Friday, 27 February 2009
City go into the game on the back of some positive results and will be looking to build on that by winning away from home. West Ham will be desperate for a win to boost their confidence, having not won in their last five games.
I am looking forward to this game and think there is more than a chance that we can win it. After our recent great performance away at Anfield, I feel we have enough ability to win if not at least take something away from Upton Park.
I think the way West Ham like to try and keep the ball on the floor will also benefit us, we have more than enough quality in our midfield to be able to cut that out and with West Ham's players committed forward we should be able to break on them.
City team news:
Nigel De Jong looks set to replace Shaun Wright-Phillips who continues his domestic ban and Gelson Fernandes is struggling with a hamstring injury. Valeri Bojinov played another game for the reserves on thursday but is not expected to feature in the squad.
West Ham team news:
Mark Noble misses out due to suspension, Jack Collison and David Di Michelle are expected to start after only being on the bench in midweek and after making his debut on Wednesday it looks like Radoslav Kovav will keep his place.
Possible Man City line up: Given, Richards, Dunne, Onuoha, Bridge, Kompany, Zabaleta, Ireland, De Jong, Robinho, Bellamy.
Possible West Ham line up: Green, Illunga, Tomkins, Upson, Neill, Behrami, Kovac, Parker, Collison, Di Michele, Cole.
My prediction: West Ham 1 - 3 Man City
Worth a bet: Bellamy to score two goals in a 3-1 win on his return to Upton Park.
Thursday, 26 February 2009
We started off slow tonight against a Copenhagen team that tried to take control of the game in the early stages, City stayed composed and stopped Copenhagen from ever being a threat when they were in possession.
City started the second half with more confidence in their play, but it was from about 60 minutes onwards we really started putting lots of attacking pressure on Copenhagen. The away team could just not cope with Bellamy and Robinho, ultimately they were punished by two goals from the Welshman.
Brief look at key performances:
Zabaleta - tonight in the second half of the game I thought the more Zabaleta came into the game the better City looked, he is slowly becoming a genuine driving force within our team.
Robinho - was excellent and looked back to his best, causing problems all the way through the game for the Copenhagen defence.
Bellamy - proving to be a brilliant signing, worked hard running the line tonight and would not let Copenhagen's defence rest.
Onuoha - Nedum has been brilliant since he got into the team, he goes about his job so neatly and quietly I don't feel he gets enough plaudits. He is a real calming influence in the defence and is looking better with each game.
Unfortunately there was a player I thought could have been better tonight and that is Wayne Bridge. Since Bridge came to City he hasn't impressed me, but I thought he deserved time to settle before I read to much into his poor performances. I think he has had enough time now and he isn't playing any better, tonight his general play was poor, he got caught wrong side of the attacker to much and his ball distribution was terrible. He did get better as the game progressed just like he did against Liverpool, but his overall performance was poor. I do have faith in Bridge's ability, I just wish he would start displaying his ability sooner rather than later so the team can benefit.
Next up for City in the Uefa Cup Aalborg.
Wednesday, 25 February 2009
After the first leg finishing 2 - 2 City still have a lot to do if they are to go through to the next round, but after an impressive display against Liverpool at the weekend, going through to the last 16 looks like it could be on the cards.
I hope to see City really attack Copenhagen from the first whistle tomorrow and go on to win comfortably. I think a comfortable win would be good for confidence, as well as sending a message out to the team we play in the next round that we are not easy to play against.
City team news:
Vincent Kompany is expected to play with a toe injury, Nigel De Jong is not eligible and Shaun Wright-Phillips returns because his ban only counts for domestic games.
Copenhagen team news:
Cesar Santin is again a doubt for the away team. Vingaard and N'Doye could start, after both came on as substitutes in the first leg and impressed.
Possible Man City line up: Given, Richards, Kompany, Onuoha, Bridge, Dunne,Wright-Phillips, Zabaleta, Ireland, Bellamy, Robinho.
Possible Copenhagen line up: Christiansen, Pospech, Antonsson, Laursen, Wendt, Vingaard, Kristensen, Norregaard, Hutchinson, N'Doye, Santin.
