Friday, 29 August 2014

Man City vs Stoke City - Preview

               Manchester City vs Stoke City
       Saturday 30th August, Etihad Stadium
                             Kick off 15:00
                       Referee: Lee Mason







Next up at the Etihad Stadium are Stoke City, Stoke lost their first game and could only manage a draw in their second game despite playing against ten men for 75 minutes, it is quite easy to suggest that it is doubtful that they will pose much of a threat to us.

It is never my intention to disrespect any of our opponents but I don't see what Stoke can bring to the game that will cause us any problems.
In their first home game of the season they were beaten by Aston Villa, a team that are more or less on par with Stoke, they didn't really cause Villa any problems and lost the game with a whimper.
In their second game of the season they could only manage a draw against a Hull side playing with ten men for most of the game, now I didn't manage to watch as much of this game as I would have liked so I wont say to much but the basic facts involved don't make good reading.

The good thing about Stoke these days is that they aren't as boring to watch as they used to be, they don't just try to defend and hoof anymore, Hughes has them trying to play football a bit more.
There is a couple of decent players in their team that could cause us problems but the main player I think we need to watch is Arnautovic, he always looks a good player when I see him play, he likes to attack and he isn't scared to have a pop.
I also think it is worth keeping an eye on Bardsley if he plays tomorrow, in my opinion Bardsley is under rated, he is good at going forward and can weigh in with a goal, he definitely could be the source of an unsuspected threat.

As for us, we have started the season well enough, 2 games, 6 points, 5 goals, not bad at all but there is much more to come.
We have conjured moments of brilliance in our first two games that have turned into goals, but we haven't played a full 90 minutes of football where we have been consistently good. I know it is only early season and I do believe that we are going to get better and better, we are entering our third game now though and should be fit enough and sharp enough to really turn it on.

As you have probably worked out by now, I expect us to win this game and win it comfortably at that, in fact I expect us to absolutely hammer them.

Man City Team News
Alvaro Negredo is the only definite absentee with a broken foot, Eliaquim Mangala is again expected to miss out due to a lack of fitness.

Stoke City Team News
Victor Moses may not be deemed match fit and is expected to start on the bench, Geoff Cameron is set to miss out with a thigh problem, Bojan Krkic (rib) and Phil Bardsley (knee) were both expected to miss out but some reports now suggest that they may be included in the team.

Possible Man City Line Up
Hart, Zabaleta, Demichelis, Kompany, Kolarov, Nasri, Toure, Fernando, Silva, Jovetic, Dzeko.

Possible Stoke City Line Up
Begovic, Bardsley, Shawcross, Wilson, Pieters, Sidwell, Whelan, Odemwingie, N'Zonzi, Arnautovic, Crouch.

My Prediction
Man City 5 - 0 Stoke City.

Worth A Bet
Fernando scores the first goal in a 5-0 Man City win @ a massive 260/1.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE DRAW - BAYERN MUNICH - AGAIN!

The draw for the Champions League has just finished and we have ended up in what I would say is a tough enough group.

We have been put in group E alongside Bayern Munich, CSKA Moscow and A.S. Roma, of course we know we can beat both Bayern and CSKA after drawing them last year at this stage, Roma finished second in Serie A last season and will surely be a decent test for us.

Not a group we would have asked for I don't think but we should be able to get out of it, they are all going to be hard away trips and I think our home games will be key.

I suppose it doesn't matter really who you get because in a competition like this there are so many good teams and in the end you have to beat the best to be the best, it is also easy to forget at times how feared we will be by the other teams.

Exciting trips ahead!

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Man City 3 - 1 Liverpool *Highlights Video*

On a rainy Monday night at the Etihad two goals from Stevan Jovetic and one from Sergio Aguero were enough to send Liverpool home defeated.

Where to begin, well in my pre match I declared that I wasn't nervous of playing Liverpool and yesterdays game shown that there was no need to be, I felt that we are a better team than them and last night I think we proved as much.

