Bristol City predicted the squad against Millwall: Joe Williams ready to start, Kasey Palmer in contention

Just seven days after being confirmed as deputy manager of Nigel Pearson, Curtis Fleming will take full charge of the city of Bristol as his boss isolates following a positive PCR test.

Obviously all the best wishes are with Pearson in his recovery but, in the emptiness of a game day, he and the Robins will be anxious not to let any of the momentum of the past few weeks go away, with City undefeated in five as the head south. -est of London.

It’s unclear if Pearson will watch the game and communicate with Fleming – and it ultimately depends on his health – but he will surely pick the team for tonight.

Guardian and defense

First name on the team sheet – Captain Dan Bentley who will make his 100th appearance for the club. Let’s move on.

The line-up in front of him may well remain the same as at the start of the game against Fulham: George Tanner, Tomas Kalas, Nathan Baker and Jay Dasilva.

With the exception of that 10-minute period after half-time, this quartet on the whole played well enough to keep all of their places. However, there is a caveat to this, and it depends on what type of team Millwall are.

The extra physique brought by the Lions (they place third in the championship for aerial duels won per game with 35.8; fourth for crosses – 23; and eighth for long passes – 70), surely brings Nathan Baker back in the equation.



Nathan Baker challenges Denis Odoi of Fulham in the air (Rogan / JMP)

The center-back enjoyed an excellent 26 minutes as a substitute against Fulham, bolstering the defense while adding extra height to set pieces and could either pass to the left-back or form a central three-way defense.

Millwall away was a game that, in the 2018/19 season, when Dasilva was stationed at left-back with Lloyd Kelly, the latter got the go-ahead due to his extra size, and the same theory could s ‘apply tonight at the Den.

City’s success in a 3-5-2 at QPR would allow Baker and Dasilva to play, with the latter moving on to a more attacking winger role in which he seemed more effective when moved against Fulham.

But, the caveat in the caveat is that Baker received another blow on Saturday, having recovered from a small issue suffered at QPR, and he may not be fit enough to begin with.

Midfielder

This leads to the appearance of the City midfielder as, again, there is a strong argument for maintaining the same system used for the 1-1 majority against the Cottagers, the only real question being the status of the Cottagers. Tyreeq Bakinson and Cam Pring. .

Bakinson probably didn’t do enough to convince Pearson that he can keep his place on the team but that he has that size factor, which Andy King and Joe Williams don’t have. While Pring probably had his least impactful game on Saturday since breaking into the squad in August.

It wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see Pring moved off the bench and it could mean Dasilva then starts in left midfield if, as stated, a four-way defense is preferred with Baker at left-back.

Or, alternatively, Callum O’Dowda, who benched this weekend, could start on the left to give the Robins a bit more skill around the penalty area.

As for the central midfielder, Matty James would then be joined by one of the Bakinsons, King and Williams, the latter likely getting the nod due to his energy and level of performance against Fulham after being substituted.

However, and linked to the defensive debate, if Baker gets in shape and is picked as the third center-back, that means Pring can give up and there is still a left option for Dasilva at the back, and that may allow Ville for pack midfielder ala QPR.



Kasey Palmer celebrates after scoring against Fulham (JMP)

With Massengo ruled out, you’d expect it to be James, King and Williams then, with Fleming insisting on Monday that the latter is fit enough to start after seven months of thigh issues.

You just think that given Williams’ previous injury issues and his obvious concerns about whether he can be that explosive for 60, let alone 90 minutes, if he starts, it’ll be a threesome rather than a pair, just to give to the 24 year old. old this little extra support. It also allows City to face the man for the man in the middle against Millwall’s favorite 3-5-2 / 3-4-2-1.

We also didn’t mention Kasey Palmer, who scored the equalizer against Fulham and needs to be in the conversation to begin with. The problem is, where?

He can’t really play in a 4-4-2 unless he’s parked to the left which is not his natural stance and that means Baker absolutely, fundamentally has to play because a Dasilva axis. Palmer on this flank, while exciting, seems vulnerable.

The 3-5-2 gives him leeway with two midfielders behind – James and King / Williams – so that would be the most realistic prospect and seems their only route to the XI, unless City move on to a 4-2- 3-1.

This would keep three central midfielders on the pitch – but with one as a playmaker – keep Pearson’s favorite defender and keep Dasilva in the squad, as a left winger, and not lose any height with Baker as the left-back. orthodox.

It would also be a solid test of the improvements Palmer says he’s made in terms of working off the ball.

Attack

Andi Weimann was the fourth ‘midfielder’ on Saturday, but he also, in the 90 minutes, played as a striker and a right winger and the Austrian can kind of be plugged in anywhere on the pitch.

To go through the three main permutations, it would be the right midfielder in a 4-4-2, the attacker in a 3-5-2 and then the wide attacker in a 4-2-3-1. In short: Weimann will play, it’s just a matter of where.

The experiment of fielding City’s three senior forwards sort of worked, but also not against Fulham and Pearson noticed after the game that there was a lack of fluidity, which is completely understandable.

Of those three, Nahki Wells was the most outstanding individual performer, bringing pace, penetration, smart runs and showing fine touch play around the penalty area. It will be a shock not to see the Bermudan keep his place.

So that could well see Martin missing. Not that the veteran did anything wrong, far from it, and in many ways he’s the perfect away player who can add a bit of physics against the Lions as well.



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It’s also worth noting (as it wasn’t emphasized enough at the time) that the way he shot down Williams’ cross to turn and shoot, forcing Paulo Gazzaniga to save and effectively set Palmer in place, was masterful and a real underrated moment of Saturday.

But after playing so many minutes and with Wells deserving his place, the 32-year-old may well have a break to prepare him for Saturday’s trip to Peterborough.

Wells in the middle doesn’t give City a goal but, as was evident against Fulham, on the counterattack Martin had some fantastic runs but didn’t have the pace to fully capitalize.

Wells should do the trick and give City an outlet in the middle and downstream of the canals.

Because while Pearson will want training and a system to fight Millwall’s direct and abrasive football, he’ll also look to hurt them and against the Lions’ big three center-backs of Jake Cooper, Shaun Hutchinson and Danny Ballard, maybe ‘a profession is necessary rather than facing them physically.

City of Bristol (4-2-3-1): Bentley; Tanner, Kalas, Atkinson, Boulanger; James, Williams; Weimann, Palmer, Dasilva; well

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