My prediction: City 2 - 0 Copenhagen
Worth a bet: City to win 2 - 0 with Ireland and Bellamy the goal scorers.
The 22 year old goalkeeper who had previously played at Blackburn under Mark Hughes has signed a two and a half year deal.
To give a 22 year old a two and a half year deal makes it obvious he is in the clubs medium term plans. I would think Hughes has signed him to prepare early for Kasper Schmeichel's departure in the summer, or his possible loan departure in the immediate future.
Tuesday, 24 February 2009
I don't understand why we seem to be chasing new kit makers considering we have a deal with Le Coq Sportif, but it looks like we are going to have a new kit maker for next season.
The main name I have heard over the last few months has been Puma, but it looks like a deal with Umbro is the front runner.
Now why Umbro, well Umbro just happens to be a subsidiary of Nike, so I would think that Garry Cook has had something to do with it and maybe the idea is to change to Nike in the future. It will also be very intresting to see how much Umbro are willing to pay us if they are our new kit makers, because Puma were apparently willing to pay a huge amount.
A little fact to go with this, Umbro's first football kit was produced in 1934 and the team it was made for was City, a year in which we won the FA Cup.
Sunday, 22 February 2009
In my preview to today's game, I said that if the good City team we know we have turns up, we can come away with a result and that is exactly what happened.
We were absolutely brilliant today, every single player on the pitch did their part, and Liverpool could not match us. In the first half Liverpool were on top of us and we coped well, but in the second half we ran the game.
All of our players were great today, the midfield in particular were immense. Our main man in the midfield today was Nigel De Jong, he was all over the pitch making some of the best tackles I have seen for a while from a City player, but mix that in with his tidy distribution and on the ball play and you had a player that was a cut above the rest.
De Jong was not the only star for us today, to pick a select few from our superb eleven in today's game, Shay Given made important saves, Kompany was excellent as was Ireland and if Maradona was watching, he will surely be thinking about Zabaleta as a potential option for midfield in the Argentina national team, after he totally out classed his countryman Mascherano.
I am really pleased with the way we played today everyone was really up for it, we also got to see a couple of our players get their form back. I thought Robinho looked more like himself and was also working harder to get back, providing plenty of help for Wayne Bridge. Richard Dunne also stood out as a player who seemed to be his old self, battling hard and committed to giving all he had to give, whilst looking very comfortable and assured at the same time.
Honestly I could write for hours about how much we seem to have improved today, that is how pleased I am. I just hope we can get some confidence from today's game to take it into our next one and continue on that path for the rest of the season.
Friday, 20 February 2009
Our inconsistent City side faces the task of getting a result against a good Liverpool team at Anfield, not only that but a Liverpool team with the title in their sights.
It is going to be really tough to come away from Anfield with any kind of result, particularly taking into account our terrible away form, saying that I don't think it is impossible to come away with a result. We know that there is a very good squad at City, it is just a case of getting them consistent and motivated, and what can motivate a team more than the possibility of a positive result at Anfield.
City team news:
Richard Dunne is available after serving his ban whilst Nigel De Jong looks set to come straight back into the team after not being eligible to play in the Uefa Cup. Daniel Sturridge is unlikely to be fit for Sunday and Shaun Wright-Phillips continues to serve his domestic ban.
Liverpool team news:
Liverpool are without two of their main midfielders, Alonso is suspended and Gerrard is out injured, Lucas Leiva and Javier Mascherano are likely to replace them, with Fabio Aurelio also pushing to cement his place in the middle of the park. Kuyt may partner Torres up top, but Babel is also in the frame to start up front.
Possible Man City line up: Given, Onuoha, Richards, Dunne, Bridge, Zabaleta, De Jong, Ireland, Kompany, Robinho, Bellamy.
Possible Liverpool line up: Reina, Arbeloa, Carragher, Skrtel, Aurelio, Benayoun, Mascherano, Lucas, Riera, Kuyt, Torres.
