Saturday, 30 November 2013

Injured players on way back…but just miss out.

Manuel Pellegrini has answered the questions in the pre-Swansea match press conference and the news is heartening. Kompany is close to a return; Silva and Jovetic are not far behind either. Great news!

High volume of fixtures but looking strong

All of the Premier League teams who have European games to play are in the same boat as us of course; a few, like us, also have an added League Cup game thrown into the mix. But we go into an amazing run of 9 games in 28 days looking strong, squad-fitness wise.

As well as the returning Captain; our midfield wizard and the exciting prospect of Steven Jovetic, Rodwell is apparently free from injury and is ready to play and John Guidetti’s appearance on the bench against Tottenham suggests that he’s ready to embark in his latest attempt to shrug off a horrid period of injury setbacks. Rumoured concerns over both Sergio Aguero and Gael Clichy were just that…

The only ‘regular’ with a ‘no return date' would appear to be Matija Nastasic. Correction/Update: Nastasic is reportedly going to be out for around 3 weeks. That would see him in contention for a place against Fulham at Craven Cottage on Saturday 21st December or the home game on Boxing Day against Liverpool.

So, let’s just get right into tomorrow’s game against Swansea City. Here’s my predicted line-up for the strange, 4:10pm (BST) KO that’s not on the telly…










Subs:  Hart, Richards, Boyata, Rodwell, Milner, Guidetti, Dzeko.

Okay, so I’ve left both Kolarov and Garcia off the bench, which might suggest a bit of ‘what I would do’ rather than what our Manager would. But surely the likes of Micah and Jack get ahead of them on the bench.

Despite a decent performance against Viktoria Plzen on Wednesday night I think he’ll stick with Pantilimon for league games for now. I loved the way Pellegrini burst into / bushed over the Hart debate so that he could concentrate on answering other questions / issues

The centre-back pairing picks itself due to injuries and should be solid enough to take on Swansea at home; helped by the more solid Clichy / Zabaleta combo either side of them. Likewise the pairing of Fernandinho & Yaya; Aguero & Negredo.

Nasri of course on the left and with the absence of Silva; Navas gets another opportunity to shine…and hopefully rip apart the Welsh team down that flank.

Boyata should find himself on the bench, which for him is closer than he often gets to playing a game. Milner, though, will probably see this as another frustrating afternoon watching from the side-lines as his teammates play.

Regular readers will not be surprised to see me get a little giddy to see Guidetti possibly getting a crack at some stage tomorrow; and I’ll add that I hope he gets picked ahead of Mr Sulk. Dzeko’s body language – and certainly not for the first time – was shameful against Plzen. Nuff said on him…


Hopefully, but don't count your swans...

We shouldn’t take these for granted at all (we should NEVER take any game for granted). Yeah they’re not playing well with just 2 wins and 3 defeats in their last 7 outings and, yes; we’ve beaten them quite comprehensively at home in the last two meetings. But they’re often quite a stubborn side; we might need to be patient as they’ll, no doubt, pack the midfield and sit deep.

But even without the influential game-changer in Silva we should have enough with that personnel at home there to get a reasonably comfortable win. I might be wrong (hope not of course) but just don’t expect a 4-0 to 7-0 thrashing tomorrow.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Hart – Beggars belief or very sensible planning?

Reports are rife this morning that we are lining up a £15M move for Stoke City’s, Bosnia and Herzegovina goalkeeper Asmir Begovic; with Joe Hart going to Stoke on a ½ season loan. It’s both a little bizarre and quite unexpected…but at the same time has a tone of, ‘this could well happen’ about it.

End for Costel? And…remember Birmingham?

First of all this isn’t the first time we’ve been linked with the Stoke stopper. Apparently had Roberto not been shown the exit door in the summer Asmir was one of his top summer targets – and we may well have been saying our permanent farewells to Joe!

Bringing in the 6’ 6' keeper from the Potteries and retaining Hart on the books would, of course, soon see the end for Pantilimon at City; a keeper, whom, has still yet to make any major mistakes.

However, IF there is any truth to this we would have two unbelievably crackin’ keepers on our books! But equally, of course, two goalies who should in their own right be playing most games at any level across the world. One of ‘em, therefore and quite naturally, would be very unhappy indeed. And with both being 26 years of age; neither would be planning on slowing down and moving aside any time soon….

