…a box; seal it tight, label it as an “Opportunity missed”…but then chuck it in the back of a cupboard to be forgotten about and move on to a mini-season; where 2nd place should be our focus now.
And it all starts today with a visit from a revitalised Hull City.
v Hull City
Just back from holiday yesterday and with just a few hours remaining until KO, I’ll move strait on to a predicted line-up, subs and outcome.
Predicted line-up, subs and outcome.
I could be quite wrong with this prediction but with 3 games in just 6 days, I can see a little [forced] rotation & resting for this one…
Willy carries on being the ‘custodian of the gloves’.
Aleks to step in at left-back for this game with Pablo likewise on the opposite flank of the defence. John to ‘go again’ but I think we’ll see Nicholas return for this fixture alongside the England man.
Now I’m really sticking my neck out here by suggesting that, despite Pep stating that he is impressed with how Hull’s manager sets his side up to be “aggressive” and “attack”; our Manager might set up with no obvious defensive midfielder today. Instead, I’m predicting an attacking midfield / wing 5 of ‘go again’ Leroy & Kevin (the latter having played 79 minutes on Wednesday) along with rested Yaya, Raheem (played just 15 minutes) & Nolito (played just 9 minutes).
All supporting a fella who has to run through brick walls again, in Sergio.
“The Hologram” as back up to Willy; Gael & being-eased-back-in Vinny provide the defensive replacement options from the bench. Fernandinho, David & Jesus to be given some respite (expect David to come on with ‘30 to go’ though, if on the bench) and although not selected to be on the bench in the last 2 games; I’m going for Kelechi to be available from the ‘side 7’ this afternoon.
Notable absences: Bacary Sagna (Injured), Fabian Delph (not selected / rested / rotated), Fernando (not selected), Ilkay Gundogan (injured for rest of season...but showing signs of progress) & Gabriel Jesus (continues light training / on his way back from injury).
Do I agree with Pep’s (predicted) line-up?
If I’m right, it’s bold and sprinkled with some fresh legs that could make it exciting and interesting to watch. Yeah…why not.
Result? Out of the relegation zone and 3 wins from the last 4 league games tells its own story of how Hull City are turning their season around; giving themselves some real hope of survival. That mini-revival should have added a few more hundred onto their ticket sales for today’s clash too, which should mean a decent travelling support.
But those victories have come against two side now below them and a crumbling West Ham United, let’s not forget. At home, we should be able to ‘do these’.
I’m not forgetting, of course, that our home form this season is plastered with frustrating draws that should have been wins but…surely this is a home win.
If Hull are as attacking as Guardiola suggest, then they might breach our unpredictable and often-flaky defence…but I think we’ll score more. It’s a home win for me.
Expected weather conditions during the game: Leave the coats at home and get those shades on! 65F (& unbroken sunshine) might not exactly be ‘The Bahamas’; but both Mancunian fans and our visitors from the North-East coast will bask in that quite happily. And it’ll be warmer than 65F inside the stadium for sure.