Monday, 30 September 2013

Match Reflection: Aston Villa 3 - 2 Manchester City

Dominant Blues suffer shock defeat

By Aaron Leggott

A second half turnaround from Aston Villa ensured a brilliant week culminated with a sour ending as the Blues succumbed to their second Premier League defeat of the season.

In truth, anyone who watched the game would have expressed their surprise at this result, such was City's domination for large periods of the game.

Photo: Official MCFC Facebook

Yaya Touré opened the scoring for the Blues, before Karim El Ahmadi levelled the scoreline just after half time. Edin Džeko almost instantly replied to put City back ahead before goals from Leandro Bacuna and Andreas Weimann secured the points for the Villans.

Friday, 27 September 2013

Match Preview: Aston Villa vs Manchester City

City looking to continue their impressive form

By Alex Mason

Manchester City should be sky high with confidence after winning their first game in the Champions League since 2011, and destroying local rivals Manchester United in the derby last week. 

City will be looking to build on their 12 goals in the last three games
Photo: Official MCFC Facebook

This weekend, they take on Aston Villa - a team that the Blues love to play. City have defeated Villa 18 times in the Premier League, more than any other team in the league. The last time Villa beat City was in 2011, courtesy of a Darren Bent goal. 

In the Spotlight: Aston Villa

No. 6: Christian Benteke, Sergio Aguero and a comfortable afternoon in the Midlands

By Aaron Leggott

Ahead of tomorrow's clash against Aston Villa, we spoke to Villa fan Gez Mulholland (@GezMulholland), as he talks about Villa's chances against the Blues, Christian Benteke and their new summer signings. 

Photo: Wikipedia

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Match Reflection: Manchester City 5 - 0 Wigan Athletic

Revenge is sweet! City smash Latics for five to progress in Capital One Cup

By Aaron Leggott

There were plenty of broken hearts when Ben Watson headed home during injury time to clinch the FA Cup for Wigan in May, but there is an increasing feeling that the Wembley wrongs are being rewritten after Jesús Navas smashed in City's 12th goal in three games, and the fifth of the night yesterday as the Blues pushed the Latics aside with ease.

Goals from Edin Džeko and Yaya Touré, as well as a brace on his home debut for Stevan Jovetić secured a comfortable route into the fourth round of the Capital One Cup as Manuel Pellegrini looks to fight on all four fronts this season.

Jovetić was in great form as City produced yet another emphatic win
Photo: Official MCFC Facebook

There was also rare first team appearances for Marcos Lopes and Dedryck Boyata, whilst Micah Richards returned from injury to play a full 90 minutes.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Match Preview: Manchester City vs Wigan

City seek revenge in Capital One Cup tie

By Rebecca Halliwell

Following an eye popping performance from City in the derby comes another Greater Manchester derby against Wigan in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday evening.

Last season saw a City team sprinkled with youngsters in the midfield and they were ultimately beaten 4-2 by Aston Villa in the second round of the Capital One Cup. Manuel Pellegrini has already stated that he will set out to win trophies in all competitions that his side enters. It will therefore be of great interest what team he selects for the clash.

City had developed a good record against Wigan under Roberto Mancini but the performances in the last two clashes; one in the league at the Etihad and the 2013 FA Cup Final, were well below expectations.

Photo: Official MCFC Facebook

Since the FA Cup final, Wigan have been relegated to the Sky Bet Championship where they have had mixed form so far this season, securing only 11 points from seven games. They come to the Etihad on the back of a creditable away draw in the Europa League against ZV Zulte Waregem of Belgium and a morale boosting win against Ipswich at home in the Championship. Wigan also lost their popular cup winning manager, Roberto Martinez, to Everton in the summer managerial merry-go-round.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Match Reflection: Manchester City 4 - 1 Manchester United

City ease to derby victory

By Alex Mason

Manuel Pellegrini must be wondering what all the fuss is about when it comes to Manchester derbies. His vibrant City side demolished United for 60 minutes, which was enough to make them 4-1 winners. The game was the first for United manager David Moyes too, who had a look of concern when Howard Webb blew the full-time whistle.

