Pep Guardiola is already heartily sick of the fact that public opinion veers from “City paying the price for not buying a striker” whenever they fail to score, to “City show they don’t need a striker” when they bag five.
He has been denied a close chance to see how Liam Delap has developed due to the 18-year-old striker’s foot injury, but the big frontman is now back and has a chance of playing for Manchester City against Wycombe tonight.
It’s unfortunate that this game comes after he has managed just one appearance, as he is half-cooked, but the fans would love to see him get a chance and bag a couple of goals.
With all the fuss about the teenagers who might or might not get a chance, Scott Carson might be hoping that, as a player literally twice the age of some, he might also get a game.
The 36-year-old was in line for a Premier League swansong at Leicester until the Brazilian FA lifted Ederson’s ban late in the day, but with Zack Steffen returning to Manchester a few days ago, he is in pole position to play only his second game for the Blues.
His experience and the regard in which he is held within the club will also be valuable in a squad with a few young, inexperienced players.
Phil Foden is long past the stage of being a youngster seeking experience, at the grand old age of 21.
But this game offers him the chance of getting some valuable minutes under his belt ahead of three huge games next week – Chelsea, PSG and Liverpool away in the space of seven days.
Foden has yet to start for City this season after the injury he sustained at Euro 2020 delayed his return, but to get him fit and firing before Stamford Bridge would be a huge bonus.
Of all the talented kids who are pushing for a place in Pep’s squad, perhaps the most in-form is James McAtee.
Billed as a creative midfielder, he is already threatening Liam Delap’s new Premier League 2 goalscoring record of 24 for the season, after bagging nine in his first five games in the under-23 competition.
He also showed his creative tendencies with a delicious reverse pass to set up Sam Edozie in a pre-season pipe-opener for the senior team last month.
Ade wings in
At 16 stone and able to bench press 180 kgs (28 stone), Wycombe striker Ade Akinfenwa is, literally and metaphorically, one of the game’s larger-than-life characters.
At the age of 39, he is showing no signs of hanging up his boots and already has five appearances and a goal to his name this season for the League One promotion-chasers.
He was actually at the Etihad Stadium, in a hospitality box, for the RB Leipzig game – and complained about the quality of the chicken wings!