Teams: the Toothless Lions
Petev is having hard times trying to find 11 players in decent shape three weeks before our match against Italy. At this time, only a few positions seem to be filled in with sure starters:
1. GK - it is going to be Vlado Stoyanov, no doubt about that. He is solid and the best Bulgarian goalie by a margin. Mihaylov doesn't play regularly at Mersin, and he might even be omitted in the group of 23 (Mitrev and Makendjiev were tried in the last friendly against Romania and did well, at least one of them will be summoned).
2. Right back - I expect Manolev to be preferred here. Stahil Popov, who is in fine form is almost sure to be the backup called up by Petev.
3. CDs - I don't have the faintest idea who they should be. Ivan Ivanov from Basel is missing out for sure as he got a medical ban to play competitive football at least until April 15. Bodurov has been burried down in England at Fulham, who are just awful in defense. Terziev from Ludogorets will get an invitation for sure; Stoychev from Levski (in good shape) and Alexandrov from Ludogorets might be the others. We will be vulnerable in this part of the field, though, no matter what the CD line would look like.
4. Left back - it may be Misho Venkov from Litex to take the starting spot. Zanev (Amkar) is injured. The backup is just missing; I would take a risk and call Miki Orachev, although he is a bench-warmer at Levski.
5. Midfield. Everybody expect Petev to stick to 4-2-3-1. If there are no surprises in terms of the tactical scheme chosen, the DM shall almost certainly be Gadjev from Levski and Dyakov from Ludogorets. Slavchev doesn't get playing time even at Bolton, so he will be a substituion in the best case. In front of the two DM, Milanow (CSKA Moscow) looks like a sure starter. Misho Alexandrov (Ludogorets) started as a left AM in the friendly against Romania, which is not his usual position. He is not at his best either, but I don't see anyone else close to being a decent match for the Italian defense :shakepalm:. So, he will probably step in. There is room for an absolute surprise here, and we might evidence the official debut of one of the Litex young guns Nikola Kolev or Kristian Malinov in the offensive line. In that case, any other scenario is possble, e.g.: Alexandrov being moved to the right and Malinov playing on the left; or Malinov in the centre while G. Milanov being moved to the right etc.
6. Centre Forward: it will probably be Galabinov, simply because we don't seem to have anyone better, who is willing to play for the NT...