My prediction: Liverpool 0 - 0 Man City
Thursday, 19 February 2009
Well I am disappointed yet again, although we were a little better tonight and tried to press forward, we lacked quality when it mattered. We got into the final third so many times without making it count, whether it was the choice of pass or the timing of our runs it just would not come off for us tonight.
The worst thing about us tonight was our defending it was inexcusable, now people may say this is mainly down to the players, but I point the finger at the coaches. I just think the level we play at these things should have been worked on by now as it has been the same all season, but it doesn't seem to have been sorted out. If I am wrong and it is the players getting it wrong, then I ask the question why certain players have not been dropped.
Now I am not getting on his back far from it, but I have to highlight the way Shaun Wright-Phillips played tonight. It seemed to me he was not interested most of the time, he continuously picked the wrong option or rushed himself into having to make a decision. I just can't figure out whats wrong with him because it isn't just tonight's performance I am going off, he hasn't been the player he was for a while now. It's almost like he has lost his enthusiasm and he needs to get that spark back.
I am not expecting Copenhagen to be push overs, but I do think we should be beating teams of their level. I know we have been playing poor and it makes it hard to say we should be beating any team, but we do have the quality in our squad to take advantage of a team that are on a mid season break.
City team news:
Shaun Wright-Phillips and Richard Dunne both return to the squad from their domestic bans and should be in the starting line up. Micah Richards looks to have been passed fit along with Robinho.
Copenhagen team news:
Cesar Santin and Jesper Gronkjaer could both miss out due to injury, Libor Sionko is likely to miss the game through illness. Johan Wiland is ineligible whilst Martin Vingaard and Dame N'Doye may make their competitive debut's.
Possible Man City line up: Given, Richards, Kompany, Onuoha, Bridge, Dunne, Wright-Phillips, Zabaleta, Ireland, Bellamy, Robinho.
Possible Copenhagen line up: Christiansen, Pospech, Antonsson, Laursen, Wendt, Vingaard, Kristensen, Norregaard, Hutchinson, N'Doye, Santin.
My prediction: FC Copenhagen 0 - 3 Man City
Saturday, 14 February 2009
Almost every time a City player got the ball he gave it away to a Portsmouth player, the passing was horrible. As well as the passing being bad none of our players seem to know how to tackle, in fact our players did not seem to know how to play football.
We were not rubbish and beaten by a decent team, Portsmouth were also poor which makes the result much worse.
Mark Hughes again did not have a clue on the sideline and did nothing to change the way our team were playing. I am now seriously questioning his position as our manager.
If I was to score our players and our manager today, each of them would get a zero. I would possibly even score our Brazilian's with a minus, they were both shocking after playing so well for their country in the week.
Friday, 13 February 2009
For the game ahead it seems to be City fans for a change who can be optimistic about taking advantage of a club in turmoil.
Portsmouth are currently 16Th in the table, only 1 point off the relegation zone and without a manger. City are 9Th in the table and hopefully looking up, although after playing below par against Boro it is obvious that moving up the table will not be a certainty.
City team news:
Shaun Wright-Phillips and Richard Dunne are banned whilst Daniel Sturridge, Benjani, Martin Petrov and Valeri Bojinov continue to be sidelined due to injury.
It is expected that Elano who was excellent for his country in the week will return to the team in place of Shaun Wright-Phillips.
Portsmouth team news:
Jermaine Pennant may return after a clause in his loan agreement meant he could not play against Liverpool. Niko Kranjcar could also return to the starting line up after coming off the bench last weekend.
Portsmouth also have Armand Traore, Marc Wilson and Younes Kaboul fit again although Papa Bouba Diop, Richard Hughes and Jamie Ashdown are all injured.
Possible Portsmouth line up: James, Johnson, Campbell, Distin, Hreidarsson, Pennant, Davis, Kranjcar, Belhadj, Crouch, Nugent.
Possible City line up: Given, Richards, Kompany, Onuoha, Bridge, Elano, De Jong, Zabaleta, Ireland, Bellamy, Robinho.
My prediction: Portsmouth 0 - 2 City
Congratulations to David James who should make it 536 Premier League appearances in tomorrows game and overtakes Gary Speed to hold the record for playing in the most Premier League games.