Liverpool came and played with men behind the ball and in the first half it worked for them quite well, we couldn't find a gap, they were seeing a lot of the ball and breaking forward when they saw an opportunity, an individual mistake as well as some great work from Jovetic sent them in at half time one down, probably undeservedly so.
Although we were not bad in the first half, we certainly were not at our best and were lacking in midfield and defence, Liverpool caused us problems and had our defence in a spin at times.

In the second half I thought that we were much better, we were more composed, organised and began to dictate the play.
There were still gaps in our midfield and Liverpool were still causing our defence problems but ultimately we were in control of the game.
Our attacking had gone from average to exceptional and it only took ten minutes for us to score our second goal, a goal that was a perfect example of how to rip a defence apart in the blink of an eye.
Our threat going forward continued and at one point we looked in the mood to score a bag full, it didn't go that way but we did manage a third, again we showed how easy it was to breach Liverpool's defence, a simple pass from Navas to Aguero and our Argentine finished superbly to score just 23 seconds after coming on.

Over 90 minutes last night I don't think I could wholeheartedly say that we were the best team, but when it mattered most we were far superior, our class shone through and we deservedly came out on top.

There was a couple of things that were particularly unpleasing about our performance last night, firstly our midfield.
Our midfield is far to lightweight at times and totally exposes our defence, Nasri and Silva mostly take up positions further up the pitch so really we only have two in the middle of the pitch.
I am sorry to disappoint all those people who make excuses for Yaya but it was this man again that did not pull his weight, in fact he did absolutely nothing again.
Now saying that, I do understand that Yaya may decide to impact the game when he can be bothered, so even if you keep him on the pitch, I still felt that plugging the gap in midfield is something that Pellegrini could have done.

I don't think our defence looked the best last night either, they were making me a little nervous at times which is unusual.
I am going to give them the benefit of the doubt because I don't think they were protected well enough but I still think they need to improve on this performance because they looked a tad shaky.

Now I have finished with that opinionated analysing, how good is Stevan Jovetic! I have spoken to a fair few City fans who have said to me that if he didn't start the season well that we should sell him, I fought his corner because I have seen his qualities over many years.
Stevan was absolutely class last night, he covered most of the pitch fighting from the front, his link up play was excellent and his sheer class shone through, if he continues like this he is going to be a superstar.

Once again not the best display by our standards, I do think though that we are going to get better with every game, we will get fitter, sharper, stronger and continue to dominate the league.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Man City vs Liverpool - Preview

            Manchester City vs Liverpool
     Monday 25th August, Etihad Stadium
                          Kick off 20:00
                 Referee: Michael Oliver







Our second game of the season brings us our first big test, we beat Liverpool to the title last season and you would expect them to be there or there abouts again come the end of the season.

Its only the second game of the season but for me this is a very important game and could even be a season defining game come the end of the campaign, for us and Liverpool alike.
I know some people will be thinking that sounds extreme and it very well might but I'm not just thinking of the three points at stake, of course gaining three points and preventing a title rival from taking them is important, however at this stage of the season the potential confidence booster from winning this game could prove more important than three points, it will give us that extra boost that could help us cruise through our up and coming fixtures.

Both ourselves and Liverpool have played one and won one, although neither team performed to the standards that we know that they are capable of.
We put in what can only be described as a professional performance against Newcastle, we were lacking that cutting edge, looked as bit sluggish and did only what we had to for us to win the game.
Liverpool on the other hand looked good going forward against Southampton but lacked the organisation and discipline that we showed against Newcastle and at the end of their game I felt that Southampton were worthy of at least a point.

