Friday, 10 September 2010

Blackburn preview

There's nothing quite like the refreshing feeling of the first match after an international break. It's been twelve days since Darren Bent's hilarious stoppage time penalty. It would have felt long enough without the need to make up for such an avoidable defeat.

So it's good to return to what should be a negotiable fixture. One of the enjoyable changes of the last year or so has been a relaxed confidence about our home games against opposition from the bottom fourteen of the Premier League. In times gone by the build-up to these games would be more sickening than away ones, because of the fear of failure. None of that now.

This confidence is only enhanced by good wins in the last two seasons. We won 4-1 in January thanks to a Carlos Tévez hat-trick, and beat them 3-1 the previous season with three more South American goals (Caicedo, Robinho and Elano).

This means that we should be able to play a more exciting line up than in recent games. I am interested to know just how attached Roberto Mancini is to the iron triangle of Nigel de Jong, Gareth Barry and Yaya Touré. The three of them have started all but one game so far this season, and while it is a very effective system for achieving certain ends I don't think it's always required. There will be home games, particularly against non-top six opponents, where it's just a safety net too far. I hope that one of those three is rested, preferably Nigel de Jong.

Gareth Barry has shown for England that he is capable of playing as a problem-solver just in front of the defence. He might not be as fiery as de Jong but given Sam Allardyce's approach to the game there is no delicate playmaker we need to intimidate. With Barry alongside Yaya in the middle we can play one extra attacking player. I'd like to see James Milner, David Silva and Adam Johnson lined up behind Carlos Tévez but it's just as likely that we'll see Emmanuel Adebayor start and only two of those attacking midfielders. I'm not really an Adebayor fan but we could still win the game like that.

At the back we might see a debut for Jérôme Boateng, which makes predicting the back line fairly difficult. It will be four from him, Pablo Zabaleta, Joleon Lescott, Vincent Kompany, Kolo Touré and Micah Richards. My preference would be for Zabaleta-Kompany-Kolo-Boateng but I can't predict what it might actually be.

I suppose there's a value in Lescott instead of Zabaleta, just to give us the most physically imposing back line possible, to allow us to repel comfortably Blackburn's aerial assault. But we should have enough to win this one: 2-0.

UPDATE: Carlos Tévez is 'doubtful' and will have a late fitness test; if he doesn't make it then surely it will be 4-5-1 with Adebayor up front. Boateng is out.


jackblue said...

It matter nothing what team is picked. Benjani has surely done the team talk for us and I expect City to embarrass Rovers.

Anonymous said...

Reports in this morning's press that Adebayor is doubtful and Jo may start! Would you change your prediction with this line up Jack?