Saturday, 19 November 2016

Very few injuries, ‘proper footy’ back...

…and so let’s ‘crack on’.

v Crystal Palace

Selhurst Park

Predicted starting 11, subs and outcome.

Fluid 4-5-1 come 4-3-3 come 4-2-4:


__De Bruyne___________________________Sterling__




After rumours / suggestions that he had been injured in midweek, Claudio is fine and fit to start against The Eagles.

Clichy & Pablo are the likely flanking defenders; John almost certain to start and another player rumoured to have suffered another injury whilst on international duty, Vinny, didn’t…and so I think he’ll get another crack at a comeback with a starting place this afternoon.

A largely creative & attacking ‘midfield 5’ – Fernandinho, Ilkay & David the ‘central 3’, Kevin & Raheem the wider of those.

Sergio ‘up top’.

Willy the keeper insurance and, I think, we’ll see 3 defensive players on the bench; those being Aleks, Nicholas and returning-from-injury Bacary. No central midfielder in the ‘7 on the side’ but, instead, pace & attacking options in the form of Jesus, Nolito & Kelechi.

Notable absences: Fabian Delph (our only injury…and an expected return date of around 3rd December), Fernando (not selected), Leroy Sane (not selected) & Yaya Toure (not selected despite him-now-having apologised to Pep / City…instead of his agent).

Do I agree with Pep’s (predicted) line-up?

I’ve said it before that I don’t like to see Kevin (or David) out on the flanks if at all possible, as they’re far less effective in my opinion. However, ‘needs must’ at times to fit everyone in and other than that; it’s fine (again) with me.

Result? It’s a footballing cliché, for sure, but I’m betting that a lot of Palace fans are scratching their head a little at their 16th place position in the table ‘11 games in’ – their position in the Premier League possibly not reflecting a lot of their attacking play at least.

An opening day defeat to Spurs was soon forgotten as the South Londoners went on a 5-game, unbeaten run that included 3 wins and 2 draws. However, what has followed since is 4-straight league defeats, which has contributed heavily to their lowly league placing.

They have got players who can hurt you on the [fast] break and at home in particular; they can do this to very good effect indeed. At Selhurst Park, also, the home fans really can 'crank-up the noise' to help push their side on. But they leak like a colander this season – 19 from those first 11 league games (joint-4th worst in the league) and a whopping 11 of those in the last 4 game-losses!

That defensive nightmare will be something the experienced Alan Pardew will want to fix quickly and he will no doubt, international duties permitting, have been working on that since their 3-2 loss to Burnley. Expect ANOTHER brick wall or 3 to break down Blues…

But break it down we will, I’m sure, and although they may breach our ‘back line’ at some stage; I’m going for our better away form [so far this season] to come through again. It’s a welcome 3-points for us to keep the pressure up at the top (c’mon Southampton, West Ham & Boro and, for me, a draw in the Manyoo / Arsenal game this weekend).

Special mention…

Before the game a minute’s applause will take place for the victims of the recent & tragic tram crash in nearby Croydon.

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