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Patrick Roberts of Man City or CelticThis screenshot was taken from Manchester City's OS today, 13th August from our first team page and shows one of our supposed star young talents who was being touted as a future England star wearing his loan gear from last season at Celtic.  Is it right that as a first team player surely it wouldn't have been that difficult to get a picture of him in the right kit. 

Celtic fans are taking this as a sign he is heading back to them and as he didn't even make the bench against Brighton & Hove Albion yesterday they may well be right.  Personally the club need to look at how and why we are showing players in their loan gear on the squad pages of the official City website and ask themselves does this set the right tone for unity and cohesion within the squad.  

Yes, he may have played 43 times for Celtic and only managed 1 premier league appearance for City but he still has a reported two years left on his current deal so it would be good if the OS could at least get Sharon to take a snap of him in a City shirt so we can at least pretend he has a future at the club.     

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skytablehuddersfieldtopLike all opening day fixtures the rule-book went out of the window yesterday with Chelsea humbled at Burnley, Crystal Palace succumbing to Huddersfield and Liverpool scoring three but their defensive frailties showing through as Watford managed to secure a well earned draw.  Huddersfield sit atop the table but Tottenham and Man United might have something to say about that come the end of today.  Spurs look like they should have enough to put paid to Newcastle but Man United's task could well be a lot harder.   It will certainly be interesting to see joe hart in action in the premier league and how he fares over the coming season.     

City lined up against Premier League new boys Brighton & Hove Albion and the fixture had banana skin written all over it. 

City lined up with a very unfamiliar 3-5-2 formation with Kompany / Stones and Otamendi strung across the back and on paper that looked like a really good set-up.  Guardiola has tried this before but without the personnel to really make it work and you can see in his full-back signings he has this formation in mind for the season.  It was excellent yesterday, restricting Brighton to a total of 6 shots, only 2 of which were on target all game.  With 22% posession you could argue that Brighton parked the bus and that contributed to their lack of penetration into City's half but looking at the way they defended with a 5-3-2 formation this wasn't really the case.  With 2 attackers ready to unleash at any given opportunity they could have been a dangerous team but our midfield quintet certainly put paid to that.


Walker was given man of the match in most places (The BBC website has Aguero and he took his goal well but he didn't run the game) but for me it was the new look Silva who as usual ran everything that was good about City.  Walker's assuredness on the ball was excellent,  Whether it was £50million excellent only time will tell but he is certainly a great player.  Danilo on the other hand on the other wing looked a little less assured and seemed to feel the need to push it as if he had a bit of a point to prove.  Not really needed and a little more calmness and compoure will be required when we face tougher opposition in the weeks to come. 

Guardiola afer the match commented on how happy he was with the new players and I am sure he is keen to throw Mendy into that mix sooner rather than later.  He does seem to feel from his comments that the stable platform of playing a 3-5-2 formation will benefit the team as a whole this season but we need to work harder on turning the posession it gives into clear cut chances.   78% posession and only 4 shots on target does seem rather wasteful, especially if you factor n that we had 10 corners. 

One word of caution and a possible area for concern is Edison.  We will face much sterner challenges than this during the season and we need a goalkeeper who can hold crosses.  It is all well and good having somebody who can kick a ball and you can say job done with his clean sheet but for the fans to really get behind Ederson he will need to cut out the sloppy mistakes and quickly.  In the Premier league you often get punished for a lapse in concentration and catching the ball at crosses needs to be bread and butter,  especially if he is to be the springboard for fast counter-attacks by Jesus, De Bruyne & Aguero 

Guardiola has hinted that at a total spend of over £200 million the change from the oldest team in the premier league to one of the youngest will allow him to curb these big spending windows and between now and January we all hope to see the squad continuity grow and develop and yesterday's 2-0 win does bode well that Banana Skins and breaking teams down can be done where last season we struggled. 

