Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Schalke preview

Certainly our toughest fixture of the group stages, and coming at a time in the midst of a difficult patch of games in the league.

With one eye on Sunday's derby, Robinho has been left behind in Manchester - hopefully with a view to him being 100% against United as opposed to him being a doubt. It could be interesting to see what side Hughes puts out both personnel and tactics wise. News of the Blues also states that Elano and Zabaleta miss out, whilst the MEN reports Gelson Fernandes misses out.

As seven points should secure our passage to the knock-out stage, Hughes can afford to not go all out on this one with potentially more winnable games still to come, but it is hoped we can come away with something so I do expect us to be at as near to full-strength as we can all but secure qualification with a win.

Schalke will not be easy opponents though, and had one foot in this seasons Champions League until getting demolished by Atletico Madrid in the second leg of their qualifier. They do possess a great deal of talent in their squad and when the draw was made were my tip to be group winners. With 4 points already in the bag they do look well placed for qualification:

UEFA Cup : Group A Table

1 Schalke 04 2 1 1 0 4 2 2 4
2 Man City 1 1 0 0 3 2 1 3
3 Twente Enschede 2 1 0 1 3 3 0 3
4 Racing Santander 2 0 1 1 1 2 -1 1
5 PSG 1 0 0 1 1 3 -2 0

With hopes of progressing deep into this seasons competition, this will be a useful test for a squad still finding its feet in European competition given the relative lack of experience, something Hughes readily acknowledged.

There are plenty of Blues heading out for the trip, but it will be a tough night as we struggle to a 1-1 draw.

vote it up!

1 comment:

newsoftheblues said...

I think the win schalke got over psg is flattering, if psg the perenial under achievers, like us, put out a young side against us, we will stuff them. they didnt play any of their big guns, just kids. Kuranyi is good, but struggling at the moment to find the net.

i reckons a draw is a good result in germany...a win would be a brucy bonus.