It’s Man City in the quarter finals of the Carling Cup tonight, a chance to put behind us the weekend just gone and the trip to Eastlands earlier in the season. On a run of seven straight draws, City will be fielding a strong lineup for this one, in the knowledge that silverware is now an expectation, so it is a tough ask for the young side we are likely to field.
Of the weekend’s starters, only Song and Traore make the squad. The latter will almost certainly start, but the former is a surprise inclusion, especially with Eastmond available in central midfield. It suggests he may play at the back, given that Senderos, who doesn’t even make the squad, is being well and truly frozen out, but given the physical nature of Stoke at the weekend, I’d be amazed if Song started. Instead, I imagine he’ll be an option from the bench.
Eboue – Gilbert –
Bartley – Silvestre – Traore
Wilshere – Eastmond – Ramsey
Rosicky – Vela – Merida
[edited – didn’t notice Eboue was in the squad, so Gilbert will probably play in the centre]
I’m not convinced by this, as Merida may not play in such an advanced role. Watt may start, but that would mean one of the midfield trio dropping out, and I’m not sure who would. There are a lot of midfielders in a very lopsided squad.
It should be a good game – for all our current worries, we struggle more against power than pace, and aside from Adebayor, it is pace that City rely on. With both sides set to attack, and neither having a watertight defence, it could easily be a high scoring affair. As a result, I’m agreeing with Goonerholic that the bet of the day should be Vela to score at anytime.
Away from the match, there has been a huge amount of talk about Wenger’s comments that we’re likely to sign a striker in January. Already the media have gone into overdrive, and given our propensity for making moves at the end of the transfer window, we’ll have to put up with this for two months. Thanks Arsene. But in all seriousness, I can’t see much in his quotes that differs from what he says every year:
“I didn’t feel we were in the need to buy anybody but we will be out on the market that is for sure now. However we will only make a decision if it suits us.”
It all depends on your interpretation of ‘we will be out on the market’. To me, this is nothing different from the usual ‘if the right player comes along, we’ll make a move’ line that he always goes for. It would be unlike the man to announce he wants to sign players ahead of time, and also unlike him to sign replacements for injured players – an option he does not normally like to take.
Instead, I see this more as a challenge laid down to the forwards already at the club. If a striker in signed in January, one will have to make way in the summer, so everything is up for grabs.
Personally, I think we might sign a striker, but not purely based on this quote, more on the fact that there is a clear gap between the couple of strikers ready for the first team and those still a couple of years away. It may be too early for some, and perhaps a squad striker is needed to bridge that gap.
Still, it is early December, and this is all pointless conjecture for another month. The focus should be entirely on the game, and what better way to start the month than by seeing Adebayor and co knocked out by a bunch of up and coming kids?
Enjoy the game, wherever you are.