Due to the early KO tomorrow there’s not much time between Pep’s pre-match press conference and the start of the match.
Straight to it then…
Predicted line-up, subs and outcome.
Fluid 4-5-1 come 4-3-3 come 4-2-4:
Despite the availability of some new signings, I honestly can’t see too much change here from our manager…
Claudio is, however, likely to make his debut in between the sticks tomorrow early afternoon.
I think our manager will go for Aleks over Gael on the left for this one, purely ‘cause of the extra height advantage & requirement tomorrow (as well as decent form of course) and on the opposite flank of the defence, a recovered Bacary is likely to replace Pablo. In the continued absence of Vinny, Nicholas & John to continue in the centre of defence.
No change, I recon, in the ‘midfield / wing 5’ with Fernandinho, David, Nolito, Kevin & Raheem; Fernandinho might be given a slightly deeper, more-protective role for this one.
In the absence of Sergio, a simple 'like for like' swap for Kelechi.
Willy to take his place where he might find himself most weeks, which is on the bench as keeper insurance; Gael, Zaba & Tosin the defence replacement options. The industrious Fabian in there if needed and then, here we go, a couple of new signings in the form of creative, central midfielder Ilkay and the pacey, attacking winger / forward Leroy.
Notable absences: Vincent Kompany (on way back from injury / in training / continuing with tests), Fernando (not selected), Yaya Toure (not selected), Jesus Navas (not selected) and Sergio Aguero (suspended for 3 matches). Following the players who have been loaned out recently, that’s a considerably shorter ‘red list’ than of late…
Do I agree with Pep’s (predicted) line-up?
Well yeah…I’d go with that - a formula that has seen 5 wins from 5; scoring 15 and conceding only 4. Why not?!
But I might also be tempted to ‘go a bit different’ for this one and although it’s not ideal to make your full debut in the heat of a local derby; here it is…
Subs: Caballero, Clichy, Zabaleta, Adarabioyo, Delph, Gundogan, Iheanacho.
Get hold of the ball if you can, Manyoo; give their defenders no-one to mark and, basically, blitz ‘em with creative & attacking midfielders / wingers from all angles.
Result? Leaning confidently towards an away win; I’m going to, instead, go with my gut instinct that I’ve had for over a week now and state 'a draw'.
Expected weather conditions during the game: After heavy, stormy rains overnight that will, no doubt, dampen ‘the swamp’ even further; for the game itself it’s forecasted to be a fairly pleasant day indeed just South West of Manchester, with temperatures around 63F and sunny spells or even prolonged periods of sunshine toward the end of the match (with sky-blue-skies I might add).