But if we are, indeed, aiming to join the very highest elite of teams in the world (I think that’s the long-term plan unless I’ve got the owner’s message wrong) then having two terrific keepers in Joe and Asmir makes excellent sense…and would most certainly fit in with our proprietor’s long term vision for the Club.

And if we are to compensate Stoke by sending Joe out on loan for the remainder of the season; just remember what a hugely improved version of Joe we got back after he spent a season on loan at Birmingham City.

Anyway, it’s all irrelevant now; Pellegrini has already completely pooh-poohed the idea; stating the in the pre-Plzen match interview that we are in no way in the market for ANY keeper in January. So that was a complete waste of keyboard-finger exercise…

So let’s crack on with tomorrow’s game…

Briefly then, here’s my predicted starting line-up and subs…








Subs: Pantilimon, Zabaleta, Clichy, Kompany, Rodwell, Lopes, Guidetti, Negredo
Update/Correction: John Guidetti, I discovered this afternoon, isn't registered to play in the qualifying stages of this competition.
Rumour has it that Kompany looked sharp in training today and so I think he might give him 20/25 minutes toward the end ahead of the Swansea City game - while Nastasic, apparently, seemed to be struggling somewhat and didn’t even complete the warm-up this morning. Kolarov looked to have got over his recent illness too. Hurraaaaay…

I’d love to think that he’d stick Rodwell in there from the start but I very much doubt it. I think too that Guidetti will get a game but not before Aguero gives Dzeko some fair support for the first 45 minutes.

Fernandinho and Navas, like Milner, look like they could run all season and not get tired and so I think they’ll both start again. I hope to see Lopes get on at some stage too.

And although any kind of consistency in defence is key for us at the moment I can just see a completely different back line starting against the Czech side. With us already having qualified it is wise to save Clichy for the Swansea game (although I’d LOVE to see us pluck a left back from the EDS to have a crack at tomorrow night’s game). Richards definitely needs a run-out and Lescott played really well when replacing Nastasic in the second half against Spurs. Could be too soon for Demichelis following Sunday’s game and, regardless; like Micah Boyata deserves a crack too.

Apparently Jovetic didn’t train at all today.

Result: A fairly comfortable win.

Let’s hope CSKA put up a good fight; giving us a slim chance of top spot to keep it interesting at least…

Monday, 25 November 2013


It seems strange to almost start a blog posting with the words “if only” after such an emphatic win and some exhilarating football at times yesterday but…if only our away form was better. Oh well, there’s time to work on that; let’s just enjoy that one for now.



What a start!

My wife clocked it at 14 seconds; the TV chappy later said it was 15 and the announcer at the Etihad stated 20 (and MCFCTV now have it as just yer 13!). Whatever it was it most certainly set the tone! And what a finish from Jesus! I’ve been banging on about the Spaniard being used more and, naturally, I feel justified. Of course there are gonna be away games where it might not be appropriate to use him and, of course, a certain fellow countryman often stands in his way. But this game had his name all over it and he sure didn’t disappoint.
In a way it was slightly strange being 3-0 up at half time. We played quite well, don’t get me wrong, but it was a little patchy in the first half. Later on someone in my local told me that Spurs had more possession in the first half and that didn’t come as much of a surprise to me.

Took their time but got there in the end.

Yaya in particular looked sluggish before the interval. Navas was, and quite rightly, glued to the flank for the most part. Usually in David Silva, Yaya gets a little help from the very mobile Spaniard; often drifting in from wide to help orchestrate in the middle.
So yesterday Yaya found himself having to be 'the' mobile, attacking midfielder and he struggled somewhat for the first 45 minutes or so. Thankfully Fernandinho was on hand to ‘mop up’ and cover for him in what was his finest game for us so far. The Brazilian never started City life in particularly poor form - understated for a £30M man at worse - but he has been steadily improving week on week. That was a solid 8/10 from him yesterday; he almost got my MotM at one stage mid-way-through the second half.
Two others who took time to ‘bed in’ yesterday were the cause of a few first half flutters. Demichelis seems to be finding it hard to win the fans over (the ones I hear and talk to anyway) but I like him. He oozes experience; he’s calm, assured, has good positional awareness and is a good passer. However, Martin seemed to get caught snoozing on at least one occasion in the first half and had another jittery moment too.
I also found myself – not for the first time this season – shaking my head slightly at 3 first half occasions where Clichy seemed to leave us exposed down the left. He’s not the Clichy I’ve come to applaud over the last couple of seasons. What’s happened?
However, no damage done (far from it of course) and all 3 got up to speed in the second half to produce really good displays. If all of them were borderline 5s or 6s in the first half then they all finished with a solid 7/10 at the end. Yaya in particular literally burst into the 2nd half to set up Sergio with a fine, trademark, strong run down the middle.