I don't expect to see either team perform in the same manner on Monday night, I am expecting an adrenaline filled end to end game.
Last season City and Liverpool were the two best teams to watch if you wanted to see attacking football and I am expecting both teams to put on a good offensive show in this encounter.
Of course this time around Liverpool are without Luis Suarez and that makes a big difference when it comes to dealing with Liverpool's attack, although some suggest that it wont.
Strangely enough I was picked up from a night out in Wythenshawe (I know, I know) by a Liverpool fan taxi driver last night and a Suarez argument broke out, he was claiming they wont miss him and that Balotelli will fill the gap, he was clearly deluded although I have seen Liverpool fans saying similar things online, so they are trying their best to cover it up but it is obvious to all that Liverpool will miss Suarez, but we certainly wont.

Ultimately I expect us to win this game, playing Liverpool doesn't make me nervous in the slightest, I think we have the more experienced squad and to be blunt I just think we are all round a better team and if that sounds a little cocky it is not meant to be, it is just the way I feel.

Man City Team News
Alvaro Negredo continues his recovery from a broken foot and Eliaquim Mangala is again expected to miss out due to a lack of fitness.

Liverpool Team News
Daniel Agger, Jon Flanagan, Oussama Assaidi and Adam Lallana are all set to miss out with knee injuries, Jose Enrique is expected to face a late fitness as he also has a knew complaint. New signings Lazar Markovic and Alberto Moreno are in line to make their debuts.

Possible Man City Line Up
Hart, Zabaleta, Demichelis, Kompany, Kolarov, Nasri, Toure, Fernando, Silva, Jovetic, Dzeko.

Possible Liverpool Line Up
Mignolet, Johnson, Skrtel, Lovren, Manquillo, Gerrard, Allen, Henderson, Coutinho, Sterling, Sturridge.

My Prediction
Man City 3 - 1 Liverpool.

Worth A Bet
Yaya Toure scores the first goal in a 3-1 Man City win @ 60/1.

Monday, 18 August 2014

Newcastle United 0 - 2 Man City - Silva 38', Aguero 90+2' *Highlights Video*

Our first game of the season brought us our first three points and a first away win, it was a perfect result from a performance that can only be regarded as doing 'just enough'.

I felt like we were going to face a good test yesterday and I believe that was the case, Newcastle have some good players and I think they shown that they have the potential to be a very good team, a little bit more quality in defence and attack from the home side could have seen the game finish with a different result.

When the game started it only took me a couple of minutes to feel comfortable with the way we were playing, we weren't playing amazing but we were in control for the first fifteen minutes, trying to attack at every opportunity.
Halfway through the first half I felt like we let Newcastle back into the game, we were sloppy in possession and lacked any real determination and work ethic, luckily Newcastle failed to capitalise and didn't cause us any problems.
Towards the end of the first half our class shone through and we scored, Yaya Toure who may as well not have been on the pitch up until the goal decided he was ready to show his class, a fantastic ball forward to Dzeko was back heeled by the Bosnian into the path of David Silva who then slotted the ball into the net.

At half time I think as a City fan you could probably say that we deserved a narrow lead, we by no means hammered Newcastle but we were the better team and Newcastle gave Joe Hart an easy time, of course I think Newcastle fans probably thought they had done enough to deserve going in level and if I was in their shoes I might of agreed, after all we only created a couple clear cut chances ourselves and didn't truly impose ourselves.

The second half was a little bit more entertaining than the first and that was mainly down to Newcastle, they created a couple of chances that I would of expected City to finish off, although I have to give credit to our players for their defending, there was a couple of last ditch challenges but in the end Hart was left untroubled.

Overall looking back at the game we were more clinical, more organised, more disciplined and we did deserve to win the game, we could of performed a lot better and put the game to bed earlier but I am sure that will come once we have a few games under our belt.

I have to admit I was expecting us to stick a couple more past Newcastle yesterday, if we had just stepped it up a gear I think we could have exposed a vulnerable defence a lot more than we did.
I have to point the finger at the midfield, we had four players in the middle of the pitch but there was only two pulling their weight, Nasri started the game well but faded away and was very ineffective, then there is Yaya Toure who did absolutely nothing until he decided he was ready to show his quality with a great pass to Dzeko in the build up to our first goal, as some of you may know I have always been a critic of Toure because he frustrates me, he could contribute so much more than he does but if he doesn't want to then he wont.

