Saturday, 27 October 2012

City vs Swansea: Match Preview

City in crisis? Don't be daft!

By Dave Walker

Manchester City should be ok today as long as it’s made clear to Roberto Mancini and his first team squad that a team from a ‘foreign’ country does NOT always represent insurmountable European opposition!

Forgive the sardonic comment but it’s odds on City will contrive to deliver a singularly underwhelming performance if there’s even a hint of the continent about their opponents. Non-English Swansea, thankfully, don’t qualify.

Friday, 26 October 2012

Manchester City: The season so far

Edin's form is sending chills through defenders across the country.

By Aaron Leggott

After Saturday's win at the Hawthorns, City are sitting pretty in third place after eight games played, but it hasn't been as simple as it looks on paper.

Despite an unbeaten start to the season, there have been many occasions where that record has looked under threat. Performances at Anfield and Craven Cottage pop into mind, where late goals from Carlos Tevez and Edin Dzeko helped prevent any blushes on Roberto Mancini's part.

G'Edin there! Dzeko's late goals have won City vital points already this season
Photo: Matthew Lewis/Getty Images Europe

And some out of sort Champions League performances has meant that, barring a miracle, City are facing an early exit from the elite competition.

If I was to describe the start to this season, it would be a mixed bag of performances. At times, we have looked unstoppable (Sunderland at the Etihad Stadium comes to mind, in particular), whilst at points we have looked to have been suffering from a title winning hangover.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

City vs Ajax: Match Preview

"Dambusters": City on a European mission 

By Dave Walker 

As reigning champions of England and the Netherlands, Manchester City and Ajax are waging almost carbon copy defences of their domestic crowns.

Both remain undefeated and yet both are perceived to be under-performing in their respective leagues.  Ajax have won four and drawn five of their nine games so far, whereas City have won five and drawn three of their opening eight fixtures.

Whether that is a harsh judgment - based on games in the Eredivisie and the Premier League - is debatable.  City are, on a game-by-game comparison,  six points ahead of last season’s haul of 89 - so much for perception and reality.

But the criticism carries weight in Europe,  when it comes to results – if not performances - in their Group D Champions League campaign.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Match Report: City 2 - 1 West Brom

The Edin Dzeko show
Photo: Matthew Lewis/Getty Images Europe

City's garden of Edin 

By Dave Walker

Manchester City’s thoroughly deserved 2-1 win at The Hawthorns was undoubtedly the late Edin Dzeko show as 10-man City persevered in adversity.

But it was a victory built on resilience, self belief and strength of purpose stemming from that memorable, last minute, title-clinching win over QPR last May.

Has there ever been a team more aware of the rewards to be had by keeping going until the final whistle, than Roberto Mancini’s men – I think not.

This was as dramatic a win as you’ll see all season as City kept their composure, stayed patient and ultimately triumphed after being a man down for 75 minutes of play. 

City vs West Brom: Match Preview

Deja vu... but with a different outcome!

By Dave Walker

For the second time in the space of five weeks Manchester City face a tough domestic spat quickly followed by a more cultured contest on the continent – but they’ll need to do better this time out.

City’s star spangled squad has to cope with the blood and thunder of West Bromwich Albion and the subtle sophistication of Ajax in the next few days. It’s almost a carbon copy of away matches with Stoke and Real Madrid last month, but Roberto Mancini cannot afford a similar outcome.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Match Report: City 3 - 0 Sunderland

AK's 'foots-a-heaven'

By Dave Walker

Serbian hitman Aleksander Kolarov’s lethal left foot weapon fired champions Manchester City up to second place in the Premier League in a display of precision shooting.

Kolarov celebrates after opening the scoring
Photo: Alex Livesey/Getty Images Europe

All action Kolarov dispelled the ubiquitous notion that the reigning English Champions have somehow lost their way, as City annihilated previously unbeaten Sunderland.

The three goal margin in no way reflected City’s total domination. 

Friday, 5 October 2012

City vs Sunderland: Match Preview

Keep it clean!

By Dave Walker

An inability to keep clean sheets is the main talking point surrounding Manchester City, as they prepare to face the team that did them the most damage en-route to becoming champions last season.

Martin O’Neill’s ‘Black Cats’ come to Fortress Etihad ready to pounce on any opportunity to compound the discomfort of City’s back line and go one better than the point they snared in a spectacular 3-3 draw in March.

Match Report: City 1 - 1 Borussia Dortmund

It's the Joe and Mario show

By Dave Walker

A superlative showing from Joe Hart and a sting in the tail from Mario Balotelli kept Manchester City alive in the Group of Death as Borussia Dortmund swarmed all over them in the Champions League.

Three elements emerged from a lopsided contest at the Etihad Stadium; Hart is the best goalkeeper in the world, there’s no better penalty taker on the planet than Balotelli and, sadly, City are nowhere near ready to being acclaimed as Europe’s top club side.

A worrying sense of déjà vu is beginning to envelop City’s CL aspirations as a mirror image of last year’s valiant, but ultimately doomed, campaign unravels. 

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

City vs Borussia Dortmund: Match Preview

Mancini needs win on home front

By Dave Walker

Defeatists might suggest that Manchester City’s encounter with Borussia Dortmund will, at best, help decide who finishes as runners-up in the Champion’s League ‘Group of Death’.

The clever money is on Real Madrid to emerge as Group winners and Dutch champions Ajax finishing bottom, leaving City in a straight dogfight with the Bundesliga & German Cup double winners.