The word bouncebackability means to have, “…the capacity to bounce back quickly from a setback”.
Well our “setback” is a 6-game winless run and, so, it’s hardly ‘bouncing back quickly’ really is it…unless you count 'the setback' as-being knocked out of the League Cup to our neighbours from Trafford just 3 days earlier?
Not exactly a cheery way to start a blog-posting now, is it?
Straight to it then with a, “v West Bromwich Albion”…
Predicted starting 11, subs and outcome.
Fluid 4-5-1 come 4-3-3 come 4-2-4:
With Pep Guardiola, apparently, being a 'little cagey' in his Press conference this afternoon regarding injuries – and with half-an’-eye perhaps on Tuesday night’s home game against a certain Barcelona - this could be another difficult starting 11 & subs for me to predict.
Claudio “in net” is the obvious one, which I doubt I’ll get wrong.
We’re likely to see a ‘back 4’ for our away trip on Saturday, I think, and at left back it’s likely to be Gael for this one. Not QUITE knowing if both Bacary & Pablo senior are still recovering from injury or have been secretly ‘fixed’ in time for tomorrow; I’m going for our manager to be bold and give Pablo junior his second game in just 3 days…especially having had a decent enough game against Manyoo. Having been withdrawn at half time on Wednesday through tiredness - but clearly wanting to keep our skipper’s game fitness ticking along / progressing - I think we’ll see Vinny start again against Albion. We might see 60 minutes from the Belgium central defender this time and then, perhaps, withdrawn ‘in preparation’ / ‘as a precaution’ ahead of the Spanish visitors in 3-days’ time. John to partner him in the middle of defence.
Rested on Wednesday; Fernandinho gets his starting place back and is highly likely to be joined by [rested also] David. Is Kevin fit? Well…rumours are that he has been training for a couple of days at least so, like Vinny, I think we’ll see him start and then get withdrawn ‘in prep for…’. Although Jesus Navas got the local paper’s MotM with an 8/10 performance in the League Cup; I don’t think he’ll be rewarded with another start in the Midlands (but expect him to come on, perhaps for Kevin early in the second half). I think, instead, we’ll see Raheem on the right and Leroy on the left.
Sergio to get his starting place back…I think!
Willy to resume him place on the side and is joined by 2 defenders in Aleks & Nicholas. After that, though, it’s a very creative & attacking quartet of possible changes in Ilkay, Jesus, Nolito & Kelechi.
Notable absences: Bacary Sagna (injured / close to a return I think), Pablo Zabaleta (injured / close to a return…again, I think), Fabian Delph (injured and still no return date) and Yaya Toure (not being selected after an agent / club ‘bust up’).
Do I agree with Pep’s (predicted) line-up?
Fine with me…and I hope we see some progress made by Leroy tomorrow.
Result? After a ropey start to the season in the league during a period of The Hawthorns being an ‘unhappy ship’; where rumours floated around that they might lose their manager – a time that also included an early League Cup exit on penalties to Northampton Town – WBA have certainly galvanised somewhat and ‘tightened up’ results a little.
The ‘last 5’ of W D D D L suggests that they have got their act together a little and conceding “just” 1, 1, 1 & 2 in their last 4 games (the 2 coming away at Anfield) suggests also that they are a little difficult to break down of late. That’s the sign of a Tony Pulis team…and not a good sign for a team who appears to be struggling to find the keys to unlock opposition doors of late.
However, I’m going for us to end our run of 6 games without a victory tomorrow – yes it’ll be tough and possibly a 'bruising encounter' too (not good with Tuesday looming) but I’m going for us to breach their defences more than they’ll breach ours. It’s an away win…finally!
Expected weather conditions during the game: Very dull / overcast (perhaps heads in the clouds at the highest league ground in England?) but a reasonably mild’ish 57F for late October.