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Pre-season ends on a high, despite Iheanacho injury, great 2-1 win

DATE: 04.08.2017 - THE CUNNING FOX - NEWSDESK

 

Craig Shakespeare fielded a bit of surprise starting 11, without Mahrez, Drinkwater and new man Iheanacho. Drinkwater is injured, Mahrez and Iheanacho came on in 2nd half and showed great quality

The first half was one to think of as a proper performance, but never really giving any answers on how City will do this season. James and Ndidi were the preferred players in the heart of midfield, surprisingly no Iborra from start.

The former captain of Sevilla, must be handed a staritng position against Arsenal. Why add a player of such quality without playing him. Why Shakespeare would like to use James instead of him is not one to understand. Iborra is good in the air, he is safe in his passes and he score goals, what is that compared to a player that hasn't been involved in the last two seasons.

The goalkeeper position is one settled, the defence is also looking in shape. Okazaki started the game up front and will be a cover and a "engine" to give minutes in the end of games if Iheanacho or Vardy gets tired, or are not able to play.

City had a number of chances first half, but so did Gladbach and especially City linked Thorgan Hazard was a handfull. This Gladbach side is also difficult to predict with a lot of changes since they were a CL side two seasons ago.

But they are a type of opposition that suited City well, since they are heavilly posession orientated and that makes it possible for City to score on counterattacks and make runs behind the Gladbach defence.

 

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It was a great surprise to see Shakespeare making zero changes at half time, would have liked to see Mahrez, Iborra and Iheanacho from start and at least getting the chance to come on for 45 minutes, why he waited it's hard to understand.

Gladbach took the lead just after the kick off 2nd half and City were suddenly 1-0 down. City had a few chances and Okazaki came close. Mahrez and Iheanacho came on, and suddenly City looked another team.

First it was a great pass from James that found Vardy and he scored his first goal in pre-season. Just minutes after a new goal was scored, this time a great combination from Mahrez, Iheanacho and finally Vardy, fantastic just fantastic.

At this time in the game, Iborra was also on the pitch, coming on for Ndidi. Would have liked to have seen Iborra with Ndidi, not James, because the capacity of the Nigerian international and the former Sevilla captain is at a much higher level than James, sorry.

City became "electric" with Mahrez, Iheanacho and Vardy on the pitch at the same time. Fantastic to watch, but the riddle is, what on earth was Shakespeare thinking of, not starting the trio, don't understand why 90 minutes together would not suit them all.

Iheanacho got a knock, but Shakespeare said in an interview after the game that he was ok. They took no chances and gave Ulloa a few minutes in the end.

 

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Pre-season so far has been a riddle, not being able to see a pattern of play, a first team selection, and hopefully they will not sell Mahrez at this point in time. Giving him so much game time in pre-season and only 30 minutes in the last game, don't understand.

Why Shakespeare has signed the captain of Sevilla and not giving him playing time in a first selection is one hard to understand. Drinkwater is out and injured, probably not starting against Arsenal, then it is Iborra time. No offence to Matty James, but this is not really good mathematic.

Why add Iborra, when you have King, James, Ndidi and Drinkwater, and decides to play one player that hardly has been involved in the last two seasons. James is showing promise, no doubt, but again Shakespeare must decide how he will use Iborra, or he will end up as Mendy and Kapustka, and maybe be the new Zagorakis at Leicester.

Please CS, keep this simple and easy, don't gamble, don't try out anything not trained on, and please give the fans a clue what you are thinking about, the selection is very easy.

Pre-season is not just about game time in a first 11. If you would like players to play in the first team during pre-season, not really playing much when the Premier League starts, put them in the reserves and give them time there.

At this time we don't know what team Shakespeare will play against Arsenal. We have seen what works well and what is not working, so we have a bit of clue. Hopefully CS will stick to the simple route and select what is obvious, not making any "smart moves".

James, Okazaki and Albrighton / Gray, should be replaced with Iborra, Mahrez  and Iheanacho, and then things are ok. If you decide to do anything else you will be punished. Players know, they perform and they "click", so please don't jeopardise that.

There are two positions to think about, Iborra or Ndidi, with Drinkwater out, it's nothing to think about, would start the two with the highest potential. Gray / Albrighton, at home Gray in a more attacking style, away Albrighton being a bit lower. Okazaki is ok and a cover.

If Shakesepare is eager to get James into the first 11, you can't really understand why he has added Iborra, as a cover ? The 29 year old is hardly looking for a cover role at City, being last seasons captain of Sevilla.

In the end, great live tv coverage from the official site, great commentary and to have that for every PL game on a subscription would have been a dream, really pleasing.

Pre-season is closed, the best LCFC team was never fielded from start. Hopefully Iheanacho and Vardy can continue their partnership which will be one of the most exciting ever to play for the club and one to terrorise other PL defences.

Hopefully Shakespeare will not be full of "funny ideas" and making "smart moves". Just play the best team week in and week out, not trying to rest someone, that is not a winning formula. Injuries will occure, then put in the player you feel is best for that job, and don't change too much.

Good luck to all City fans, this can be another "magic" season, if we all believe in it. Winning the league, maybe not, but to get into the top six is what Mahrez would like, so hopefully Shakespeare knows how that can be happening, in just the same way as City did in the 2015-16 season. Playing the same and best first 11, week in and week out.

You can if you like see highlights from the game at the  "city-extra" channel. 

check the hot, cool and cold update, enter here, all pre-season stats, enter here,

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