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Man City Away

No new injury concerns.

Only players unavailable are Forshaw and Harrison due to fixture against parent club. Forshaw is hoping to play against Villa u 23s next Friday though, which is great news on a human level whether you rate him or not as a footballer.

We have to assume that Costa will replace Harrison, which will lead to a switch of wings for Raphinha.

Personally I would bring Klich back into the side for Alioski because if Alioski plays it will be like playing with a man short against Man City's press.

The rest of the side to remain unchanged.

Meslier

Ayling Llorente Cooper Dallas

Phillips

Costa Roberts Klich Raphinha

Bamford


I think we all expect Man City to make a lot of changes with the focus on the return fixture against Dortmund. May be an opportunity but the changes they make cost so much more than our starters so hardly a leveller.

Hard to predict individual match ups because its impossible to predict who Guardiola will go with but our best opportunities will likely come from releasing Raphinha & Costa into the space behind their fullbacks with quick direct play. If Phillips can find the space to play in, or look to play the long diagonal as soon as he breaks up opposition play we could be in. The same will go for Llorente when he steps forward to intercept.

Not many seem to agree but I think the previous game against these was our best performance for the season. To do what we did for the last 70 minutes was unbelievable. If we can come close to that again I will be very happy.

posted 5 days, 18 hours ago

comment by Outwood White (U9610)
posted 22 minutes ago
Agree regarding Rodrigo I know he wont Faith but would just like him to get a go. After all he scored for us in the last fixture v City.
----------------------------------------------------------------------

Rodrigo is a strange one to analyse this season. I think his talent is obvious. Shown great technique this season. But has obvious shortcomings in the role we are asking him to play.

I'm not sure that he was signed to play this role and suspect he was signed to play instead of Bamford, with one eye on his versality and ability to cover other positions. the plan was obviously to sign Cuisance which didn't happen and then when Raphinha became available I wonder if the club felt he was too good to not sign and Rodrigo would have to fill in as the attacking midfielder instead. Bamfords form has been so good that it will be very difficult to displace him from the side now.

So I don't think Rodrigo has earned his transfer fee playing in the role he has this season, but if the fact we spent the money on him instead of say Watkins allowed us to sign Raphinha then going for versality has definitely paid off.

As for his future I will not be surprised to see a big improvement next season if asked to continue in this role. We have seen it a number of times that players come back much better after a season under Bielsa. Rodrigo has also had 2 lengthy lay offs that have hindered progress, Bielsa mentioned a couple of weeks back that it takes Rodrigo a few games to get back up to speed. And as mentioned before his ability is still clear.

posted 5 days, 18 hours ago

comment by HaveFaithInLeeds (U8688)
posted 32 minutes ago

comment by Outwood White (U9610)
posted 22 minutes ago
Agree regarding Rodrigo I know he wont Faith but would just like him to get a go. After all he scored for us in the last fixture v City.
----------------------------------------------------------------------

Rodrigo is a strange one to analyse this season. I think his talent is obvious. Shown great technique this season. But has obvious shortcomings in the role we are asking him to play.

I'm not sure that he was signed to play this role and suspect he was signed to play instead of Bamford, with one eye on his versality and ability to cover other positions. the plan was obviously to sign Cuisance which didn't happen and then when Raphinha became available I wonder if the club felt he was too good to not sign and Rodrigo would have to fill in as the attacking midfielder instead. Bamfords form has been so good that it will be very difficult to displace him from the side now.

So I don't think Rodrigo has earned his transfer fee playing in the role he has this season, but if the fact we spent the money on him instead of say Watkins allowed us to sign Raphinha then going for versality has definitely paid off.

As for his future I will not be surprised to see a big improvement next season if asked to continue in this role. We have seen it a number of times that players come back much better after a season under Bielsa. Rodrigo has also had 2 lengthy lay offs that have hindered progress, Bielsa mentioned a couple of weeks back that it takes Rodrigo a few games to get back up to speed. And as mentioned before his ability is still clear.

