Tuesday, 27 December 2011

No need to worry as United catch us up!

A lot has been made of United closing the gap on us in the past 24 hours, after they demolished Wigan yesterday and we dropped two vital points at the Hawthorns.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

The Sky Blue View Christmas Special: Number 1

Well, after 10 long days, we've finally made it! It's Christmas Eve and more importantly, we've reached the climax of our top 10 heroes. You all picked this man as the winner, and we at The Sky Blue View definitely agree with the choice. Today, you picked....

Friday, 23 December 2011

The Sky Blue View Christmas Special: Number 2

So, were on the penultimate day and you have chosen Shaun Goater at second on the list

The so called myth of Samir Nasri

Article written by Tom Smart 

Throughout the early stages of his career, Samir Nasri was touted as the next Zinedine Zidane despite being at the young age of 17. Now, the problem with labelling a player as good as the current world’s best player or a national icon, is that often that player will never complete that particular self-fulfilling prophecy. As a matter of fact, the player almost always go on to shape their own careers in a very different and unique way, some achieving success and some failing to meet the demands that the most elitist of football players require in order to attain a ‘god-like’ status, for example Zinedine Zidane. It is down to opinion whether Nasri is or will be as good as Zidane, but I certainly do not agree with the idea that Nasri ‘hasn’t been up to it’ this season or ‘hasn’t contributed as much as he should’.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

The Sky Blue View Christmas Special: Number 3

And at number 3, you have chosen former captain Richard Dunne.

Richard Dunne
Dunne signed for Manchester City in the year 2000 for a fee of £3 million. He played in centre back for City and made a massive 296 appearences during his 9 year spell at City.

The Sky Blue View Christmas Special: Number 4

Were getting ever closer to Number 1, but at number 4 you have chosen Shaun Wright Phillips.

Shaun Wright Phillips
After getting released by Nottingham Forest at the age of 17, Shaun joined City's famous youth academy. He made his debut in a League Cup tie against Burnley and his league debut came two months later at Vale Park as he came on as a substitute to help turn around a 1-0 deficit.

Wright Phillips started his Manchester City career as a striker, and after his league debut he started the next two matches in place of Paul Dickov, but only made another first team appearance during the 1999/2000 season.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Manchester City vs Stoke City: Match Preview

They say that there are games which define a team's season and it seems like last Sunday was one of them games for Manchester City. After a recent Champions League exit and succumbing to their first defeat of the campaign, Sunday's game against Arsenal was a must win fixture to help keep top spot coming into a very busy Christmas period.

Silva celebrates netting City's 50th goal of the season
It was possibly one of the most entertaining games of the season, and is proving why the games between the big teams are starting to give a good picture of the quality of this league.

However, many expect that tonight's game against FA Cup runners up Stoke City will be much more straight forward for the Blues. 2011 has been a great year for Manchester City, especially at home, where they have dropped just two points, which was against Fulham earlier this year.

So, with all this taken into context, it would be a great shock if Stoke could pull of a positive result here tonight. The home side have been in scintillating form so far this season whilst Stoke's form has been very inconsistent due to their participation in the Europa League, evidenced by heavy defeats at Sunderland and Bolton.

The worrying news for Stoke fans is that they are facing a team that have scored 50 goals in 16 games, which was last matched 49 years ago. And when you have conceded at least three goals on more than five occasions, you have to worry for the away side if the league leaders get an early goal.

Man City will be boosted by the news that Gael Clichy returns from his suspension, but he will have to perform well after Pablo Zabaleta's man of the match performance against Arsenal when he filled the void left by Clichy. Edin Dzeko is also expected to start after shaking off the knock he picked up in training.

Stoke's defence will be significantly weaker tonight, as captain Ryan Shawcross misses out due to picking up five yellow cards this season, whilst Vincent Kompany is set to make his 150th appearance for Manchester City.

Stoke are also missing Glenn Whealan and Andy Wilkinson, both of whom have been very influential for the Potters this season.

One player City will have to watch out for is Peter Crouch, who is one goal away from 100 career goals, and his presence will certainly be felt by City's backline. Can Stoke City make it five wins in a row in the Premier League and create a new club record? It seems unlikely.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

The Sky Blue View Christmas Special: Number 5

And at number 5 of our christmas countdown - you, our viewers have chosen Georgi Kinkladze.

