Saturday, 9 April 2016

Can we ‘bag’ 2 back-to-backs?

Not since October 2015, I’m tired of repeating, have we won 2 games in a row in the Premier League – together with 9 defeats; that very much unwanted record has been our downfall in our somewhat lame efforts to 'bid our current manager farewell' in May with 2 English leagues titles to his name. 


Let’s hope we can put that annoying detail to bed against The Baggies this evening (5:30pm KO BST)…but how much of a factor will this Tuesday’s Champions League game be in Pellegrini’s thinking?

v West Bromwich Albion


Predicted line-up, subs and outcome.

4-1-3-2 / 4-4-2:



_____________De Bruyne________________________



Notable absences: Vincent Kompany (injured), Fernando (not selected / rested), David Silva (injured - long-term injury is a little sore / aggravated) and Raheem Stirling (just starting to run / train with the squad; recovering from injury).

Our manager will never admit this - so don’t bother suggesting it to him - but I think ‘The Engineer’ WILL have one eye on a very important and club-historic return-leg game against Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday night.

So, I think, after just retuning from injury - and despite producing a fine performance (calamitous mix-up with Fernando aside) last Wednesday - I’ve just got a feeling that Joe won’t be “risked” for this one. Besides...I think Willy might get one last home ‘bow out’ [before a likely exit in the summer] and that the timing of this game allows for that.

Still…our manager will want to win this one and, so, I can’t see him weakening the defence too much. Aleks I think, however, is likely to replace Gael for this one in readiness for Tuesday pivotal clash. Pablo in for Bacary, who played in Paris in midweek, on the right but the central-two-pairing of Eliaquim & Nicholas likely to continue building their partnership in the heart of the back-4.

Fabian is back and likely to help give ‘the Ferns’ a rest; sitting a little deep in midfield ‘protecting’. We very much need to win this one too, as I say, and so Kevin likely to be asked to ‘go again’…and likely to be in the middle as a ‘creative spark’. Wouldn’t be surprised to see him only put in a 60-minute shift at the most though. Not being in the Champions League squad (sorry for the silly error in the last piece in-putting him on the bench); Samir likely to see closer to ‘the 90’ in this one and likely also to be on the left. ‘Runs for ever’ Jesus likely to fill the right side of midfield again.

Not only wanting to win this one but, I’m sure, wanting also to ‘put it to bed’ as soon as possible so-as-to-be-able-to withdraw key personnel ahead of Tuesday night; a likely pairing of Wilfried & Sergio in a largely 4-4-2 formation. Similar to Kevin; Sergio likely to play just two-thirds of the match at the most, if the 'game status' allows that is.

Strong bench that includes 'game changers' / 'match winners' in Fernandinho, the recovered Yaya (likely not fit enough to start this one) and the surely frustrated / ‘chomping at the bit’ Kelechi.

Do I agree with Pellegrini’s (predicted) line-up?

No. I understand the need to protect our best left-back for Tuesday’s visitors from France but just looking at Kolarov next to Mangala on paper scares the hell out of me! And, no; I’d put Iheanacho on the pitch 'every time' ahead of Bony. Other than that, that’s about right for this one.

Result? The midlands outfit reached the so-called-safe, '40-point mark' in their last game and in the post-match interview, Tony Pulis looked visibly relieved as he pointed out that very fact.

I hope, therefore, that Albion might relax their shoulders a little now; in a way that has an effect of them 'taking their foot off the peddle' a little and NOT, instead, play with dangerous, ‘free abandon’.

There will be City eyes on Tuesday night that’s for sure – there’ll be players not wanting to get injured for that one and they MIGHT, therefore, pull out of 50/50s and not press themselves TOO hard today. That’s definitely a danger as we not only seek to firm-up our 4th-place / 'pull away' from pursuers but also attempt to gain some ground on Arsenal, who sit 3rd.

But we’re playing with more confidence lately and with returning players such as Fabian, Kevin & Samir likely to be supporting two in attack; I just think we’ll have too much for this evening’s visitors. I’m sticking, therefore, with my recent, mini, 8-game season prediction for this one – it’s a home win and…YES; we’ll have then won 2 back-to-back league games!

Another reason not to risk me-going tonight; as I’m on ‘Day 3’ of a very heavy cold / virus – the first home league game I’ll have missed in a long, long time. It’s 'watching it on TV' and hot soup for me tonight (probably a pizza and a sneaky can or two is more likely though).

And sorry for any errors in this post, which'll be due to my woolly-headedness...

No comments:

Post a Comment