BHAgroundWhat of Brghton & Hove albion.  The ground which holds 30,750 looks really nice and a comfortable place to play football and Chris Hughton looks like he has got them playing football which matches the grandiose design.  5-3-2 when defending or 4-4-2 when attacking appears to be the style and the team look well drilled and well versed in that set-up.  They look like a team who will be hard to break down and yesterday's defensive strengths shone through for most of the match, albeit a couple of individual errors crept in which is understandable when playing against a team who won't give you the ball back to play with.  Although favourites to go down if there attacking players can chip in with a run of goals they could well be the surprise package inb their initial outing in the premier league.   

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kolarovAs Arsenal take to the field to play Crystal Palace and after watching Spurs destroy Watford it looks like after 19 matches or exactly half-way through the season we are down to fourth.  You never know with a Sam Allardyce team but Palace are playing a centre-back who has trained for one day in three weeks but who has declared himself fit to play and with their limited options Sam feels he has no choice but to play him operating on the assumption that you play your strongest team as often as you can.  If you look throughout the premier league this season you will see that no team has tinkered and changed his squad as much as Manchester City have and this has not all been down to injury.

Now many City fans would have us beleive that we are week in defence because we do not have enough cover even with international defenders farmed out on loan.  Some argue we need better defenders but is that really the case.  Bravo has kept four clean sheets this season and it is interesting that in all of these clean sheets our defensive back line contains what I beleive is our strongest centre-back pairing at the club today and one which Pep needs to look to build on for the rest of this season if he really wants to get his title challenge back on track.   He might not feel that this pairing and actually the back-four I would play will play his style but there is little doubting they can do a job for us whilst he works in training on improving the players understanding of his style of play.

The four clean sheets we have had so far were against Hull, Watford, West Brom and Bournemouth.  

  • Huill,   Clichy / Otamendi / Kolarov / Sagna << Now Stones started this game but went off injured after 18 minutes to be replaced by Kolarov
  • Watford Zabaletta / Otamendi / Kolarov / Clichy
  • West Brom Otamendi / Stones / Kolarov
  • Bournemouth  Sagna / Otamendi / Kolarov / Clichy << Stones came on for Otamendi after 52 minutes.

All four clean sheets featured Kolarov at Centre-Back which Kolarov has come out and said is a position he likes to play in.  Now 2 clean sheets feature what I beleive to be our best defensive unit.  Clichy / Otamendi / Kolarov / Sanga but Pep insists on trying to play the error prone Stones as part of the defensive partnership with Otamendi.  I wonder where Stones is concerned if he is actually a centre-back or an old fashioned right-back.  He certainly drifts out to the wing or up into midfield constantly throughout the game.  When Stones moves out to the wing,  this drags Otamendi across leaving the left back marking any players coming into the box and so you often see teams over-loading our left-back.  Kolarov in the Liverpool game was left marking three attacking players on more than one occasion and it isn't the first time I have seen it this season.   It invariably leads to a twitter explosion of criticism directed at Kolarov althogh pretty much all our defenders receive a similar torrent it does seem that Kolarov takes the brunt of it.  Quite often he is the player nearest the goalscorer but is that down to Kolarov or the defensive unit letting him down time and time again. 

Certainly Pep beleives in Kolarov as he has played more minutes than any other City player but I would argue that to get the best out of our defensive unit Pep needs to commit to what he beleives is our best back four and I would argue that Kolarov's more disciplined approach to the centre-back position would allow a stability for Otamendi to work with which with Clichy and Sagna sat outside providing width level with Fernandinho would also allow the opposition to come out of their own half.  Opening up the space available on the pitch for our creative players . By settling on a back four defensive unit and working with that unit to make them mnore disciplined in their positioning you can prevent the sort of counter-attacking park the bus football we see the team exposed by time and time again.

