Monday, 20 October 2014

CSKA Moscow vs Man City - Preview

        CSKA Moscow vs Manchester City
      Tuesday 21st October, Arena Khimki
                         Kick Off 17:00
                     Referee: Istvan Vad

The games are coming thick and fast, next for us is a trip to a very cold Russia in the UEFA Champions league.

There isn't a great deal to say about this game apart from that we need to win it, this game must be the start of taking our destiny back into our own hands.

So, what kind of team are we facing? Well CSKA have won their last five league games, scoring 19 goals and conceding just 4, however in the middle of their fine league form they have been beaten twice in the Champions League, conceding 6 goals and scoring just 1.

So what have we learnt from that apart from the clear fact that the Russian league is a terrible standard of football? Well it does not matter what kind of opposition you have been beating in football, as long as you are winning then your confidence will grow and having confidence can help to win football games, so I think that we should be conscious of that.

I am obviously expecting us to win this game and I am expecting us to smash them without breaking a sweat, teams like CSKA need to be our bread and butter in the Champions League, they are no where near as good a team as us and I think that we need to use them to send a message out to Roma and Bayern.

I also feel like we have been disrespected by Ahmed Musa in the build up to the game with the striker stating the following, "As you can see, they are very weak this year. We are going to use that advantage against them.
"In a couple of games they haven't been that good. They are very weak in the defence, so we are going to do our best to work against that.
"I think we are going to have a great opportunity because of the quality of the players we have. I think Tuesday is going to be a very good game for us."
Is this guy for real, we are the current champions of England which is arguably the best league in the world, plus if we are 'very weak' then I have not noticed, it has really got my back up and should have done the same to our players, hopefully it will give them extra motivation.

Man City Team News
Samir Nasri remains out with a groin injury, Eliaquim Mangala has been training with the rest of the team in Russia and should return to the the squad, Frank Lampard misses out with a thigh injury.

CSKA Moscow Team News
Dzagoev and Wernbloom are suspended, Elm (stomach), Panchenko (knee) and Vitinho (ankle) are expected to miss out.  Fernandes (elbow) and Doumbia (thigh) are possible doubts for the home team.

Possible Man City Line Up
Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany, Mangala, Clichy, Milner, Toure, Fernandinho, Navas, Silva, Dzeko.

Possible CSKA Moscow Line Up
Akinfeev, Fernandes, V Berezutski, Ignashevich, Schennikov, A Berezutski, Tošić, Natcho, Eremenko, Milanov, Musa.

My Prediction
CSKA Moscow 0 - 5 Man City.

Worth A Bet
David Silva scores the first goal in a 0 - 4 Man City win @ 120/1 or you could go with Yaya Toure first goal and  0 - 4 to City @ 100/1.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Man City 4 - 1 Tottenham Hotspur

A game full of missed opportunities, bad passing, goals and penalties finished with us as the victors, it must have been a cracking game to watch for a neutral.

I will start with Spurs, I have to give Spurs credit, they came to try and win which is something we don't see a lot from the away team.
They created a few chances and although they messed up a couple of them, they also had Joe Hart in their way, England's number one was absolutely fantastic.
Ultimately Spurs lost the game because we were the better team but only just, neither team passed well or defended well, if I was a Spurs fan I would certainly feel like 4 - 1 was not necessarily a true picture of how they played.

As for us, as I mentioned our passing was poor and our defending was terrible at times, we attacked well but our end product wasn't good enough.
It has been a long time since I have seen us defend so badly, we looked panicked, were sloppy and were causing ourselves problems.
I am not concerned about it that much though, you just have to look at Fernando as an example because he was absolutely terrible yesterday, we know he can play much better than that and I think it can be put down to an off day.

It was much the same scenario with our passing because that was bad as well, the whole team were guilty of it but none other than David Silva was the main culprit and the whole world knows how good he is at passing a football, so yet again you have to let them off with a run of the mill bad day at the office.

