Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Predictions v Celtic

Over the border we go in the second of our Champions League group stage games.

v Celtic

Celtic Park

Predicted starting 11, subs and outcome.

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







Claudio in between the sticks…well, when he’s not legging it around being the 11th outfield player that is.

Having played 4 days ago, I’m going for ‘straight swaps’ at left & right back with Gael & Pablo coming in; although with Aleks being the chosen representative player at the press conference I’m doubting myself a little now in some ways. Nicholas & John to carry on in between those.

A midfield-centre 3 of Fernandinho, Ilkay...& David likely to take Kevin’s role higher up / 'just behind'. Suspension shackles off for this one; Nolito should get his place back on the left with Raheem likely to start on the right.

Sergio up front.

Willy the keeper insurance, Aleks & Bacary the defensive cover-options. Fernando & Aleix the central midfield replacements if needed and the attacking options from 'the 7 on the side' come in the form of seldom seen kid Leroy & Kelechi.

Notable absences: Vincent Kompany (injured), Kevin De Bruyne (injured), Fabian Delph (injured / almost recovered), Jesus Navas (not selected) and Yaya Toure (not included in the Champions League squad).

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

A short & sweet….“Yep”.

Result? Loud atmos, ‘up for the fight’, of course, and weather conditions that might favour the home side a little. But, for me, it’s still an away win.

Friday, 23 September 2016

Same opponents…totally different team.

By all accounts (didn’t see it) it was sloppy midfield passing from Manchester City and not-nearly as fluid in general against Swansea City on Wednesday night in the League Cup. 

With a few personnel changes likely on the night - both 'forced' and 'by design' - I expected us not to be the devastating force from the previous 8 games but, let’s not forget, we did win and progressed regardless. 

Pep is a perfectionist though and won’t have been happy with that - a few performances aside, such as young Aleix Garcia – and we can expect a return to a much more familiar team selection and high performance this afternoon.

In fact…

…and to finish that off, this is what I posted yesterday morning on one forum:

It's not such a bad thing to have an 'off game' amidst fine form and superb displays - keeps all on their toes (management team in particular) so that they can address issues ready for the next game.

There were lots of changes and so I, for one, didn't expect the same level as seen in the previous 8 games and, let's not forget, we came out of it with a win and progression in the League Cup.

Tomorrow will be will the next round of the so-called EFL Cup.

Straight onto it then.

v Swansea City (again)

Liberty Stadium...again

Predicted starting 11, subs and outcome.

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


___________________De Bruyne___________________





Claudio to resume his Premier League education between the sticks.

A back-4 of Aleks, Nicholas, John & Bacary is highly likely and, taking nothing away from Gael & 'Pablo senior', is proving so far to be an efficient one.

Fernandinho is likely to step back into his midfield role for which he’s performed so very well so far this season; ahead of him is likely to be Ilkay & Kevin. Either side of them I think we’ll see Raheem back to his left-hand-side position and on the opposite flank, Leroy.

Back from's Sergio up front.

Willy takes his place back on the bench and having played in midweek; Gael & Zaba are likely to join him. Back from injury and having played a ‘full 90’ on Wednesday; Fernando should be make ‘the 7 on the side’. As mentioned, Aleix was impressive against The Swans and should, therefore, make the bench also. I think David has recovered from a recent niggle and, if so, should make the bench too. Iheanacho the obvious striker replacement option.

Notable absences: Vincent Kompany (injured), Fabian Delph (not selected), Jesus Navas (not selected), Nolito (suspended for 2 more domestic games) and Yaya Toure (deemed not fit for selection until dispute with agent is over).

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

Nowt wrong with that.

Result? It should be 10 wins from 10 under our new manager.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

The League Cup…and other animals.

Bit of 'play on words' from a line from Blackadder Goes Forth there, in case you wondered. 



The story so far

I don’t know about you but I’m still pinching myself and rubbing my eyes at the moment. I’m not one to get carried away – and I’m not – and I’m certainly not one to go around ‘chest thumping’, especially in front of a certain set of fans who follow a certain team from the Borough of TraffordI leave that despicable trait to them, in point of fact…

But even-having played 8 in all competitions, won 8, scored 25 and conceded 4 (an overall goal difference of PLUS 21!) still doesn’t fully describe, to those unfortunate enough not to have witnessed us play this season, just how wonderful our football has been for large parts of those games.