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zabaletaPep Gaurdiola with Pablo Zabaletta is inheriting a player who was signed under Mark Hughes and has stuck around under Mancini, Kidd and Pellegrini to now see in his fourth Manchester City manager.  An elder statesmen of the squad now at 31 years of age and a player who has seen a huge transformation at the club,  Facilities,  Club Direction, Playing style and the reflection of all that in the trophy cabinet.  A player who when signing for us turned down a move to Juventus citing the challenge at Manchester City as one he just couldn't turn down.  Zabaletta over the 8 years he has been with the club has turned himself from another overseas import into what most fans would consider to be "One of US"  No mean feat when you look at other players who have come in and been loved by City fans but ultimately when leaving you never really think of or consider them again.  
 
Testimonials back in the early 2000's were thrown around by clubs and seemingly given to every man and his dog but these days with the way players contracts are it is hard to find players at top clubs who really deserve them.  Who have hung around for over 10 years and really put their heart and soul into the club and for most players you would want some home grown element to be involved,  Testimonials should be for players who embody that club through and through..
 
Zabaletta if he makes it through to 2018 would be such a player for me,  a player who epitomsies what it means to pull on a Manchester City shirt but based on what he has done for the club I wouldn't argue with one of this seasons home friendlies being a testimonial,  Even a game against the Under 21's to recognise the work he has done.
 

Embracing Manchester

Zabaletta and his family have fully embraced Manchester and the North West,  Happy to bring their children up here and happy to interact with the fans at all levels he truly is thought of by Manchester City fans as one of us.  A real acheivement for a player who heralds from Arrecifes and fully admits himself he is not a superstar like David Silva or Yaya Toure.  His devotion to fully immersing himself at the club has seen him watching the Reserves which became the Under 21's and is now the EDS.  Standing in the crowd with the fans watching the youngsters strut their stuff in the Blue and White of City.

When he walked into Manchester City he didn't speak a word of English but now speaks with a "MANC" accent which can be a little unnerving when you remember this is an Argentinian who is using the slang of a colloquial accent which is unmistakebly Northern England.  That is Zabaletta all over,  when he arrived he had to make that right back spot his own and he had to face off stiff competition over the years for it.  He has changed and developed his game and is now referred to as a wingback, not bad for somebody who wasn't blessed with the speed of a Sterling and early on was criticised for exactly that, his speed.

Now the experienced right-back knows when to make those oh so devastating runs round the oppositions rightback and into the space afforded to him by the excellent through balls of the likes of David Silva who he thinks of as the superstar of the side. 

Personally and from this City Fans perspective I would have it the other way around.  His devotion to the club and the cause,  his commitment to want to spend every minute of his time on the pitch and his influence with younger players is what makes Pablo Zabaletta stand out for me.  It would be an absolute travesty if he was to be sold or moved on without this being marked in some way.  Last seasons injuries and at 31, becoming an elder statesmen at the club I hope "PEP" holds onto such an influential player. He deserves to make it to 10 years playing at the club so we can truly honour him with the testimonial he deserves.  If not, give it to him anyway and the owners couldn't go to far wrong with giving him some role at the club when his career finishes.   Not for what he has acheived or for that crucial defensive save but for his passion and commitment which shines through every time he pulls on that Blue shirt or visits a hospital or other function to support Manchester City and their fans.   

 
An interesting Quandry for "PEP" is what does he do with a player so much loved by CIty fans,  Can Pablo Zabaletta's legs cope with holding down the Wingback birth for another 12 months or has Sagna done enough to prove it is somebody elses turn and if so is having him on the bench enough.  Nobody wants to see ever again another player play until well past it, Mentioning no names   ***COUGH Demichelis Cough***.  SO what does Pep do,  I would love for Zabaletta to be moved into the coaching/backroom setup at MCFC when the time is right as since his first day at the club he has thrown everything he can at it. Could he work for "CITC" as an ambassador for the club as well as assisting in some way at the CFA. 

