Friday, 28 March 2014

Clearer picture

2-week task: To stay within striking distance of Chelsea & Liverpool, as we go into our first game-in-hand-match (Sunderland at home). Do that and we’ll go a long way to being ‘home & dry’!

But our first task: Beat Arsenal…or at the very least come away with a point.

As simple as that?

Well of course not…and football, of course, has more twists ‘n’ turns than the Snake Pass, even at this (very) late stage of the season - just yer 7 games left for our rivals!

But with Chelsea not playing in mid-week, our emphatic win in Stretford and Liverpool ever-so-slightly eking out a home win against lowly Sunderland; all of a sudden the top of the league table picture looks a little clearer. Just 2-points behind one of ‘em and just 3 behind the other with 2 games extra to play over both of them; what is required of us, at least, is clear…if not so simple.

Another night at Cold Trafford; ANOTHER win

It’s becoming a (nice) habit isn’t it? In fact wasn’t that the first time we’d recorded THREE back-to-back swamp wins since the early 1970s? Something like that…

David Moyes sure is racking up a lot of Manyoo records, isn’t he? It’s ‘first time’ also in the Premier League era that they’ve lost 10+ home games in one season and Edin Dzeko’s 42-second strike was the fastest ever goal conceded at Stretford Rangers in the Premier League.

Well-done David! Keep it up fella…

Special mentions

Well, he’s done it again. Just when I think I’ve worked out Edin Dzeko [generally for being a low-on-confidence, ‘out of sorts’, sulky-pants who couldn’t trap a bag of cement let alone a football] he begins to ‘turn on the style’. Edin followed up his impressive display and goal-scoring at the KC Stadium with another fine display and ‘brace’ at the Theatre of Comedy. Well done him; long may it continue.

Demichelis too (even next to apparently ‘intimidating’ Kompany). He’s looking far more assured and his calmness and intelligent passing is very noticeable and effective at the moment. Still not sure I’d play his ‘reduced pace’ against Suarez, Sturridge & Co. but it’s too early to be talking about that one just yet…





Same again please Mr Pellegrini

With there being, most likely, still no Sergio Aguero available for this Saturday evening kick off at the Emirates Stadium, I think it’s gotta be ‘same again’ in terms of formation against Arsenal; if not exactly the same personnel [as last Tuesday night].

There has been no more news on our main ‘strike threat’ since Pellegrini’s announcement at the Manyoo, pre-match press conference, where he stated that Sergio was to re-join first-team training later this week.

This, to me, is either a purposely-secretive, low-key move to surprise us all by giving him a place on the bench against Wenger’s men…or he’s fallen behind with his rehab and might even be a doubt for the Southampton home game a week later. Either way, I don’t want him to be rushed back ahead of the Liverpool game or any of our vital, remaining games for that matter. We need him back but fit to destroy the opposition in the remaining 6 or 7 games.

So it’s straight on to my [Pellegrini] predicted line-up and formation:













Hart, of course; Kompany, of course, Zabaleta (you know the rest…)

And in the “of course” column I should really be adding Demichelis…and so I’ll do just that. There’s no WAY our Manager is going to drop the revitalised Argentinean and, to be honest, why should he at the moment?

Left-back is a bit of a quandary…but not much. I was going to suggest that he might like the counter-attacking option of Kolarov ‘from the start’ but these 4 are starting to properly gel and have been responsible for 3 out of 5 Premier League clean sheets in a row (the 2 Argentineans having playing in all 5)!

Equally I was going to suggest that Milner’s fine performance against Fulham could be repeated this coming Saturday; with both the attacking / supporting and defensive options that he gives us. But I’ve gone for our ‘Engineer’ using Garcia & Fernandinho as a protective shield; allowing the ‘3 usual suspects’ to have free, all-out, attacking reign in support of the in-form Dzeko. Navas, along with the rest, was excellent in the Derby in a 4-1-4-1 and although I liked the look of that formation against Manyoo, I think he’ll go with Nasri, Toure & Silva as an attacking 3 for this one.

Even without Aguero on the bench (if that’s the case) we still have a very, very strong bench to choose from. If it’s not working out; the fact that we have Kolarov (for his attacking/crossing ability), Milner, Navas, Jovetic AND Negredo is absolutely awesome!

Result? Well The Gunners are shaky & flaky at the moment and although they’ll want to put both an appalling display & result at Stamford Bridge and a shock 2-2 home draw to Swansea City behind them ASAP – as well as them-being acutely aware of Everton’s threat just behind them in the league – our gushing confidence, if applied correctly, should be enough to come away with all 3 points.

My head is telling me, as it did before the Derby, that I should be looking for this one to be a draw but, unlike the Derby, I just can’t go with that on this occasion. We’re playing with such vigour and self-belief at the moment that I’m convinced we’ll be just too strong for them. It’s a City win for me…and WHAT a win that would be!


  1. There's speculation in the media, isn't there, Steve, that Silva picked up a knock to the ankle on Tuesday, and is a doubt tomorrow.
    I like the look of your team above, but I think Pellegrini might go with Kolarov at left back.
    I agree with your sentiment of an unchanged XI. If Silva is unfit, I'd bring in Garcia alongside Fernie, and push Yaya further forward.
    I've got to admit, after watching Tuesday's destruction on Sky (Scholes and Neville's faces like a pair of smacked arses...bliss) I'm feeling quietly confident.

  2. Hi Colin...

    Yeah, I posted this blog entry before work and then in the afternoon a Blue at work told me about the Silva thing. Shame but I suppose we've always got Navas to 'go again' on one flank with Nasri on the other.

    Milner could well be used then instead of Garcia alongside Fernandinho if Silva is out; Milner compensating for a reduced forward thrust when required.

    Yeah I saw, it was really funny. Scholes had 'get me out of here' written all over his face. Can't see him doing that again... 8- )