Tuesday, 28 October 2014

‘Stick or twist’ in this now-much-more important game.

I more than suggested it in my post-horror-show Blog posting last Sunday; Pellegrini has to decided whether to give his ramshackle players from the weekend ‘another go’.

The alternative, of course, would be to give a run-out to some other players and then, as for the ‘offenders’ of the sham against West Ham; treat them to extra training sessions and make them watch videos of themselves all-week-long before ‘the derby’.

A case for ‘going again’ with the same against Newcastle

I’m going to have to play two people here – I don’t run my Blog with anyone else…

Mr ‘Blue’:

This back-line (goalkeeper included) needs time together. Although with the punishing league & cup fixture list and high intensity of the Premier League there’s little room for ‘bedding in’ etc., every professional will tell you, I’m sure, that a ‘unit’ needs to be given the opportunity to gel together – and you don’t get that if you continually ‘chop ‘n’ change’.

Starting with your keeper - he needs to bond with the whole back line but, in particular you’d think, with the two fellas in the middle / right in front of you.

Kompany, for the most part, is the ‘glue’ for our defence and we all ‘suck up air’ whenever he takes a knock and might be out for a few weeks. Hart must start and with regards to our Captain; although my instinct in a home League Cup game just before a derby would be to rest / protect Vinny; he needs another run out alongside our new purchase.

Pellegrini, in fact, spent an initial £31.8M on Eliaquim Mangala as a long-term partner of ‘our skip’ and was, like the rest of us, hoping this would prove to be one of the most envious defensive partnerships in the Premier League. It’s that, “time”, thing again; WITH time I think we can all see that this combo of Vinny & Eliaquim will work very well but while it’s (slowly) developing we’re getting hurt badly.

But it won’t get fixed if they don’t spend time together and not just on the training ground; both need another go at getting it right before they face the likes of Robin Van Persie, Juan Mata, Angel Di Maria and possibly, if they recover, Wayne Rooney and Radamel Falcao. Mangala to ‘face up’ against the Geordies.

Although we brought in the highly experienced and capable Bacary Sagna to support / compete with our Zaba; this case lends itself for me to repeat the same. To create that ‘bond’ Pablo needs to put another shift in tomorrow. Sorry mate…

Huh…now here it comes - the left-back slot. I could bleat on for ages…but I won’t. In fact I’ll keep it brief. The lesser of the two evils is, for me, Gael Clichy who CAN be very good and is, on the whole, a better defender on the left than Aleksandar Kolarov. Same applies as with the others; Gael should keep his place in ‘the unit’ for this one.

Moving up the pitch…

For ‘back 4’ read ‘back 5’. Again, and similarly, our Engineer brought in Mangala’s teammate, Fernando, from Porto to protect all behind him (as well as to ‘break up’ and supply the more attacking midfielders of course). Huh…perhaps our manager had a vision and knew that the defence would NEED protecting

But, early injury fully taken into account, it just hasn’t worked out for the most part so far at least. Like his ex-Porto colleague our ‘Octopus’ has shown flashes of why we spent millions on him…but that’s about it. And apart from, in my opinion anyway, only having James Milner who could do a similar job; the likes of Fernandinho & Yaya just aren’t up to this kind of ‘dirty work’. Oh for a Nigel de Jong

No, Fernando has to make this slot ‘his’; we have little choice anyway. He has to ‘go again’ on Wednesday night.

That’s the ‘meat’ of it really but, of course, I’ll skim over the more attacking side before tomorrow nights cup clash.

Like Zabaleta and Milner, Navas could run almost all season. He had a poor one against The Hammers and so could do with a home, confidence-building rampage against The Magpies. Navas on the right.

Contrastingly to Jesus, James made some difference in the short time he was on and so should get a start.

‘To Yaya’ or not ‘to Yaya’. Like the defence, I feel as though he needs to ‘find’ himself and his stride again…and you don’t do that by not playing. He needs to pick off a few teams back-to-back and it should start with Newcastle tomorrow night.