Only time will tell but I don't think the Argentinian is ready to go home just yet,  if he still thinks of Arrecifes as his home,  My guess is he thinks of where he is now as home and whatever happens the North-West and our weather is where he is staying.   


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pellegriniWell it seems that the much maligned Pellegrini's reign at Manchester City has come to an end with many on Twitter determining that they are glad the season has finished and Pellegrini is departing.   You do have to wonder how Pellegrini has received such criticism with a win rate across his career at City of 60%,  Pretty much matching Mancini's win rate who he replaced in June 2013.  Pellegrini's reign has seen 2 domestic trophies,  1 Premier League trophy, qualification in each of his seasons to the Champions League and we were semi-finalists in this latest season of the Champions League. 

We have finished above our near neighbours Manchester United in all 3seasons and we have seen the further development of our Youth Football Academy with players tried in the first team and Iheanacho making huge strides into the first team set-up.  It could be argued that Pellegrini's results actually are more impressive than Mancini's with certainly the push out of the group stages of the Champions League this season being a huge boost to a Champions League campaign which over previous seasons hadn't really gained the momentum needed.

Nobody can say that Manuel Pellegrini hasn't been unlucky with injuries and injuries to his big game players,   Silva & Kompany being the most high profile but right across the first 11,  Nasri, Yaya Toure and Ageuro not being able to stay injury free for more than a handful of games at a time.   Even so Hart has only just fallen shy of the golden gloves award and Aguero's goalscoring prowess meant that with only 30 games played he still netted 24 times.  Considering how many times he limped out of games early that is no mean feat. 

Pellegrini's less combatitive style meant that unlike Mancini he didn't alienate the players or the board but Fans have struggled with his predictable substitutions and style of play.  Consistently picking Bony over the tremendously talented Nacho has also been a huge sore point for fans.  Not with-standing how Nacho's game has faded in the handful of games he has started a goalscroing record of 26 Premier league goals and netting 8 times.  You have to beleive that next season will be his season and I am sure Pellegrini wishes he would have been ready and available 12 months earlier.

The qualification for the Champions League this season was all to important and Pellegrini has succeeeded in managing that and on paper his Manchester City managerial career will have clubs across Europe willing to take a gamble on him I am sure.   I wish him well and overall I am satisfied that over the last three years we have watched good, fun attacking football.  I now hope that Pep can tighten things up at the back and across the middle so that Aguero and Nacho have a solid platform to build from and get the goals.  Next season we should have 2 x 20 goals a season strikers in these two and if we do not.  Then you have to wonder how much time the fans will give Guardiola or will he suffer the abuse Mancini and Pellegrini got from certain sections of the fans.

 

 

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premierleagueWhen you read that headline it is easy to dismiss it as sensationalist journalism and if I was reading it written by one of the main red-tops I would probably have skipped over it expecting little thought or nothing new but in the busy month of January Manchester City face Roberto Martinez's Everton three times.  Two matches are in the Capital One Cup, a Semi-Final which you could argue is more important than picking up the three points in the Premier League when we face them on the 13th January.  Certainly we need to ensure we beat them in the Carling cup and now we are over the half-way point in the season you wouldn't want to lose any more ground on Arsenal or provide any more encouragement to the nearly boys of recent years (Spurs).  Spurs form this season sees them knocking on a champions league place and some pundits saying that they are likely to join the battle for the top 2 positions.  I will leave you to make your own minds up on whether their squad is strong enough for that but they only have five matches in January so have a much lighter workload than Manchester City's seven highly competitive matches.  

evertonThe premier league match against Everton at home on the 13th January is one which falls squarely in the centre of a run of 7 games in January.  Look at Arsenal's run and over the same timeframe they have only five matches for their battle-weary squad.  When you look at City's injury count over the start of this season and the fact that Vincent Kompany is now likely to miss at least another 3 weeks and then will need to get back to match fitness we are looking at him missing at least 5 matches in January,  Three of those games against inform strikers Lukaku for Everton and Ighalo for Watford. 

