|Manchester City 5 v 2 Southampton|
Barclays Premier League
Wednesday, 10th March 2021 Kick-off 18:00
Southampton At Manchester City The Preview
Wednesday, 10th Mar 2021 15:17
Here it is, the board up the goal pray that they try to walk it in the net fixture of the season, in truth this is a free hit, if we can get out of this virtually unscathed in terms of the result and injuries then a narrow defeat is cause for celebration and we can get on with the last quarter of the season when results will count.
Truth is Saints have to go into this game with a mindset that is resolute and they shall not pass and a determination to get through the game and then concentrate on the last 10 Premier League games in which we can not only ensure safety but win a few and move up the League again, not to mention a date in the FA Cup quarter finals.
This being the case I'm quite happy to sit back and let Manchester City take another step towards another title and lets be honest if you are one of those people who think that the only way to get success is to buy it, then City's £125 million outlay last summer in the middle of a pandemic will prove your point.
Whilst the rest of football struggles financially, Manchester City plod on knowing their owners will cover all the costs and if that falls foul of the financial fair play league then if the lawyers won't get them off completely, then at least they can overturn a ban on the Champions League as long as City pay a fine that is equivalent to the transfer budget of half of the Premier League.
Whatever happens to Saints the rest of the season it won't be decided by this result, our success and failure will rely on us beating the likes of Brighton, Fulham, West Brom, Burnley & Crystal Palace not to mention Bournemouth in the cup.
These are the games I want to see our squad fit and raring to go, I don't want to see Kyle Walker Peters pull up with a muscle injury again and miss the next tow games because he has been chasing Raheem Sterling around the pitch to earn a well deserved 2-0 defeat.
Some may describe this as negative, that we should go into every game with the intention to win, but these are not normal times, we have an injury list as long as your arm and it seems someone joins it every time that we play a game.
So I want to see Ralph prioritise the Brighton game as one we can get three points in, losing this game gets us the same number of points whatever the scoreline.
So I suspect Ralph will make changes and personally this is the side I would be happy with seeing out there tonight
Ramsey, Salisu, Bednarek, Bertrand
Djenepo, JWP, Jankewitz, Tella
Subs, McCarthy, Vestergaard, KWP, Minamino, Adams, Armstrong, Diallo, Stephens, Watts
Manchester City themselves are likely to make changes, they have had a tough game on Sunday and after us they have a Premier League game on Saturday followed by a Champions League game on Tuesday and then their own FA Cup quarter final at Everton the following Saturday.
This is a tough run of fixtures and Pep Guardiola will surely mix and match his squad a little.so he is likely to bring in some of his subs from Sunday, Phil Foden perhaps or Aquero, Mendy, Fernandinho, Laporte or Silva perhaps even Ferran Torres a £21 million signing from Valencia, in total those 6 cost £256 million and that doesn't really include Forren who is from their youth team.
They could even bring back Nathan Ake after injury who they spent £40 million on.
What this shows is what the rest of us our up against, City can put out two different sides who could beat most other teams in the Premier League and to be blunt they have spent 6 -8 times the amount those other teams have spent individually to do it, you do the maths.
But that if football these days, truth is there are the have and the have nots.
So I will just be glad when the game is over, I don't care whether it is 1-0 or 7-0, our goal difference is shot anyway, I just want it to be a game where we do not risk those who are just back from injury and perhaps one or two who could do with a rest anyway.
There are those that say we haven't done badly against City of late, we lost 1-0 in December but City cruised through the game it should have been 3 or 4, we beat them 1-0 in the summer that could have been 5-0 to them, we only lost narrowly in the League up there last November a late goal winning it for them, but these games are gone and we didn't have the injury issues we have now.
So get tonight over with and let the real season commence.
Photo: Action Images
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Letters from Wiltshire #45 by wessex_exile
Tonight, Colchester United face Southend United in what may not necessarily be the most important game of our respective histories (though it’s certainly very close), but is almost certainly the most important Essex derby ever. However this season pans out, by the end of it there’ll either be only one team in Essex, or worst case scenario, none at all. If the U’s win, then Southend will be 9pts behind with just three games to go, and a minimum of a -12 goal difference to overturn if they want to overtake us. Certainly mathematically possible, but that would rely on a remarkable turnaround in their form, form that they’ve shown precious little sign of achieving so far this season. The stalking horse is Grimsby, with their game in hand, who have rather belatedly shown an improvement in form, so their match against automatic promotion chasing Morecambe tonight is equally important, particularly if we want to avoid the unthinkable, with both Essex clubs dropping out of the league.
Letters from Wiltshire #44 by wessex_exile
So here we are, as the nation mourns the passing of His Royal Highness, Duke of Edinburgh, the U’s face the first of two season-defining moments, with our late kick-off match at home to Walsall. Before then, no doubt many will have been focused on events elsewhere, not least the early kick-offs for Grimsby (at home to promotion-chasing Bolton Wanderers), and particularly Essex rivals Southend United, who faced a tricky visit to Exeter City – still very much in the hunt for at least a play-off spot. As I finalise this blog, I know that Grimsby have beaten Bolton 2-1, and Southend earned a credible 0-0 draw in the West Country. More to the point, the U’s will know this too. Whilst I can’t help but feel that will ought to be to our advantage, it surely must also put additional pressure on a squad whose confidence is paper-thin. We must hope that Hayden Mullins, assisted by Paul Tisdale, get their heads right, and send the lads out this evening fired up with self-belief.
Letters from Wiltshire #43 by wessex_exile
Well, that has been a lively week for Colchester United in the press, and not least for Robbie Cowling, with not one, or two, but kind of three club announcements in rapid succession to try and put the record straight. First, we had Tribunalgate, which certainly looked very poor according to the initial press reports, but which on closer inspection when some of the ‘fact gaps’ were filled in wasn’t anywhere near the story that some would have us believe. Then of course we had the ‘leak’ that the U’s were about to go into administration, despite all the reassurances we’d been given in previous statements from Robbie. Not so said Robbie again, and particularly angry at what he believed to be the source of the story. Hence statement #3, repeating his assurances, but this time after passing through the lawyer filter to remove his thoughts on the source. To paraphrase Robbie’s conclusion to that statement, let’s hope we can all have a day off from this sort of media shenanigans and enjoy our game at Oldham tonight!
Letters from Wiltshire #42 by wessex_exile
Well, these sure are strange times at Colchester United, particularly for a club (nor a Chairman) not usually associated with the ‘managerial revolving door’ approach. With results not matching expectations or even minimum requirements, and a brief spell after being appointed Interim Head Coach, Wayne Brown has been released to return to the Jammers, for whenever their pandemic-interrupted football restarts. In comes not one, or two, but three new ‘appointments’. Hayden Mullins steps up as Head Coach to the end of the season, Joe Dunne apparently comes back to the U’s in a sort of unofficial coaching/ team-spirit sort of role, and exceptionally experienced lower-league former Exeter City manager Paul Tisdale arrives to provide Hayden with advice and support – crikey!
Letters from Wiltshire #41 by wessex_exile
This afternoon the U’s take on Bradford City in a bid to gather sufficient points to stay clear of the bottom two. It’ll be a tough gig though, even if (as I suspect) Bradford City have left it a bit too late to challenge the play-off spots. They were on a decent run of form, that is until defeats at Newport, Carlisle, Scunthorpe and a goalless draw at home to Oldham put paid to any lingering promotion hopes. For us, it’s simple, to stay out of the bottom two, for all intents and purposes we only need to gain half (or more) of the points that Grimsby or Southend do. Sounds easy, just wish I felt more confident we will…
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