Georgi Kinkladze
The Georgian midfielder scored 22 goals for Manchester City during his spell between 1995-1998. He made 119 appearances for the club in this time.

Kinkladze's first season was the 1995-96 season where City didn't win a game in the first 3 months. The Blue's first win came against Aston Villa on the 25th November where Kinkladze's strike was the only one to hit the net in a 1-0 victory.

This game was a big one and Kinladze opened the scoring in a game that ended in a 4-1 defeat. Despite the defeat, Middlesbrough's fans voted Kinkladze as the "Best Opposing Player of the Season".

Kinkladze scored again against Southampton in a game that the Citizens won 2-1. His goal was a cracker as he ran passed 5 players before chipping the ball into the net. This goal meant that he achieved second in Match of the Day's "Goal of the Season" competition.

Kinkladze could've moved from the Blue's after they were relegated to the First Division. The relegation resulted in interest from Barcelona, Liverpool, Celtic and Internazionale, but the Georgian decided to stay at Manchester City.

City finished the next season below the promotion places, and this again sparked speculation. Fans begged the midfielder to stay and messages were displayed on the screens at Maine Road and again, Kinkladze won player of the season. To the fans relief, Kinkladze signed a new 3 year contract keeping him at Maine Road.

Kinkladze used the funds from the new contract to buy a Ferrari, which he later crashed into a motorway bridge. He missed two matches through injury as a result, and required 30 stitches.

Kinkladze started his career at Manchester City uncomfortabley. The midfielder was homesick and did not own a home. In fact, the player was staying in a hotel. His mother then moved to Manchester to try and find a solution to the problem. This brought familiarity into Kinkladze's life and by the 9th December the star was touted as the best player in the side.

Joe Royle took over as Manchester City manager on 18th February 1998. He was not the biggest fan of Kinkladze and viewed him as an "unaffordable luxury". In his first board meeting, he opened with the words "We have to sell Kinkladze". Kinkladze was sidelined for a month with an anke injury and made his return against Port Vale in a 2-1 loss. Royle criticised Kinkladze's performance in this game and questioned his effort. Royle then dropped the ace for the next 6 games.

WIth two games remaining of the season, City found themselves occupying a relegation spot. Royle reinstated Kinkladze to the starting lineup against QPR, in which he scored the opening goal with a freekick. City then drew the game 2-2 and won their last game of the season 5-2 against Stoke. Despite this win, City were relegated to Division 2 and Kinkladze left the team to join Ajax.

Come back tomorrow to find out who has been voted at number 4!

Watch Kinkladze's chip against Southampton which earnt him MOTDs "Goal of the Month".

Monday, 19 December 2011

The Sky Blue View Christmas Special: Number 6

And at number 6, you have chosen Brentford manager Uwe Rösler.

Uwe Rösler
Uwe Rösler spent 4 years of his playing career at Manchester City between 1994 and 1998 before moving back to Germany. The centre forward scored a respectable 65 goals within 181 appearences for the blues, in a series of high quality performances.

Rösler made his Manchester City debut in March 1994 in a reserve match whilst on trial. In this reserve match, he managed to score two goals and this meant that he was given a chance in the first team.

City loaned Rösler after his two goals on trial, and he made his debut for the first team against QPR on the following Saturday. He was then signed on a permanent deal for around £400,000 after racking up 5 goals in 12 games.

Rösler was given the player of the year award by the club after the 1994-95 season, where he grabbed 15 goals in 31 games. He started the season with the bang, and not of the right kind.
He was sent off against Arsenal in a 3-0 defeat, however he managed to keep his head up and carry on his form from the season before - and went on to score 4 in an FA cup tie against Notts County. Rösler was the first player to do this since Johnny Hart in 1953.

Rösler became unhappy during the 1995-95 season under the leadership of Alan Ball. Ball changed City's tactics for the worse and this change meant that Rösler struggled to retain his form of the year before.

Rösler and Ball made the headlines various times with apparent disagreements. These disagreements resulted in Rösler being dropped from the side, and when brought on as a sub against Manchester United he scored a brilliant chip almost instantly. City were relegated at the end of this season and Rösler decided to stay at the blues.