In years gone by the scenario would have been fairly straight-forward,  for instance Mancini would have said to De Jong go and sit on Ighalo or Lukaku and don't let him touch the ball.  Limit his chances and opportunities to scraps and the worst of half-chances and that's your job done but in a City side under Pellegrini we don't appear to have that in our Arsenal.  I certainly cannot recall this season anybody marking an opposition player out of the game relying instead on our own abilities and that of our formation to get the job done.  De Jong wouldn't have crossed the half-way line for anything other than a set-piece and even then would have been back with a defender marking the striker and making sure that the fast break wasn't an option. 

We should have the tools for this in Fernando or/and Fernandinho and playing these two in rotation as a defensive midfielder man-marking the potential main threat from either Watford or Everton would do a huge job in nullifying their attacking strengths and would allow the rest of the team to play the type of attacking football the fans want to see in relative safety.  Certainly if we allow Lukaku the freedom over three matches to run across our defensive line unchallenged then you have to feel that a striker with 15 goals in 19 matches might be confident to add to his tally. 

There is nothing wrong with adjusting and adapting your style of play to the opposition we are coming up against and when you are playing a team three times in 21 days and 7 matches in 25 days then you have to plan carefully how you are going to manage your squad in order that you can get the most out of them.  We are in this position because the season is going well, Semi-Finalists in the Carling Cup, Champions League starts again towards the end of February,  still very much in the title race for the Premier League and the FA Cup to boot. 

mcfcThe fixture pile-up is one which successful teams have to manage and we have seen other teams come out of January in a much worse state than they went into it and if we are not careful then 2 of the top 3 in-form strikers of this season could put a serious dent in our Carling Cup and Premier League ambitions.   It will be interesting to see how Pellegrini manages his squad and how he manages the way he sets up his team to play and if he gives the potency of the opposition the respect it deserves.  At them moment we set-up with an extremely aggressive attacking midfield behind a lone striker and yet our top three goal-scorers are Aguero on 7 and KDB and Sterling on 5 a piece, when you consider 5 of Aguero's 7 goals came in one match against Newcastle it is not what you would call prolific when you consider what this takes away from our defensive game.   

So there it is, in January we will face two of the most prolific strikers four times, Once when we play Watford and three times when we play Everton.  In between we have a hard to beat Crystal Palace and West Ham who themselves are no push-overs.  The Premier League title race may be between Manchester City and Arsenal with Leicester and Spurs in the mix but the reality is Lukaku could have a huge impact on who the winner is. 

Will Pellegrini be able to steer Manchester City through a tough run of 7 games when those around us are playing 5 and will he be able to outfox Ighalo and in particular Lukaku, a stern test for any two centre-backs, especially if they are not helped with cover from a defensive midfielder.  

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premierleagueWhen we look at the premier league we talk about the gulf between the Premier league and the Championship / The top 4 or the top 6 / The Perennial Mid-table clubs and those that regularly struggle. We also talk about the team who struggle all season and then come good in the run-in and miraculously escape.  The question now is has that changed. Is the standard of play in the premier league, once seen as one of the hardest leagues to play in still ahead of the rest. 

You have to ask what happened to the notion that a huge gulf exists between the Championship and the Premier League? On Christmas Day all three promoted teams sat above the bottom three positions, Bournemouth are on a five-match unbeaten run and Watford are threatening to break into a Europe grabbing top 6 position. Eddie Howe’s team are in the top flight for the first time in their history, with a stadium that holds less than 12,000. To put it into perspective United, Arsenal, Chelsea and City give 3000 seats over to away fans so if they were to follow suit it would hold over 25% of away fans in the stadium week-in, week-out.