Attack! Attack! Attack!

What can I say about Aguero and Negredo that wouldn’t be too obvious? Well nothing really. They are both absolutely devastating. And it’s not just their skill level and great understanding of each other; their fantastic work-rate is paying huge dividends. Not only are they often the beneficiaries of the creative Nasri, Navas, Silva and Yaya but they are also the architects of their own goals. Just watch the shift Alvaro and Sergio put in both on and off the ball. So strong on the ball too!
It should have been 10…
It might sound greedy of me and perhaps a little picky but…jeeze it could have been more! Sergio should have put his foot through a shot or picked out Zabaleta in the first half; Nasri almost got one but found the crossbar instead, Yaya almost had a second half goal that zipped just over and just before that there was a ‘nailed on’ Negredo header that he planted just over.
We were running riot against a team who had only conceded 6 goals in 11 Premier League games!

And the rest…

Pantilimon had another good game. Rarely troubled? Perhaps…but what he had to deal with he dealt with well; not least a low, hard free kick in the first half that he got down on (not easy I’m sure when you’re 6’ 8”).
Lescott gets special mention from me. He replaced the Nastasic who had a good first half himself (most probably still recovering/getting back to fitness and being withdrawn just to protect him) and Joleon did himself a huge favour by producing a really good 45 minutes.
Zaba produced another concrete 7/10 (if only we had someone equally consistent at left-back to compete with Clichy) and once again Milner comes on from the bench and gets involved with setting up a goal. His passing in general has improved so much; the pass to Navas for the 6th was excellent.

Oh yeah! And also on the bench was...John Guidetti! There's a good chance, then, that we'll see the Swede in action against Viktoria Plzen on Wednesday night...perhaps even from the start (alongside Dzeko)!

Roasted turkey or Kangaroo?

Although I still see the odd inflatable banana at the ground – particularly in the South Stand / South Stand/Colin Bell Stand corner – I spotted a few different ones yesterday.
Most obvious just before KO was a big inflatable palm tree! This was being passed from the South Stand and as the match started I last spotted it approaching the half-way-line in the lower tier of the Colin Bell Stand. What on earth must Pellegrini have thought of it.
The good old days...
Soon after came half a dozen or so bananas and I then, somehow, managed to spot a small, brown inflatable in the far distance; in the South Stand not long after Jesus’ early goal. As it was being flung around I just couldn’t decide on whether it was an inflatable roast turkey or a small Kangaroo / Joey.
Either way it was good to see some fun being injected back into the game - as I say, these scenes of frivolity were before a ball was kicked; before the goal celebrations were in full flow.
I for one hope we see a return of the inflatables and if anyone is wondering what on earth I’m on about, please have a read of this piece, which explains it perfectly – particularly the amazing night-time game away at West Bromwich Albion many, many years ago. Apart form perhaps a memorable Boxing Day game away at Stoke City’s old Victoria Ground, I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many inflatables at once! Great night...despite the defeat.
I’ll have to write a piece soon about my experiences throughout the inflatable era…

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Just like busses!

You don’t go to a home game for 55 days and then 3 come at once! Having (very unusually) missed both Norwich City and CSKA Moscow after a month of a away games throughout October, all of a sudden I’m faced with 3 home games in just yer 8 days. Wonderful!


Final moan…

It can’t just be me who feels deprived of club football - of course it was my (joint) decision to go away on a small break and miss the Norwich game and it was me who bought a dog who is so terrified of fireworks that ‘dog minding’ took priority over the CSKA game. But these dammed international breaks! Fact: City have played just 11 League games as we near the end of November; England aren’t far behind with 6 in the same amount of time. Someone told me recently that this is how it always is [going into a World Cup]; perhaps so but it feels far worse to me this time round.

