Miracles have long ceased to happen. Even if the Spuds are to lose to Everton while we beat Burnley to finish level on points with them, we are never going to upset the 8 goals difference advantage the Spuds have over us. That is why so many are calling on Emery to send out a team of kids in this end of season game against Burnley. I doubt that he would. Why?
1) There is £1,500,000 prize money difference between finishing 5th or 6th on the table. Man U are 1 pt below us and playing at home against Cardiff. They are eager to lay their paws on that extra tidy sum that might be enough for us to pay ESR’s wages for the whole of the following season. It would be thoughtless of us to oblige them that. Am pretty certain the BoD would have made clear to our head coach that it is a must win game. Kronke, believe you me, is a lot more interested in our on-field success than meets the eye.
2). All footballers like being on the field. Amongst other things they like stacking up all sorts of stat, be it the number of starts or the total minutes played over the season. This is even more so for strikers whose value are referenced by the number of goals they have scored. Smart managers know that players chasing targets tend to give more so they not only want to play them but they also find it more difficult to deny opportunity to their hunger. I expect Emery to give Auba a chance to win the golden boot being only two goals behind the front man. Even Laca would be desperately wanting to increase his 13 goal tally. It’s difficult saying no to such hunger.
3). On a personal note, Emery would prefer to finish the season on 70 pts instead of on 67 pts. He knows that memory can be so short. Sooner than later the world would forget that he ended up at lowly 67 pts because he was protecting his players for a Europa Cup final. Dare he stumble afterwards and that stat becomes a stick to beat him with. Nobody remembers anymore that Wenger’s 63 pts earnings was in a season he had to prioritized Europa over the Premiership with many games still to go. That “evil” that he did now dogs his name
4). The rational mind seems to have very little to do with the emotions of football. Lose a match and morale everywhere drops, the fans and all the players alike, irrespective of whether an under strength team or not was fielded. Emery would not want that as we prepare for Baku. He’d want a result against the Clarets that would aid our mental state for the journey to Baku. He’d wants a win and so would field a team he believes can give him that.
5). Emery is the unrelenting tinker man. There must be something to try out, like Iwobi at left wing back. He’s already scratching his head looking for a way past Chelsea.
On the other hand Emery would be worrying about red zones and impact injuries, so it is a near impossible task predicting correctly the team we would see today. There are too many contradictory things to balance but for sure it won’t be a team full of kids. Here’s my guess:-
Bench: Cech, Jenkinson, M-Niles, Guendouzi, Willock, Ozil, Nketiah.
Every away win helps our away complex. Baku is a half-away match. We need a win at Turf Moor.