Sunday, 17 August 2014

The ‘opener’

First of all folks, sorry for the delay in getting out a pre-Newcastle United game 'Blog posting'. Hospital visits and employer issues have somewhat got in the way over the last few days to say the least.

With all of that set aside for the moment, it’s time to get my head around City and footy in general.

Other issues and snippets

Before all things City & Newcastle, there have been a few things I’ve wanted to comment on.

Firstly is the impressive way City are going about their business with regards to securing the players at our club on long-term contracts. What a MASSIVE message that sends out of our intension of building a strong nucleolus; the bedrock of very successful teams down the years. And what a HUGE 'hands off' to vulture-circling clubs...

The slightly improving Kolarov was first to sign a 3-year deal closely followed by Nasri’s 5-year offer and signature. Then came Silva,  Aguero & our Captain and soon to follow their lead is Hart and Dzeko. And although I think he still wants to, understandably see how his playing time situation lies in January, I think there’s definitely an offer on the table for much-needed, in my opinion, (HAHM-ez) Milner.

What’s even more impressive from City is that I understand each and every new contract comes with a much-reduced weekly wage; adding, instead, huge incentive / winning bonuses. These bonus payments are, apparently, excluded from the calculations of F(not so)FP as they are not guaranteed payments (I wonder how long it’ll be before the cheating ******** change that rule?)

All EXCELLENT news though.

More good news – although that might sound cruel – was the sale of Javi Garcia for £12M to Zenit St. Petersburg. The worst of our midfields has gone and together with the sale of Jack Rodwell puts us WELL under the FFP spending limit. With another sale or three – possibly in the form of Micah Richards, Scott Sinclair and John Guidetti – we could even afford ourselves some elbow room in the transfer market before the end of August! There’s even rumour of an Isco loan - watch this space…

Slightly surprising was the news that Karim Rekik has gone back to PSV for another season on loan. Again this might sound slightly cruel but surprising, because, we’re left with Dedryck Boyata instead of the slightly-better Karim. Boyata’s ability and all-too-often mistake-filled game concerns me a lot.

But good luck to Karim and I hope he continues his improvement out there.

In even MORE ‘stuck with Boyata news’ WAS the news that Jason Denayer has moved to Celtic for the season and the Belgian central defender opened the scoring on his debut after just 4 minutes. On hearing reports of his ability – and despite having Vinny, Martin, Eliaquim & Matija – I honestly thought Jason might get retained and used on occasions this season.

But I’m convinced a season away – even if it’s only in Scotland’s Premier League (and yes I did mean that to sound slightly disrespectful) – will do him the world of good.

I hope Bruno Zuculini isn’t prone to feeling dizzy. First of all he was all set – and it had apparently been agreed a while ago – that he was to join Valencia on loan for the season, then he was off to Sunderland, then he was staying here for the season…and now he MIGHT be off to Deportivo de La Caruna. Wherever you end up Bruno, good luck mate.

Definitely not enjoying the milder climes of Spain will be Greg Leigh. The EDS left-back has joined Crewe Alexandra on loan until 5th January 2015. Best wishes to him also.

And the Mangala / London thing explained, apparently…

A little late in commenting on this one…but even as a seasoned football observer I was shocked that we had our first managerial casualty on the opening day of the Football League season in the sacking of Huddersfield Town’s Mark Robins.

However, it has since been quoted that it wasn’t a decision based on the one, 4-0 opening home game defeat but rather the appalling level of football and results in the previous 20 leagues games last season. And, to be honest, I shed not one tear for the ex-Manyoo player who once very bitterly and quite openly mocked us (for a reason I recall irritated me at the time but can’t quite recall now).

But, more recently, Tony Pulis beat Mark to the quickest departure when resigning from his post as Crystal Palace Manager just a few days before the start of the season for a disagreement with their owner of spending (or lack there of).

What a sham! Who next (or have I already missed one?)

Speaking of a sham – recently I stated how irritating Manyoo fans around me have already become and one of those irritations were that they were getting way too overly excited about very average players having a half-decent pre-season in the US.