Silva is the only midfielder I would rest / protect tomorrow night. He makes us ‘tick’ and can tear teams apart when he’s as ‘on blob’ as he is at the moment (aside from a couple of wobbly passing moments against Spurs and CSKA). It would be a real shame (and disaster) not to give him the opportunity to rip into the reds on Sunday because of a niggle (or worse) picked up in the League Cup and so don’t risk it Manuel!

Fernandinho needs a run out, we should consider picking him instead.

Similar Aguero – we want him fit and raring to go on Sunday. Don’t pick him either boss.

I’m still so disgusted with Dzeko’s lack of effort on Saturday I wouldn’t pick him either. I would, however, give Jovetic a go and although I’m suggesting here that he play the lone striker role then so be it; I’d rather go 4-6-0 than play the Bosnian!

The case for ‘all change’

Mr ‘Maroon’:

I’ll quickly start with the keeper. Forget what Mr Blue said about the need to keep a familiar back-line together; if Willy Caballero can’t get a game at home in the League Cup then when the ‘ell WILL he ever get a game? He too needs time in a competitive game because, trust me, we’ll regret it when he’s called upon to face some tough opposition in the Premier League and is found ‘wanting’.

Right, the defence itself…

Train, train, train, watch a DVD of past games / mistakes, train, train, watch some more DVDs, play a behind-closed-doors game, analyse that game, train a bit more and then rest before the ‘big game’ on Sunday.

That’s what Hart, Clichy, Mangala, Kompany, Zabaleta and Fernando need to do this week; NOT play in the League Cup before the derby! Get it sorted and then pitch ‘the wall’ against Manyoo.

Kolarov, Demichelis, Boyata & Sagna across the back for this one.

Right, the rest…

Milner to ‘sit in the middle’ and practice the Fernando role. In front of him? Sinclair, Lampard, Toure & Navas behind Jovetic. Job done.

Don’t you think Mr Maroon sounds a bit more forthright than Mr Blue?


v Newcastle United

Okay, this is difficult one to predict but here’s what I THINK Pellegrini will go with against The Toon.










Subs: Hart, Clichy, Zabaleta, Demichelis, Toure, Silva, Nasri, Aguero

UPDATE (29.10.2014): Frank Lampard not fit / available.

Starting at the back…

I DO think he’ll give Willy a go here; otherwise I think the Argentine will start to ask questions of his long-time associate of why he was brought to Manchester City if he doesn’t.

I’m going for ‘The Engineer’ to realise that the central two pairing need to ‘work the problem’ but, sadly for me at least, I think he’ll undermine that a little and will rotate the wide defenders (no disrespect to them – just thinking of the ‘continuity thing’).

I don’t know, as I type this, but I’m guessing that Lampard might be fit enough for a starting place. And with our Manager most likely going for a 4-4-2; he might feel a little overwhelmed too. Having said that, Milner might ‘tuck in’ and make a midfield 3 with Fernandinho and with Jovetic then out wider left; that’ll provide a 3-pronged attack with Navas and Dzeko.

It’s a tough one to call this one considering our recent questions marks…

Hart on the bench (not sure about the fitness of Richard Wright); Clichy, Zabaleta and Demichelis as back up. Toure as an impact player / game changer (likewise Aguero for this one) and Nasri, I understand, is fit to resume and so might get a run out from the bench.

Result? Huh…well, like QPR just before we play them; Newcastle seem to have their ‘tails up’. However, I’m sure Pardew wants Premier League survival far, FAR more than any kind of cup run and so I’m going for him to drop a few of his better players ahead of their early KO on Saturday against Liverpool.

It’ll be jittery, it’ll be a bit awkward-looking at times with the mixture of players that he might throw-in together but at home – and having had a ‘talking to’ since the West Ham game no doubt – we’ll stride on towards the quarter finals of this competition. It’s a City win.

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