Watford’s Quique Sánchez Flores has never managed in England before and was only handed his present job after promotion, yet he is making the whole thing look a breeze, mixing it up with the best in the top half of the table. They may not have the scalp of a top 4 team but 8 wins including Liverpool and 5 draws is a fantastic haul that sees them just outside a European spot. Jürgen Klopp at Liverpool has never managed in England before either and had even less time than Flores to get to know his new players. The difference though is that the new Liverpool manager came with a huge reputation after winning back-to-back titles in Germany. Flores, whose managerial career has been a succession of short stays and sackings, is progressing with every passing week.

Alex Neil at Norwich is doing the same thing in what is supposed to be one of the most difficult leagues in the world. Surely the Premier league is not supposed to be the league where managers with limited experience cut their teeth.

While this may not be the most persuasive argument for Premier League standards it is certainly refreshing to see results continue to confound the pundits as week on week one of the supposed big 6 get beat by a minnow.   You only have to look at Chelsea hovering above relegation to know that something has gone amiss. Don’t upset the medics, they treat the players and if they have the players respect your in big, big trouble.

Their have been several high-profile sackings this season and some managers who seem to be hanging on by their fingernails to jobs which look impossible at teams who have played football at the very highest echelons of Europe. These days you do wonder as a Champions League stalwart readies themselves for Europa League football what has happened to the Premier League. With all the TV Rights money are teams really buying any better quality than what we already have at home coming up through the ranks. I wonder how James Vardy would answer that question?  

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leicesterWill Gary Lineker really get the opportunity to sit in a Match of the day studio at the start of next season in just his underpants or will Leicester City's dramatic and emphatic start to the season run out of steam.  The glory days are certainly amongst us with Leicester, Watford and Crystal Palace all in the top half of the table but before to many people get their hopes up can we have a little reality check.  There are 38 games in a season and we are not yet at the half-way mark.  There will be many a twist and turn before the season ends and whatever happens you have to think that Leicester should have enough to maintain a top 6 position.

If you lead at Christmas you have a good chance of going on to win the premier league,  history tells us so with 5 of the last 6 Premier League titles following this pattern and Leicester cannot be caught before Christmas.  5 points clear before Arsenal or Manchester City kick a ball there lead means that Boxing day, a day they can secure the magic 40 points should be something of a party for them.  Can Ranieri keep their feet firmly on the ground through this phenetic run of games over the newt two weeks where pressure is applied to a squad as a whole with games coming thick and fast.

When you actually think about it though with the lack of a second string 11 though and only 4 results seperating Leicester from 7th it still isn't quite as secure a proposition as it looks.   Keeping Mahrez fit seems to be the key as although they are winning their defence is leaking goals.  Their are seven teams who have conceded less goals,  yep there's that number again 7.  This defensive frailty keeps the pressure on their prolific pair of Mahrez and Vardy to keep scoring and that ultimately might be their achilles heel. 

Will that be their number at the end of the season, 7, even if it was and they missed out on European football you would still have to say that in the context of a club who are on the up it would still be a fantastic acheivement compared to the stalwart teams of the Premier league. 

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premierleagueAnother week and another set of results in the premier league which leaves you scratching your head.  Manchester United's much depleted squad showed their frailties against a Bournemouth side who are flying high at the moment,  in 14th place.  Manchester City needed a wake up call against Swansea after appearing to go through the motions for most of the game with City fans voting Joe Hart their man of the match, that tells you everything you need to know about the game.  

Watforrd, a side predicted to struggle are now upto 7th with Ighalo on the score sheet again.  Even after Arsenal's win over VIlla today, yes it's not half-time, they are 2-0 up and VIlla couldn't put a win together at the moment even if they were able to field 14 players on the pitch,  Watford would be 8 points off the top of the table once Arsenal's match finishes,  7 at the moment.  Now we all know the season is long but at the moment you have to think this could be Arsenal's best opportunity to win this league that they will ever get.  Walcott is now back fit and Ozil has continued to be the assist king of the league, instremental in everything they do.  Ramsey is now back fit again and Giroud's 50 goals in 138 matches isn't to be sniffed at as goal returns go.  