So let’s Ashley Young dive straight into tomorrow’s game

Spurs were one of the teams I thought would be a real threat this season. And, of course, they’re no mugs; lying as they do one point and one place above us in 7th after more than a quarter of the season gone.
But, fortunately for us and just LIKE us, they are just as frustratingly inconsistent and unpredictable this season. Ooops…there are those word again! They’ve brought in a heck of a lot of talent around about the same time as the sale of Gareth Bale and for that we have to be wary. We certainly have to be ‘on our game’ on Sunday.
Spurs too have a nasty habit of peeing me off even on our home patch - I’ve never liked them (probably ever since the 1981 F.A. Cup Final games) and they have a horrible knack of ‘repeat offending’. Another moan about the international breaks is that you never know how your team is going to perform after most of them spending the best part of a fortnight apart – but I suppose all teams are in the same boat there…
Good news is that apart from the 3 we all knew about – Vinny, David and Stevan – it would appear that we have a full squad to pick from to face Tottenham. Apparently Nastasic and Fernandinho have both fully trained and would appear to be fully back in the reckoning for tomorrow vital clash.
So, this is my predicted line-up for the 1:30pm (BST) KO:

A narrow win for City. They don’t score many but they’re very mean at the back too.
Surely with Silva missing Navas has to start at home. However, I suppose there’s a decent argument that Milner could start instead; adding more nitty-gritty work-rate to our engine room, especially as Spurs might opt to ‘pack the midfield’ away from home. Using James would probably narrow us slightly [if he was asked to ‘dig in’ with Yaya and the Brazilian]; meaning that Aguero might sit deeper and to the right with Nasri in support in more of a 4-3-3 formation. But I think he’ll go with Jesus for this one.
Of course speculation is rife about the goalie situation and although I’ve gone with Costel once again, my spider sense is tingling just ever so slightly that Pellegrini might spring a bit of a surprise and, perhaps, stick the England man back in. It’s 50/50’ish but, as I say, I’m edging that he’ll stick with the Romanian who, after all, has done nothing wrong to deserve being dropped.
I'm assuming that Joleon is still gonna be out of favour and SURELY Jack will now get 'the nod' ahead of Javi Garcia on the bench.

Full steam ahead!

With no Champions League worries now that we’ve qualified (assuming that Manuel has resigned himself to finishing a respectful second to Bayern) we can go ‘all out’ tomorrow and for the foreseeable domestic fixtures. Footy – PROPER footy that is – is back with a bang! Have you seen December’s fixtures! 9 games in 28 days!
A quick W, D, L prediction then to see where we might lay as we head into 2014 with an away game at Swansea City on 1st January.
Tottenham Hotspur                 (H)       -           Win
Viktoria Plzen                          (H)       -           Win
Swansea City                          (H)       -           Win
West Bromwich Albion           (A)       -           Win (Stevan available?)
Southampton                          (A)       -           Draw (David back?)
Bayern Munich                       (A)       -           Lose
Arsenal                                    (H)       -           Win (Vincent back?)
Leicester City                          (A)       -           Win
Fulham                                    (A)       -           Win
Liverpool                                 (H)       -           Draw
Crystal Palace                        (H)       -           Win
20 more points in the league (probably finishing 2013 in 2nd or 3rd place), in the Champions League knock-out stages, of course, and through to the semi-final of the League Cup. That would do for me at around the half-way stage. God knows what'll happen from January onwards though; according to the gutter, rumour-mongering press over the last 2 weeks most of our players are set to leave us in the next transfer window!
Right, let’s ‘Google map to remind myself of how to get there tomorrow…

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Half-term report…and updated pictures.

I’ve just passed the 6 month stage from the date where I started this Manchester City Football Blog, way back on 28th April 2013 (when Mancini was still in charge!) So if you can spare a moment I would be very grateful if regular readers (and first time visitors) could post a comment to let me know what you think of my Blog site so far.

Learning curve.

I don’t mind how honest (please keep it clean though of course); I’ve never done a Blog before and so I need to know what’s good, what could be better and what’s down-right awful and / or annoying to readers. Please tell me what you think.

Equally if you have any ideas for new pages and/or features then I would be happy to take on board new ideas. I can’t promise that I’ll employ them but, then again, I just might!