Wednesday, 11 February 2009
Today I have been told from a someone high up in the council in Manchester, that our owners have big plans for our ground including the surrounding area and have been in discussions with the council about it.
Our owners have put it forward to the council that they will build up the area and create jobs if they sell them the land, for instance the casino idea that was scrapped, our owners have supposedly offered to go ahead and build one if that's what it will take for them to be allowed to buy the land. Saying that whether it be a casino or hotels and so on, the main objective for the council and our owners is to build a complex to create jobs and regenerate the area, and at the same time make City the greatest club in the world.
Now non of the above shocked me really, but I was a little taken back when my source went on to tell me that our owners are creating plans to possibly knock down the stadium and build a new one, their reasons behind this are suppose to be that if we reach our goal of being a champions league team and ultimately one of the best teams in the world, they feel that having a 60,000+ all seated stadium goes with the territory.
I was also told that between 300 - 500 million is the money being talked about for our owner to purchase the land.
I know some of this may seem a little far fetched and I don't like silly lies as much as the next guy, but I had to write about this seems as it came from a respectable person and if it did happen I would be gutted that I was not the first to let it out, anyway lets hope it is true sounds like it would be great for Manchester and our football club.
Tuesday, 10 February 2009
Bojinov: "We arranged a behind-closed-doors game today, and we were looking for him to play a half or maybe even an hour. That will do him good, but he has been training at full tilt with the rest of the squad for a week now. He's looked good, but what he needs is games."
Petrov: "Martin is still doing his rehab, and I think he has an appointment with his surgeon very soon. We're hoping that that goes very well for him, and if he gets the green light then he will step up the training and will be close to playing again."
Benjani: "Benji is probably a couple of weeks away, he also needs the green light from our medical people but he is usually fit anyway so I would like to think he will be close to coming back after getting the OK."
I can't wait to see Petrov back we would have more points than we do if he had been playing, Benjani well not mega exciting to get him back but will be good to have him back around the squad and then there is Bojinov who I am excited about getting back I really can not wait to see him get a run in the team.
Monday, 9 February 2009
Having made an appearance on the bench in the victory against Wigan, I personally would like to see him get a chance in the starting line up and with SWP suspended when is there going to be a better time.
I have been watching Weiss for a while now and it has always been evident he has needed to build himself up and that is exactly what he has done, he could still do with building himself up a little bit more, but he has definitely grew both in weight and height since last season.
So with SWP out instead of putting someone like Vassell on the right I think Hughes should throw Weiss in the mix and go right winger for right winger, it is time for him to start making premier league appearances to aid his development further, as you will know if you have seen him play he is a class act and prem games can only make him better.
I know City fans are expecting Elano to come back in the team and although that's not a bad decision I would really like to see Weiss get a shot, he is a guy everyone has heard about, I think its time everyone got to see him. Its also a shame Etuhu is not fit yet as he is another player I want to see given his chance in a City shirt.
I have found a video on YouTube so have a look for yourself.
I am not going to lie I thought Scolari would come back in the summer and try to buy him. I really did not want to go through the worry of possibly losing our superstar all the way through the summer.
So now I hope this means Robinho will stay at City, plus I like the name of my blog.
Everyone get down to Eastlands, support the boys and help drive them to retaining the Trophy.
This is a total disgrace and what makes it worse is that Bosingwa got no action taken against him for lifting his foot from the ground and putting it in Benayoun's back.
Someone needs to get a grip of these people at the FA who sit round a table in their suits and make decisions about football a subject they have no clue about what so ever, they are continuously making mistakes and in turn it means football suffers which can not be allowed to happen any longer.
City will not have SWP available for Portsmouth, Liverpool and West Ham which are all away games.
Saturday, 7 February 2009
Bridge must have got in on past performances because he certainly hasn't got in because of the way he has been playing for City, SWP isn't a surprise whilst I am sure if Joe Hart gets a game against Spain he will relish it as he might not get another call up for a little while, with Shay Given now ahead of him at City.