Rösler left the club in 1998 on a free transfer after City were relegated to Division 2. Rösler played 181 games for Manchester City during his four year spell and scored 65 goals. Rösler is now manager at Brentford and has been put into City's "Hall of Fame" and rightly so.

Come back tomorrow to find out who makes number 5 on our Manchester City heroes list!

Watch Uwe Rösler score at Old Trafford

The Sky Blue View Christmas Special: Number 7

At Number 7, you have chosen a more recent footballer as one of our top ten cult heroes...

Ali Bernarbia
After the choice of Neil Young yesterday, we go a bit more low key as Ali Bernarbia makes an appearance at Number 7. The longevity of Ali's career at Maine Road was significantly less than Neil's, and many will argue his impact upon our history is minimal compared to Young's, but he will always have a place in folklore as his performances under Kevin Keegan helped to bring us back to where we belong, and has led to us being in the position that we are now.

Of course, Ali was signed up as a free transfer in 2001 by Kevin Keegan and helped to stir a revolution which took City back to the Premier League after a poor couple of decades for the side. Keegan signed him due to his performances for Monaco against a Newcastle United side managed by Keegan, against whom he scored two goals against.

The 5ft7 trickster became a fans favourite immediately, playing a major part in helping the club achieve promotion back to the Premiership, where he won player of the year and was also named in the Division's best eleven.

His performances in the First Division led to Keegan making him team captain, but his lack of pace at an older age meant he struggled in the Premier League and was much less influential.

His final game in a City shirt came in the opening of the City of Manchester Stadium, when City beat Barcelona 2-1.

Although he was at the club for a short period of time, Ali became an instant hero and will always be remembered for his time at City

Come back later for Number 6 in our Festive cult heroes list

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Match Preview: Manchester City vs Arsenal

Manchester City will look to bounce back from their disappointing loss against Chelsea on Monday night – however it will be a tough task. The boys in blue will have to come up against an Arsenal side that have racked up 25 points in their last 9 games, and have not lost in the league since 2nd October against Tottenham. City have already beaten Arsenal this season, with a late goal at the Emirates from Sergio Aguero which secured City our third semi final in as many years.

Sergio Aguero celebrates after his
 winner at the Emirates
City, undefeated in the league until last Monday will look to bounce back against Arsenal today, and will hope to pull out a brilliant result. The Etihad Stadium is an amazingly tough place to come, with City gaining 7 wins out of 7 and I have every confidence that our side can grind out a result against the Gunners.

Arsenal will be without Kieran Gibbs and Jack Wilshere, who are hoping to return this Christmas and February respectively. The Citizens will be without Gael Clichy after his red card at Stamford Bridge, and it is expected that Pablo Zabaleta will slot in at left back instead of the injured Alexander Kolarov. This means that the path is made for Micah Richards to make his return after missing two games due to injury.

Earlier this week, Richards and Balotelli were pictured in an apparent argument, but both manager and player passed this disagreement off as nothing. Richards – a true blue tweeted “Me & Mario are all good! These things happen in training & we shook hands after. It shows passion! #ctid”.

Also, Mario has caught the eyes of fans again as he apparently went out in Manchester last night dressed up as a ‘blue’ Santa handing out money to the public. I was worried about Balotelli before this season, questions were starting to be asked – should he be playing for Manchester City? However the Italian turned around all questions and his form has been top notch. No one can fault Mario’s form right now, and he is a real asset to Manchester City.

Today, I think our key player will again be David Silva. The man has been quality this season, and the Spanish international is sure to impress yet again. He is a magician, he performs is magic all over the pitch and sometimes it feels as if we have cloned him, he seems to be everywhere!

Prediction: 2-1 
Predicted lineup: Hart, Richards, Kompany, Lescott, Zabaleta, Yaya Toure, Barry, Aguero, Silva, Nasri, Balotelli
Watch Sergio Aguero's goal from an Arsenal fans perspective. Counter attacking at it's very best.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

The Sky Blue View Christmas Special: Number 8

Today, you picked an absolute legend to be Number 8 in City's cult heroes list, and he is a man who will always have a place in our hearts....

Neil Young
Neil Young was Manchester born and bred. Born just 2 miles away from Maine Road in Fallowfield, Neil joined City as an apprentice at the age of 15, signing on a professional basis two years later. 

