Saturday, 19 April 2014

The scrap for 2nd-place starts here…

…and, worryingly, I’m not sure we’re up to it. Do our players have the fight in them anymore? Some of our players are certainly ‘committed’ but even those are looking more than a little battle weary. So much for the best squad in the league; something I’ve repeatedly refuted all season long…

Still smarting…

It’s been years since I’ve felt so let down and annoyed by City. I’ve been a season ticket / card hold now for 28 season and, in many ways, the game against Sunderland last Wednesday night hurt more than the many relegations I’ve had to endure. It’s not about my own personal and recent ‘raised expectations’; it’s simply the abject way in which the players and manager went about their business after the disappointment of our Anfield trip.

Where was the bouncebackability; where was the desire?

Where was the player ‘reaction’ like we had 2 seasons ago after we were beaten – and appeared to be dead ‘n’ buried – at Arsenal, only for us to pull our socks up and go full steam ahead for the remaining few games?

The only steam left, it would appear, is rapidly vaporising into the atmosphere.

Are some of them already on their summer holidays? Are some of them sulking at the possibility of not having an extension to their contracts and are facing a summer exit? Were [on Wednesday night] some of them resigned to having lost the league and were therefore, instead, saving themselves for their country’s up & coming World Cup campaigns? Are they just utterly exhausted from having battled on 4 fronts for so long this season? Your guesses are as good as mine.

For a slight insight, perhaps; if you’re a regular viewer of Manchester City’s ‘tunnel cam’ then look at the one against Sunderland. I think their faces [compared to how focused and determined they usually look] tells it’s own story.

A quick word on the crowd too…

Well a ‘quick word’ would be “bobbins!” But expanding on that a little…

I hate to say this after the classless display against us last Sunday but, when they WEREN’T being pillocks, Liverpool fans were immense in their support of their team – a caldron of vociferous support that helped push Liverpool over the line that day.

Forward wind to the Etihad just 3 days later and a match where our lads needed something of the same from City fans and what happened? Nothing. Apart, that is, from the 52nd to around the 57th minute when the South Standers tried, to their credit, to create something like a football atmosphere [as opposed to crown green bowling]; when they started a repeated chant of “Oh when the Blues go marching in…” for about 5 minutes.

As much as the players let us down, we also let them down badly. Through City Voice to name just one medium, Manchester City F.C. have TRIED to come up with ideas to improve crowd participation. But it would appear that they’re just shouting against the wind – they’re the only ones who ARE shouting really.

Addition / update (2:15pm): See what I mean...

So, W.B.A. up next…

With David Silva (ankle), Jesus Navas (ankle/foot) and Yaya Toure (muscular) all out, it’ll be an interesting line-up against The Baggies…and one, which, will be difficult to predict. But here goes…









I’m sticking my neck RIGHT out here with, drum roll………THE CHRISTMAS TREE formation!

I’ve just got a strong feeling that Pellegrini will start with Jovetic for this one (rare) occasion and with the personnel that we have missing; I think he’ll deploy him in an advanced position in support of both the recovering Beauty and the faltering Beast.

He could, of course, stick him on the left wing and Stevan might well indeed drift over there from time to time; allowing Nasri to ‘tuck in’ and Milner to move over to the right in a more orthodox 4-4-2. It will be fluid I’m sure.

I like the look of this formation / personnel set-up too.

The increasingly scrutinised (once again) Hart keeps his place. I even had my flippin’ Window Cleaner and (never-goes) “red” giving me grief about Joe on my doorstep last night! Needless to say I defended Joe entirely and reminded him about Massimo Taibi

I would normal have suggested that, having been rested on Wednesday night, our manager will go with Clichy instead of Kolarov. But I just get the feeling that if he DOES go with this formation & personnel, he’ll want Kolarov’s more-attacking, wide support [with a narrow midfield 3]. I might be wrong on this one though.

Zabaleta looks completely SHATTERED but what do we have in reserve? A soon-to-be-departing and shadow of his former self Micah Richards. Beside, Zaba (and the others) will have had a full 5 days rest this time [unlike the 3 days after a hard game at Anfield].

Similarly I was going to suggest that Lescott might step in for the aging legs of Demichelis OR still-knee-sore Kompany. But I’ve gone for ‘same again’ hereLescott’s mind might now be on finding a house in Turkey

Nasri, Fernandinho & Milner in ‘as a three’ looks pretty good to me and should compensate for the lack of David & Yaya. As long as they are given definitive rolls this time; unlike last Wednesday where both Fernandinho & Nasri looked uncomfortable in-being asked to play out of position for most of the night.

I think the creative spark, skill and goal threat of Stevan will be just the tonic Alvaro and Sergio need and I can see that working very well.

Other than Edin, there’s not much on that bench attack-wise. Manuel might decide to pluck someone from the EDS and stick them in there in place of one of the more defensive players.

Result? Even I, after the huge disappointment of Wednesday night, can’t see City giving us a repeat of that horror show. Albion sure will be up for it; not only motivated by their own precarious position in the league but they’ll also will have been buoyed by Sunderland’s resulting efforts 5 days earlier.

But I’m going for a home win, although I can’t quite call the details on this one – it’ll either be an edgy, close affair or we’ll completely ‘muller’ ‘em!

Sad news

An acknowledgement of the very sad news that West Ham United's young striker Dylan Tombides lost his battle with cancer on 18th April 2014 at just 20 years of age. That puts things into perspective...

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