Our superb, pre-international-break form has been interrupted…but the ‘away stars’ have continued their fine start to the season for their respective countries.
Top of the table clash!
Selhurst Park has become something of a noisy and somewhat hazardous place to visit in the last couple of season for many teams; including the ‘top sides’ chasing glory. I’ll stop short of labelling the ground a “fortress” as such…but if you DON’T go into the Eagles’ territory in good form AND be ‘up for the fight’ on the day then you can soon find yourself overwhelmed – their counter attacking style and vociferous home support will see to that.
Needing a win in our penultimate away game to help secure the Premier League in the 2013/14 season; we travelled to South Norwood, got stuck right into the home side ‘from the off’ and came away WITH that much-needed win. Last season we were in awful form at the time and a defeat at the South London club was one of 4 in 6 games; all 4 defeats being away from home in that half-dozen snapshot.
This time we’re in amazing form…BUT that flippin’ international break and a key injury – and, of course, with Palace winning 3 of their first 4 games that includes a 1-2 win at Stamford Bridge – makes for a tough & intriguing match.
v Crystal Palace
Predicted line-up, subs and result…
4-5-1 come 4-3-3:
It’s still very pleasing to be able to say (almost) “same again” - particularly when the right results and performances are coming in; both the ‘availability of players’ and ‘consistency’ are key.
Working from front to back and moving on from “Aguero up front”; injury to David Silva (out for 2 to 3 days from 11.09.2015 with a slight ankle concern) have forced at least one change and a slight reshuffle.
I nearly plumped for Kevin De Bruyne to get his starting debut and slot in the middle of ‘the 3’…and he may well do. But with very little club preparation time for Kevin [following the international break] and along with good ‘off the bench’ performances from Samir Nasri this season so far; I think the Frenchman will get his reward in the starting 11 for this one. ‘Same as’ for the rest of the midfield department, with Raheem getting a ‘behind the striker’ role.
Same ‘back 5’ too (Hart Included); the midweek scare for Bacary Sagna simmering down into nothing really; following his ‘ice pack moment’ on the side-line after playing for France.
On the bench and in addition to Willy Caballero, I was very tempted to put Nicolas Otamendi on there (work permit issues now cleared) and might be wrong not to do so.
However, we are short of both left & right-back cover at the moment and with Bacary TAKING precautionary ice treatment in mid-week; I just feel that Pellegrini might want to stick EDS’ Pablo Maffeo ‘in there’ just in case. Given the opportunity - if we’re out of sight against Palace with ’15 to go’ - he might want to give the 18-year old some experience / game time.
We are also informed however that, if required, Otamendi can fill in there and has done in the past with varying results. As I say, I might be wrong with this one; don’t be surprised to see the Argentine get a seat ahead of the young Spaniard.
Demichelis to provide the experienced central defensive cover if we need to calm things down against a counter-attacking & energetic Eagles side, which is another reason I’ve not gone for Otamendi making his Premier League & club debut in any way.
Fernando has apparently recovered and so should make the bench; new signing De Bruyne likely NOT to be in the starting line-up…but at the same time VERY likely to get a run out and we have both other striking options to come on in the form of Wilfried & Kelechi.
Notable absences: Gael Clichy (injured), Pablo Zabaleta (injured), Nicolas Otamendi (not selected), Fabian Delph (injured) & David Silva (injured). This is what excellent and big squads are for…and we have both.
Result? Neutrals & pundits this week have quite rightly looked at this game and have seen a close one on the horizon – Palace have had a good start; they have their ‘tails up’ and are at home.
And I think it WILL be close – whisper it but we might even concede our first goal of the season…
I was, in fact, contemplating a draw result…but only very briefly. It may well BE a close affair but for me it’s an away win and an impressive 15 points on the board after 5 games.
And then there’s this tit (from 1:04)…
I can now add “demented seal” to Louis van Gall’s repertoire…