He made his first team debut in November 1961, and was on the wrong side of a 2-1 scoreline at Villa Park as Aston Villa took the spoils. His career got better and better, and gave his family a great Christmas Present on the 23rd December by scoring his first goal in a 3-0 victory against Ipswich Town.

The following season was not as successful for Young or the club, as City were relegated to the Second Division. 

The appointment of Joe Mercer and Malcolm Allison in July 1965 helped to create a new chapter in the club's history though, of which Young was a pivotal part of. Young finished the season as the club's highest goalscorer as City were promoted back to the First Division as we succumbed to just one defeat.

His first season back in the First Division was not as successful, but a move towards Inside Forward the season after and once again finished as the club's highest goalscorer as we went on to win the Championship, with 2 goals from Young deciding the game against Newcastle. 

Young went on to score the winner in the 1969 FA Cup Final, as well as the winner in the 1970 European Cup Winners Cup, meaning City were the first English team to win a European and domestic trophy in the same season. In a team full of stars, he was always an unsung hero, but his role will never be underestimated. 

Unfortunately, after the tragic death of his brother in late 1970 meant his form dipped, and he was never the same player again. He left the club during the 1971-72 season, scoring 86 goals in 334 games for the Blues.

The death of his brother at an early age understandably never got away from Young, and at one point attempted suicide as he suffered serious depression from serious financial problems, where he was forced to sell his house.

Neil is no longer with us, and his death on the 3rd February 2011 came about after he was diagnosed with terminal cancer in late 2010. City dedicated their FA Cup tie against Leicester to him, with all the supporters wearing Red and Black. 

Neil was an absolute City legend, and it is a real shame that he was not as nationally recognised as some of the other players of his generation. RIP Neil, and thanks for the service.

Tomorrow we will have Number 7 in our Cult Heroes list, so check back after the Arsenal game!

Friday, 16 December 2011

On the 9th day of Christmas, TSBV gave to me....

So you picked Niall Quinn at number 10 in terms of cult hero status, but at number 9, you have chosen.....

Paul Lake
If anyone sums up Manchester City, it is Paul Lake. Lake was a defensive midfielder who only ever featured in Sky Blue, as well as featuring for the England u-21's on five occasions and the England B team once.

After playing a pivotal role in City's FA Youth Cup winning team of 1986, he made his first team debut against Wimbledon the following January.

It was widely expected that he was to have a glittering career for both club and country, but a number of career-threatening injuries meant he was unable to fulfill his potential.

The run of injuries started at the start of the 1990/91 season, when Lake, the new team captain at the heart of defence, suffered what was seen as a minor knee injury from a Tony Cascarino tackle. However, it was later diagnosed as a ruptured cruiciate ligament injury, which resulted in a lengthy 2 year absence on the sidelines.

His return at the start of the inaugural Premier League lasted just eight minutes into the second game of the season away to Middlesbrough, when his ligament snapped again. It was horrible to see it happen to such a great man, and he was eventually forced into retiring at the age of just 28 after 14 different operations.

Since retiring, he has decided to become a physiotherapist, after the way he was poorly handled by the medical staff at the club. He has had spells with Altrincham, Burnley, Oldham Athletic, Macclesfield Town and Bolton Wanderers before he set up his own practice in Manchester. As many City fans know, Lake has recently released an autobiography on his struggle with injury, named "I'm not really here." If you are yet to read it, we thoroughly recommend it.

Paul Lake, you will always be a City legend and it is a real shame that you never had the chance to fulfill your potential, and definitely deserve your place in our Hall of Fame.

Come back tomorrow where we look at who is Number 8 in your cult heroes list!

Thursday, 15 December 2011

10 days of Christmas: TSBV Style

As the team at The Sky Blue View feel bad for leaving readers with nothing to read for so long, we are giving you a Christmas treat, exclusive to this site. Every day from now until Christmas Day we will be counting down the 10 biggest cult heroes at the club, voted for by you! So at Number 10, it is... 

Niall Quinn
Niall joined the club in March 1990 from North London club Arsenal for a fee of just £800,000 and instantly became a fans favourite at the club.