-------------------------

totally agree Faith

posted 5 days, 16 hours ago

unfortunately rod has been a victim of injuries & covid which has kept him from a regular starting spot, we didn't pay £26mill for a bench warmer

comment by Jaz63 (U8369)

posted 5 days, 14 hours ago

Interesting comments on Rodrigo. I think that header he scored from the Harrison cross was a glimpse of Rodrigo's potential - that was a fine powerful and directed goal. He's been plagued by issues, a bit like Llorente. It's also a very weird season, what with pandemic restrictions, etc. Let's hope he starts to come good before it's done, like Llorente is doing.

posted 5 days, 1 hour ago

This is a game I’d love Bielsa to shock us all and make big changes.

To be super bizarre, I’d love to see Raphinha, Klich and Rodrigo in midfield tho Joe Gelhardt sitting just in front behind Patrick. Rodrigo has plenty of past experience on the wing and it’s just for one game. Joe gets his chance to simply have nothing to lose and set his goal to reach those standards in the future. Just another perspective but of course not what will happen!

To be honest, in reality it would probably stun Bielsa more than Guardiola if he ended up with that team formation out on the pitch!

Either Joe has a future at the top in the first team, or he doesn’t. It appears he has the talent and with the ‘extra space’ made available by Jack Harrison’s absence, and the expectation of a defeat anyway, it just seemed the right moment for Bielsa to throw a curve ball.

I think we all know which line up is most likely....

posted 5 days ago

Id go for a suprise lineup. 532, actually try and keep it a bit tight instead of running into a gun fight with a sword.

-----------------------Meslier

Ayling - Llorente - Cooper - Struijk - Alioski

---------------------- Phillips

--------------- Klich -------- Dallas

----‐--------------Raphina
-------------------------------------Bamford

posted 4 days, 22 hours ago

comment by Shaun M - Rapinha de vi la loca (U9955)
posted 2 hours, 30 minutes ago
Id go for a suprise lineup. 532, actually try and keep it a bit tight instead of running into a gun fight with a sword.

-----------------------Meslier

Ayling - Llorente - Cooper - Struijk - Alioski

---------------------- Phillips

--------------- Klich -------- Dallas

----‐--------------Raphina
-------------------------------------Bamford
----------------------------------------------------------------------

How would you make that work with the man marking system we use?

posted 4 days, 22 hours ago

I'd imagine if we try to keep it tight, not sure we've ever done that under MB, we'll be playing quite literally into there hands. Best form of defence is attack i'd imagine. Can't see any real changes bar those forced on MB.

posted 4 days, 21 hours ago

comment by VOF - Its all about believing .... (U17124)
posted 21 minutes ago
I'd imagine if we try to keep it tight, not sure we've ever done that under MB, we'll be playing quite literally into there hands. Best form of defence is attack i'd imagine. Can't see any real changes bar those forced on MB.
----------------------------------------------------------------------

I suppose he could bring Klich in for Harrison, move Alioski to left wing and Dallas to LB.

That would be a defensive minded move to try and keep it tight, making sure Alioski sticks to their fullback who often drifts inside to become a midfielder.

Other than that I don't think its practical to try and change how we play, and if it was it would only be a benefit in the short term. I think our best bet is to keep trying to play our way better and better. In the long run it could improve us to a level where we are competing for Europe. If we keep having to go more defensive then we will hit a ceiling and that's not what we want. Of course if we were ever in danger of going down then short term thinking would take priority.

posted 4 days, 21 hours ago

comment by HaveFaithInLeeds (U8688)
posted 2 minutes ago
comment by VOF - Its all about believing .... (U17124)
posted 21 minutes ago
I'd imagine if we try to keep it tight, not sure we've ever done that under MB, we'll be playing quite literally into there hands. Best form of defence is attack i'd imagine. Can't see any real changes bar those forced on MB.
----------------------------------------------------------------------

I suppose he could bring Klich in for Harrison, move Alioski to left wing and Dallas to LB.

That would be a defensive minded move to try and keep it tight, making sure Alioski sticks to their fullback who often drifts inside to become a midfielder.

Other than that I don't think its practical to try and change how we play, and if it was it would only be a benefit in the short term. I think our best bet is to keep trying to play our way better and better. In the long run it could improve us to a level where we are competing for Europe. If we keep having to go more defensive then we will hit a ceiling and that's not what we want. Of course if we were ever in danger of going down then short term thinking would take priority.
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Yeah i agree with all of that. Next 3 games are free hits so to speak, this time last year we'd have dreamt of a run of fixtures like them. I don't see huge changes to the line up tomorrow. But then again ........

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