Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Team for Aalborg

Hughes said today that Robinho is fit, but that Kompany is an injury doubt. Given that Nigel de Jong and Valeri Bozhinov are ineligible, the team basically picks itself for Thursday night:

This is quite good. After his performance against Aston Villa Elano deserves another game in midfield, and given the context (home, UEFA referee, Robinho playing too) he should do well. There's a lot of pressure on Zabaleta to anchor it all himself, but Ireland tends do more than his fair share of work when asked. The concern, though, is if neither Kompany nor de Jong return to fitness by Sunday. Because if we play this team at Stamford Bridge we'll get destroyed.

The more I think about it, the more I think that we have a better chance of competing in the UEFA Europa League by winning this year's UEFA Cup than by finishing seventh in the Premier League. Of course this is a big ask, but we are favourites. And I can't quite see us catching West Ham in the league: we have a four point deficit to catch up and some unwinnable away games left to play. That in mind, Thursday is a pretty big game. Given our recently improved defensive displays, we stand a good chance of not conceding an away goal. At the other end we've got no Bellamy; let's just hope that our four creative players can come up with something.


Harry said...

I'd prefer to have Evans up top though. He offered more in the little time he had on the pitch last time around than Caicedo did in the whole game.

pjdemers said...

Strongly disagree on this one. While Caicedo's performance might not of been eye catching, he was effective in holding up the ball and gave City a physical presence. I'll also remind my fellow citizens that Caicedo is not an actual target man so he's not used to playing with his back to goal. Once De Jong went off we lost control of the midfield and the defense started to hoof the ball upfield instead of trying to play the ball to Caicedo' feet.

While Evans put in a decent shift, he 's too impatient and sometimes too naive in his use of the ball. I recall on at least two occasions he found himself in excellent positions on the left and chose to shoot both times from considerable distance rather than wait for support to arrive. the chances of beating Brad Friedel from distance are next to nil
(unless you're Michael Tarnat). I'll also remind you that Evans was being marked most of the time by Milner. I doubt Cuellar or Knight would have been as forgiving.
I do agree that Evans has promise but right now Caicedo is a more effective player.

Gary Nolan said...

I agree Caicedo did what he was put on the pitch for, not the best football to watch at times but effective all the same. PJ is also right that Caicedo is not that type of player, he likes to play with the ball on the floor and is not target man material.

JPB said...

I agree with pjdemers. For now, Caicedo > Evans.

Harry said...

There's a strong argument on both sides PJ. I'm not saying that I don't rate Caceido, or belittling his performance last week, I just thought he was reasonably ineffective. Although Evans is still young and learning his game, I think he would be more effective given the team that I expect us to put out. Like you said, Caicedo is not 'that' type of player and I agree with you. Evans, however is. He plays very well with his back to goal and is more effective in the air. Given the fact that we are likely to have Robby, Sweep, Superman and Elano in the team, I think they would play well off him. Caicedo, I always feel, plays better as one of a front two.
Either way, we should win and win comfortably regardless of who is leading the line.

pjdemers said...

My apologies Harry as I may have been a bit heavy handed with my comments.

I was disappointed that some of the City fans booed Caicedo. The one thing Caicedo definitely did was work extremely hard. I can understand our fellow Citizens being disappointed with a player's performance but to boo them as they leave the pitch does not do them or anyone any favors. The only time I could reluctantly condone this behavior if its clearly apparent a player is "tanking it." Both Caicedo and Evans worked extremely hard for the team.

In fact what was wonderful to see against Villa was the tremendous team effort put forward. If we can maintain that same level of commitment we might realistically finish the season on a positive note.

Harry said...

No worries PJ, ICouldn't agree more with you. I'm a reletively young chap, yet in the tortuous 24 years that I have been following my beloved blues, I've witnessed the Kippax effectively ruining the confidence and career of a fine servent (Edgy) of our club, destroy the confidence of players such as Samaras (albeit I don't think he was good enough, but we didn't help) and boo various other such as Dickov, Horlock, Huckerby; even Anelka and Goater at times and any others that take their fancy.

Personally, if a player puts on the blue shirt then they have my full support. Everyone's entitled to their opinion, but when has targetting particular players ever done any good for our team or the individuals?

I suppose some people feel that they have to target their anger somewhere and the most convenient place to do it, rather than by bottling someone in the pub after the game, is through verbal abuse pitchside. Either way, it stinks as far as I'm concerned and it's why I pay no attention whatsoever to the moronic postings on the MUEN and other such sites and when I do want a laugh I can.

Good win needed tonight and a good win I expect. Aalborg have been very effective in Europe this season. They played very well against the rags in the group stage of the Champions League and although they are about 13 points behing Cobenhaven in the Danish league, I don't expect this to be a walk in the park. If we play well we should get a clean sheet and couple of goals league for the return match.

Testicles crossed

Daniel Baker said...

"Either way, it stinks as far as I'm concerned and it's why I pay no attention whatsoever to the moronic postings on the MUEN and other such sites and when I do want a laugh I can."

Here, Here Harry.

Does anyone else find it intensely embarrassing to read the knuckle dragging nonsense spouted by fellow City fans on the M.E.N blogs? Reactionary and misguided doesn't even begin to describe it... Apparently every single problem in our inherently complex team has nothing to do with an attempt to turn around a culture of non-seriousness and a losing mentality, or the sudden acquisition of extreme wealth, but is all due to the fact the Hughes once played for United. Robinho however, despite being utter bobbins for large spells of matches and invisible away from home, is immune to criticism...mad.

trinder said...

There are reams of cobblers on every forum on every subject. I don't think City's contributors to the MEN, 606, etc. are guilty of any worse than the frothing simpletons on other boards but I agree, it's horrible to read.

As for booing, it's nasty and it's pointless when directed at players who are learning or trying but it's entirely fair to batter anyone who's not giving everything.