On the upside there were some really good performances on show, Fernando had a solid debut, Clichy worked tirelessly and Silva was up and down involved in both defence and attack, there are three players though that particularly caught my eye.

Stevan Jovetic looked bright again, he was strong, worked hard and is clearly a class act, for me he was trying to hard to score at times and just needed to let his natural ability shine through, once he settles into the team he is going to bag plenty of goals.

Aleksandar Kolarov, this guy has improved no end compared to when we signed him. Last season he grew on me because he seemed to be getting better with every game and yesterday proved that he is continuing in that trend, he looks so confident in his ability and bosses the left hand side of the pitch, if he keeps maturing as a player I don't think we will see a better left back than him all season.

Edin Dzeko, he was fantastic yesterday, he attacked well, he held the ball up well, he defended well and his work rate was second to none, his man of the match award was thoroughly deserved. Now I have always maintained that Edin looks a far better player when he works hard and that is definitely the case but his main problem is being consistent, hopefully he will keep turning out these selfless performances for the team because if he does he is a certain game winner.

All in all it was a decent performance against a good team away from home, it is clear that we can play much much better but it is only the first game and the main thing was that we came away with all three points.


Saturday, 16 August 2014

Newcastle Utd vs Man City - Preview

           Newcastle United vs Manchester City
            Sunday 17th August, St James Park
                              Kick-off 16:00
                    Referee: Martin Atkinson


My blog is back, football season is back and most importantly our beloved league champions are back.

Hopefully everyone had time to enjoy a break from the stresses of league football over the summer and are now ready to do it all again as we go on the march for more trophies.

We have had a very predictable summer in terms of signings, we knew Zuculini was coming before the season ended and it was obvious Mangala and Fernando would be targeted after a failed attempt in the January window. We have also added Sagna and Caballero to the team and whilst I do not expect any of them to displace either Zabaleta or Hart, I do think they will prove to be strong signings when it comes to using all of your squad.

I am of course looking forward to the beginning of the season as always, however I am looking forward to this one without being able to decide whether its going to be a tough season or a comfortable one for our team.
I am reading a lot of articles that suggest it is going to be a very close run league this year and I think it could be, but then I also think that we are capable of blowing everyone away, I just can't commit to an opinion because I am just not sure yet.
I am quite sure though that we have the strongest squad in the league, I honestly don't think that man for man there is a squad better than ours, I also think  that we have the most balanced squad in the league and if Pellegrini can add some tactical awareness to that, I think we will be hard to beat in any competition.

Now to tomorrows match, despite improving on the previous season Newcastle are a team that I think slightly under achieved last season, with the addition of players like de Jong and Cabella I am expecting them to do much better again this time around.
Newcastle have some very talented players in their ranks and much like I said about Pellegrini getting his tactics right, if Pardew does the same with his players then I think they will be a dangerous team.

Unfortunately for Newcastle I think that if you were to pick a weak area in their team it would be the defence, they have pulled off a superb piece of business by getting rid of the very over rated Debuchy and brought in a very talented player in Janmaat but I think an experienced centre half at the very least was needed.
To be blunt, your Haidara's, Mbiwa's and Santon's of this world are not good enough to deal with the attacking threat of a team like ours and that's the main reason why I think we will comfortably win the game tomorrow.

As for us, well it is just back to business isn't it? We have made a few signings but I expect the team to remain very much the same as it was last season, of course this may depend on what formation Pellegrini plays.
The only definite change that I can see to the team will be Mangala and that might not be as straight forward as it seems considering the way Demichelis played for the second half of last season.
Along with Mangala the other player we signed with the strongest chance of becoming a first team regular is Fernando, but unless we stick one up top I don't see who he pushes out of the team, Fernandinho, Nasri, Silva and Toure are surely first choice, aren't they?
The only other thing I can think of if we are to play with a four man midfield is that Fernandinho will revert back to being an attacking midfielder when playing in the same team as Fernando, which could mean a lot of rotation in the midfield.

