Saturday, 7 September 2013

Drat, double drat and triple drat!

Nastasic regaining his fitness after a lay-off (and should be okay for Stoke). Micah about to start training some time this week (and doubtful for a start at the Britannia Stadium if required). Demichelis out for at least 6 weeks and rumours that it might be October before we see Captain Kompany again!

With games away at Stoke & Villa, along with a certain Manyoo at home and Champions League games fast approaching…


What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger

When the fixtures first came out most Manchester City fans I know grew a small, subtle smile. While Manyoo fans began bemoaning the fact that their opening fixtures looked rock ‘ard; at the same time most of our first 8 league games (up to and including West Ham United) looked well winnable. Well as we now know, it was like playing the whole of Wales at Cardiff - up for it 100% as they were; added to the fact that we had to patch-up our central defence with less than adequate cover in the form of the very poor Javi Garcia. Result? A (shock?) 3-2 defeat.

Now look at the situation – with our main central defenders falling like dominos in an earthquake, the trip to Stoke looks terribly daunting; Manyoo at home leaves us vulnerable to van Persie and Co. and a trip to Benteke’s Villa has its dangers too. Chuck in a Champions League game or two before Kompany and Demichelis are fit and the once-considered “easy’ish start” looked much more mountainous.

Fortunately the injury to Demichelis comes during an international break and, therefore, we have time to plan. Nastasic too, hopefully, is over his injury and is getting his match fitness back (although my idea of a full, behind-closed-doors game to get Demichelis used to his teammates and match-fit etc. backfired somewhat didn't it?)

So if we can get through Stoke City (A), Viktoria Plzen (A), Manyoo (H), Wigan Athletic (League Cup - H), Aston Villa (A), Bayern Munich (H) and Everton (H) relatively unscathed then the rest of the season is a piece of cake, right? Well you know what I mean; if we can come through that relatively unscathed then we’ll come out of it a much stronger force still in a very good position in all 3 competitions.

So what would be seen as “relatively unscathed”? Well considering the injuries at the back and the compact time-period of fixtures ahead, I’d say realistically…

  • Stoke City – Win
  • Viktoria Plzen - Win
  • Manyoo – Draw
  • Wigan Athletic – Win
  • Aston Villa – Draw
  • Bayern Munich – Draw
  • Everton – Win

If we can ‘better’ the result away at Villa and at home to Manyoo, that would be great! But all things considered, those set of results have got to be seen as pretty good until we’re back up to full strength at the back.

More cover?!

It’s being suggested that we may now be signing 36-year old cover for the 32-½ year-old cover. William Gallas has been mentioned as a possibility on a short-term contract until Martin recovers from his knee problem. It’s like Russian dolls at the moment! Whatever next; Gallas gets injured and so we bring out of retirement Richard Jobson to cover?

If there IS anything to this Gallas link, Dedryck Boyata must be well peeved…

Moaning, whinging B*******!

I’ve not been too well this week; some kind of weird water / kidney infection it felt like. I’ve been pretty lethargic and out of sorts for most of the week and so, firstly, apologies for not ‘posting’ since Tuesday 3rd September.

Secondly, due to feeling somewhat vague most of the week, I sort of only half-caught the rumblings about the lack of English players (again) in the Premier League. Greg Dyke has been spouting off and here are some stats that have been banded around…

The next major leagues with the lowest proportions of native players are the Primeira Liga with 45% and Serie A also with 45%. The Championship even has less home-grown players (54%) than the Bundesliga (55%). Most impressively of all, 60% of footballers in La Liga are Spanish.

When played in this context, 30% of Premier League footballers being English is embarrassing. This figure has fallen 2% in just one summer as well from the 32% that Dyke referred to in his keynote speech. In fact, if we go back to the 1998-99 season that number was 48% meaning that in just 14 years there has been an 18% drop in the percentage of English players.

Shocking statistics? Perhaps. But what really got my blood pressure up was a TV piece that I (again only half caught) when the dinosaur Glenn Hoddle and should-know-better Jamie Redknapp jumped on the Greg bandwagon; and were calling for a law to be brought in forcing the Premier League to enforce participating Clubs to field an “X” amount of English players!

What the F***!

Now I’m all for the situation improving drastically in terms of the development of home-grown, English players and, indeed, I’m absolutely delighted that my own Club is soon to improve those chances; with the development across the road from our very own ground. If most Premier League Clubs were to follow our example, this would, in time, hopefully improve our woeful National side too; who go into every competition just hoping (if we’re being honest) that they can keep their heads held reasonably high by making the quarter finals at least…but most likely no further.

Unless I missed it in the same TV debate that I only half watched, what NEEDS to happen is that the quality of coaching in this country has to improve TEN-FOLD!. We are LIGHT years behind the coaches in Italy, Spain, Holland, Germany and South America to name just a few (and apologies to those countries that I have missed who have a fine tradition of producing good coaches).

Just look at the quality of English coaches a-la Glenn Hoddle, as was, and Roy Hodgson. Steve McClaren anyone? Stuart Pearce and Gareth Southgate? Do me a ffffff…lippin’ favour!

Blaming the Premier League and their participating Clubs for the lack of top-draw, English players in our country's top division? P*** OFF! Do these people truly believe that if a Manager had a really-really good, free, English player on their books who had come through their ranks that they would want to go out and spend money on a foreign player instead? Do they honestly believe that if a team had a exciting, talented, home-grown lad already in place that most Chairman would sanction the signing of a costly player from overseas to stand in his way of first team football?

Get real or shut up, so-called football pundits and Mr Chairman of the F.A!

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