I could paper over the cracks seems as we won but I wont we were awful, countless bad passes going to nobody and no kind of invention in the midfield again wat so ever.
We were very lucky today that Boro were worse than us because if we were playing a decent side we would have got comfortably beaten, infact if Shay Given didn't make four world class saves today we would have been beaten, although that would not have been a fair reflection on the game as we were the better of the two poor teams.
Things to remember from todays game - Bellamys goal, Givens superb saves, Robinho messed up a one on one with the keeper and that's it.
After watching that poor display today I'm totally deflated as you can probably tell from the way I have wrote about today's game but it was hard to watch how poor we were, Boro themselves were terrible it was almost like we wanted to compete for the worst team award something has to change fast.
Positives from today's game were Shay Given was brilliant and has already paid back his fee with the saves he made today and Nedum Onuoha continues to impress in defence in the absence of Dunney and will probably stop Dunney from getting back in the team if he continues to play so well.
Friday, 6 February 2009
Team news for Boro will see Didier Digard and Gary O'Neil back in contention at the very least although they are both likely to start, Afonso Alves is pushing for a start as are Tony McMahon and Justin Hoyte who will both be hoping to be chosen for the right back slot which would
see David Wheater move back into the centre of defence.
Citys team should only see one change made with Shay Given coming in for Joe Hart to make his debut.
Possible starting line ups:
Man City: Given, Richards, Kompany, Onuoha, Bridge, Wright-Phillips, De Jong, Zabaleta, Ireland, Bellamy, Robinho.
Boro: Jones, Hoyte, Huth, Riggott, Pogatetz, Johnson, O'Neil, Digard, Downing, King, Alves.
I expect to see Boro playing for a draw tomorrow, although they do have players who are competent goal scorers, and will try to nick a goal if they think they can push forward without leaving themselves exposed at the back.
As for City I hope to see us go out and try to win in style against a much weaker team, we need a good win to springboard from and at the same time we need to send out a message to the rest of the league that we are a team to be feared and will be fighting until the end to climb up the table.
But as we know we have shown signs of this before but have never built on a good result consistently, but I do have faith in the blues that it will happen and while it can still happen we always need a starting point so tomorrow is as good a time as any to get the ball rolling to winning a number of games on the bounce.
My prediction: City 2-0 Middlesbrough
Bets I will be placing at the match: City to win 2-0 with goals from Robinho and Bellamy and City to win 3-0 with Robinho, Bellamy and Ireland goals.
If you can't get to the match tomorrow it is being televised on Sky sports 1 and HD 1.
Thursday, 5 February 2009
The reasons for not selecting De Jong over any of the 3 that were picked is that Hughes feels he has more than enough cover in his position. Hughes said.....
"We looked at Nigel, but with the cover we have in his area with Vincent [Kompany] and also Pablo [Zabaleta] that’s what we have gone with.
It is a shame that De Jong has to miss out as he looks a bit of a beast and European teams may not have liked the way he would have roughed them up but it does seem the right decision when you look at the big picture.
Saying that if Ball was fit to provide cover for Garrido I would have left Bridge out and Put De Jong in but due to Ball being injured that was never a possibility.
Wednesday, 4 February 2009
No action was taken by the ref at the time and he claims he did not see it which is strange in its self considering he was looking right at SWP when he kicked out, anyway he has since informed the FA he would have given a red card had he seen it.
After SWP kicked out it was clearly obvious he didn't make much contact and Delap was hurt in no way, you could also see after he kicked out he stopped himself from kicking him properly.
So what do the FA actually take into account when looking at video evidence, I mean surley a natural reaction after someone basically assaults you is to defend yourself and in this case it was in the form of SWP having a little kick out.
Now loads of people will say well you just can not kick out and its a fair point but I just think what SWP did was almost a knee jerk reaction and should not be punished to the extent of a red card maybe it was worthy of a yellow but certainly nothing more.
As for the FA I can not believe they have the cheek to charge SWP after not taking any sort of action against Bosingwa, he just blatantly lifted his boot up and put it in Benayoun's back while he was shielding the ball.