I suppose ifs, buts and opinions don't really matter at this stage, we will just have to wait and see what the manager decides to go with, one thing that can be considered a fact though, whoever plays we are going to be watching a great football team once again this season, a team that in my head and my heart I believe should win the league again, starting with three points at St James Park.

Man City Team News
New signing Eliaquim Mangala will not feature due to a lack of training and fitness, Alvaro Negredo is the only other player to definitely miss out with a broken foot. Sergio Aguero is rumoured to have picked up a groin injury and may not feature.

Newcastle United Team News
New signing Siem de Jong and Cheick Tiote both miss out with calf injuries, Papiss Cisse, Davide Santon and Ryan Taylor will also miss the game with all three suffering with knee injuries.

Possible Man City Line Up
Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany, Demichelis, Kolarov, Silva, Fernandinho, Toure, Nasri, Jovetic, Dzeko.

Possible Newcastle Utd Line up
Krul, Janmaat, Coloccini, Williamson, Haidara, Sissoko, Cabella, Gouffran, Anita, Ferreyra , Riviere.

My Prediction
Newcastle United 1 - 4 Man City.

Worth A Bet
David Silva scores the first goal in a 1 - 4 Man City win @ 120/1

Friday, 6 December 2013

Southampton vs Man City - Sat 7th Dec 2013 KO 15:00



Two down one to go, a tough trip to Southampton is the last of three games before the big one against Arsenal, if we win this one we will be ready to make a full blown assault on our title rivals.

Southampton have had a run of bad results recently after starting the season really well, everyone can have a bad patch though as we well know and considering two of their recent defeats have been against Arsenal and Chelsea that doesn't make them a bad team all of a sudden.
I have seen Southampton a fair bit this season and I have always been reasonably impressed, Pochettino has built a strong, well organised, attacking team, unfortunately for them and luckily for us they are struggling with injuries and may not be able to display those attributes against us.

Unlike Southampton we are on a very good run of form, 12 goals in our last 3 league games and only 2 conceded makes good reading. We haven't performed to the best of our ability well we have been winning lately and there is certainly work to be done on the midfield and defence but I suppose it is not worth dwelling on until it contributes to a bad result, right now winning is all that matters no matter how we go about it.

I am looking forward to tomorrows game, if we win I think we will have turned the corner properly and the significance of winning three games on the bounce and twice away from home will be huge for the teams confidence, I just hope that we can do it and its not another false dawn.

Man City Team News:
David Silva and Stevan Jovetic are believed to be over their calf problems but are not expected to risked for tomorrows game, Matija Nastasic is also said to be nearing fitness after also struggling with a calf problem but will not be available for tomorrows game.

Southampton Team News:
Gaston Ramirez is expected to return from illness but Nathaniel Clyne (hamstring), Morgan Schneiderlin (groin) and Jose Fonte (knock) are all doubts for the home side whilst Victor Wanyama, (ankle), Artur Boruc (hand), Danny Fox (hamstring), Guly Do Prado (knee) and Kelvin Davis (back) are all expected to be absent.

Possible Man City Line Up: Pantilimon, Zabaleta, Kompany, Demichelis, Clichy, Toure, Fernandinho, Navas, Nasri, Aguero, Negredo.

Possible Southampton Line Up: Gazzaniga, Clyne, Yoshida, Lovren, Shaw, S Davis, Ward-Prowse, Lallana, Ramirez, Rodriguez, Lambert.

My Prediction: Southampton 0 - 2 Man City.

Worth A Bet: Fernandinho scores the first goal in a 0 - 2 Man City win @ 115/1.