Sunday, 25 November 2012

City vs Chelsea: Match Preview

City to give Benitez the Blues

By Dave Walker

Two contrasting football cultures clash in London’s west end when the champions of Europe meet the champions of England.
Whereas Chelsea’s chances of retaining their title are slim, Manchester City have high hopes – neigh – expectations, of winning consecutive Premier League crowns.

Such an outlook goes some way to explaining the actions of the respective mega-rich owners as the royal blues and sky blues front up to Champions League adversity.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

City vs Real Madrid: Match Preview

Special night if City 'do' one & Ron

By Dave Walker

Manchester City will be hoping Jose Mourinho’s pre-match prediction comes true and Ronaldo chalks up a hat-trick with a difference in City’s do-or-die Champions League clash with Real Madrid.

Ronaldo returns to Manchester tomorrow night
Photo: Denis Doyle/Getty Images Europe

Even the most rabid, sky blue tinted spectacle wearing City fanatic would be hard pressed to believe their beloved team can wriggle Houdini-like out of their Champions League straight jacket and concrete boots.

With a paltry two points garnered from away trips to Madrid and Amsterdam and home ties with the Dutch champions and Borussia Dortmund, it will take one of the biggest and most unlikely turnarounds in European history for City to grace the knockout stages.

It doesn't however, stop Roberto Mancini’s men going out in a blaze of glory and inflicting serious damage on Madrid’s aspirations for a record 10th Euro crown.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Reflection: Five star City claim top spot

Aguero fires back at City critics
Photo: Alex Livesey/Getty Images Europe

City 5 - 0 Aston Villa

By Archie Barnett

Manchester City, a club in crisis. After only 11 games gone, City were second in the league, yet labelled a club in crisis.

Of course, there seems to be a Champions League exit on the horizon, barring a miracle, but does that really warrant the media reaction we have been receiving?

However, after a prosperous weekend for the Blues, where both Manchester United and Chelsea lost against Norwich and West Brom respectively, those same critics seem to have been very quiet as City claimed top spot off our neighbours for the first time since lifting the trophy in May.

So, where have those critics gone? There were many that were justified in saying we were not at our best, but a brilliant 5-0 victory over Aston Villa seemed to have stopped the ridiculous "club in crisis" and "Mancini out" claims as City look to hit top form.

City vs Aston Villa: Match Preview

City to capitalise on familiar prey

By Dave Walker

In the unpredictable hurly burly world of the Premier League there simply is no such thing as a home banker – but when Manchester City take on Aston Villa it’s the next best thing.

City have triumphed in nine of the last 10 top flight encounters in Manchester -racking up 23 goals to just six conceded – and nothing suggests things are about to change any time soon.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

City vs Spurs: Match Preview

City press for media recognition

By Dave Walker

So the media darlings of Spurs will roll up at the Etihad Stadium with all the jaundiced anti-Manchester City journalists hoping Andre Villas Boas’ team can end the champions’ near two year unbeaten home run.

It was even worse when Harry Redknapp was indulging in an appreciation society with the journalists, but even the demise of Redknapp hasn’t stopped the Spurs adulation society.

The contrast as to how the two clubs are portrayed in the press is staggering. City remain unbeaten in the Premier League and are cheated out of the Champions League by a dodgy Danish ref and yet still court negativity.

Spurs lose at home to unfancied Wigan and then beat a bunch of Slovenian no hopers – NK Maribor – but are still lauded for their wonderful free-flowing play. Pathetic.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Reflection: Controversial referee costs City

By Aaron Leggott

City's chances of Champions League qualification from Group D were all but over after last night's disappointing draw at home to Dutch champions Ajax.

After the 3-1 defeat in Amsterdam a fortnight ago, City knew that defeat last night was unthinkable, as was a draw. Whilst it is still not mathematically impossible, we are relying heavily on our rivals dropping points in the final two group games, which is unlikely.

Two goals from Siem de Jong in the first 17 minutes gave City a mountain as the Blues were once again unable to deal with the Ajax threat from set pieces. After Niklas Moisander exploited the weakness in zonal marking a fortnight ago, it was de Jong's turn last night, as he scored two of the easiest goals in his career.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

City vs Ajax: Match Preview

City need to 'pep' up for Mancini

By Dave Walker

Manchester City are no different from the overwhelming majority of teams in the world in that they would love to play like Barcelona and emulate the success of the Spanish giants.

Unlike most teams though, City have appointed the top executive team of Ferran Soriano and Txiki Bergiristain. The duo that, along with President Joan Laporta, led Barca to their glorious recent history.

The Catalan connection is destined to take City to the ‘next level’ in their meteoric rise under the ownership of Sheikh Mansour. The big question is whether ex-Barca boss Pep Guardiola – presently on a self imposed sabbatical in New York – is destined to join to make it a Manchester-Barcelona 1-2-3?

Reflection: Misfiring City draw first blank in 11 months


Can Nastastic take Lescott's place?
Photo: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images Europe
It has been 42 matches since City failed to score in a competitive fixture, but West Ham were finally able to stop the Premier League champions from finding the net, thanks to a rearguard display by Sam Alladyce's men.

Upon reflection, I am happy with the point. Considering our current form, a trip to the Boleyn Ground was never going to be easy, and despite not scoring, I thought their was a lot of improvement within the side.

Defensively, we looked a lot more secure, and it wouldn't surprise me if we saw more of Matija Nastasic as the season progresses. He looks a far better player than Stefan Savic, and at the moment you would have to say he's looking a safer bet than Joleon Lescott in the heart of the back line. In fact, I hardly noticed him on Saturday which proves how calm he played alongside the captain.

Friday, 2 November 2012

City vs West Ham: Match Preview

Mancini's men to show their mettle

By Dave Walker

The Premier League’s only undefeated team could make a Saturday night charge to top the table if they can hammer the ‘Irons’.

Manchester City may have lacked the swagger of champions in recent games but, with a quarter of the season gone, Roberto Mancini’s curiously maligned men are within striking distance of the PL summit.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

A reflective view: City 1 - 0 Swansea

Balotelli helps gain a valuable three points

By Tom Kennerley

Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images Europe
There were many questions following the humiliation in Amsterdam, with fans and pundits alike dissecting recent poor performances. The performance was no rembrandt picture for the purists. There was exaggeration amongst the press once again regarding Roberto Mancini resigning, which all Manchester City fans glanced upon momentarily and laughed off.  But in ESPN’s coverage of the game, Robbie Savage was sensible with his view afterwards as he said:

"Manchester City's first target this season is defending the title."

On we went to Swansea, our third game in seven days, was it too much for the players? In the first half, the effects of the Champions League and the game at the Hawthorns clearly showed as fatigue played a part in seeing the first effort of the game come just seven minutes before half time. Swansea were creating the better chances, despite our domination in the possession department.

Aleksander Kolarov, who was risked in a midfield role ahead of Scott Sinclair, was forced off injured at half time. Now it was Mancini's chance to prove himself again after being heavily criticised by the British press, who would he bring on to improve things to win the game? The answer was to be Mario Balotelli.