Saturday, 3 April 2010

Burnley preview

Just seven games to go now. It's remarkable, really, that we are where we are. We've barely played well all season but if we can win five of our next seven I'm sure we'll grab fourth spot and play Champions League football next season. So today is another must-win game.

One of the hardest things in football is judging how teams threatened with relegation will perform. Will they fold like West Ham? Will they battle like Hull? Will they play with the abandon of condemned men like Portsmouth? There are many interpretations of how it can work out with evidence behind all of them. So I don't really know what to expect from Burnley.

They're clearly a pretty poor side. One win in thirteen under Brian Laws, and home defeats to Portsmouth, Wolves and Blackburn, none of whom have particularly good away records. I'm not even going to trot out the 'expect the unexpected with City involved' stuff today. We really should win this one. All I will say is that Burnley have taken just one point on their travels all season and that was at Eastlands.

We should have enough to beat them. There are a few injury concerns - Micah Richards and Craig Bellamy are said to be doubts while Stephen Ireland hasn't recovered from getting kicked by Johnny Heitinga. Throw in Pablo Zabaleta's suspension and Nigel de Jong's resting to avoid the same punishment and we don't have too many options. I imagine this will force us into a 4-4-2, with a back four of Javi Garrido, Vincent Kompany, Kolo Touré and Nedum Onuoha. We could play Dedryck Boyata, and move Onuoha central and Kompany into midfield but I'm not sure. Gareth Barry should return to partner Patrick Vieira in midfield with Wright-Phillips and Adam Johnson out wide. Bellamy will be a real loss - his running and breaking are even more important on the road than they are at home. I'd rather partner Carlos Tévez with Roque Santa Cruz than with Emmanuel Adebayor but this is unlikely.

It should be enough. It won't be a pretty game but I'm backing us to grind out a 2-1 win.

1 comment:

Philip said...

Well you got half of the scoreline right...

Immense day for City. We could've been close to double figures at half time and, while we took our foot off the gas (understandably) in the second half, we still could've had another 2 or 3 - and would have done if it had stayed dry.

Vieira and Adebayor look back in form and you have to be optimistic following Spurs' result. Let's hope Brum do the business on Monday.