Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Last chance saloon!

This is it…probably - win or bust. Huh…it’s “only” Bayern Munich though and they’ve already qualified. Yeah right…


For any City fan out there who believes that, having already managed to finish top of the group come-what-may Bayern won’t ‘turn up’ for this one, then I’m sorry to say, “Forget it”. I don’t think that’s either the ‘German’ nor ‘Pep way’. So let’s move on.


Regular readers won’t be surprised to see me spin this one out again and to those followers I apologise for my repetitiveness. What I don’t apologise for is my continued, firm opinion that should we not beat Bayern tonight, then I hope we do all we can to finish bottom of the group.

Again, sorry to the ‘regulars’, but I have to stress that this is in no way me being disrespectful to the Europa League in the slightest…and nor have I become ‘all Manyoo’ all of a sudden; treating both the League and Europa Cups with disdain. No…simply put, I don’t actually believe that we are anywhere NEAR strong enough yet to compete on so many levels and by attempting to do so would put any chance we have of retaining the title in the bin.

Sure, go for it tonight and TRY to stay in the Champions League competition but if not, we don’t need the added disruption of a Thursday / Sunday schedule and, potentially, travelling to some far-flung corners of Europe on Thursday nights / Friday mornings.

Instead, I want the Premier League (and the F.A. Cup if at all possible too) and you can bet that seeing us finish bottom of the group might not please our owners…but it sure won’t please Mourinho and a few other managers either and that’ll do for me (as long as we then take advantage of that scenario of course).

v Bayern Munich

Predicting this team 11, formation and subs might have been made a little easier with the suspensions of Fernandinho & Toure and injuries to Kolarov, Silva and Dzeko…but only a little. It sure isn’t an easy one to predict the outcome of the game though. Here’s goes…











Now before I run through the predicted substitutes, I was under the impression that we had to announce a set Champions League list of squad players – adhering to certain rules – by a certain date ‘way back when’. Having DONE that, I looked them up on a section of UEFA.com and, sure enough, there’s no mention whatsoever of Jose Angel Pozo being included in the this year’s restricted 22 number (due F not-so FP punishment).

So why then, I thought, were some sources suggesting that the young Spanish forward was to be included in tonight’s game; possibly even STARTING due to a little scare to both Jovetic & Aguero; both of whom didn’t train on Monday morning?

So I dug a little deeper and the same (confusing) WEB site then had a sprinkling of additional City players in this season’s squad who are eligible to play Champions League football and, indeed, Pozo’s name was amongst them. It was obvious that these additional players were all of a certain age / all EDS players and so, I can only assume, that clubs are allowed to use as many youngster as they like in ADDITION to the announced squad…and that I must have missed that one.

Flippin confused but / and so…

Hart to continue in goal.

No Kolarov and with a good game [against Swansea] under his belt; Clichy to continue on the left of defence also.

I was under the impression that we brought Bacary Sagna in to relieve some of the stresses and strains from ‘our Zab’ and considering, by his own high standards, Pablo hasn’t been on top form this season so far; I’ve been surprised and a little confused (again) as to why we’ve not seen more of the French right back. I’m guessing, after the Argentinean played 90+ minutes just 3 days earlier, that a ‘fresh’ Bacary will get a start tonight.

Similarly Mangala in for Demichelis IF the Argentinean’s aging legs are too sore for a potential Bayern onslaught tonight. Kompany to complete the fully French-speaking back line.

Now here’s a rarity – and one I don’t think Pellegrini would choose given the choice – Milner in the middle. I – and the player himself – think he’d be good in this role and despite our manager thinking otherwise; I think he’ll see James’ usefulness ‘in there’ for this one. And alongside Fernando that provides extremely good protection and energy in the middle of the park.

WITH that protection, ahead of those two are three players who can hurt teams ‘on the break’. I’ve gone for our manager to switch Nasri to the middle in a Silva / Yaya type-role and either side of him we’ve got the pace and energy of Navas and the craft and added goal threat of Jovetic; who I believe can operate on that side quite comfortably.

Aguero to complete the attacking quartet.

On the bench we have defensive cover aplenty; the experience of Lampard when required (and I’m sure we will) and in Bytyqi and Pozo we have that ‘surprise element’ in an attacking, versatile duo who might just be needed and prove to be a couple of aces up our manager’s sleeves.

I was tempted to suggest that David Silva had been training secretly; was closer to fitness than is being suggested and might, therefore, be fit enough to get on the bench tonight. But I’ve decided against that; guessing (and hoping) instead that he’ll be fit to play some part at the weekend.

Result? Well they do have, apparently, even more players out injured than we do; we’re on our ‘own patch’ and, of course, we need this one much more that they do. All things considered, it points to our best ever chance for a win.

So why can’t I bring myself to say that then? My heart is TELLING me a win but, I’m sorry to say, my head is talking just that little bit louder in suggesting a frustrating draw.

But…we’re Man City; we’ll fight to the end!

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