3rd-place in the Premier League is now in Arsenal’s own hands and although we too, similarly, have it within our own control to finish 4th; we’ve annoyingly put ourselves into a position where anything less than two victories against both Arsenal and Swansea City and we could be welcoming our new manager in June without a Champions League football handshake.
What a very sad state of affairs in a season where we’ve lost almost a third of our league games so far and with just 2 to go.
Why did Pellegrini not start Sergio Aguero up front with Kelechi Iheanacho at Southampton and, more to the point, having not selected our most dangerous front man to start; what was the point of having him on the bench if he had no intention of using him at all?!
Why, also, did he not have a game-changer in addition ‘on the side’ such as Kevin De Bruyne - extra insurance in a game where, I would suggest also, it would have been far more prudent to attempt to ‘put it to bed’ in the first half and THEN withdraw players who are likely to be key to the ‘starting 11’ against Real Madrid just 3-days later?
Engineer? He was a bit more ‘tool like’ on Sunday against an ordinary-looking Southampton side that was ‘well beatable’.
I hope risking our top-4 finish was well worth it with a win tonight…
v Real Madrid
Predicted line-up, subs and outcome.
Joe, of course, in net.
With our ‘skip’ returning to the back line along with also rested / not risked Gael & Bacary; along with Nicholas that’s probably about the strongest defence we have.
Ahead of those is the protective shield of Fernando & Fernandinho, who are probably both to be given the role of helping to protect the back 4 from various and countless attacks, no doubt.
With 6 outfielders largely defending; that should then give licence for Kevin, Yaya & Jesus to concentrate mainly on counter attacking / supporting lone-man Sergio.
Willy as keeper insurance and a defensive trio of Aleks, Eliaquim and Martin. Little in the way of midfield options unless he dips into the EDS; Fabian the only one in that department. Two striking options from the bench.
Notable absences: Pablo Zabaleta (injured), Samir Nasri (not available / not selected for the Champions League squad and David Silva (injured).
Do I agree with Pellegrini’s (predicted) line-up?
Yep, can’t argue with that at all.
However, although it’s never gonna happen; for your consideration could I ‘chuck in’ an 11 v Madrid that could work? Just a bit of indulgence and a formation / personnel I was contemplating the other day…
Subs: Caballero, Kolarov, Demichelis, Delph, Navas, Bony, Iheanacho.
Goalkeeper Joe and defensive midfielder Fernando included; surely even the likes of Ronaldo & Bale would struggle to break down that ‘defensive 7’. That-then gives full licence for the attacking quartet of Kevin, Yaya, Fernandinho and Sergio to do some damage to them.
As I say, our manager will never go with a system never tried before in such a crucial game but, as I say, I just wanted to throw that one in for you…
Result? I think we’ll do ourselves proud in our performance and will even score on their patch; giving them some concern having failed to score at the Etihad.
However, they are so very, very strong in attack; particularly at home and with Ronaldo returning. A plucky, City performance ending in a defeat. Hope I’m wrong…
Expected weather conditions during the game: A sultry, perhaps even energy-sapping temperature (when you’re not used to it as a football player) of around 75F in an overcast sky with next-to-no breeze.
Huge congratulations to Leicester City for winning the Premier League with 2 games remaining! “Deserved” has been a word used over and over again in recent weeks and again on Monday night / yesterday and I echo that sentiment.
Done with a great spirit & determination that a lot of fans crave to see in their own players at their own clubs; it’s made the English footballing family sit up and take both notice and stock of their own house contents…