Aguero opens the scoring for City
Photo: Official MCFC Facebook

United started the game well when Danny Welbeck capitalised on Vincent Kompany’s sliced clearance. It was then City’s tempo and enthusiasm that saw Nemanja Vidić's pass go straight into the path of Jesús Navas, his tame effort went easily over the bar and he should have done better. The first yellow card of the derby was awarded to Matija Nastasić for his robust aerial challenge which saw him flatten United defender Chris Smalling.

City’s possession and will power saw them take the lead on the 15th minute when Samir Nasri cleverly played in Aleksander Kolarov to find Sergio Agüero from 15-yards. Agüero's cheeky flick saw him score his 50th Manchester City goal, and a goal worthy of winning any game.

Match Preview: Manchester City vs Manchester United

For many, it's God's day of rest; for Manchester, it's play time.

By Adam Bailey

On Sunday September 22, the world will cast its Beady Eye on the ignition of a fresh rivalry. A paradisaical Oasis of football awaits the Etihad and the Robin Van Persie demons that still make Eastlands creek at night must be erased.

Come 6pm, the blues will be High Flying in the Barclays Premier League table; we hope.

Photo: Official MCFC Facebook

It's been a summer of change for both Manchester clubs. Managerial appointments and a number of fresh signings (for one team at least) bring a crisp, unpredictable excitement to the derby. Fernandinho, Jesús Navas, Stevan Jovetić and Álvaro Negredo all seem to be comfortable in their new sky blue tees and Marouane Fellaini has added strength and poise to United's midfield. Sunday will present them all with the perfect stage to show their worth as 48,000 roaring spectators nervously watch on.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Viktoria Plzeň 0 - 3 Manchester City: Thoughts and Ratings

By Aaron Leggott

My thoughts

I'll be honest with you all - after last weekend's rather abject performance against Stoke City, I was starting to wonder how long it'd take for Manuel Pellegrini to bed in and implement his ideas properly. 

I was also worried about the forthcoming week, which saw us play the Czech champions and of course, United on Sunday.

But, the players put in a truly brilliant European performance and put themselves in a strong position to build upon that result, and in turn qualify for the knockout phases in the new year. 

I was particularly impressed with Samir Nasri. After some recently deserved criticism, he bounced back against Plzeň and delivered what we all came to expect of the Frenchman when he joined for £25 million in 2011.

Photo: Official MCFC Facebook

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Match Reflection: Viktoria Plzeň 0 - 3 Manchester City

Yaya Touré helps City record first win in Champions League since 2011 

By Aaron Leggott

Manuel Pellegrini's men strolled to a convincing 3-0 victory in the Czech Republic last night, with goals from Edin Džeko, Yaya Touré and Sergio Agüero securing the win.

It probably would have had Roberto Mancini scratching his head as he sat at home - with only two new summer additions starting in a team that failed so badly under him in Europe last season.

The Italian will argue that his successor has been given a much kinder draw, but City played brilliantly during the whole 90 minutes and produced a European performance that was simply lacking far too often under Mancini.

Photo: Official MCFC Facebook

In truth, the first half was very 50/50, but City were very patient and except for Vincent Kompany's mis-hit back pass to Joe Hart midway through the first half, the Blues were very comfortable, with the hosts rarely troubling Hart's goal.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Match Preview: Viktoria Plzeň vs Manchester City

Kompany expected to return for City's first Champions League game

By Aaron Leggott

City have travelled to Eastern Europe for their first Champions League game of the season with a big boost after it was announced that Vincent Kompany is set to return to the side to face Viktoria Plzeň, the current Czech champions.

Most are predicting a comfortable victory for Manuel Pellegrini's men, but with Plzeň still yet to lose after eight domestic games, City might be in for quite a shock in the Czech Republic.

The task will not be made any easier as defenders Gaël Clichy and Micah Richards are doubtful, whilst new signing Martin Demichelis misses out once again thanks to a knee injury.

Photo: Official MCFC Facebook

In the Spotlight: Viktoria Plzeň

No. 5: A lowdown on the Czech champions and their chances of European success this year

By Aaron Leggott

Ahead of our first Champions League game of the season, Aaron Leggott caught up with Czech football expert Chris Boothroyd (@theczechup) - editor of the very successful website "The Czech Up." 

