Friday, 19 February 2010

Liverpool preview

(I don't know when I'll be able to blog between now and Sunday's game so this preview is unusually early.)

Before the Stoke game we looked like we were heading into a definitive period both for our season and even for Mancini's management of Manchester City. A scored draw - coming from behind - is almost an entirely neutral result and as such there is a sense of a judgement postponed from it. The crunch period then, that will dictate the rest of 2010 for City, starts on Sunday against Liverpool.

If we win we have a four point leader over Liverpool to accompany our game in hand. We can generate some momentum with which to attack at Stoke on Wednesday night, before hoping to emerge from Stamford Bridge with dignity before another huge game the following weekend. A bad result, though, and a performance as insipid as the last few, and the whole Mancini experiment (by which I don't just mean Mancini's work as manager but also the decision to bring him in for Mark Hughes in the first place) look rather flawed. There's a lot riding on this.

The good news is that should not be a particularly difficult game. Liverpool have barely played well all season, and without Fernando Torres there is no cutting edge to their play. They're well organised at the back but still susceptible against pace and with Adam Johnson and Shaun Wright-Phillips in the side we should be able to trouble them. I wish we could play 4-4-2 but without Tévez there isn't much point. (Roque Santa Cruz is as far from full fitness as he has been all season.) But a 4-2-3-1 with three of Johnson, SWP, Bellamy and Ireland behind Adebayor should be good enough for a win. I predict 1-0.


wizzballs said...

you say 'flawed' without any apparent irony, despite our league position!

a few insipid performances could be regarded as a predictable feature of the transition from the honeymoon period to the longer term shape and style.

trinder said...

Number crunching

Hughes this season earned on average 1.71 points per league game. Mancini is averaging 2.

Over 38 games, that's 12 additional points or 76 overall, enough for 4th last season.

This takes no account of the opposition nor the location of course but it tells the grumblers to pipe it for now.

Hemulen said...

We'll miss Tevez. He was a beast when he came on at Anfield.