We had a few players that played well yesterday and who kept us ticking over well we weren't at our best, Clichy, Navas, Milner for example but lets face it, Sergio Aguero was the difference.
Pochettino was bang on when he said that he is the best striker in the world, what attribute has Aguero not got because I can't think of any, he is a defenders worst nightmare, I think that if you want to stop him then there's not much more that you can do but kick him, a truly integral player for us who needs another new contract putting in front of him asap.

Overall we played decent enough, beat a good team that caused us problems, bagged another three points and can start to build some momentum again after being interrupted by the International break.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Man City vs Tottenham Hotspur - Preview

        Manchester City vs Tottenham Hotspur
        Saturday 18th October, Etihad Stadium
                              Kick Off 12:45
                     Referee: Jonathan Moss

Finally the International break is over and we can get back to league football, it has only been two weeks but it seems like an eternity since our last game, hopefully we will be raring to go.
It always feels like its a fresh start after an International break and where that might work for some teams, I don't think that the break came at the right time for us this time around.
We have taken eight points from our last four games which included games against Arsenal and Chelsea, we brushed aside Hull and Villa without breaking much of a sweat and were clearly starting to click, hopefully the break will not break our momentum.
As for Spurs, well I haven't managed to see a great deal of them this season so I cannot possibly judge them to much, they clearly have a talented squad and some outstanding individual players and will surely pose a threat.
Last season we smashed Spurs twice and although I am not expecting that to happen in this game, I still think that we will win the game quite comfortably.
Like I said I haven't seen Spurs play loads this season but when I have seen them play I felt like they were lacking defensively, a lot of their midfield is attack minded and the defence is not protected well enough, once you do break through what is effectively a two man midfield then you hit two centre backs that lack the pace to keep up with the likes of Silva and Aguero and I think that we will capitalise on that.
Man City Team News
Samir Nasri continues to recover from a groin injury, Fernandinho is expected to miss out with a hamstring problem and Eliaquim Mangala is also set to miss out after returning from International duty with a muscle injury, Yaya Toure only got back from International duty on Thursday and may be rested.
Tottenham Hotspur Team News
Hugo Lloris (thigh) and Nacer Chadli (hip) did not feature for their Countries this week but are likely to be fit enough to make Tottenham's match day squad at the very least, Emmanuel Adebayor and Nabil Bentaleb only returned from International duty on Friday and may be rested, Kyle Naughton (ankle) and Kyle Walker (pelvis) remain sidelined.
Possible Man City Line Up
Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany, Demichelis, Clichy, Milner, Toure, Fernando, Silva, Aguero, Dzeko.
Possible Tottenham Hotspur Line Up
Lloris, Dier, Kaboul, Vertonghen, Rose, Capoue, Mason, Eriksen, Lamela, Chadli, Soldado.
My Prediction
Man City 3 - 0 Spurs.
Worth A Bet
Pablo Zabaleta scores the first goal in a 3 - 0 Man City win @ 200/1.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Man City vs Sheffield Wednesday - Preview

      Manchester City vs Sheffield Wednesday
  Wednesday 24th September, Etihad Stadium
                             Kick Off 19:45
                      Referee: Paul Tierney