With regards to the regularity of posts, I try to do at least 2 per week, sometimes but rarely 3. I find that any more and I’ll be in danger of talking subjects to death for the sake of it and / or coming up with less interesting snippets to ramble on about. I also work pretty-much full time and find that Tuesdays, Friday nights / Saturday mornings and Sundays are best for waffling on. I also don’t yet own a tablet or laptop and so can’t yet get stuff down at work on my dinner or when away on short breaks or full holidays.

I’m aware that I do lots of pre-match work and don’t necessarily do much in the way of post-match analysis (apart from ‘back comments’ just before the next match). Again I would be interested to see if I have the balance about right for peoples' enjoyment and information.

I try not to repeat what’s already out there already (what would be the point?) and try also, where possible, to take a different and quirky side-look at all things Manchester City and footy in general; injecting humour wherever I can.


-          General layout (although I’m no expert – I just experiment)

-          Colours

-          Other pages / features

-          Length of articles in general

-          Hyperlinks (are they useful or unnecessary?)

I’m also aware that when first posting there might be a few spelling, grammatical and / or layout issues; I do eventually spot and then edit them as soon as possible - then again, the Blog is call Blue Chews-daze…and I am often 'in one' when I’m typing away.

Thank you.

As promised…

Sam (my pet Westie) got a good walk today from City’s new training development and so here are some picture updates following the last lot

Bit of a grey day and it's not the finniest camera around...
First of all, here's a picture of what was the main, walk-in entrance to the corner of the East / South Stand of the main stadium from Alan Turing Way, which has now been blocked off in preparation for work on the connecting bridge that will link the Etihad Stadium to the training complex...
The 7,500-seater stadium where the EDS will play their games. It's coming along nicely! I wonder what the exit plan is from Hyde FC (can't believe we got them to drop the name United as part of the deal to 'do up' their ground and pitch while we use it) and how it will affect them?


I think a few more smaller-training-pitch floodlights have gone up - Interesting hey?

The players main training pitch surrounded by a stadium-like structure...

St. Mark's Church proudly sits in the background from the development; the birthplace of Manchester City F.C.


Saturday, 16 November 2013

Comment: 10 point-by-point breakdown

Following the M.E.N.’s article on the ten things Manchester City have to do to win the Premier League title, as suggested in my previous post I just wanted to add my 2-penneth worth to each point raised.


THE latest news is that the skipper will be out for another three weeks, meaning he will miss home games with Spurs and Swansea.

That is not as big a blow as it might be, especially as City have won three of their five home league games without the big Belgian.

But they need him back for the two following games, difficult trips to Southampton and West Brom, and need to be able to count on him in the long-term.

The worrying thing is that he is not just picking up unlucky collision injuries, but suffering from a variety of soft-tissue strains and tears – both calves, groin and now thigh. He is a tremendous athlete, but that might be the problem – he is just too finely-tuned.

Well, of course. And do it right; no rushing back no matter how much we miss him when he’s out. Vinny seems to be breaking down more and more in the last 18 to 24 months; worrying for a footballer who is about to reach the supposed start of his footballing prime (28 to 32 for an outfield player so ‘they’ say) in April 2014 when he reaches 28-years of age.

I agree that Vinny pushes himself in every game and although straining every sinew for ‘the cause’ sounds like a great thing for any footy fan and perhaps even the Manager; clearly literally straining so much is having a detrimental affect on both him and the team in the long term.

Time for him, his Physio and his Coaches to have a re-think on his style / technique while he’s rehabilitating from his latest set-back.


The flying Spain winger was very much Pellegrini’s Plan B, something which eluded Roberto Mancini during his tenure as City boss.

Mancini wanted a pacy winger with crossing ability, and pursued Alexi Sanchez for that reason, although he ended up with Adam Johnson and then Scott Sinclair.

Pellegrini appeared to have cracked it, adding pace and width in one fell swoop, and Navas announced himself with a fine debut in the 4-0 win over Newcastle.

Since then, he has gone into his shell, and Pellegrini has reverted to Mancini’s tactic of using his full-backs for width. It flopped badly at Sunderland.

Yes! I’ve mentioned this before; that a lot of us were drooling in anticipation of what we were going to get from the speedy, Spanish winger. Not only do we like our wide men at City; I think we’ve all felt somewhat starved for a really good, direct, nippy one ever since Shaun Wright-Phillips departed.

Not sure why he’s not been picked more than he has - even when David Silva was out for the recent Sunderland clash he only came on after a should-have-done-better starting 11 [manager's personnel choice] and 1st half. What does he have to do to get in the starting 11?

