Both managers, I’m sure, would have liked to have rested regular, first-team players for this one and test a few fringe players in this League Cup clash. Indeed, it was only two or three weeks ago that Pep admitted that this competition was the lowest priority of all 4 cups – an honest admission when a lot of managers would have rolled out the, ‘We take every game / competition seriously’ line.
But this is a Derby and, of course for us, another away one - I just can’t see, therefore and in our case, too many EDS players starting this game at least.
As for the home side, well they’re not exactly doing as well as they’d like in the league and so Mourinho might decide to change his 11 a lot; using this opportunity to test something new. Then again he might just ‘go again’ in order to attempt to fix any issues they’re currently struggling with.
It’s a hard one to call all round really…
Predicted starting 11, subs and outcome.
Change of keeper for this one, with Willy coming in to start.
A change also to a ‘back 4’ I think [after a 3-6-1 starting formation last Sunday] and, for this, Gael to come in for Aleks on the left I’d say. Having got it wrong at the weekend; I’m going for ‘second time lucky’ in predicting that we’ll see Pablo junior start on the right of defence. Vinny to be ‘eased back in’ and, so, dropped from the 11 for this one – it’s Nicholas & John in the middle at the back.
Fernando to get a rare start this evening and in a ‘protecting role’; Gundogan & David have to ‘go again’ and are the more creative of the midfield, central 3. Largely rested 3 days ago; I think we’ll see Nolito & Jesus start on the wings.
Kelechi to start this one up front.
Claudio to get a rare side view; Aleks & Vinny are the defensive replacement options next to him. Aleix might see some action from the ‘side 7’; the more experienced - and very attacking trio of - Raheem, Leroy & Sergio join the youngster.
Notable absences: Bacary Sagna (injured), Pablo Zabaleta (injured), Fabian Delph (injured), Fernandinho (rested / not selected), Kevin De Bruyne (injured) and Yaya Toure (not being selected after an agent / club ‘bust up’).
Do I agree with Pep’s (predicted) line-up?
Bit concerned about David having to play another game but with Kevin out again – and if we are to give ourselves a chance – then options are a little limited in that area. Other than that…fine.
Result? Can we really go 6 games without a win? I would hope not. But this isn’t exactly an ordinary 4th-round, League Cup game – it’s a Derby and a Jose v Pep one at that!
Erm...…if Manyoo hadn’t-have been hammered 4-0 and totally outplayed by Chelsea last Sunday then we wouldn’t be in danger of seeing the ‘reaction factor’ from tonight’s host. As it was, ‘they did’…and so I think ‘we will’.
It’ll be close - goals at both ends - but they’ll want to bury that Stamford Bridge drubbing well behind them and, so, I think that’ll give ‘em the edge, I’m very sorry to say. A narrow victory for the home side and, for us, half-a-dozen games without a victory. Despite it being of such low priority for our manager; I hope I'm very, very worng with my result-prediction of course...
Expected weather conditions during the game: Unlike the 'ground atmosphere', I'm sure, it’ll be a cool & calm evening; overcast, very little in the way of a breeze and 54F.