Sunday, 1 January 2017

The fight for 2nd place begins on Monday

As I suggested a few weeks ago following a frustrating defeat,that’s all folksregarding the Premier League at least. 


You can’t maintain a title challenge when no-one has any real confidence in a flaky defence and we have a team packed with creative & attacking talent BUT, who, for the most part don’t appear to want to properly attack and hurt teams! 


At best, we lightly prod at the opposition with a fairly blunt stick most of the time. 


And when you have the likes of Chelsea ‘firing on all cylinders’ and with no European competition to distract them along with a handful of strong teams around us who look to be gaining some real traction; well…as I say, it’s now become a scrap for 2nd in the league.

v Burnley

Etihad Stadium

Predicted line-up, subs and outcome.

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





___________(Outfield player with gloves on)_________

In the old, OLD days, I once read in a Manchester City player’s biography, it was not uncommon – especially over the festive period – for teams to play 2 games in just 24 hours. Unbelievable! In fact, there were occasions, I read, where 3 games were played in just 4 days with just one day of ‘no action’ in that 96-hour period. Even MORE unbelievable!

But as I said in a text to a fellow Blue yesterday, in all of my time of following City I have never known such a short period of time in-between a game finishing and another one kicking off as with this one – the time period, in fact, between the final whistle at Anfield yesterday and the start of our game at the Etihad tomorrow is just 43 hours and 39 minutes!

Therefore, I can see many ‘straight swaps’ in tomorrow’s starting personnel choices; with just a few who will have to ‘go again’.

Fella in gloves at the back to have another go tomorrow.

Gael & Bacary straight in from being on the side, Nicholas & John highly likely to be asked to put in another shift.

Fernando comes in from the subs bench in a defensive midfield role; Fernandinho ‘goes again’ and shuffles forward a little and is joined by another colleague asked to play twice in less than two days; that player being David. On either attacking flank I think we’ll see fresh legs in Nolito & Jesus.

Having had a good period of time off through suspension recently, I think Sergio will “spearhead” our “attack” again tomorrow.

Willy the keeper insurance; Aleks & Pablo drop down for a rest…but there if needed of course. I can’t see Yaya’s legs & frame managing 2 games in such close proximity and so he steps aside also; joined by fellow offensive players in Kevin, Raheem & Kelechi. Strong bench.

Notable absences: Vincent Kompany (injured – possibly close to another return), Fabian Delph (injured and still no return date), Ilkay Gundogan (injured for rest of season), Leroy Sane (injured – length of time out unknow at this stage)…and Gabriel Jesus (available for selection now but possibly to be given more rest time before making his debut).

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

In light of the speed in which the fixtures are flying around, there’s little choice and it should still be good enough.

Result? D W L L L W L L W W more than suggests to me that we’re facing a team in erratic form. However, if you take the last 5 results, then Burnley will see ‘3 wins from 5’ as “decent” and will take heart from those victories heading into their encounter with us…albeit those 3 positive results being all at home and against AFC Bournemouth, Middlesbrough and imploding Sunderland.

And before yesterday’s thumping 4-1 victory over the Black Cats, Burnley had only scored 17 goals from 18 games, which now shows as a slightly more respectable 21 from 19.

But they’re not exactly a massive threat attacking-wise and their away form is dreadful – if it wasn’t for their decent home record they’d be right down ‘near to’ or ‘in’ the basement!

It could be a case of who recovers best from their respective games just 2 days earlier and how each team reacts to their Saturday results. Well…Burnley have had a FEW more hours’ recovery time than we have; they had a morale-boosting victory whereas we had to trudge away from Merseyside with nowt!

Add that to the fact that we’re probably gonna have to smash-down 2 bricks walls just to get SIGHT of their net then all of those facts points towards a draw. However, despite still stinging from yesterday’s toothless display against Liverpool, I’m trying to let my head rule my still-bruised heart and I’m going for a home win.

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