On paper, this looks like the perfect time to go to Man City.
Comparing the performances and results of us and them at the weekend, there could hardly be more of a contrast, each plaudit attached to us can be matched by a criticism of the Abu Dhabians. We were irrepressible, strong, imaginative and ultimately clinical as we blew away West Brom whereas they were bereft of ideas and leadership, nervous at the back, ponderous in the middle and anonymous up front as they succumbed to the kids of Everton.
A total mismatch then?
Erm no. If nothing else city have resources and we can be fairly surely that there’ll be personnel changes from Goodison at the very least. Bravo is taking most of the blame in the meedja but he’s probably not culpable enough to be dropped, ahead of him though I’m sure Guardiola is just as concerned by how much the keeper and Stones et al are being exposed by the midfield, it’d be amazing if Wanyama and Dembélé are faced with Yaya and Zabaleta on Saturday evening. Fernandinho is suspended, Gundogan is injured but Fernando may be fit again after injury to provide a bit of experience, probably alongside Toure though it’s possible that Pep may have been inspired by the Toffees unexpected rejuvenation and bring in Garcia or Delph. Up front, perm any four from De Bruyne, Aguero, Silva, Sterling, Navas and Nolito though probably not Iheanacho despite the fact that he often (ie when Aguero’s suspended or not bothered) the most dangerous of the bunch.
A Famous Belgian!
Our team will pick itself with one rather large exception. Jan Vertonghen has been, unarguably in my view, having his best season in a Spurs shirt which makes it extra cruel that he’s going to miss a crucial couple of months. Whilst we have a couple of options as to replacements, it still won’t be the same without him.
Pochettino will have been mulling over ideas as to what to do without the Belgian. He has three options to chew his pencil over, going back to a back four – which would surprise Man City if nothing else – or replace Vertonghen with Wimmer or Davies. The latter filled the role, or something similar to it anyway, at the Euros with Wales and was used as a sub on Saturday but on the other hand Wimmer was a great success when used in similar circumstances last year season so…. Given City’s fondness for a bit of width I’d guess that Davies will get the nod to play alongside Toby and Dier, that’s just a guess though.
And of course, they’ve now signed Jesus.
It’s only two weeks since City were receiving fulsome praise for the manner in which they dismantled West Ham, they’ve not become a shocking team in that time despite last weekend’s result. In the aforementioned Sterling, De Bruyne and Aguero at least they have players who are likely to hurt us. Sergio used to love playing against us but hasn’t scored since Michael Dawson left… read into that what you will.
Andre Marriner will be the bloke attempting to keep 22 players on the field.
A repeat of last season will do nicely.
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