Tuesday, 10 February 2015

At bogey-ground Stoke, will ‘The Engineer’ have learnt his lesson?

Fuel. Manuel Pellegrini’s increasing, frustrating and sometimes bewildering tactics are continuing to supply the snipers with ammunition regarding the manager’s lack of ability to show more than 2-dimentional thinking. If he shows some more depth to his starting and then in-game tactics at the Britannia Stadium tomorrow night then he will START, at least, on the road to quelling that particularly irritating fire.

Fuel. By continuing to leave in-form and 100% pitch-committed James (HAHM-ez)Milner out of games where it screams for his presence in the starting 11, then all he is doing is helping to justify the Yorkshire man’s decision to delay in agreeing a new contract before the end of the season. By including him tonight, at least, he will be making a step in the right direction in ensuring that the England man remains committed for a few years to come.

We will see…

v Stoke City

Having still-only moved down a couple of pegs from “seething” [at Pellegrini’s ‘decision making’ and Dzeko’s “performance” against Hull City last Saturday] to still “slightly irritated”; I’ll keep this one brief and will head straight for my predicted line-up, subs and outcome.

4-5-1 / 4-1-4-1:










Starting from the back and the easiest one to predict – Hart to start.

I think Clichy will get another go after playing just 4 days earlier – and he often does get chosen away from home ahead of Aleks Kolarov anyway - but I’ve gone for him in the starting 11 because I’ve got a feeling that Martin Demichelis will step aside for this one, for the more-powerful, at least, Eliaquim Mangala against Stoke’s often rather direct tactics. Clichy to add more “security” to the left of the often-floundering big man.

Kompany to partner the French central defender and I’m fairly convinced that Bacary Sagna will get a rather rare start ahead of ‘our Zaba’, whose powers seem to be fading along with most of the rest of the team at the moment. I’ve also gone for the Argentine being rested altogether to allow for other defensive cover and to accommodate both Fernandinho & Lampard on the bench, along with 2 strikers.

Fernando to ‘hold’…well at least I hope he can.

I going to give our manager some credit and say that he will learn; he will swallow his pride and go for largely attacking midfielders behind one striker and that he DOES choose James from the beginning.

Now whether that’ll (above) be the exact positioning or whether Milner & Nasri will swap I don’t know but if our manager DOES go with this, it should mean that we’ll be able to both ‘match’ and ‘penetrate’ a Stoke City side who, despite being at home, will, I’m sure, defend in numbers and ‘hit on the break’ as though they were playing at the Etihad.

Result? Well despite the Hull City farce I’m still going to stick with my original mini-season prediction and go for an away win…and not just because we can ill-afford many more slip-ups. Bounce-back on Wednesday night I think…

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