You can easily forget - amidst the graceful & slick passing, speed of attacks, wonderfully orchestrated moves & positional play and sheer hunger / desire & amazing fitness – that we ever so slightly wobbled in our 2-1 win over Sunderland and 3-1 win over West Ham United; as our players adjusted to Pep’s ideas and high demands. And yeah…we’ve had a little bit of luck so far too.

But anyone who dares to suggest that we’re not good for our 8 wins from 8 and a ‘quarter of a century of goals’ so far would be laughed of the planet! This is another level…and it’s only going to get better and better.

A quick side-note on this. I’ve met a few “reds” in my area since those 8 wins and have been met by two very obvious mannerisms. Either…

A.    Utter silence and visible efforts to ‘talk about something else’ from those who usually have a fair few words to say on both City & Manyoo

B.    A grey-faced look of shock & awe as they murmur a few passing words of how well we’re doing at the moment

I suppose it doesn’t help [them] that they’ve lost their last 3 games. I’m lovin’ it at the moment…but let’s move quickly on from talk of “them”.

Oh God! The rumours were true…

A controversial home kit with dark sleeves that now appears to be growing on a lot of fans (myself included) and a slight let-down of an away kit / 2nd strip that had potential - with some form of tradition colours that included maroon (sleeves) and plenty of black - but was then utterly ruined, in my opinion, with a yellow badge, yellow sponsorship writing and YELLOW SOCKS!

Of course we’ve had kits in the past with ‘nothing-to-do-with-MCFC’ colours such as silver, navy blue, luminous green-yellows, purples & bright-luminous, all-yellows…as well as ‘yer-standard ‘all black’ numbers. But now the club / shameful kit suppliers have taken it one stage further folks.

I’m sure some of you have seen it by now but, ladies & gentlemen, boys & girls; I give you…

 Orange &…Move? Purpley-blue…ish?

Does it…”look good with jeans”, perhaps?


Does it go well with City’s traditional colours, then?

 Not at all.
With long, ginger hair?

 Oh dear God no!

How about on a fisherman or someone who has been viciously attacked by a tattoo artist?


It doesn’t even brighten you up after you’ve turned into one of the walking dead!

I think, once again, I’ll just move quickly on from this topic also…

Nothing changes

v Swansea City

Liberty Stadium

Predicted line-up, subs and outcome.

Fluid 4-5-1:



________A. Garcia___De Bruyne___Gundogan_______



Having got 3 wrong from the starting line-up again AFCBournemouth there’s scope to get 4, 5 or perhaps even more wrong tomorrow in this competition; with the possibility of some EDS lads coming in.

I think we’re likely to see a change in keepers for this one – if Willy can’t get a game in the League Cup then when will the Argentine?

A mixture of youth & experience in defence I think and one, which, might see the return of ‘our skip’ in the starting line-up. EDS left-back Angelino might get a start; Vinny & John the central two pairing and young Pablo on the right.

A central midfield 3 of young Aleix, 'on fire' Kevin and 'regaining match fitness', Ilkay. Either side of them? Well I’m sure Guardiola would like to give Jesus a run out and, so, he’s likely to take up the right-wing slot and I’m confident also that he’d like Leroy to have more a 'near-90 'in this one and, if so, he might have to shimmy over to the left.

Up front is Kelechi.

I was gonna stick Angus Gunn on the bench for this one but I don’t think he’s travelled. So, instead, Claudio is likely to watch this one as part of ‘the 7’. Aleks, 'Pablo senior' and Tosin are the likely defence cover. Fernando should get a place on the side following his recovery from ‘a knock’ that has kept him out for a few games and I’m very excited to learn that just turned 17-year old Brahim joins the squad; with Raheem likely to be the other attacking midfield / wing replacement option.

Notable absences: Gael Clichy (not selected / rested), Nicholas Otamendi (not selected / rested), Bacary Sagna (not selected / rested), Fabian Delph (injured / almost fit / back in training), Fernandinho (not selected / rested), Nolito (suspended for 3 domestic games), David Silva (injured / almost fit / back in training), Yaya Toure (won’t be selected until dispute with agent is cleared up) and Sergio Aguero (suspended for one last domestic game).

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

If Swansea pick their strongest team then that defence could be some cause for a little concern…but I’m fine with it and, of course, trust Pep completely.

Result? Could be a good game and very interesting to see if some of the youngsters have picked up ‘the Pep way’ and, crucially, I’m going for an away win.