Friday, 9 February 2018

A rare week off to re-charge…

…those batteries, which have appeared, at times over the last few weeks, to-have-been draining a little. 


Whether it’s been a lack of concentration at the back, leading to an opponent scoring (we’ve only had 2 games in the last 9 where have we’ve managed 'clean sheets' and, in that time, have conceded 10 goals in all competitions), a slightly ‘leggy’ midfield at times leading to some-non-City-like, misplaced passes or a bagful of missed opportunities up front; I think at times we have looked a little off-colour of late.


Of course, it’s not been helped by an-almost inevitable period of injuries in recent weeks which, previously, we had-largely steered clear of for most of the season. And, OF COURSE, it’s still not stopped us sitting 13-points clear at the top of the Premier League, reaching the League Cup final and the last 16 of the F.A. Cup. 


But, as I say, I think we’ve needed this week off.

A quick word on last Saturday’s Burnley game…

…and I’ll, basically, ‘copy & paste’ what I briefly posted on-line the following day.

I think a draw was fair, all things considered. We had most of the possession and played the better football, Burnley defended very well again and, as usual, were generally very well organised & committed. We missed far too many created opportunities, which was a theme for large parts of last season. I wonder if Sterling was made to walk home?

Oh well, we were 12 points clear before Wednesday night's games (31.01.2018) and now we're 13…

I think that’s what you call a fair assessment and ‘glass half full’?

v Leicester City

Etihad Stadium

Predicted line-up, subs and outcome:
(Number correct from starting line-up in the last game: 9/11).

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


Sterling_________________________________B. Silva

________Gundogan__________De Bruyne___________





Ederson was a hero, in some ways, last weekend and, of course, is between the posts for this one.

Goal-scorer, Danilo, likely to keep his place for this one on the left of defence? I’d say so…and quite likely to be joined by Aymeric, Nicholas & Kyle.

Ahead of those is likely to be the same 5 in Fernandinho, Raheem, Ilkay, Kevin & Bernardo.

Sergio the fella ‘right up front’.

Claudio the back-up stopper; Oleksandr, Vinny & the returning John the defensive change-options. Yaya, the returning Phil and Brahim the more advanced replacement choices from the side.

Notable absences: Benjamin Mendy (continues rehab following injury / surgery), Fabian Delph (injured and still no return date, as far as I know), David Silva (not fully recovered from a ‘hip knock’ in time for tomorrow), Gabriel Jesus (still injured…but now possibly back in a fortnight) & Leroy Sane (now closer to a return than previously reported; in light training and could be back after our midweek Champion’s League fixture).

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

I think I might, personally, go with Zinchenko at home for this one, despite Danilo’s greater experience - and last-weekend-goal / fairly decent display otherwise - but I’m fine with that on the whole.

Result? Well, as I alluded to in my pieces at the end of January, our visitors most certainly have the creative & goal-scoring players to hurt you ‘on their day’. And, in that same article, I suggested that…on their day, they could indeed inflict our second defeat of the season (and although I did finally go against my original instinct regarding the previous game at Burnley and predicted, pre-match, a narrow win to City; I did initially have us down for only coming away from Lancashire with a single point).

There’s also the ‘Mahrez factor’ and although he’s not going to be selected for this one; in an odd way the whole debacle could give the remaining Leicester players and ‘added edge’ to want to beat us to, perhaps, show his want-away colleague that it’ll be worth sticking with them and that they’re capable of beating the team he so-very-much-wanted to join in January.

I think this will be a very high-tempo game with both sides showing lots of energy. I think also that they’ll have a real go at us too which, in some ways, might suit us of course. I think the two sides on the green, green grass of the Etihad are probably to two best counter attacking sides in the Premier League.

Come at us, I’m sure they will; score I think they might. But at home and with a full week’s rest – and despite continued injuries to key players against their almost fully fit squad – I’m sticking with my predicted score from the other week and I’m putting this down as a home win.

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

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