I'm confused about this game, mainly how to get the midfield and attack working so I start with the easy part.
With Upson back, Neill will be back on the right side with Collins and Ilunga completing the four. That's it.
The 4 man midfield has been great in the attack since Collison (and to some extent Bowyer) came in and provided movement also in the midfield. Collison has been in the box more often than Bellamy!
I'm afraid that going back to a three man midfield will prevent these attacking midfield movements, and may also be an additional defensive worry - and we don't need any more of those!
In any system Parker is a given in the center, regardless of his awful habit to drop too far down when starting to get nervous.
Behrami will start if fit enough, he will give us his exceptional work rate, and that is very welcome, but who will make way?
Faubert will be left out, and I will not mourn that, but will there be a place for Collison?
The left hand spot in the 3 man midfield is a tough one, Ethers or LBM. Not the strongest position i the team. I wish we could get Etherington back to pre-Bellamy ways. Since Bellamy came on Etherington has been played out of position mostly, and lost confidence. I think we'll se LBM in the starting XI.
But then, I think Zola will stick with 442 for this game to be able to play Collison in the center along side Parker.
That brings us to the attackers.
Sears and Bellamy has looked really good together, except for the minor detail that they don't score (but hitting the woodwork is pretty close so i forgive them for now).
And now Cole is back... I'm sure he will start and I'm equally sure that this will take the pace away from our attack. If we are not very careful we may revert to the "hit the target player with all balls" even if he is standing still and has 2 left feet.
A 4 man midfield will most likely put Sears on the bench.
Or is it even conceivable to start without Cole?