Premier League almost ‘shot’ in terms of us-having a chance at 1st place (following Leicester City’s 1-0 win last night); there’s now, in fact, a bit of a scrap for 2nd to 4th brewing nicely. But, for now at least, it’s 'all focus' on the Champions League.
Predicted line-up, subs and outcome…
Notable absences: Martin Demichelis (not selected), Kevin De Bruyne (injured), Fabian Delph (injured), and Samir Nasri (injured)…all 3 injured players, however, are about to step-up their return to first team action soon by participating in a behind-closed-doors friendly during the international break, which starts just after our weekend Manchester v Trafford match.
Hart to continue in net.
Having just played on Saturday and with the game against Manyoo coming up on Sunday, I’m going for our manager to rotate both the left & right-backs, with Aleks & Pablo 'stepping in'. However, as important as this game / progression is, I don’t think they’ll be a rest for the two centre backs.
Neither do I believe there’ll be a rest for Fernando, Fernandinho or David across the middle; although we should see fresh legs [from last Saturday] in Raheem and the return-from-injury Yaya.
Sergio to continue up front.
Willy as keeper insurance; played-at-Norwich pairing Gael & Bacary to, possibly, sit on the side for this one, with Mangala returning to the bench also. Attacking options likely to be Jesus, Bony & Kelechi.
Do I agree with Pellegrini’s (predicted) line-up?
Little bit concerned about playing more-attack minded Kolarov against a side needing to ‘come at us’ but, apart from that, I’m happy.
Result? I think they’ll score one – hopefully no more than one – but I think we’ll score too (and / or two). A home win; a win over the two legs, of course, and progression into the quarter finals for the first time in our history!
Expected weather conditions during the game: Dry, mostly overcast, around 7C but with a nagging & 'testing' North-Easterly breeze.