Pellegrini’s dilemma – start Hart or give “Pants” a chance?
As if managing a top four team in the Premier League weren’t hard enough, Manuel Pellegrini has also got to devote valuable brain space to deciding who is going to wear the green shirt this weekend for Man City against Norwich.
Joe Hart’s doomed sprint from his area in the 90th minute of the game at Chelsea, which gifted the prowling Fernando Torres an unexpected winner, has caused nationwide debate over whether he should start against Norwich on Saturday afternoon.
Even the sages sitting in judgment on Tuesday evening’s games on Gilette Soccer Special were torn as to the correct managerial approach. Phil Thompson and Paul “Julie” Jewell were of the impression he must be dropped for his own good to give “the lad” time to reflect on his errors and propel himself back into the team by building up a head of determination.
Tony Pulis, on the other hand, felt Pellegrini should “put an arm around his shoulder”, tell Joe Hart he was his goalkeeper and keep him in the side.
Chances are, of course, that this match will prove nothing as to who is better suited to guard the City net, as Norwich are unlikely to spend much time bothering it. They managed just two shots on target at Old Trafford in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday, and lost two of their most influential players, Robert Snodgrass and Nathan Redmond, in the process.
Both teams to score? No @ 7/10
While City have been running riot at home – 13 goals in four games all of them against teams higher than Norwich in the table, and only once prevented from scoring away (at Stoke 0-0) in spite of their wonky away record, Norwich are generally less trouble to the scoreboard operators. They have failed to score in four of their nine league fixtures this season.
Sergio Aguero to score two or more goals @7/2
Second only to Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge in the Premier League top scorer charts with seven goals this season, Aguero looks like he’s back to the form of City’s title-winning season, following a dip last year. He’ll also be eager to demonstrate his prowess following the insults hurled in his direction by father-in-law Diego Maradona. “He’s a wimp”, said Don Diego, following the separation of Kun from his daughter.
Over 2.5 goals @ 4/9
Since November 2004, when these two teams drew 1-1 at Maine Road, the results between these two have been a 3-2 City win at Norwich, a 5-1 home win to City, 6-1 and 4-3 wins to City away, and last year’s final day 3-2 win for Norwich away. That’s 30 goals in five games.