As I suggested a few weeks ago following a frustrating defeat, ‘that’s all folks’…regarding 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.
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.
Expected weather conditions during the game: In SHARP contrast to the conditions against Liverpool, it’ll start with bright sunshine and with a temperature of just 3C. However, before the end of the game and as that sun drops, it’ll be just 1C with clear skies. Wrap up for this one if you’re going….