Of course none of us see him in training and you have to trust the Manager. And, of course, with all 4 competitions on the go the season is still a very long one indeed. Keep it to yourself but I recon – with David still out – we’ll see Jesus start at home against Spurs a week tomorrow.

How often we’ll see him after that may well depend on whether he takes advantage of that rare start by, hopefully, showing a similar performance to the one he showed against Newcastle on the opening game of the season. I do have to ask though, having performed so well against the Geordie side why has he hardly featured since?


Obviously, the on-going absence of Kompany means this is not possible right now, and the Blues have also suffered injuries to Matija Nastasic, Martin Demichelis, Micah Richards and Gael Clichy.

But one problem with using full-backs as auxiliary attackers is that they need rotating more often than other positions, and leave space in behind during games.

City’s strongest back four is debatable, but Pellegrini needs to work out his best unit and get them defending, first and foremost.

Sunderland exploited Richards’ advanced position – and Demichelis’ lack of pace – to score on Sunday.

Agreed. And although this has mostly been taken out of our manager’s hands through injuries (and lesser performances this season [compared to last] so far from both Nastasic and Clichy it has to be said), I do have a few “whys” to chuck in - yes, a little bit of criticism for our new manager…

-          Why did it take him so long to realise that Garcia just isn’t a centre-half replacement? Huh…he’s barley a midfield stand-in!

-          Why is it taking him so long to realise that, for the most part, Kolarov is an appalling defender?

-          Why, when short in that department, did he not think earlier that Richards or Boyata would be able to provide better, more natural cover?

-          And talking of a settled back 4; why, at Sunderland, leave Zabaleta and Clichy on the bench (clearly fit) and play Richards and Kolarov instead?

Pellegrini has to at least take some of the blame under the sub-heading of ‘settled back four’ here…


The point has been made, and Hart has been taken out of the firing line for a few games, but he remains City’s best keeper. It would be hard on Costel Pantilimon, who has done nothing wrong, but you cannot afford to wait for your keeper to mess up before making a change.

Extending Hart’s spell on the side-lines could affect him in the long-term, and you can be sure he has been working hard and examining his game during his enforced absence, and will come back stronger.

Bit harsh on Pantilimon (as the M.E.N. have admitted) and opinion is very split amongst both professional / ex-professional footballers and non-pros / ex-pros as to whether Hart should have been dropped. Friendly or not, even Roy Hodgson chose not to play our Joe in last night’s 2-0 defeat to Chili; despite being fit and available for selection.

As much as I’m sure we ALL agree that Joe is a far better keeper than Costel, I’m afraid the “law” adage of ‘possession being 9/10 etc.’ should apply here to - it should boil down to ‘Costel has the jersey and what has he done (so) wrong to deserve dropping?’

Is it fair that Joe was allowed half-a-dozen or more mistakes (over approximately 12 months) before the decision was finally made to bring down the axe on the England number 1…and now some sit waiting for the Romanian to make just one ‘bad-un’ before panicking and wanting to snap Joe back in between the sticks in the blink of an eye? Those same ‘some’ are already saying that Costel should have done better with Sunderland’s goal…

Of course Joe will be working harder than ever in training; trying hard to ‘get back to basics’ and iron out whatever it is that needs ironing out. I’m not expert enough to know whether leaving him out for a longer or lesser time will help or hinder him further but I have seen enough of Joe’s character to know that whenever he DOES return we will get our old Joe back…and possible even an improved version too!


Joleon Lescott is clearly not fancied by Pellegrini, even though he formed a strong partnership with Kompany in the title-winning team.

Given that he is likely to leave next summer, and possibly in the January window if the Blues decide to try to get a fee for him, City need to identify a replacement now, and get him in as soon as possible.

The problem with shopping in January is the best players tend to be unavailable, but in the unlikely event there is a good, quick, comfortable, quality central defender out there, the Blues need to move for him.

Such is the pace of news and sport that, already, the M.E.N. have produced another piece quoting that Joleon (and Micah) will get their chance for both City and, therefore, England. And so perhaps Manuel isn’t so anti-Lescott after all…

I like him but unfortunately I also think that we are close to the end of the Brummie’s time at City. I can’t see him being offered a new contract and so if he doesn’t go for a small fee in January; it’ll be a very, very good freebie for someone in the summer!

