With around, just, 2 days & 15 hours between the final whistle in our game against ‘gladbach and the early KO time of 12:30pm GMT tomorrow, which includes us-having to take a short flight from Germany; the question of ‘preparation time’ ahead of our short trip to our Lancashire hosts has to be asked in my opinion.
It also makes it a little tricky for me in deciding who Pep might choose to start this game so soon after our Champions League game (not helped by last-minute niggles to at least 2 players)…
Predicted starting 11, subs and outcome.
Fluid 4-5-1 come 4-1-4-1 come 4-3-3 come 4-2-4…
Claudio in between the sticks.
IF the boss goes with ‘a 4’ at the back, then Gael & Bacary are the flanking defenders with Nicholas & John in between those.
Having given himself an early finish on Wednesday night with a sending off in Germany; Fernandinho – who might otherwise have been on the bench / rested a little – should get a start. Joining him is sure-to-start-now in this league game, Yaya...and David, I would suggest also. Either side of those is Kevin & Raheem.
Kelechi gets I start tomorrow I think too.
Willy the keeper back-up; Aleks and ‘young Pablo’ the defensive cover. Ilkay, one of Pep’s understandable favourites, could be allowed some extra ‘recovering time’ as a sub and then, with possibly no Sergio; it’s a trio of attacking midfield / wing / forward replacements in the form of Jesus, Nolito & Leroy.
Notable absences: Pablo Zabaleta (slight doubt / bit of a niggle), Vincent Kompany (injured for up to 6 weeks again!), Fabian Delph (Injured / on way back soon), Fernando (not selected) & Sergio Aguero (slight doubt / bit of a niggle).
Do I agree with Pep’s (predicted) line-up?
With the available personnel, that’s ‘good for me’.
Result? I feel justified in-being a little concerned for us of late; for-both failing to take so many of the chances we so-often create but also for leaking at least one goal in nearly every game. Not wishing to sound complacent in ANY way, shape or form; I’m a little less concerned about the ‘conceding factor’ tomorrow as Burnley’s league-scoring record reads, P12, F (just) 11.
However, before they leaked 4 against WBA ‘last time out’, they were as dogged and as organised defensively (that includes their midfield department) as they were the last time they were in the Premier League under Sean Dyche. In fact, before their defensive collapse at The Hawthorns earlier in the week, they had the joint-third-best defensive record of the bottom 12 sides in the league.
Okay, that ‘statistic’ might not set many pulses racing and nor should it call for a 'firework fanfare'…but it does suggest to me that we are most likely going to face yet ANOTHER set of brick walls to ‘pound at’ tomorrow afternoon, especially as their boss will want to tighten some of those screws that ‘popped out’ in the Midlands last Monday night.
So, it’s up to us and our many creative and otherwise talented players to trick their way past a team that did beat Liverpool at home in their second game of the season; only conceded a 93rd-minute, dodgy goal to lose 0-1 at home to Arsenal and came away from Scaffold Trafford with a 0-0 point.
It’ll be a tough and frustrating afternoon for large parts, I’m sure, but if we CAN keep ourselves organised at the back; I have to think that we have the talent to unlock these. An early goal would help that.
Although, I’m sure, Liverpool & Manyoo fans would have been thinking similarly when-faced with tomorrow’s oppo; I’m going for a narrow City win.