On paper you would have Manchester City as the strongest squad but the game isn't played on paper and a good job.  I find myself watching more and more premier league matches as  the unpredictability of this years premier league continues to throw up result after result and game after unpredictable game.  Today Arsenal , Liverpool and Tottenham must start favourites but West Brom are now hard to beat and could provide an upset.  Tottenham haven't lost a game in over 10 matches, the only premier league team that can say that and a win today at Newcastle would see them move above Man United on goal difference.   Tomorrow will Leicster be able to beat a Chelsea side who lost against Bournemouth who have now overtaken them in the league but could beat FC Porto in the mid-week game.   

chelseaIf Chelsea can put the win together that could leave 5 points covering the top 4 places which makes for an exciting christmas period trying to work out who will come away from the rush of games in pole position.  16 games in and if you would have predicted a top five of Arsenal / Leicster / Man City / Tottenham / Man United with a 3 point gap to Crystal Palace being chased by Watford then you should definately do the national lottery.  What a premier league this has been this year.   Mind you if Leicster do win then they would be 2 points clear of Arsenal,  Yep that's how good they have been this season.     

mcfcOf course as a Manchester City fan I want to see us put a run together and for Kompany / SIlva and Ageuro to get back fit and raring to go over the festive period but it has been utterly fascinating without them.  Basically a Manchester City side bereft of their two most dynamic attacking players and the spine of our team missing  for most of our opening period and we are still top 4 contenders and a Champions League group winning team not mentioning the Carling Cup.   Fantastic from our point of view although some CIty fans would dis-agree beleiving the losses suffered should have been wins.

I still think we should win the Premier League but Arsenal look like this year they might have enough in the squad to mount a real challenge that lasts the whole season, key for them will be keeping their most influential players fit, key for us will be getting our most influential players fit.  

What a League.    

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Wpremierleagueell after watching Stoke learn from Liverpool as to how to exploit the frailty of our system it could have been a really poor week for Manchester City but the madness of the premier league this season means that in the main the damage hasn't been to bad.  10 minutes to go and it looks like Liverpool are about to be beaten by the toothless Newcastle.  A result which could see the bar-codes recover some of that confidence Steve Maclaren keeps talking about.  You have to wonder if it is confidence which is preventing United from putting anything meaningful together.  They certainly do look toothless in front of goal much to West Ham's benefit.  In fact the top four are sperated by 3 points and we are all still waiting for Leicster ansd Arsenal to fall away come the Christmas fixtures and the strain it puts on your squad,  We3 should be at pretty much full strength going into the same period and you would expect to see a run put together at Christmas which will see us pull away.   

In fact the whole premier league isf ull of amazing stories this season,   The last 2 goals scored by Villa have been scored by Joleon Lescott and Micah Richards.  Not enough to see them win matches and neither in the last few years known for their goal-scoring prowess.  Jose Mourinho has said his new target is top 6 not top 4 and Vardy's amazing run has come to an end but in what spectacular fashion,  the week he doesn't score is the week that Mahrez scores a hat-trick.  however much Vardy has led the line Mahrez has been just as important to their season and Leicster need to keep these two and Schmeichel fit if they have any hope of keeping it going through Winter.  Chelsea / City / United or Liverpool managed to score a single goal this weekend,  just think about that for a minute.   

Chelsea lost again,  8 losses from 15 matches so no surprise there but you can see signs of a recovery, the style of play has improved but they were still second best againast Bournemouth, yep Bournemouth.  That sums up pretty well the premier league as it stands.  Chelsea remain 3 points from bottom but that old adage, their two good to go down.  We remain 3 points from top with players to come back from injury and Leicster sit at the top of the table.