He was the Peter Crouch version of the 90's, and used his 6ft 4ins very well during his stint at the Blues. As expected for a player with such height, he led the line brilliantly and created a hatful of chances for his teammates during his 204 game career for City. 

His most notable game in the Sky Blue shirt was in April 1991 when City beat Derby County 2-1. Quinn went on to score a goal as well as save a penalty in the same game, because original keeper Tony Coton was sent off early in the first half. 

Although he wasn't a prolific scorer for City (66 goals in 204 games) he certainly won the fans' over with his consistent performances, as well as his "disco pants" which are still sung about to this very day in the terraces.

Most of his City career was hampered after he suffered a cruciate ligament injury in the 1993-94 season, and never really recovered from then, eventually leaving the club in the summer of 1996 for Sunderland.

Now Chairman of Sunderland, he will most likely hold a place for City in his heart for the rest of his life. 

Come back tomorrow where we will look at who you voted at Number 9 in our Cult Heroes list!

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

We are back!

You'll be delighted to know that The Sky Blue View are back! After a large period of not posting (due to university and exams) we will resume. We will follow everything City as we have in the past and we aim to make our site even back. Welcome back.

What the Papers say? Wednesday 14th December

According to The Sun, Harry Redknapp and Tottenham Hotspur are planning a sensational bid for Carlos Tevez, whilst The Mirror have reported that Chelsea left-back Ashley Cole taunted City players by singing: "Thursday Night, Channel Five" in the Stamford Bridge tunnel after beating us on Monday night.

The Daily Star have said that Neil Warnock is tempted to launch a bid for Nigel de Jong on a loan deal.

Many papers including The Guardian have pointed out that Yaya and Kolo Toure have both been given special dispensation to play in the FA Cup tie vs Manchester United and the Carling Cup Semi Final against Liverpool next month after they were supposed to depart for the African Cup of Nations.

Friday, 2 December 2011

City vs Norwich: Match Preview

It's been another great week to be a Manchester City fan. Not only have we secured a place in our third semi final in as many years, but we have also beaten Arsenal away from home for the first time in 27 visits - incredible stuff. 

Sitting at the top of the league, it seems the sky is the limit for us this season - apart from in Europe. However, I will look at the Champions League situation in more depth after Saturday's game. Speaking of tomorrow's encounter, I would like to welcome any Norwich City fans who are taking a look at this match preview and congratulate you on a very good start to the season. 

As every football fan probably knows, Norwich secured their second successive promotion in May and were the first team to do this since, yes, you guessed it, Manchester City. We recognised the difficulty in jumping up two tiers within as many years, and were subsequently relegated. 

However, I see something different with this Norwich side. Personally, I believe Paul Lambert has done a terrific job at Norwich and deserves all the plaudits he is getting as his transfer policy is not only unique, but it seems to be working. Instead of buying "experienced" Premier League players who are past it, he has brought in some of the best of the players from the Football League.
Players like Steve Morison, who was drafted in from Millwall in the close season, has performed magnificently in his first ever Premier League season. In fact, his five goals this season have been keeping captain Grant Holt on the substitutes bench, which is some achievement. 

Trying to remove any sort of bias though, I find it hard to see Norwich getting a positive result tomorrow. We have been nothing short of breathtaking this season and with all respect to the Canaries, greater teams have been annihilated by ourselves this season already. 

Our home form is scintillating, and we have gone almost a whole year unbeaten at home, which is a remarkable achievement. For those who don't know, our last defeat at the Etihad Stadium was against Everton on the 20th December 2010, where we succumbed to a 2-1 defeat. 

Our key player on the day though will be David Silva, and we will once again need him to be in top form if we want to be playing at our best. I am not saying in any way that we are a one-man team, but I have never seen a player like Silva in the flesh in my life - he is absolutely immense and some of the things he can do with a football ceases to amaze me. 

Norwich come into the game on the back of a good result against QPR, and you get the feeling they will give it all they have got come 3pm on Saturday. I wish them all the luck this season, as it is good to see Lambert experimenting with the best of the football league, but I can't see them holding us to a result!

Prediction: 3-0 
Predicted lineup: Hart, Richards, Kompany, Lescott, Clichy, Yaya Toure, Barry, Milner, Silva, Johnson, Balotelli

What do you think of my prediction? Leave your comments below!