Monday, 18 April 2016

The Hokey Cokey continues

“You put your fit players in and-take your injured out…” 


Our season-long injury problems continue to niggle at us – JUST when it looked like we might have a near-100% attendance. And with our hosts getting a timely and emphatic 3-0 win last weekend to give ‘em a boost; all of a sudden this one looks a little more closer than I, for one, would have liked.

v Newcastle United

Predicted line-up, subs and outcome.

4-2-3-1 / 4-5-1:


___De Bruyne__________________________Navas___




Subs: Caballero, Kompany, Demichelis, Delph, Sterling, Bony, Iheanacho.

Not just in defence but with most departments of the pitch last Saturday; I got my prediction considerably wrong pre-Chelsea. However, I don’t think there’s much danger of that with the players available for this one. Therefore, it’s “same again” with the ‘back 5’ (Joe included).

Fernando likely to return following him-being rested at the weekend and although Fernandinho might be in need of a mini-break also; I’m betting that he’ll get another starting place tonight. Ahead of those 2 is likely to be Kevin, Yaya and Jesus, with Kevin in a slightly less-effective, left-hand-side roll to make way for the Ivorian. I’m sure though, going of recent form, the fair-headed Belgium international will still cause the home side problems…

Sergio likely to start also, despite a busy schedule of late.

Willy on the bench as back-up to Joe; Vinny returns, which is great news but likely, I think, to be on the bench alongside Martin as defensive insurance. No left & right-back cover without dipping into the EDS. Fabian continues on the bench; Raheem returns also and we have 2 strikers in reserve in Wilfried & Kelechi.

Notable absences: Gael Clichy (injured), Bacary Sagna (injured), Samir Nasri (injured) & David Silva (injured). Big players to be missing there…

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

Depends how fit / ready Raheem is really – if he is ready for a start then no, I’d stick Raheem on the left and Kevin in the middle; dropping Yaya to the bench. Other than that…yep, that’s about all he can do really with the missing personal he now has.

Result? It does concern me a little that Newcastle did get a league & morale-boosting win against Swansea City, which should give their big crowd / 12th man a huge lift also. In addition to that I have listened to pundits who watched ‘The Toon’ last weekend and, apparently, they looked to have shape and organisation for the first time in a long, long season. Typical flippin’ timing for us…

But they’re not 19th with 5 games to go for no reason and, despite that good win 3 days ago, a last 10 that reads, L W L L L L D L L WF10 A20 is horrific, particularly in defence. A horror read for Newcastle, then, makes pleasant reading for us.

We’re playing so very well at the moment and although I don’t like to see those 4 players on the ‘sick list’, I still look at the ‘starting 11’ and those on the bench and can’t see anything other than another vital 3 points for us, even if it might be a caldron-atmosphere at St. James’ Park at the beginning and, perhaps, tight for a time.

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