Saturday, 16 January 2016

We NEED this one and…

…we’ll have to scrap for it too.


No game is easy of course – especially in this weird season where it’s SO very unpredictable for so many – but a Crystal Palace side who have had an improved league finishing position for the last few seasons have proven again THIS season that they are no ‘flash in the pan’.

Unpredictable too though…

Although they sit 8th and just 6 points off a Champions League place after 21 games, Alan Pardew’s side are very ‘up & down’ too. In fact, in the league, they’ve not won in 4; losing 2 and drawing 2 also after a ‘mixed bag’ of results that looks similar to ours.

But on their day they can be organised at the back and can hit you hard with pacey, tricky, counter-attacking players and we have to be on our metal for this home fixture.

And we need the win too – not only is our form all over the place but after this game comes a welcome week off before away league games at hard-to-beat West Ham United followed by a trip to Sunderland. Of course we have to cram-in, also, a crucial 2nd-leg League Cup game at home to Everton and then the next two home league games are no pushovers either; those being Leicester City & Tottenham Hotspur.

As I say, we NEED this one…

v Crystal Palace


Predicted line-up, subs and outcome…








Some of my predictions for this are dictated by our recent, packed fixtures list and, therefore, who I believe Manuel Pellegrini would like to rest / bring in. Some of it is a gut feeling about a bit of a change for this fixture…

A no-brainer is Joe in net.

Not much option – other than starting an EDS player – in the middle of the defence and so ‘go AGAIN’ Martin & Nicholas. Aleks & Zaba have not-now played for 7 days and so should step in to start this one…and for this one I can see both playing a key role in overlapping runs to assist the wider men further up the pitch.

Rested in mid-week I can see Fabian starting this afternoon and although he played against The Toffees on Wednesday, I think Fernando will get another start alongside the England man in a solid, somewhat ‘protective 2’. Why am I suggesting such an uncharacteristically defensive move [for our manager] in midfield at home? Well I’m then going for an attacking quartet of ‘go again’ Raheem, David (largely rested in mid-week) and then…

…Kelechi to join Sergio in rare ‘2 pronged’ attack, which worked so very well at Norwich City recently. Kelechi seems to like playing against the Eagles too!

Willy as keeper insurance, Gael to step aside, I think, for Aleks and Bacary to get little breather. Cameron to get another flavour of ‘the big stage’ from the dugout. Yaya to get a rest / rare bench spot I think; Jesus has played a lot of games recently and to be used as an impact player today and, in a ‘no striker bench’, Kevin to make up ‘the 7’.

Notable absences: Vincent Kompany (injured), Eliaquim Mangala (injured), Fernandinho (injured), Samir Nasri (injured) and Wilfried Bony (injured).

Result? Although I’ve not done too badly this season with most of my ‘starting 11’ personnel predictions, I’ve got a feeling my “result” guesswork has been way off. I hope, therefore, that I’m not wrong again today – a City win.

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