Saturday, 23 January 2010

Scunthorpe preview

Wednesday is our biggest game for years, without doubt. And Mancini should do as much as he can to maximise our chances of getting to Wembley. But - and I appreciate the contradiction here - we shouldn't be ignoring this game either. Because it's a big one. With Manchester United and Liverpool already out, we're third favourites. By the time we kick off Arsenal could be out, given the team they are going to field at the Britannia.

But it's only natural that we will rest key players. Nigel de Jong and Gareth Barry look exhausted, we can't risk Tévez - who might have a hamstring strain - and Craig Bellamy is unable to play too regularly. With Stephen Ireland and Shaun Wright-Phillips coming back to fitness I imagine that they will play, leaving us with a team looking something like this:

These games rest often rest on a balancing act - picking a side just good enough to win without compromising future fixtures. Obviously playing Barry, de Jong, Bellamy and Tévez would increase our chances of winning but I hope that this will be enough. It should be difficult in an 'old fashioned English cup-tie' sense: small stadium, bad pitch, bad weather and all that. It's possible that this will unsettle Mancini, in that he's new to the English game and so forth. But I think that analysis is more to do with lazy stereotyping than anything else.

It will be tight, certainly, and we might have to bring on some of our bigger names to secure the win. But I think we'll come through it.

1 comment:

bluefish said...

I think that Mancini may even rest Given and give Taylor a run out for this game.