Thursday, 18 December 2014


Circumstances mean that I’m having to post a Blog entry quite early before this weekend’s game and, therefore, I’m feeling in the dark a little with regards to who might be and might not be available to face Crystal Palace.

It’s (probably) all in the midfield

In addition to ‘no Vincent Kompany’; we definitely have ‘no Sergio Aguero’ and ‘no Edin Dzeko’. Most likely out too is Steven Jovetic. So, with the well-publicised shortage of forwards / strikers, will our manager give another lone-staring-roll to EDS forward Jose Angel Pozo or does he try a little something different? No disrespect to the youngster; personally I’d try something new.

For all our injuries to key players at the back and up front what we DON’T seem to have at the moment is any issues at all, as far as I am aware, with any of our midfielders…so why not let us take advantage of that and give Neil Warnock’s men something different to think about?

Palace will I’m sure, after all, pack the middle and use their pacy runs to hit us on the break; as we’ve often seen them do to very good effect against teams of all sizes and abilities.

Here’s what I’d go with…










And d’ya know what, I’m going to use this as my predicted line-up & subs for Saturday’s early KO (12:45pm GMT).

Hart in net and a pretty much forced back-4 with Clichy playing well, Zaba rested in the last game and the grand-master next to the expensive apprentice.

Fernando providing the shield and although similar with Fernandinho, in this line-up I think he can also be given licence to attack down the middle with Yaya. Creative wizardry and pace on the flanks with Nasri & Navas and in a deep-lying striker / advanced midfield role, our little Spanish genius Silva.

There’s ‘goal potential’ all over the place there…

Result? Key to this is that our injury hit squad have had a good week’s rest; good time to heal any minor issues and assess everyone. Of course Crystal Palace have had the same amount of ‘time out’ too…but I think we needed it more.

They do have a chance of getting Manyoo loanee Wilfried Zaha back after recovering from a knock and aside from him, they’re almost at full strength. This will be a test even at home believe me.

But with that wealth of talent in our midfield – and if used like or similar to this – then we should have way too much for them over all. And we have the ability to introduce differing threats in Milner, Lampard and Pozo from the bench.

I do have concerns that Yaya might not be at his most fully effective in such a compact centre (from both teams); I’ve noticed that he often prefers a little more room around him to be at his damaging best. It might be close for a while but I’m going for a fairly comfortable win in the end.

January window rumours

Speculation is mounting on possible transfer targets for January and a lot seem to be concentrating on the midfield…with even a little emphasis on the defence too.

That all seems quite strange considering the lack of striking option that we have but the most persistent rumours seemed to be surrounding two Real Madrid ‘middle men’, in German international, defensive midfielder Sami Khedira and Spanish international, attacking / creative midfielder Isco.

Sami sounds like a very good player…but I understand the link to us following the very recent acquisition of Fernando.

Isco, yeah, and it’s a link that just won’t go away season after season. Another tricky, creative midfielder with goals in him and at just 23 years of age (in April) it’s something Chelsea ‘would do’ and it would do us no harm at all. Having worked with our manager in the past and if game-time is an issue for him at Real then it’s almost inevitable that the young Spaniard will join us as some stage. Weather that’ll be in January remains to be seen of course.

Koke of Atletico Madrid is another attacking midfielder / winger recently linked with a move to the Etihad as is, once again, Paul Pogba of Juventus.

Wesley Sneijder would appear to be on the move again and out of Galatasaray – is it a surprise that along with Manyoo and Southampton we’ve also been put in the frame? As with Isco & Pogba, not really…

Midfield certainly is, as I say, the focus of all the speculation at the moment, although the high asking price of Everton’s Ross Barkley seems to have quelled that particular link for the time being at least.

Despite splashing out so much money on steadily improving Eliaquim Mangala, it’s obvious – if not a little disappointing – to most that the centre of defence is something that still needs fixing.

With Martin Demichelis getting no younger (of course), Matija Nastasic forever seemingly injured, not wanted by Pellegrini AND being linked with several teams abroad; with no real confidence being shown by our manager in Dedryck Boyata and with Vinny showing MORE signs of his continued injury issues that have plagued him year on year, we are told that we’re about to join the frantic race to sign Borussia Dortmund’s Mats Hummels. However, if we are in the market for him then a summer bid is more likely to succeed…and I’ve got an awful feeling that, somehow, Manyoo might pip us to his signature.

Gossip hasn’t complete gone away from the striking department however, with Edinson Cavani (I want him!), Zlatan Ibrahimovic ('getting on' but a more-than-decent alternative if PSG won't let Edinson go), Mauro Icardi (exciting, young prospect already banging in the goals), Wilfried Bony (knows the Prem; strong but seems to blow hot 'n' cold), Christian Benteke (too injury prone for me), and the still-injured Jay Rodriguez (if he's over his injury soon then he ticks several boxes) all having their names printed with the words “Manchester City” soon afterwards. Some we can almost completely forget for January in my opinion; with some of them involved in important European campaigns for their own clubs.

It’s also difficult to see us spending TOO much in the winter window but if we can (finally) offload unwanted trio Matija Nastasic, Scott Sinclair and John Guidetti (£15M for the three?) at the very least then that’ll help.

Other stuff:

Barcelona in the draw for the Champions League hey? Huh…who’d have predicted that?

Negotiations appear to have stalled slightly in agreeing a new deal with, strangely enough, Barcelona-predicting, James Milner. Unlike my feeling surrounding the acquisition of Mat Hummels, I’m much more confident that James (and Joe Hart) will sign new deals very soon.

Is anyone else getting completely fed up to say the least of listening to Frozen’s ‘Let it go’ song nearly every…single…time you turn on the flippin’ TV or click on a WEB page? I’ve provided a link there myself but click on it at your own peril – it’ll be in your mind for DAYS!

Thanks as always for taking the time to read.

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