Štruncovy Sady, the home of Viktoria Plzeň

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Stoke City 0 - 0 Manchester City: Thoughts and Ratings

By Adam Bailey

My thoughts

For me, the result was predictable from the start. Although Manuel Pellegrini went with a workman-like side extremely capable of combating Stoke's main strengths, the Britannia blues just won't go away and not many will have predicted a City win.

A tough day for Samir Nasri
Photo: Official MCFC Facebook

Unfortunately, it was hard to take positives. The likes of Samir Nasri and Yaya Toure gave typically uninterested performances and levels of creativity were alarmingly low.

Match Reflection: Stoke City 0 - 0 Manchester City

City suffer from Britannia blues

By Adam Bailey

Pellegrini’s men continued their rotten record at the Britannia Stadium in a barely watchable bore draw on Saturday afternoon.

Álvaro Negredo, Jack Rodwell, Aleksander Kolarov, James Milner and Stevan Jovetić all made starts in a new look side, but were ultimately useless in a performance many City fans will want to forget.

Joe Hart makes the only real save of the game to deny Stoke taking the lead
Photo: Official MCFC Facebook

The Blues started promisingly and enjoyed long spells of possession, however, the Potters had a purpose about their play and looked the more likely team to score. Jonathan Walters squandered a number of chances to put his side in front and Joe Hart was on top form to deny Kenwyne Jones. Jovetić came close with a speculative volley, but goalscoring opportunities were limited.

Friday, 13 September 2013

Match Preview: Stoke City vs Manchester City

City looking to end poor record at the Britannia

By Alex Mason

The last time the Blues beat Stoke City away from home in the First Division was in 1982, with the blues coming out 3-1 winners, explaining that Saturday's trip to the Potteries will be a difficult one as the Blues will be set to have their work cut out. Last season's away record was evidently the reason why bitter rivals Manchester United won the title as City, under previous manager Roberto Mancini, dropped a massive 24 points.

"From Z to A" - Aguero and Zabaleta will be hoping to capitalise on Argentina's World Cup Qualification this week
Photo: Official MCFC Facebook

Fast forward to this season, and Manuel Pellegrini’s side looked a bit nervous against two newly promoted sides in Cardiff City and Hull City. However, Pellegrini will be pleased that his new look side still managed to score four goals within the two games, but there will be a number of defensive worries, with the team looking totally different without captain Vincent Kompany.

In the Spotlight: Stoke City

No. 4: Mark Hughes, Stoke's home "fortress" and new signing Erik Pieters

By Alex Mason

Ahead of this weekend’s clash against Stoke City, we caught up with Potters fan Niall Cope (@copiee), as he talks about Manchester City’s chances of winning the title and how Stoke will fair on Saturday against the Blues. 

Photo: Flickr

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Blue Review: Is the criticism of Joe Hart fair?

Sketchy performances have led to questions being raised

By Rebecca Halliwell

This week it was the turn of Rebecca Halliwell to deliver her first opinion piece of the season in the Blue Review series. She has decided to look at whether the criticism aimed at Joe Hart's recent performances is unjust or not.

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Blue Review: Martín Demichelis

Player Profile: Martín Demichelis

By Archie Barnett

The last Blue Review saw Aaron Leggott look into the past at Manchester City's youth academy player - now a QPR player - Nedum Onuoha's career. This week however will see us look very much at the present and will be a short profile on new defender, Martín Demichelis.

The Argentinean defender signed for City on September 1, moving from Atlético Madrid despite only being at the La Liga club for less than two months.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Manchester City 2 - 0 Hull City: Thoughts and Ratings

By Aaron Leggott

My thoughts

Well, after three games we are sat on six points following games at home to Newcastle and Hull, as well as a defeat in Cardiff last weekend.

If I were to describe our start to the season, I would use the word transitional. It is clear that the players are still adapting to the new tactics employed by Manuel Pellegrini - and it has had an impact upon us defensively. Of course, the absence of Vincent Kompany (and Matija Nastasic last week) hasn't made things any easier, but considering we have had one of, if not the strongest defence in the league during the past few years, it is strange to see such poor individual errors being made.

Photo: Official MCFC Facebook