Well I don’t want to say "I told you so" but…

Oh...SO many captions I could add to this!

Van Gall quote from yesterday’s post-match interview: I know in what positions we need better players…” At least he has a better clue than the so-called followers of the club - and that’s why he’s the Manager I suppose.

Right…onto the business of the day!


Now since starting Blue Chews-daze on 23.04.2013 there have been some difficult starting 11s to predict. Even if I do say so myself, however, I’ve done pretty well for the most part.

However, this one must rank as the most difficult of a competitive game so far and so I make no apologies for getting closer to 60% than 100%.

First of all I’m going to compound the issue by suggesting that he break a habit of a (City) lifetime and not start, at least, with 4-4-2. I doubt it very much but if he did; here’s what I think he might do…and why.

4-3-3 / 4-3-2-1 / 4-1-4-1 (read it as you will):











Why? Well ignoring the back 4 and goalie I just think he’ll be tempted, and I would agree, to try to include Nasri, Silva and pre-season-impressive Navas and with Yaya surely a starting cert also – and with us needing a defensive midfielder thrown in – that would leave room for just one striker (and that’s the mobile and fluid Jovetic over Dzeko for me).

Also, I’m not 100% certain – but I think that it MIGHT be the case – that Aguero will be available on the bench and if not; we don’t have any real striker options from the bench to ‘change the style’ if we needed to.

I also think that, even at home, Nasty Pardew will go for a packed, counter-attacking midfield a-la Arsenal during the Community Shield.

Anyhoo…that’s a real long, LONG shot that is and so slapping myself across the face as I've just have done; here’s what I think Pellegrini will pick for this afternoon’s North East clash.











Subs: Caballero, Kolarov, Boyata, Milner, Lampard, Navas, Aguero

Hart over Caballero – I’ve not got much doubt at all about that one.

This is something I’ll be saying most of the season – and getting wrong from time to time I’m sure – but I THINK he’ll go for the more defensive Clichy over Kolarov.
With the older, World-Cup-legs of Demichelis not being quite ready and Mangala not being chosen also; Nastasic is about the most likely player to partner Kompany, who I think will be ready enough to play in this one and will get chosen.
Gone, I think, will be the ‘Clichy covering at right back’ for this one and that Zaba will ‘resume’ ahead of Sagna’s return to fitness (but I could be wrong on all sorts of fronts here).

Fernando to ‘hold’ and, VERY unfortunately for him, I think Navas will miss out on being part of an attacking midfield trio; as it goes to Nasri, Silva & Toure instead.

Jovetic & Dzeko to ‘lead’.

'Sub goalie' picks itself, Kolarov to provide ‘extra push’ if needed and, sadly, Boyata as a the central defensive option from the bench.
Milner is at LEAST a ‘bench man’ and I think he might be joined by 'our Frank'; who for me is a naturally fit player and has been training for weeks now.
Navas of course and I THINK we’ll have the Argentinean pocket battleship available for ‘the last 20’ if required.


It’s a toughy that’s for sure but I’m going for an away win; joining Swansea near the top of the table at the end of the day...


  1. Steve

    Seen the news today that he is prepared to let Nasta go and keep Boyata?? Cannot believe that, every time i see Boyata he looks unsure of himself. Would have kept Rekik here for our 4th centre back and let Boyata go. Good result yesterday thought they did ok, the Geordies put us under some pressure but i thought it was a solid opening 1ST game. 3 more pts than at this stage last year.


    1. Hi Chris. Yep, absolutely baffling that one. Pellegrini sees Nastasic more than us, of course, and so in training he must see something he doesn't like.

      But apart from the fact that he's always looked very accomplished for a young defender - especially in his first-half-season before last season's injury-hit one - Boyata, on the other hand, always looks full of mistakes.

      A bizarre decision to say the least.

      Yes that was a good result. A couple of scares, as you say, but yes it was a solid start. Very good goals too.