We welcome Sheffield Wednesday to the Etihad in the first game of our quest to defend our League Cup.
I am not someone who takes any competition for granted and we should be trying to win this trophy again, although it does feel like it is a game without the pressure that the league and champions league carries.
I can't pretend that I see a lot of Sheffield Wednesday play, I do regularly check their results when I am flicking through the score centre on the ipad but that is only because I follow ex hopefuls like Helan to see how they are getting on, apart from that I don't know very much at all.
I do know that they have been doing quite well so far this season, they are just three points off the top of the league and have lost just one game to Stuart Pearce's high flying Forest team.
I imagine that Wednesday will come full of confidence and adrenaline ready to take on the big boys and so they should, still I think it will be difficult for them to get a result at the Etihad, although not impossible of course.
It is hard to talk about us in relation to tomorrows game because we are without doubt going to see a lot of changes to the starting line, I don't think it should make to much difference though because I think that the players brought into the team will have a point to prove, it is going to be difficult to name a possible team and I am going to choose from the senior players but it will be no surprise to see the likes of Bytyqi and Hiwula in the squad.
I imagine that the result of tomorrows match will not matter to much to the manager whatever the outcome, I think that Pellegrini will want to win this trophy but I don't imagine that he will have a sleepless night if we were to get knocked out.
It is a shame that the League Cup is so undervalued these days but managers just don't like the extra games and it is this competition that is sacrificed, I would like to think that our club want to win this trophy as much as the others but I do doubt that will be the case, I know that I want to win it just like I did pre 2008, a time when it would of been a dream to see us lift this cup.
Man City Team News
Pablo Zabaleta is suspended following his red car against Chelsea, Sergio Aguero is out with a minor knee injury and David Silva will miss out with an ankle complaint, Stevan Jovetic is still recovering from a hamstring injury and Fernando is still not ready to return due to a groin injury.
Sheffield Wednesday Team News
Everton and Reading have given permission for on loan pair Hallam Hope and Royston Drenthe to play and both may feature, Kieran Lee (groin) and Sam Hutchinson (back) continue to recover from injury.
Possible Man City Line Up
Caballero, Sagna, Demichelis, Nastasic, Clichy, Sinclair, Fernandinho, Lampard, Navas, Milner, Dzeko.

Possible Sheffield Wednesday Line Up
Kirkland, Palmer, lees, Loovens, Mattock, Maguire, Semedo, Coke, Helan, Nuhiu, May.
My Prediction
Man City 3 - 1 Sheffield Wednesday.
Worth A Bet
Frank Lampard scores the first goal in a 3-1 Man City win @ 50/1.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Man City 1 - 1 Chelsea - Shafted Again

There is only one place to begin and that is with the referee, he was card happy, inconsistent and took every opportunity that he could to slow us down.

Mike Dean should definitely be relieved from Premier League duty in the coming weeks, he was absolutely shocking. He blew his whistle nearly every time we made a tackle, booked players for their first foul, refused to give us a penalty twice and ultimately sent Zabaleta off for a second bookable offence when he should not have been shown the first yellow, not to mention that he let Costa get away with putting his hands around Zabbas throat.

We were very very good today and bossed Chelsea in every area of the pitch, there is no way they would have scored against us had Zabbo not been sent off, they caught us on the break a few minutes after the dismissal when we were still reeling from the refs decision, as soon as we composed ourselves we started controlling the game again and super Frank Lampard grabbed the goal that secured a point, although we clearly deserved three.

The referee is the main talking point for now and rightly so, but there were so many positives to come out of today's game.
I will start with the team, nearly the whole team were committed to the cause and did not stop fighting, Yaya was the weakest link again but I am not going to say he played badly but he certainly played within himself and could have offered more, but as a whole the lads were immense.
Next some praise for the manager, in my pre match I said I wanted to see us go all out and attack Chelsea, Manuel set us up to do just that and it worked perfectly, he made a wise move by starting Milner knowing that his work ethic would be well utilised against a Chelsea team whose main objective was to make sure that they didn't concede and then of course he made the decision to bring Lampard on, need I say more.
I will finish off with the debut of Mangala, what a great performance from the Frenchman who rightly took the man of the match award at the Etihad. Imagine getting thrown into the side for the first time to face such tough opposition, it could be daunting for some players but that clearly wasn't the case for Mangala, he was absolutely immense and had Costa and co in his pocket all game, he was strong, quick, powerful, he reads the game well and always came out on top when it came to a tackle, if this was just a regular performance from him then I will declare now that we have the best centre back pairing in the world.

