They say “things often happen in threes”…
I think key in this predicted line-up is, and not for the first time, will Manuel Pellegrini stick with his much-preferred 4-4-2…or will sense prevail for once.
I have no problem in suggesting that our manager sometimes show naivety because some of his decision making to stick rigidly to 4-4-2 has cost us so many times this season…and has most certainly contributing to such an underperforming season over all.
When he HAS finally changed it during games, usually on 70+ minutes when it’s way too late, it looks much better; the extra possession - something that he actually stated as being very important in part 2 of his pre-Manyoo ‘presser’ - proves to be key in improving our play / performance; certainly against stubborn ‘oppo’ who defend in numbers.
But I would hope also that in light of the fact that we only have one proper striker available in many ways with both Bony & Jovetic unavailable through injury…and the other 3 of 4 being a certain Edin Dzeko…AND with us being away from home at in-form Manyoo; surely our Engineer - with his own words of the importance of possession still in his throat – will go for a more-compact, counter attacking midfield.
This isn’t what I would pick (I did that the other day) but I’m going for our manager to show some nous this afternoon. He’s not going to drop Yaya Toure; likewise his beloved Jesus Navas and nor, sadly, can I see him picking James Milner and, so…
Joe between the sticks.
Like every other Blue, I’m sure, I’m hoping that Vinny will be fit. Our manager explained that he had a niggle which, although he could play through it against Palace last Monday night, had been assess throughout the week. If not, Mangala gets promoted to the first 11 and with no Boyata (through injury) also, Sagna to join the bench and be central defensive cover if required. As it is [in my predicted 11] that’s about as strong as it gets for us at the back.
I think our manager will go for the more-defensive Fernando over Fernandinho because, I hope, he’ll be packing an attacking quartet of midfielders between him and Aguero, with Silva the most advanced behind our lone Argentinean.
Big question marks over a few in there though:
- Is Samir’s head right or will he feel the fever of a derby and in his seemingly-fragile state ‘go off on one’ and get himself sent off?
- Will Yaya be up for the fight for once?
- Will we see a rare end product to ‘run Forrest run’ on the right?
Notable absentees: Sagna…and both Stevan Jovetic & Wilfried Bony who are, as I say, both injured.
Result? It might sound like derby-day fence-sitting but I am going for a draw.
Away from home to a side who likes to attack might, in some ways, suit us. God knows we don’t seem to have the ability this season to break down stubborn sides who ‘sit’, which is probably why Brendan Rodgers chose the most defensive formation I have EVER seen a
Liverpool team deploy at home…and it
worked against us a few weeks back.
They are ‘in form’ and we are most certainly not. However, I’m sure – and I do get a sense of this from some of the comments I’ve heard from some of our players – that the very disappointing Palace result will act like a cold shower before this ‘6 pointer’.
That – and if our manager ‘shows a bit of common’ this afternoon - might even see us take our 5th derby victory in a row. I hope so of course…but equally I will be satisfied with a good performance and a point.