Tuesday, 14 January 2014

The signs are there

Outstanding performances and high-scoring wins aside, we’re now also starting to see the kind of fortune that I’ve had to (annoyingly) watch the likes of Liverpool, Chelsea and Manyoo enjoy for many years. Good teams often create their own luck but whether it’s refereeing decisions going your way or the lucky bounce of a ball; we’re now beginning to see the kind of ‘destiny events’ that often see teams head for ultimate glory.


I said in my last posting that we perhaps needed a sterner test; something to sharpen the player’s senses JUST in case there was a chance of some complacency after some high-scoring victories. I expected us to get that very test at St. James’ Park and we sure did. We had to be 100% in everything that we did and I thought we handled the ‘well up for it’ Newcastle United side very well. I was very proud of the players.

Special praise too for Manuel Pellegrini who, with little over 5 minutes gone of the 2nd half, made an excellent change to 4-5-1 / 4-4-1-1. The more-compact midfield and different threat from Jesus Navas served us very well indeed; the only real second half threat being well saved by Joe Hart after our defence made a very rare error.

James Milner too! If there was an award for assists against minutes played SURELY he’s got that one nailed already. I don’t know how many for certain but he seems to get an assist every other time he comes on from the bench! Crackin’ pass for Negredo’s goal and our second.


Was it or wasn’t it off side? My initial thoughts were that it wasn’t (oops) was but I do now find myself asking this question. Although Yoan Gouffran didn’t touch the ball, didn’t he ‘interfere with play’ by stepping aside from the incoming, goal-bound shot to allow it in? Had he NOT stepped aside it would, clearly, have bounced right off him and NOT gone in...and then, of course, we'd have no idea where it would have ended up. Isn’t THAT interfering with play; allowing the ball to go into the net where it would otherwise have not done so?

But touch it he didn’t – and the ball did also get a slight nick off Demichelis on the way in – and so, once again, the off-side rule is about as clear as a Guinness.

Chuck in the kind bounce Negredo got for our second goal and the decision to give Sterling off-side when we played Liverpool on Boxing Day and we're certainly starting to see some Manyoo-like things go our way...


Controversy too from the arrogant 52-year old Newcastle Manager Alan (PAH!) Pardew. Okay, the egotistical cockney has apologised for his disgusting volley of abuse towards the undeserving Pellegrini and Manuel has, very gracefully, accepted it. But that doesn’t mean to say I, nor any other City fan, should be happy with it.

Had he called Pellegrini something like, say….a cheat, I could understand it. If he’d have called the Chilean a time-waster, then fair enough. Likewise for, perhaps, excessive moaning on the touchline from the City boss. Why? Pellegrini wasn’t guilty of any of those things. Well if our manager had been to blame for any of those transgressions at least Pardew would have been hurling football-related abuse at him.

But no, instead he decided to throw an ageist, foul-mouthed assault at the unsuspecting 60-year old by calling him a, “F****** old C***”! What an utterly disgraceful and despicable man! And besides, is he actually in a position to say that; being as he is just 7 years and 10 month behind him?


But I used the word arrogant before to describe the f****** old c*** (I can say that because I’m 9 years and 11 months behind Alan) because, believe it or not, that wasn’t the only thing that Pardew did last Sunday that got right up my nose.

I’ve not actually found another Blue, as yet, who watched the pre-match build-up on Sunday and so I can’t judge whether I’m alone in this. I can’t decide whether this is now just ‘part of the norm’ of televised football and, therefore, something that I’ll just have to get used to whether I like it or not.

Now we all know that the modern game is analysed to death. “Magnifying glass” and “fine-toothed comb” are two phrases that just don’t ‘cut it’ any more. And do you know what…I quite like most of it. Done in the correct manner - as long as they’re not OVER analysing the most minor points of a game - it can be quite informative and eye-opening at times…and, dare I say it, Gary Neville is very good in his evaluations.

But it should be left to those kinds of pundits to trawl through their video footage pre & post-match. What I witnessed on Sunday on Sky Sports was revolting in my eyes!

Geoff Shreeves had just interviewed the very humble Pellegrini who stuck to the facts and gave a few concise sentences about the impending game. Now of course Pardew must have been asked by Sky Sports if he wouldn’t mind participating in a much-lengthier version after our manager had been interview but there’s always the word, “No”. To quote Mrs Doyle, “Just that one little word, no. It's a lovely word our Lord gave us to use here on Earth when we don't want any cake".

But, and here’s that word again, he’s a arrogant so-and-so…and so the “No” word, on this occasion, wouldn’t have even popped into his silver-haired head.

Instead, he puffed up his chest and along with Geoff stood in front of a TV monitor analysing - for what seemed like 5, long minutes - the starting line-ups and formations of both teams; picking apart what he thought were City’s strengths and weaknesses and where he thought his team could pick us apart.

Not for the want of 3, valuable points; not for the opportunity of going top of the league for 30 hours or so…and not EVEN for the opportunity of regaining our 10-point (in January) lead over Manyoo.