We didn't get the result we deserved today but I don't think that we need to dwell on it, it was our best performance this season by a mile and I think we should just look forward to continuing on that path, more so than ever I still maintain that we are by a distance the best team in the league, as long as we don't drop any silly points then I am sure that we will catch up and overtake the current leaders.

Man City vs Chelsea - Preview

            Manchester City vs Chelsea
 Sunday 21st September, Etihad Stadium
                        Kick Off 16:00
                   Referee: Mike Dean

Following tough games against Arsenal and Bayern we finally get an easy run out against Chelsea, in all seriousness this is potentially a vital game for us even though it is still early in the season.

Chelsea come to us tomorrow having won all of their league games this season, they have a good manager, a good team and they are scoring goals, it does not take a rocket scientist to work out that they will cause us some serious problems.

I expect Mourinho to try and conduct one of his tactical master plans against us tomorrow, we have seen him do it a few times in big games since he has returned to Stamford Bridge, he clearly orders possession and patience as well as solid defending and it works very well because he knows that his team can still score goals at the same time.

This is an important game for us, if we don't win the game then we could end up eight points behind Chelsea after just five games and it would take a brave person to suggest that Chelsea would relinquish such a lead even though it is very early into the season, I certainly wouldn't expect City to.

I would like to see Pellegrini send out a team that is all about attacking because Chelsea have been conceding goals, they haven't played any of the big boys yet and two of the teams they have faced have just been promoted, it certainly points towards defensive frailties.

I am feeling unsure again when it comes to predicting a result, not because I am worried about the prospect of facing Chelsea, more because I don't know which City will turn up.
I felt we played better against Arsenal and did well against Bayern but it is still clear that all of our cogs are not turning, if they do start to click into gear then I would back us to beat not only Chelsea but anyone.

Man City Team News
Stevan Jovetic continues to recover from a hamstring injury and Fernando is also set to miss out again as he is still suffering with a groin injury, Dzeko was said to be suffering from a back injury but is expected to be in the squad.

Chelsea Team News
Diego Costa will start despite carrying a hamstring injury, Chelsea are thought to have no other injury worries.

Possible Man City Line Up
Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany, Demichelis, Clichy, Navas, Toure, Fernandinho, Silva, Aguero, Dzeko.

Possible Chelsea Line Up
Courtois, Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta, Fabregas, Matic, Schurrle, Oscar, Hazard, Costa.

My Prediction
Man City 3 - 1 Chelsea.

Worth A Bet
Fernandinho scores the first goal in a 3-1 Man City win @ 190/1.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Bayern Munich 1 - 0 Man City

Well it was not to be, we couldn't manage a win in our first group game, Jerome Boateng's deflected shot grabbing victory for Bayern right at the death.

I was a bit disappointed when we lost last night but then quickly realised that it is no disgrace getting beaten by Bayern Munich away from home.

I thought we played quite well last night, Bayern certainly put us under a lot of pressure at times as is expected but we were never overawed and defended magnificently when we needed to, Joe Hart in particular showcasing some world class goalkeeping.

I think we competed with Bayern for the majority of the game and were even the better team at times, we were lacking a little bit in the final third because we only had one striker playing, we didn't give Bayern enough to think about and I reckon that had we played two strikers, we would have scored.

If we were to go off our performance in last nights game I would say that we will come out of the group, I know Roma hammered CSKA but that's not exactly the most impressive result considering how weak CSKA's squad is.

Overall the only thing about our performance that we should be disappointed with is Yaya Toure, again!
We know how good he can be when he wants to but he just cannot be bothered turning up most of the time, the rest of the team worked very hard last night while he stood by and watched.
He also didn't do himself any favours at the end of the game, it looked bad at the time but TV replays have made it look much worse, laughing and joking with the opposition manager after getting beat is not professional and not the attitude of a winner, I have had enough of him and would sell him to the highest bidder.

Anyhow I think we can look forward to our next group game with confidence.

Apologies for the short post but I am still in the middle of travelling.