Friday, 29 August 2014

Potty! Stoke is actually a Saturday, 3:00pm kick off!

How rare is one of these fixtures? Looking forward to it!

Straight to it then...

With a planned cheese & wine evening after the match the idea is not to have too many pre-match drinks. We’ll see how that goes…

Far clearer in thought will be, of course, Manuel Pellegrini; who will know better than most whether to choose Aguero over the bruised and cut Dzeko and whether to, perhaps at home to Stoke, give Sagna a starting run out. Maybe Fernandinho for Fernando and possibly a start for the impressive Navas.

Mangala & Lampard are still gaining match fitness.

Milner will be looking at this one closely too…and another place on the bench today might go a long way in him deciding his Manchester City future.

So, with various possibilities here’s my best shot at what the team might be against The Potters (with no pre-Liverpool Blog posting you will just have to trust me that I got the starting eleven 100% spot on).

v Stoke City









Subs: Caballero, Zabaleta, Clichy, Fernando, Milner, Silva, Dzeko

So, working from back to front…

Although, of course, there’s a chance Pellegrini might give Willy his first taste of Premier League action and just think, at this early stage - and at home to Stoke – he’ll want to maintain some consistency here. Joe to start again.

First start?
I’m sure we’ll see this happening for most of the season; another rotation at left-back will see Kolarov get another home game while Clichy sits on the bench. With Mangala still recovering his fitness (confirmed by Pellegrini in the first part of his pre-match, mostly Champions-League-based-questions press conference), Demichelis & ‘skip’ to continue in the heart of the defence. Having done a ‘full 90’ against Liverpool I think Zaba will be given the first of many rests [this season] today and having NOT played as yet, I think Sagna will take his City bow this afternoon.

If he does go with this back line then perhaps our ‘Engineer’ will want the security of Fernando ‘in there’ - both Kolarov and Sagan do, after all, have a reputation of ‘bombing forward in support’, which might leave us a little vulnerable. But I’ll stick with this; I think he might give Fernandinho his first full run out in place of ‘The Octopus’.

I don’t think Nasri & Toure have hit full throttle as yet and so I’m guessing that our manager will want to give them both another run out for that very reason. Silva, however, already looks close to his devastating best and with Navas playing so well at the mo; I just think he might reward both with a rest and a start respectively.

With his form and with the personnel available; Jovetic is ‘a given’…but the last one is a real 50/50 for me. Dzeko is currently nursing a badly bruised thigh and rather large cut, apparently, and although he is apparently non-the-worse for it; Aguero did take a knock in training on Thursday. So I’m sticking my neck out and will go for Aguero to get ‘the nod’ here; 2 for 2 in terms of goals and the lesser of the ‘patched up’ being my reasoning.

Pellegrini could, of course, break a starting 11 habit of a lifetime and go with an attacking 4-5-1 / 4-1-4-1 set-up…but I doubt that. Equally the likes of Jordi Hiwula might get a place on the bench but once again, I don’t think so.

Milner might be feeling a little aggrieved with a bench start but depending on how the first half goes; I would hope that he manages to get closer to 45 minutes than 15 and can make the most of that ½-game opportunity.

Result? We shouldn’t be complacent of course and, for me at least, Mark Hughes’ side does contain a few relative ‘unknowns’. However, it should be a comfortable home win where, with the usual patience shown under Pellegrini, we should eventually be looking to boost our goal difference too.

Meanwhile, in shady Europe

HowEVER the European rankings are worked out it hardly seems fair for the Champions of England to be handed, what most people would surely agree is, the hardest group of the competition. Although we were knocked out at the last 16 stage [to Barcelona]; as well as winning the English Premier League we did MAKE it to the knock-out stages [and didn’t get knocked out in the group stages].

I don’t go - and never have gone in for - conspiracy theories (a little na├»ve perhaps?) but there is a small voice now telling me that this is yet another F(not-so)FP beating from UEFA.

Bayern Munich (again), CSKA Moscow (again) and Roma? Really? And so who do 3rd placed Chelsea get in the Champions League? Schalke, Sporting Lisbon and Haribo Maribor. Okay so The Pensioners made it to the semi-finals of the competition last season but, as I say, it hardly seems fair in the Champions League now does it?

Want some salt in the wounds City? Here then…have the away Bayern Munich fixture slap-bang in the middle of an away trip to Arsenal before a home game to Chelsea. Yeah thanks for that.

Oh well, I suppose that’s what good / big squads are for…


  1. That is a fair XI, Steve, and I agree with most of it, but I would have Silva in for Nasri, and Dzeko in for Aguero. With our options, we can take our time easing Sergio back in.
    There's plenty of big games coming up, but today I'm going for a 2-0 win.

    1. Hi Simon.

      Yeah, me too - I'd go with those. Just got a small hunch Pellegrini might not though. Might be wrong.

      2-0 would be good; I'd certainly take that. Forecast is decent for this afternoon; we should have a good sunny one for it.

    2. Steve, I think you may have confused me with someone else, as my real name isn't Simon, and I don't write a blog, I'm afraid!
      I leave that to more qualified people :-)

    3. strange. Sorry about that. Someone told me that when you click on your title "Colin Is The King" it directed you to the Blog YOU write. I think, instead, it must be just one that you follow.

      Tut...I shouldn't always listen to comments without then checking myself.

      Shock result yesterday; just couldn't break 'em down and I suppose we need to give them credit for that. Some poor passing yesterday though.