So surely when SWP and City go to plead their case with the FA they will mention the fact Bosingwa was not charged and the FA will almost certainly not press ahead with a ban for SWP will they???
SWP has until 6pm on Thursday to admit or deny the charge, while a Regulatory Commission will hear the case on Friday.
Tuesday, 3 February 2009
But the more I have been thinking about it since the deal actually went through I am not happy that we have let him go out on loan.
Firstly at £19 million if he is going to be good enough surely his class will show through at City and he will force his way into our team, and then even if he can't absolutely force his way into the team I think he should have been kept around to have in the squad.
With us being inconsistent in the League and having a European Trophy to go after I just feel the more body's around the squad the better.
Monday, 2 February 2009
2. Tal Ben-Haim - Not impressed me at all, a poor signing who should be gone come summer.
3. Glauber Berti - Not played in the first team, watched him in the reserves looks competent.
4. Wayne Bridge - Not impressed me and has gifted opposition 2 goals since he has been at City.
5. Pablo Zabaleta - An absolute star and getting better every game.
6. Nigel De Jong - Looks very accomplished and is likely he will only get better.
7. Vincent Kompany - If I get started on how good he is I will not stop going, top class player.
8. Shaun Wright-Phillips - It is like he never left and his qualities are obvious for all to see.
9. Jo - Not had a proper chance at City, but has looked poor on occasions when he has played.
10. Robinho - A genuine world class superstar and I feel he still has more to offer.
11. Craig Bellamy - Wasn't happy when we signed him but looks like he may be a good signing.
So Hughes has signed 11 players and there is only question marks over a couple of his signings.
But is he the man to take us forward or can anyone make a good signing when money is available?
I am 50/50 at the moment and am still unsure on what Hughes has to offer over the long term,
saying that my confidence in him was less than 50/50 a few weeks back and even though we are still not consistent I feel that I have seen improvement in the team especially in the work rate department which we were seriously lacking in.
The whole team seems to be more willing to work for each other over the last few weeks which Hughes did promise would happen once he had time to work with the squad over a longer period of time.
But when it comes down to tactics I'm not sure he is the most gifted manager, there has been times this year he seems to have had nothing up his sleeve to change the way a game is going.
I just hope the team keeps improving and that Hughes is the right man for the job as we now finally need to settle down as a club, which in turn should help us get to where we want to be in the next 5 - 10 years.
So on deadline day at City our 19 million pound Brazilian Jo has headed out on loan to Everton and we have rejected an 8 million pound bid for Michael Johnson from Newcastle.
I am frustrated that we did not bring another player into the club, I think we did need a big target man up front and feel we have wasted alot of time on trying to sign Santa Cruz.
I'm not a fan of his and was not convinced he was worth the fee we were offering, I was surprised we did not pursue Mario Gomez from Stuttgart, Hughes is known to be a fan of his and he would have been for me at this moment in time a better signing than Cruz as he is scoring goals and can also hold the ball up.
I personally dont think Jo has had a proper chance well he has been at City but this move can only benefit us and him, with no option for the move to be made permanent it seems he may have a long term future at City.
Sunday, 1 February 2009
This is a fantastic signing as Joe Hart is not quite good enough and needs to go back a step he jumped and learn his trade properly.
If there was a keeper in the premier league you would want it is Shay Given he is the complete package.
I'm extremely happy with this signing as Hughes shows us yet again he wants established Premier League players to start off what is hopefully a successful building process.
"The one we've done is Tal Ben Haim. I think he's going to be done some time today," the Black Cats boss revealed to Sky Sports News.
"We need a defender and he's a very good defender, and I've worked with him previously so I know exactly what I'm getting.
From what I have seen of Ben Haim whilst playing for City I would say Sunderland are getting a below average central defender who always seem to be in a panic and I am not bothered one bit he is going, the fee is likely to be in the 3 - 5 million pound bracket if the transfer is permanent although it is possible it will only be a loan deal.
Meanwhile we can expect another departure with Jo looking likely to sign for Everton on loan for thegh. rest of the season, more to follow if Jo's proposed transfer goes through.