Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Palace preview

It's pretty commonplace to say that 'if there's one thing City need to improve this season, it's their away form in the league.' Wrong. There's two things: away form in the league, and our performance in the domestic cups. Last season our performance in the domestic cups was as bad as it possibly could have been: two first round exits, to Brighton and Hove Albion and Nottingham Forest, in dramatic and traumatic circumstances respectively.

We are in the strange position this season of having a squad of the depth and quality to compete in Europe, but no European competitions in which to deploy it. And so the domestic cups become much more important than they otherwise would be. Not only could we do with a trophy this season to really boost our global profile (and, you know, because it's been a while), but because a dozen or so games in the cups could be the difference between Pablo Zabaleta, Nigel de Jong, Craig Bellamy and Vincent Kompany getting enough minutes to keep them happy and a less pleasant outcome.

So tomorrow night's game is big. It could well be the start of a run that will end in glory at Wembley. And we're up against a team who are promising to rest players. A win is a must. With our squad the size it is, we can rest the big names and still put out a strong, hungry and fit side with enough quality to see Palace off. How about this:

Onuoha, Zabaleta, Petrov, de Jong and Bellamy will all definitely play. Weiss is a good bet too. Of the new recruits more game time might push Tévez and Touré into the side. And it's arguable that Ireland needs games if he's going to grow into this Xabi Alonso role Hughes is getting him to play.

Regardless, it should be enough for Crystal Palace. Prediction? 3-0.


jackblue said...

"prediction 3 - 0"? Wow as a City fan I hope it is more like 0 - 3 (we are away you know!).

jfell said...

I wouldnt be surprised if Sylvinho got a start and Lescott comes on if we go one or two up.