Saturday, 18 April 2009

West Brom preview

Tomorrow's match with West Brom is huge.

As unlikely as it may seem, should we get beaten we'll be stuck in twelfth place, just four points ahead of Hull and Blackburn, in sixteenth and seventeenth places respectively. Win, and we'll be safe from relegation, and with an outside shot at seventh.

Too many times this season we've followed a good UEFA Cup performance with a bad league game: after beating Omonia we lost to Liverpool, after beating Twente we lost to Spurs, after beating Schalke we lost the derby, after beating København we lost to West Ham, and after beating Aalborg we lost to Chelsea.

We can't afford the same on Sunday. West Brom may be terrible, but they know that a win at CoMS will put them seven points from safety with five games left - a surmountable task. We have to put them out of the game as quickly as possible, before they can even sniff safety.

The team selection is quite difficult to call. I'm sure the back five will stay as they always are, and the UEFA Cup ineligibles, Nigel de Jong and Valeri Bozhinov will both come in. The other four places - I'm not sure. We need two more midfielders and two wide players from these: Vincent Kompany, Pablo Zabaleta, Elano, Stephen Ireland, Robinho, Martin Petrov and (if fit) Shaun Wright-Phillips. My guess would be that the over-worked Ireland and Zabaleta would be rested (Zabba picked up a knock against HSV); Kompany will partner de Jong, Petrov and Elano will play wide and Robinho will play behind Boji.

But it could just as easily be something very different.

UPDATE Thinking about it, I imagine Ireland will play through an injury. He is our best player. Robi on the left, Ireland behind Boji, Petrov on the bench?

I predict 2-0, only because I'm terrified of the possibility of a relegation battle.


TPB said...

That formation has got bluemoon/Pro Evo written all over it

pjdemers said...

Another very astute comment re: City performances following UEFA cup games. I'm hoping the telling difference is that the players were really invigorated by the reaction of City fans Thursday night. I do get the impression they really want to fight for 7th place to show their commitment to Hughes and City (quotes from Richards today that Sparky's the right man for the job).

My more pressing concerns are not of our habit of taking one step forward two steps back,but that the Baggies seem to be a bogey team for City (particularly since the formation of the EPL) and if City fans will stay focused.

The reason is that everybody seems to expect nothing but a comfortable win against WBA, who besides being a bogey side are going to scrap for everything. While I expect the players will be prepared for a real battle, I'm worried that should City suffer an early setback, the boo boys will pull the crap they pulled against Fulham instead of getting even more behind the team like the HSV match.

Personally I would like to think all the City faithful are starting to realize that to lay the foundation for a winning, "over my dead body"mentality is that every City fan has to be fully behind the team for the entire 90 minutes. No conditions, no exceptions.

I realize from my previous comments that some of you may think I'm being redundant but I've been reading the 606 posts, the Guardian, MEN and the like and I was expecting the majority of City fans to come away on a positive note after Thursday's performance, but there were the boo boys out in full force, looking to establish blame. There was no blame to be had. Everyone at City (players & fans) gave 100% commitment to the cause. At the end of the day you can't ask for anything more. if that's not enough for you and you still feel the need to vent your anger then save it for the blogs but keep it out of Eastlands.

If you love City then don't just say it, show it!