Monday, 22 January 2018

We’ve made this one tricky for ourselves…

…now it’s time to fix it and book a place at Wembley.

v Bristol City

Ashton Gate

Predicted line-up, subs and outcome:
(Number correct from starting line-up in the last game, which for me, Blog-wise, was the Liverpool game: 8/11).

Fluid 4-5-1 / 4-3-3



_________Gundogan___________De Bruyne_________





(Done this predicted line-up before hearing any team news…)

With a near-full 5 days before our next cup game, which is another away trip to yet another top-end Championship side, Cardiff City in the F.A. Cup; I’m guessing that Pep won’t risk another close encounter with The Robins. However, I think he will make some changes from the team that played just 48-hours (or there abouts) earlier.

I think we’ll see Claudio step in between the posts…but whether we’ll get an "okay" Bravo or a jittery keeper remains to be seen.

Having played 93 minutes of a Premier League game just 2 days earlier, I think young Zinchenko might have earned / need a rest and, therefore, I think we’ll see Danilo in a less-comfortable, left-sided defensive role. The rest of the defence, I think and if Pep sees sense, will be made up of the 'same unit' that faced Newcastle United last Saturday evening; in John, Nicolas & Kyle.

Fernandinho to-possibly ‘go again’ and help protect the 'back-4', as well as to-provide his usual key, link-up passes to his-more advanced midfield colleagues, who are likely to be Leroy, Ilkay, Kevin & Raheem.

Weekend-hattrick-hero (by a hair’s length!) Sergio ahead of those again.

Ederson takes a 'step back' for the crucial League Cup second leg; Oleksandr, Tosin & ‘Nervous Neliaquim’ make up the defensive replacement options. David, Bernardo & young Brahim are the more attacking personnel in ‘the 7’ on the side.

Notable absences: Benjamin Mendy (continues rehab following injury / surgery), Vincent Kompany (continues his slow recovery after the latest injury), Fabian Delph (injured for a few weeks but exact length of time unknown) & Gabriel Jesus (injured for about another week to 10-days).

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

Well…IF our manager goes for this line-up & subs, at least it looks a little bit stronger than the side in the first, home leg the other week.

However, having mostly right-back Danilo on the left as well as Bravo in net, does leave me a little concerned I have to say, especially if the likes of Fernandinho (almost 33) and both Nicolas & Sergio (both almost 30) are feeling a little ‘leggy’; having all had little rest in-between last weekend’s league game and tomorrow night’s cup clash.

Personally, I’d definitely go with Ederson in net and take a long look at our Brazilian defensive midfielder (I’m sure Guardiola will) before deciding to 'pitch him in' once again.

Other than that, it looks good to me.

Result? Well, this is a cup game, of course, and one where the home crowd will be 'right up for it'! Their players too, of course; although it is worth noting that although they gave us a 'run for our money' in our home leg - and even took the lead in that game - their league form has been less than impressive of late.

In fact, their Championship results have seen them stutter & splutter as the likes of Fulham, who are just outside of the play-off places, cut Bristol’s points gap to just 3 points.

If we’re up for the fight - as we are more often than not these days - and DON’T weaken the starting 11 too much, then we should be heading to HA9 for a football game on the 25th February.

Last season’s, corresponding pre-match prediction and result… 
Prediction: N/A
Result: N/A

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