Monday, 29 September 2014


Through to the last 16 of the League Cup and 3 points on Saturday to take us to 3rd in the Premier League. Let’s hope we can make it a ‘perfect week’ with 3 points in our first Champions League home game.

Romans come to town

Not a nice lot, by all accounts, are fans of Roma – not tarring all of them with the same brush of course; ‘they have a history’.

My own recollections are that they were involved in stabbing several Liverpool fans outside their own ground a while back; I had a Manyoo fan telling me only yesterday how their fans too were treated badly by both Roma fans and the Italian Police.

In a candid interview published by the M.E.N. yesterday, Aleks Kolarov also heavily suggested that City players and fans alike were likely to receive a hot reception in our return trip to Italy in December. In the same interview Aleks was refreshingly honest when suggesting that our home fans who, whilst can be decent at times, were way too quiet in general. It’s a time-worn debate that will surface again and again but I agree with him.

Down to the footy then

Bit of a brief one really…

Firstly, I’ve recently read, Roma could be without as many as seven key players ahead of this evening’s clash. However, don’t be fooled by this. At least 2 of them are long-term injuries; players who haven’t yet featured this season and who won’t be back for another month or so.

As for the other 5; I’m not sure how recent their injuries have been and how much, therefore, they have and have not featured in their excellent start to their domestic season. Not being an Italian club expert, a quick look at their results and the second-placed team in Serie A (on goal difference) have played and beaten Fiorentina, Empoli, Cagliari, Parma and Verona. Apart from Fiorentina most of those don’t sound like ‘top’ Italian teams; Parma sit 18th with 1 win and 4 defeats.

In fairness Roma did also wallop CSKA Moscow 5-1 in the last round but, then again, I don’t know the Russian’s strength-levels…and we beat them by a similar 5-2 home score last November.

So, potentially (and another) really tough one tonight. Regardless of their opposition being strong or other wise they have played 6 (in all competitions), won 6, scored 14 and conceded just 2.

They clearly pose a threat and, so, despite being at home I think I’d be tempted to go for a strong midfield that can both defend and attack with pace if needed. My team would be this…











However, I doubt our ‘Engineer’ will want to go with one striker at home in a competition that he’ll want to grab by the scruff of the neck from the very start; and with Dzeko’s two moral-boosting goals on Saturday he’ll be hoping that our ‘hot & cold’ man will take heart from those strikes against Hull City.

Predicted line-up v Roma:











Similar [to mine], slightly narrower ‘3 across the middle’ in between Fernandinho and the strikers. Solid enough, threatening enough. Kolarov & Sagna to provide occasional supporting ‘bursts’ from the back.

One to watch

Number 18 – Mattia Destro. I personally want to watch him as the ‘rumour machine’ fairly recently suggested that we were ‘keeping an eye’ on the young Italian international striker. Very hot property by all accounts; 21 goals in 45 appearances and a corker of a goal at the weekend.

Result? The players and manager seem really up for this competition; they’re under a bit of pressure to get a result and so I can see it being both a nervy & energetic start and I’m sure they’ll take the injustice and disappointing late Bayern defeat and use that as motivation. A narrow home victory.

Personal note

Having not signed up to the League Cup and & F.A. Cup schemes this season I am attending this competition. As a Manchester City fans who has been going for 29+ years – for the most of that time not involved in European competitions – I still don’t get the same ‘buzz’ as I do just before a Premier League game.

I’m looking forward to it of course and I’m sure once I see the floodlights and hear the Roma fans, undoubtedly, bouncing their way through several pre-match songs; the hairs on the back of my neck will wake up…

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