The Six Substitutes debate


Alert Team
For Saturday's lunchtime kick off against Burnley Pep Guardiola's decision to name only six substitutes instead of the maximum allowed 7 has sparked a debate which, I am sure, it was partly the intent. Guardiola has been measured and calm in his press conferences when discussing the frankly awful officiating which City have been subject to over the past two months. Two months which have seen Raheem Sterling, Kevin De Bruyne, Gundogan and Brahim Diaz lucky escape serious injury but witnessed Gabriel Jesus and Leroy Sané hacked down by opponent's whose punishment has been as lenient as their challenges have been outrageous.

The smug, pontificating Neville who barely managed a top class side for four months before getting sacked as he was not up to the task chose to declare that Pep's decision was a "joke" prior to kick off on Saturday. Doubtless he is secretly pleased that his old club's rivals are finding their quest for trophies handicapped by the loss of these players as it may make the gap between the Transfer Champions and City less stark if City cannot punish teams as ruthlessly as they were earlier in the season.

Sadly this a view which he should be ashamed of as a professional pundit and commentator - surely he would be better advised to comment about the fact that Guardiola is perhaps making a point to the authorities through this decision and that the nature of opposition tackling is the real issue. A point which were he to openly discuss his views would land him in hot water and facing a ban for daring to air the 'heresy' that the competence of some referees is questionable.

The panel on Sky's Sunday Supplement basically tell Gary Neville where to stick his comment and highlight (John Cross) that some of the challenges recently have been scandalous.

Good for them.

Where do you stand?

Was Pep right to make this decision or should he he have put an EDS lad on the bench just to 'make up the numbers' even though there was no likelihood of the lad being involved in the game?

Colin Is The King

Vital Football Legend
I saw that this morning, and Ashton was soon shot down by all three fellow journos.
One thing I thought was poor was the fact that a tweet was displayed that was factually correct, possibly, but didn't relate to Guardiola, who was criticised by the sender for a lack of condemnation of his own players poor challenges.

You can argue whether Fernie stamped on the WBA player; Madley saw it, but deemed no further action.

The element that annoyed me was the 'two footed stamp' on Luiz by Aguero. That may've been the case, but it happened in 2013 in the FA Cup semi final.
Aguero committed an awful foul in 2016, was rightly sent off, and served a longer ban as a result - but it was a one footed awful tackle.


Alert Team
I'm watching a recording of the SS now and it's pleasantly surprsing that, to a man, they have shot down ratboy. I also noticed there were more of the negative anti-City tweets than pro-City tweets.


Alert Team
I'd like to know some more information before forming an opinion.

Did just 17 players travel? When did the squad travel, was it Friday night or Saturday morning? We heard Silva was to be assessed before the game, did he travel? Nmecha and Stones, did they travel? I believe the reason for Nmecha's absence was that he was ill.

What I'm getting at is, is this a case of 20 players travelling with 3 to be assessed on Saturday morning and all 3 being deemed unfit just prior to naming the matchday squad rather than Pep trying to make a point?
I maybe alone on this one, but i got the feeling yesterday that City players on the move with the ball looked half expectedly that their legs were about to be taken away from them, I am not saying that is what the Burnley players mode of attack was, because it wasn't but the lads had half an eye on looking over their shoulders instead of looking where they were going.


Alert Team
I certainly felt that Sterling’s at times was less than confident when receiving the ball as if at any moment he might get whacked from behind...... and it made me wonder whether this tentativeness, a natural result of so many poor challenges recently, was/is going to affect our play.

Normally when you touch the ball briefly and make quick, one touch passes it is a protection against contact as opponents won’t get close enough to foul as you won't have the ball long enough or won’t bother as they are at risk of getting booked. But if it’s open season on City players and you get a few free fouls more than normal before you collect a booking.........well, tuck in boys, fill your boots. If you think you’re going to get a whack every time you receive the ball your play and decision making WILL be affected.

For the thugs - job done.

The effect of the 'reducer' tackle in a game is to make the tricky, fleet footed winger think twice about looking to demand the ball again or try and go past the full back. If they think they are going to get hurt they choose a different option - not quite taking a position to receive the ball (hide); opt to pass the ball back inside (safe).

Young Brahim will have not been likely to have been on the receiving end of a tackle like Matt Phillip's cowardly one on Wednesday night. He will have been fouled and been taken a bit later playing against lads his own age but won't have had the brutal message ("welcome to the Big Boys League you tricky b*****d") from a seasoned professional delivered with such brute and malicious force. It would be unsurprising if it didn't dwell on his mind and make him hesitate .....even just a fraction.....and affect his decision making. That was one of the worrying things about hearing Sterling's comments about being "butchered".

It is going to take a strong mind and bravery to carry on playing with the same freedom to deny the cumulative effects of these tackles/foul and the weak mindedness of the referees.

THAT is what Pep means about protection being needed. If you think such fouls will get properly punished you can go about your job with confidence - "I may take a whack but they won't do it twice". If you have no trust in the referee to punish the offenders and stop them, then you may think "I am going to seriously hurt" and take the less dangerous option ......and impact how penetrating our play can be.

:096: over


Alert Team
Am now catching up on the full programme and am in danger of going off on one again as Ashton (the host) is in danger of pissing me off with his references to the danger of football becoming a “non-contact Sport”..... :018:

Missing the point entirely.

John Cross doing a good job though


Alert Team
I was surprised to see this ringing endorsement of Pep in respect of his use of youngsters on the Sky Sports website, given their alleigance to ratboy as their number one pundit.

Pep Guardiola

“This guy, the pundit, he has to know my job is serious. It's not a joke, never is it a joke. It's so serious. And he should know that because he was a manager - for a short time."

Asked if he would be prepared to name six substitutes again despite Neville's criticism, Guardiola replied:

"I don't know. Management is not a book where every time you do the same things. And of course the prestigious pundit can say whatever he wants. But I take the decisions."