Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Bayern Munich vs Man City - Preview

               Bayern Munich vs Manchester City
       Wednesday 17th September, Allianz Arena
                                 Kick off 19:45
       Referee: Alberto Undiano Mallenco  (ESP)
              
The Champions League is back! I absolutely love it when it is time for the Champions league, having the privilege of watching us play the best teams in Europe still feels like the dream that came true for me.
 
Again we get to go to the Allianz arena and pit ourselves against one of the most famous teams in the world, Bayern is an ideal first group game for me, it will be tough but it will also give us that instant reminder of the level needed to be successful in the Champions League.
 
Tomorrows game shouldn't be daunting for us, sure Bayern are a brilliant team but much like ourselves they haven't blew anyone away yet this season.
It is also very necessary to remember that we beat them away from home last season, we should take confidence from the way that we turned that game around and if we show that kind of character this time around then I think it is more than possible to beat them again.
 
I feel a tad confident about this game, I feel like we turned a bit of a corner against Arsenal, our work rate was better, our rhythm was better and our defending was better, if we take that improvement into this game then we can easily walk away with points on the board.
 
I honestly feel like Bayern will be more worried about us than we are about them, firstly we beat them last season, secondly we are still the new rich kids in town as far as these big European clubs are concerned and nobody wants to be beaten by us.
There is always reference to our wealth being mentioned by opposition players and board members alike, players claim not to know anything about us especially before the Sheik came along, they all want to turn their noses up at us and the only reason for it is fear.
These clubs don't want City crashing their party, they want to put us in our place but that brings pressure and is just an advantage for us.
 
Man City Team News
Stevan Jovetic is expected to miss out as he continues to recover from a hamstring injury, Fernando is not expected to return from a groin injury and Pablo Zabaleta is suspended along with Manuel Pellegrini.
 
Bayern Munich Team News
Ribery is definitely out of the game with a knee injury and Bayern have a whole host of potential doubts for the game, Badstuber (thigh), Martinez (knee), Rafinha (ankle), Schweinsteiger (knee), Thiago (knee) and Weiser(knee) could all miss out.
 
Possible Man City Line Up
Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany, Demichelis, Clichy, Navas, Toure, Fernandinho, Silva, Aguero, Dzeko.
 
Possible Bayern Munich Line Up
Neuer, Lahm, Boateng, Dante, Bernat, Xabi Alonso, Alaba, Müller, Götze, Robben, Lewandowski.
 
My Prediction
Bayern Munich 0 - 2 Man City.
 
Worth A Bet
Sergio Aguero scores the first goal in a 0-2 Man City win @ 155/1.


Friday, 12 September 2014

Arsenal vs Man City - Preview

               Arsenal vs Manchester City
Saturday 13th September, Emirates Stadium
                           Kick off 12:45
               Referee: Mark Clattenburg


Firstly in case you thought I had done one again, unfortunately I haven't, there was an issue with my URL being recognised but hopefully it is sorted now.

Tomorrows game, both ourselves and Arsenal go into tomorrows game on the back of a poor result last time out and since I don't expect Arsenal or City to drop points so easily very often, I would imagine that we are in for a decent game tomorrow.

There is no doubt that we are or should be in for a tough game tomorrow, Arsenal have a quality group of players and a quality manager, the only thing I am not sure about is how good those players are as a team.
As I said Arsenal have some very good players but they haven't done anything yet that suggests that they are anything special as a team, a narrow win against Palace and two hard fought draws against Everton and Leicester, it doesn't exactly blow you away.
It doesn't mean I don't think they are capable though, it is obvious to see what Arsenal could achieve if everything clicks.
Wenger has made some good signings, in fact potentially great signings, of course there is Sanchez, but for me Welbeck could be a masterstroke, I wouldn't have minded him at City if I am honest because in attack minded teams like ours and Arsenal I am convinced that he will score goals.
A lot of people are discounting Arsenal when it comes to the title and personally I think that's a big mistake, I hope that we don't discount them on the pitch tomorrow.

If Arsenal haven't blown me away yet then I certainly can't claim that City have, the pathetic loss to Stoke is still annoying me.
We can't afford to play like that again this season, especially not during the next three games or we will end up on the end of a hammering.
On the flip side, if we play to our potential then we are going to hand out a lot of hammerings, I just hope that we can click tomorrow beat Arsenal and find a good level of consistency ready for the games that follow, for that to happen the whole team need to start pulling their weight, something that we haven't seen so far this season.

I am unsure of what I think the result will be tomorrow which is strange for me, I don't think either team has shown enough to predict a result based on form or feeling, my heart says that we will win because we are the better team, but my head is interfering with that feeling a little bit.
I don't think that we will get beat but maybe that we could draw, I will however go for a City win just because on paper as it were, we are the better team.

Man City Team News
Stevan Jovetic's bad luck with injuries continues after picking up a hamstring injury on international duty which will see him miss the game, Fernando also misses out with a groin injury.
Zabaleta picked up a knock on International duty but should be ok and Mangala could make his debut.

Arsenal Team News
Aaron Ramsey will face a late fitness test after injuring his ankle playing for Wales, Arteta (ankle), Ospina (thigh) and Gibbs (hamstring) are all expected to be available for selection, Mesut Ozil is also expected to be fit after spraining his ankle on national duty. Walcott and Gnabry both miss out with knee injuries and Olivier Giroud continues to recover from a fractured foot.

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

Possible Arsenal Line Up
Szczesny, Debuchy, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Flamini, Alexis, Carzola, Ozil, Sanogo, Welbeck.

My Prediction
Arsenal 1 - 2 Man City.

Worth a bet
David Silva scores the first goal in a 1 - 2 Man City win @ 50/1.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Man City 0 - 1 Stoke City - Disappointing

If anything was going to put me in a bad mood this weekend then this result was it, it just was not acceptable.

A Stoke team that have been seen to try and play football since Hughes has become manager reverted to type and put ten men behind the ball, we couldn't break them down and then somehow they managed to score.
Stoke defended well today but apart from that they were clearly a terrible football team, how they got themselves in a position to score a goal after sitting in their own half all game is beyond me.
This loss was simply our own fault, our players are good enough to break down a team like Stoke but for whatever reason they didn't do it.

I am going to drag Pellegrini in for some blame while I name the worst players from today's game, I am not a fan of rotation and three games into the season it is not necessary, Sagna was terrible and didn't provide the extra man going forward like Zabbo would have done, he should have been replaced.
Then there was Kolarov who has definitely improved over the last year but was poor today and much like Sagna left us lacking going forward on the left, he also should have been replaced.
Last but certainly not least is YaYa Toure, he was the worst player on the pitch by a long way, he had a couple of shots and did nothing else and I mean nothing, he must of been bad today because I heard other people in the ground slating him for the first time since he has been at the club, normally people seem scared to say anything bad about him and Pellegrini can be included in that because he didn't have the bottle to drag him off today, no player should be untouchable when they are not contributing.

I don't know what was wrong with us today, it was like the players were playing at pace but their brains weren't, I think the only thing that we succeeded at was passing the ball to death.

I am still very annoyed at the moment and will definitely not have it in me to watch MOTD tonight, I am sure however that after a few days of reflection that I will be anxiously looking forward to the next game as usual, my head is ruling at the moment but my heart tells me that we will make amends for this defeat.

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.