pellegrini won't want to roll over and, worse still of course, be embarrassed at Barca, I think he realises that his best chance of a second cup is in the F.A. Cup. So...does he play a slightly "weakened" side in the HOPE of getting past Wigan - and, therefore, resting his strongest players for Barca - or does he try to blow Wigan away and just hope for a respectable result in Spain?

    I too HOPE we'll see Richards start tomorrow and I hope he has a blinder! We need reliable cover/competition there almost as much as the left-back situation. Zabaleta (30 years-old in January) will start to burn out sooner in the coming seasons if we're not careful with him.

    And with regards to Richards, retaining an English player (contract talks are on-going apparently) will be a massive bonus; if he can remain relatively injury-free, then a 'fit & firing' Micah is an excellent player to have in the ranks!

    3-0...I'll have that! 8- )