Manchester City v WBA - 8pm Weds 31st Jan 2018 - Premier League Preview and Match Day Thread


Alert Team
After two consecutive away fixtures which saw City secure their place in the final of the League Cup and move into the last 16 of the FA Cup, Pep and his battered crew return to Premier League action on Wednesday evening when they take on WBA at the Etihad.

WBA currently sit in 19th place in the league table on 20 points and having only scored 19 goals - only Swansea and Brighton have worse records for finding the net in the league this season. That said they did defeat the holders of the “We Beat Manchester City Cup 2017/18” at Anfield last weekend so could be in buoyant mood when they rock up in Manchester to take on the league leaders.

Doubtless their manager Alan Pardew will have taken note of the words and actions of Neil ‘Small Brain’ Warnock whose players managed to deprive City of one of the sparkling talents to light up the Premier League this season with as cynical and brutal a fouls we are likely to see this year. It was under Pardew’s management when at Palace in 2015 that Sergio Aguero was felled on the half way line with a knee high tackle by Scott Dann causing an injury which kept the Argentinian striker out of the team for several weeks so we can perhaps not be surprised if he doesn’t instruct his latest set of players to follow the “Neil Warnock Football Model”. This can be paraphrased as “They are pretty fast and better than us so are fair game for a kicking”.

Sané suffered an ankle injury which has yet to be fully assessed but which could keep him out of the side for several weeks according to Pep Guardiola. Not what we needed as we approach the return of the Champions League and with Jesus perhaps a few weeks from returning to the side. I am not sure which is worse - that the tackle went unpunished by the woeful Lee Mason or that a player saw fit to so endanger the career of a fellow professional with a potentially leg breaking challenge.

I think Joe Bennett can stick his apology where the sun doesn’t shine.

As for Cardiff and their limited, pompous manager I again am undecided……..suffer a catastrophic loss of form which sees plummet down the table resulting in Warnock getting his P45 or get to the Play Off Final to lose by a handball goal conceded in the last seconds of added time? Hmmmm. The agony of choice. I’m going with the latter. It would be more painful for him, the players and the moronic fans who chose to boo Sane whilst he received treatment and then applaud Bennett after he eventually gave Mason no choice but send him off for another reckless, out of control lunge which felled Brahim Diaz in added time. Again - a challenge that was worthy IMO of a straight red but of course Mason took the easy course and opted for the second yellow. I expect nothing less from the officials these days who, since Paul Pogba’s clarion call last month for City players to get injured, appears to have been heeded by his fellow professionals without the appropriate sanction from the referees.

Either way I hope we don’t see then or their manager in the Premier League. Ever.

WBA have a longer injury list than City and shipped a few against Liverpool themselves. Evans, Robson-Kanu, Livermore & Gibbs are all listed as major doubts for the match with hamstring injuries some of which oddly Pardew seemed to feel that the delays caused by use of VAR might have been responsible for. McCauley may return as might Field but both Chadli and Morrison will definitely miss out with long term injuries.

It is likely that Bernardo Silva then will continue in Sane’s enforced absence. He may not have the blistering pace of Leroy but he is inventive and can deliver a peach of a cross as he proved again on Sunday when he delivered the ball to Sterling’s head for City’s second against the Neanderthals. Vincent Kompany got through the entire game which was great to see but given that there was a concerted effort in the second half from City to minimise engagement with the opponents the match might not have been the fullest examination of his fitness. I would expect to see Stones restored in defence alongside Otamendi. Zinchenko may return at left back with Delph still sidelined. In midfield David Silva should slot back in for Gundogan and Aguero will lead the line. Ederson will be back between the sticks as City strive to maintain their 12 point lead over the Orange of Stretford and his fellow basket of fruits. They have to travel to Wembley to take on Spurs who may feel they have point to prove after narrowly escaping defeat against Newport County on Saturday.


Referee: Bobby Madley (Oh joy - remember, he is the one who fell for Calvert-Lewin collapsing in a heap faking a fatal facial injury in City’s first home game of the season resulting in Kyle Walker getting sent off. Outstanding)
Assistants: Adam Nunn, Mick McDonough
Fourth official: Kevin Friend

WBA are fighting for their Premier League lives and have seen a revival of form since Pardew’s arrival - they have won three of their last six matches in all competitions and know that whilst a point might at other times represent success against a side performing as well as City, it is not necessarily going to be enough as we approach the back end of the season. I am still expecting them to sit deep and hope for a break away or set piece but they may just be tempted to push on a bit further than otherwise they would try if they had more than 14 games to save themselves. Either way, an early goal from City is always the way to scuttle Plan A so let’s hope we start quickly and in determined mood.

Pep knows that the best way for the club and the players to put the disappointment of Sané’s injury behind them is to set about winning the next game.

Come on City!!!
Buzz select eleven, well it is actually the only players still standing on both legs.


Walker Stones Kompany Danilo


Siva, Bernardo, KDB, Sterling


Bravo, Otamendi, Zinchenko, Gundogan, Diaz, Mangala, Touré


Alert Team
Oh yes, I forgot predicted XI


Walker, Stones, Otamendi, Zinchenko

De Bruyne, Fernandinho, Silva D

Silva B, Aguero, Sterling


Bravo, Danilo, Kompany, Mangala, Gundogan, Diaz, Toure


Vital Squad Member
Still incensed by that Warnock and his attitude. And now we have Pardew.

I feel the only way to get protection for the handful of world class players- Kev Hazard Silva Kane- in the EPL is for Otta to take one for the team ala Roy Keane and pole axe Kane in the return fixture in front of millions at Wembley leaving him unavailable for the world cup. That will really shine a light on the shite refs in the EPL and their performance season to date.

Its not just us- Hazard gets the sh..e kicked out of him as well week in week out.

I think the brutality will galvanise us and we will batter WBA with Kun getting 4. Good fixture for VK and Stones to work on their confidence. Can even play Danilo.


Vital Football Hero
We have 5 players injured with none back soon, except maybe Delph. The tackle on Sane was terrible and he did it again on Diaz and got sent off. So Bennett is out for one game and Sane for maybe 6-8 weeks??? We can't tell yet. Evening up a game by a few well chosen kicks and stamps is a tactic as old as the hills, but the refs don't appear to appreciate that the fans want to see the likes of Sane and Hazard delight the fans with speed and skill. Frankly Mason is not up to the job and he should consider his future in the game, I still feel mad about both Bennett fouls, and he can stick his apology. At home we will be able to punish the Baggies with or without a cameo from our former World class in his own mind striker.
It is Bobby Madley with the cards on Wednesday.

If our defenders make any challenge on Sturridge in the area I can feel a penalty coming on.
Well.......the big question has to be if Eric was registered in time for tonight's game will he start?

If so who misses out?

Laporte is left footed so would look like Otamendi could get a rest? :048:

Would you throw in a player new to the PL against Sean Dyche's Burnley at Turf Moor?

Colin Is The King

Vital Football Legend
^ I think the centre back partnership tonight will be Stones and Otamendi, with Kompany probably brought back on Saturday.

Agree about the bedding in process for Laporte.