Venue: Etihad Stadium
Date: 14 December 2016
Referee: Kevin Friend
Kick off: 20:00
UK TV: Not on TV
City are quickly approaching the festive period, but at the moment there is very little to feel jolly about. A second consecutive league defeat came at the hands of Leicester on Saturday and it’s fair to say that City were flattered by the 4-2 scoreline.
It’s Watford at the Etihad on Wednesday. So, what are the main talking points ahead of the game?
Our Most Important Game This Season
I know that a lot of you will read this and think that I’m talking rubbish. However, I firmly believe that this is Pep’s most important game so far. Obviously a home game to Watford wouldn’t usually represent that kind of importance, so I’ll explain why. If you’re active on social media, you’ll know that pressure is building on Guardiola. Not to mention a few of the players in the City XI. After a crushing defeat to Chelsea and a pathetic display at Leicester, City are in dire need of three points. Obviously, not getting them wouldn’t mean the end of the season; imagine though the increased pressure on Pep if we don’t get over the line against Watford with Arsenal coming up? Honestly, there are already mumblings from sections of the fanbase about Pep, Bravo, Stones and a host of other players too. It’s time for City to beat somebody comfortably, instil some much needed faith from the stands and most importantly – keep a fucking clean sheet.
It’s Hard to Pick a Defence That Isn’t Shite
This paragraph is exactly as it says on the tin. Pep’s most impossible task as Manchester City boss is picking a defence that doesn’t reek of mediocrity. Let’s consider the options. The skipper, Vincent Kompany is never available for selection. This is particularly damaging when you consider that he is far and away our best defender. The marquee signing, John Stones, has struggled. I’m not sure that he’s strong enough defensively, something that you could forgive if he wasn’t passing to opposition strikers every other game. Okay, there’s the competent players done. Nicolas Otamendi, the sliding liability, is about as reliable as Kolarov’s 80 yard switch to the right winger. Speaking of Kolarov, he wouldn’t start another game for me in the near or distant future. He’s conning us. The full-backs are all sub-par. Yes, even Zabaleta, who has been fantastic over the years, is finished. Sagna and Clichy wouldn’t start at Everton or Southampton, so God knows why they get a game for us. Pep has a monumental job on sorting out this shitstorm. I suspect we won’t see a competent defence for at least another 12 months. Deeney and Okaka must be licking their lips.
Navas – Nice Guy, Wasting a Starting XI Spot
It’s taken me a long time to lose faith in Navas. I genuinely believe that he’s had something to offer for the last couple of years and gets a lot of unwarranted stick. However, that time is over. He’s actually done a pretty good job for City in my opinion. He was excellent in Pellegrini’s first season, and despite being constantly berated, he’s always worked hard in a blue shirt and never goes missing. So, in the unlikely event that you’re reading this, I’m sorry Jesus. Unfortunately, it’s time to drop Navas permanently. This isn’t even a response to Saturday, where again he worked hard and at least tried. Nevertheless, Navas couldn’t beat his full-back if he was faced up against Aleks Kolarov with a new contract. We’re wasting our time with him. I’m not Leroy Sané’s biggest fan, though I probably am Raheem Sterling’s. Both players offer more going forward, and whilst you do sacrifice some defensive work, Pep needs to work out where his bread is buttered. Does he want thriving right wingers, or attacking talent that spends all game covering Otamendi’s sporadic sliding? It’s time for a rethink, Pep. Get your wide players into the game, rather than having them failing to cover for defensive errors all game. I want to see more of Sané, before I see the absolute vanilla, safety pick that is Jesus Navas.
I never ever manage to pick a starting player usually, though I did say that Riyad Mahrez would tear us a new one on Saturday. Let’s hope I’m wrong this time. If Troy Deeney starts, I think he’ll be sticking to John Stones like glue, in an attempt to bully the youngster. Beware of the long ball. For City, I’m praying with everything that I’ve got that Raheem Sterling starts, as I think we’ve missed him in the last three games.
I don’t know anymore, it’s hard to see City keeping a clean sheet, so I’m putting an automatic 1 next to Watford. For City, I’m expecting a response in what is an incredibly important game. 3-1. Iheanacho to have a good run of things.
Predict the score:
[statsfc-score-predictor key=”D8SJIk7F6vySBuDaFQRSHy11xfbyCt18uXRinj2b” team=”Man City” date=”2016-12-14″ default_css=”true”]