 

 

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Last week even the usually sensible crowd at MCFCForum had a thread opened entitled Pellegrini out which came as a surprise.  Not the fact that somebody voiced their opinion, that's what the forum section of the website is for but more the nature of the thread and how poorly City's season is going.  When we look at the season as a whole after 14 games it has to be the performances which has cuased such a reaction on Social Media,  Forums and across the press I mean let's break it down.

premier leagueIt must be down to our position in the premier league, oh hang on a minute we're top and even after the disaster at Liverpool we fell to third in the table in a match which came straight after international duties. 

OK if it's not the premier league it must be our disastrous Champions League showing,  oh hang on a minute we're still in that competition and have qualified out of the group stages.  Only Juventus who haven't lost a match yet head us in our table and if we had managed a win against them we may well have headed the group.  Could that match coming so close after the Liverpool game have been a factor in the first 11 selection at Liverpool?

Okay if it's not the Premier League or the champipons league it must be our disastrous cup runs,  Oh hold on a minute our next game is a last 8 game in the Capital Cup and the FA Cup hasn't started yet.  We could well be going to Wembley if we can win a couple more games in that competition.

Right if it's not our position in the table it must be our style of play, yep that must be it.  We must be scraping awful 1-0 wins with game stifling displays of mundane boredom.  What do you mean we are the Premier Leagues top goalscorers,  We can't be our top two up top Silva & Aguero aren't having great seasons and have been out for long periods with injuries. 

Well if we are the top goalscorers we must be conceding at the back,  What we have the fourth best defence with only Manure / Arse and Spurs having conceded less.  That cannot be right as that would indicate a team playing well in a formation which allows good attacking football whilst protecting it's back four and goalkeeper.  Nah you must have it wrong somewhere,the boo-boys must have something to complain about.  They pay their money week-in week out and aren't enjoying what Pellegrini and the squad are putting in front of them, 

I mean how else are the press able to keep heaping pressure on our squad with the continual stories of Pep coming to join us,  I mean it was nailed on last summer,  or was that the summer before I cannot remember now.  Guardiola is an excellent manager and any team in Europe would be happy to have him but would I really throw our manager under the bus so easily in order that we can get replace him with another who will then need to team-build again. 

I'm quite happy as a City fan looking down on the rest of the premier league and wondering when we will get our squad back so we can push on and see what the rest of this season will bring.  I mean most of the squads we are competing with are yet to have their major injury crisis and we are competing with them successfully using our full squad.  Maybe that means we have to put up with the occasional Liverpool performance or a surprise like VIlla but overall I would back what we have now against anybody in England and most in Europe. 

 

 

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 Lucky To Get Nil is Joe Royle's 'Cityitis' personified. He saw Frannie Lee win the League at Newcastle and Dennis Tueart's overhead kick at Wembley. And that. Was. It. Then for thirty-odd years he suffered.

He stood on the piss-stained terraces of the Kippax. He went to Lincoln away. He watched us scrape through against Gillingham. He experienced the horror that was Laurent Charvet. He saw Stuart Pearce's little horse. And worst of all he suffered Robinho.

So now, basically, he has had enough.  He represents the 'never win at home and never win away' mentality that (dare deny it!) is deep in the DNA of every City fan. Don't take him literally - DO take him very seriously. Read on...

BPSThe Blue Prawn Sandwich is Lucky To Get Nil's alter-ego. From the Milton Keynes area, he's a 'nouveau,' post Sheikh glory-hunter who - on the face of it - knows nothing about football. He can't even remember the players' names. But for such an idiot, he is surprisingly 'savant.' Because he is so stupid, he seems to ask the questions and say the things others - because of blind faith, political correctness or just plain ignorance - don't ask.

He doesn't care what you think of him because he doesn't understand football in its 'traditional' sense. He actually prefers it on TV. There are thousands- hundreds of thousands - of people like him, recruited as the Premier League goes 'global'. He is the future - however scary that might be. Read on...

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