Who to go for? The article hits the nail on the head when it suggests that the best of the best of the best are rarely available in January and so do we stick or twist?

We can’t just HOPE that this is the last of Vinny’s injuries this season and, sadly, I don’t think that it will be. That leaves us with 2 left-footed central defenders (a ‘no-no’ combination in modern footballing management); a 32-year old ‘cover’ purchase and other than an ex-EDS, bit-part player Boyata we have a small selection of ‘can play there if desperate’ options.

That’s scatty to say the least and it all screams at me, “YES! Go and get a top-quality central defender in January”. Good luck; over to you Manchester City scouts, Ferran Soriano and Txiki Begiristain


Pellegrini told the media he has been ‘very happy’ with City’s away performances this season, pointing to the dominance they have had – both in possession and numbers of shots – in the games they have lost.

There are times when the message to the dressing room has to be different to that he is giving to the public, but this is not one of them.

Everyone who watched Sunday’s game could see there were serious flaws in the display, not least that Sunderland keeper Vito Mannone was not truly forced to work.

The fans are not mugs, so don’t treat them as such.

Totally agree. I’m starting to cringe when I see his all-too obvious ‘toeing the party line’ of being non-controversial. He has been clearly told to steer away from the Mancini-style (fair enough) but I don’t think he was ever that sort of person in the first place. Now, clearly with Khaldoon and the two afore mentioned Executives’ voices ringing in his ears; he’s gone way over the top and sounds ridiculous when trying to deflect or defend on (wrong) occasions.


The young England midfielder is still cautiously recuperating from his latest hamstring problem, and City are right to take it easy with him. But Javi Garcia, after 15 months at the club, still fails to convince anyone that he is of the sufficient standard.

With him standing in for Fernandinho, City immediately lost pace and dynamism in midfield, without gaining the nous and work rate Gareth Barry would have brought.

Rodwell is more of a natural replacement for the Brazilian and, although he still has plenty to prove, he would not have been worse than Garcia at the Stadium of Light.

Couldn’t agree more. His only failing is that he’s more fragile that Vincent Kompany and John Guidetti put together - only Scott Sinclair beats him to the ‘time spent in the rehabilitation room’ trophy.

Whenever he’s played Jack has fallen somewhere between a good, solid display to a rather impressive one. I for one, in fact, wasn’t aware of his thrusting-forward and finishing ability until last season.

Surely…SURELY a better option than Garcia!


You wonder just how much of Silva’s frequent injury problems relate to the fact that he is indispensable.

He finished last season in July due to international commitments, but was straight back into action at the beginning of this campaign.

That may have contributed to a five-game absence – including the uninspired draw at Stoke and defeat at Villa.

Since that lay-off, he has been involved in every game, including the League Cup, and maybe it is no shock that he has another muscular injury.

I’m guilty of not realising this (obvious now pointed out) fact and had I have been the Manchester City manager, I may well have contributed to his quite frequent breakdowns; due, mostly, to fatigue I’m sure. The problem is that he IS so vital for both club and country it’s hard for both managers not to pick him every, single game. ‘He makes us tick’ and ‘City missed that spark in the middle’ are constant phrases, amongst similar others, when referring to David.

They’re right. Although, as we know all-too-well, there are no ‘should win games’ anymore; perhaps the occasional home game where we…a-hem, SHOULD win; we should drop him to the bench to rest those little, magical legs of his. Huh…and then cue Navas as a first-choice replacement of course!


City could end up falling between four stools this season, as Pellegrini desperately needs a trophy to keep up with the quota set by his bosses.

But the Blues need to treat the domestic cups with respect without  risking important players too much, and they perhaps need to realise the Champions League is something to take seriously later in their evolution.

Focusing fire on the league, and seeing the cups as a bonus, would be wise.

Absolutely! Absolutely! ABSO-FLIPPIN’-LUTELY! I reiterate their words, ”…realise the Champions League is something to take seriously later in their evolution”.


Former United players have been having a field day against the Blues this season with Fraizer Campbell, Zoran Tosic and Phil Bardsley all scoring against them, while Wes Brown and John O’Shea marshalled Sunderland’s defence well.

Start to treat ex-Reds in the same manner as you treat the current Reds – and give them a good walloping!

Give them a good walloping, yes, but I can’t really take 'Point 10' too seriously or agree otherwise.