But rather for the sheer bloody arrogance [of the smug man to stand there and do that in front of millions] did I want us to, so-desperately, wipe the floor with him and his (French) team! Call me a traditionalist if you must but that sort of thing should be left to him and his players in the dressing room. If you didn’t see it; it just SCREAMED of overconfidence and, worse, self-importance.

And so I say to you, Mr Pardew…PAH! 2-0! That’s two-nil…even if you think that you should have had a goal. And by the way, you should have ended the game with 10 men…perhaps even 9 you talentless, fouling, barcode-wearing lot.

Stick that in your foul-mouthed pipe Alan!

And never mind, at least you have your hilarious fans who watch games with no tops on…

Moving on…

Reports are suggesting that Samir Nasri will be out for around 8 weeks after the horror tackle by the (only) yellow-carded Mapoo (Mapou) Yanga-Mbiwa. I suppose that’s not too bad; to me it looked like an injury that was going to end his season or worse (you know what sportsmen & women’s knees are like – and Mapou had TWO swipes at the same knee within a second). Last night Gary Neville, quite rightly, described it as an “assault” [and not a tackle].

As predicted (okay I got it wrong by 10 minutes) Toure was withdrawn on 60 minutes. Together with general soreness and a still-sore ankle, I’m sure; Yaya is apparently also suffering with a bit of a back problem. I wouldn’t even put him on the bench tomorrow…

Aside from that, I think we came out of that Newcastle ‘hacking match’ pretty-much fit and raring to go again.

Moving out…

It looks like John Guidetti is FINALLY going to fulfil both his and most Manchester City fan’s wishes; heading off, as it seems, to Premier League Stoke City. I hope that Mark Hughes can look after him and uses him correctly. It’ll be very interesting to see how the Swede performs in England’s top division.

All the very best of luck John - score goals, stay fit and return to us ready to do the same for Manchester City!

Here we go again…

F.A. Cup
So we have a second bite of the cherry; a second attempt to tie up a 4th-round home game against either Watford or Bristol City (who play their replay at Vicarage Road tonight). Although it was the very thing that got us into this unnecessary situation in the first place; I suppose it’s an opportunity to rest SOME ‘first teamers’.

Away from home I was hoping he’d go 4-5-1 and really go at them from all angles with attacking midfielders. At home, with Nasri out, Yaya feeling delicate and with only 2 strikers to chose from anyway; I think Pellegrini will go 4-4-2 in this one.

Formation: 4-4-2










Subs: Hart, Kolarov, Zabaleta, Demichelis, Garcia, Lopes, Aguero.

Pants back in net for this game; Richards & Clichy to get their chance in place of Kolarov & Zaba who both played on Sunday. I would have thought he’d be tempted to rest Kompany but I’ve gone for Pellegrini to stick with our Captain as some 'security' at the back. I was very surprised to see Demichelis get a start in the North East at the weekend but I’m going for a Lescott start tomorrow evening. Demichelis moves to the bench…I’m not sure why Nastasic didn’t even make the bench against the Geordies so I’m assuming here that he’s either injured or a little out of favour with our manager.

Fernandinho to keep his place and with him most likely resting Yaya; I’ve gone for a much deserved starting place for James Milner in the middle (although he could swap places with Silva on the left). Silva & Navas pick themselves; likewise the forwards.

Lopes gets another shot from the bench and I’ve stuck Aguero on there too! Rumours are that he MIGHT get a run-out as part of his return to fitness. I get the feeling that Jovetic is a little further away (not too far) from a return than Sergio but if neither are quite ready, I wouldn’t mind seeing Jordi Hiwula join his EDS colleague Marcos on the bench.

Update (8:06pm) 14.01.2014: Silva out with a small issue (isn't he small all the time?) and confirmation that Yaya is not in the squad but Sergio is back! No mention from Pellegrini about Jovetic being on the injury list and so Jordi Hiwula might not get his chance if Steven is fit enough to make the bench.

Result? Even a stubborn-formation-set-up Rovers side should be no match for us at home. City to go through…


  1. I can't help you with the pre-match Newcastle analysis, Steve, as I usually try to pick up the game 5 minutes before kick off.
    Sublime first goal, scruffy second, but I'll take it.....yes, a lovely outside of the boot pass by Milner, not quite as good as Negredo's at Fulham, but I've taken it as his return thank-you.
    The defence excelled, apart from the one slip, and, for the record, I thought we were lucky to see the 'goal' disallowed, and, on balance, still think so. Discipline of the side - superb.

    Silva and Toure are out of the Blackburn game, Nasty hasn't been injured as far as I know, but I would pair him with Demichelis. Garcia to play, and, again, I think it will be Dzeko-Negredo up top. Aguero is in the squad.
    Pellegrini hasn't been adverse to throwing in his top players straight away after injury - remember Kun started against Newcastle in the first game with no pre-season? The bench for me, though.

    With this side, we should win.

  2. Hi Colin... Thanks for that. Yep, just caught up with Pellegrini's pre-match press conference; confirmation indeed that Silva joins Yaya on the 'being rested' list. Milner on the left and Garcia on from the start like you say.

    We might even see Jovetic on the bench too!