94 Not Out – Can City reach a century? MAN CITY v BLACKBURN ROVERS

So it’s au revoir Samir and hola Sergio as the revolving door to Manchester City’s medical facilities continues spinning…and the Sky Blues just keep on winning.

The fallen - Nasri, wounded in action, will be out until at least mid-March

The fallen – Nasri, wounded in action, will be out until at least mid-March

It’s now 13 wins and just two draws from the last 15 games since City last suffered a reversal more than two months ago. If that fabulous run of form wasn’t impressive enough it needs to be put into context.

The undefeated, overwhelmingly victorious run has been blighted – not halted – by injuries to key players, none more so than City’s striker supreme, Sergio Aguero.

With the Argentine superstar ready to return almost a month to the day since initially being ruled out for eight weeks, his team mate, Samir Nasri, will be hoping a similar healing process can speed up his recovery as the Frenchman faces up to two months on the sidelines.

Returning Hero - Sergio salute as City's striker hits the comeback trail

Returning Hero – Sergio salute as City’s striker hits the comeback trail

If – such a big word IF – if, City win any permutation involving the Premier League, the Capital One Cup, The FA Cup and the Champions League – a single, double, treble or quadruple, they will have done so in the face of adversity.

Vincent Kompany, Matija Nastasic and David Silva have also all missed substantial chunks of a season that has gradually gathered more and more momentum, so let’s not have any rubbish spouted about City being lucky.

By the same token, how long will it be before the bleating dies down in relation to Cheik Tiote’s disallowed effort, during City’s ninth consecutive top flight win over the Toon.

Disappearing Dave - Silva will be missed as he sits this one out with a minor injury

Disappearing Dave – Silva will be missed as he sits this one out with a minor injury

Funny how the furore – heavy on the irony – of  Wilfried Bony’s ‘suspected’ offside goal for Swansea against City on New Year’s Day, passed by without comment.

Funny how Phil Bardsley’s foul on James Milner, before scoring Sunderland’s winner, back in November, attracted no attention.

Funny how one of Aston Villa’s three goals, clearly offside, in their 3-2 win over City in September, wasn’t endlessly debated by pundits and journalists alike.

Not much of a fuss either, when  Alvaro Negredo was denied a goal on his Premier League debut on August 19 – incorrectly flagged as offside against…now who was it….errm, oh that team, they wear black and white stripes and are nicknamed after an unscrupulous, thieving bird?

Beast Feast - Negredo would already have 20 goals this season if his 'goal' against Newcastle hadn't been incorrectly ruled offside last August.

Beast Feast – Negredo would already have 20 goals this season if his ‘goal’ against Newcastle hadn’t been incorrectly ruled offside last August.

The one thing that is undeniably fowl about the twittering masses from the North East is their apology of a manager ‘Potty Mouth Pardew’. Bedpans are probably still in vogue in Newcastle – they nigh on sh*t themselves every time they have to play City.

Anyway, I am told that I must let it go and…breathe in…and out.

Three days on and it’s yet another Manchester City fixture. Blimey this going for all four trophies is a bit of a malarkey isn’t it? Some would have you believe a quadruple is a load of old nonsense, but not Manuel Pellegrini.

Whilst never playing it up, City’s chilled Chilean certainly doesn’t rule out the possibility of making British football history. Admittedly it’s a massive task, one that in all honesty is improbable, but one can’t but admire the cut of Pellegrini’s jib.

Unruffled - Cool Chilean Manuel is committed to keeping City on course for silverware...in all conditions!

Unruffled – Cool Chilean Manuel is committed to keeping City on course for silverware…in all conditions!

Tonight his City team, so frequently rotated they could be forgiven for feeling a tad giddy, face the stoicism of Gary Bowyer’s Blackburn Rovers – a team on the periphery of the Championship play-off places – who had the temerity not to roll over in their FA Cup 3rd Round tie with Manuel’s marauders.

Written in jest of course, Rovers made a real match of it against a City side who were decidedly average in the Saturday lunchtime encounter at Ewood Park.

Injuries dictate that not only will Samir Nasri be missing but also his midfield partner David Silva and the Ivorian Power Station, Yaya Toure.

Bad back - Yaya isn't ready to rumble against Blackburn due to injury

Bad back – Yaya isn’t ready to rumble against Blackburn due to injury

Whether Pellegrini will risk resting the likes of Zabaleta and Kompany is highly debateable given how City struggled to dominate in the original tie. The City boss may opt to try and get the job done, and then substitute his stars in readiness for Cardiff at the weekend.

Richards, Clichy, Lescott, Garcia, Navas even young Lopes could find themselves in starting roles, safe in the knowledge that any sub-standard showing could be punished by a Blackburn team with absolutely nothing to lose.

It’s great to keep referring to City’s home turf as ‘Fortress Etihad’, but it will only remain so with focus and more focus from this multi-talented City side.

All smiles - will Marcos Lopes get another chance to have City fans beaming against Blackburn?

All smiles – will Marcos Lopes get another chance to have City fans beaming against Blackburn?

God forbid things aren’t going to plan at any stage of the game, but having Aguero on the bench is one hell of a ‘Get out of Jail’ card, if Pellegrini is to succeed in his monopoly of domestic trophies.

The two-goal triumph on Tyneside meant City have now scored 94 goals across four competitions this season – two more than the whole of 2012/13.

It would be pushing it and bordering on being disrespectful to Blackburn, to even hint at making it 100 by the end of the night.

Nonetheless I wonder what odds on another 6-0 City win on home turf?

A pragmatic 1-0 win will do nicely – just get the job done and come through unscathed.

We can but hope for a sporting encounter, refereed by an official who knows the rules, maintains control and an opposition manager who minds his ‘Ps & Qs’ and not his Effin C’s.



By David Walker

www.readbutneverred.com @djwskyblu           


  1. January 15, 2014  6:56 am by Andy Devereux Reply

    Good stuff again David and I'm with you as much as we all love to see the goals rattling in a solid, comfortable 1-0 will do me and on to Watford in round 5.Its that time of year for little niggling injuries so no surprise to see one or two with them but as long as thats all they are I'm sure we'll cope.Would love to see Jovetic and Rodwell shake their injuries and get some game time with the amount of fixtures we've got coming but I'm not holding my breath ;) #TrustOurMP

    • January 15, 2014  9:58 am by David Walker Reply

      Jovetic & Rodwell are talented players but they're no good on the treatment table. As it stands they're £37m worth of medical mishaps.

  2. January 15, 2014  8:58 am by Fifthcolumnblue Reply

    M.E.N. Suggesting both Lopes and Emyr Hughes will both be involved tonight, with Lopes a likely starter given the absence of both the magpie-battered Nasri and SIlva.

    Whilst it's always great to see our talented academy players given a go, I have to hope Pellegrini isn't forced into so many changes that it disrupts the team. We should win this one, but Blackburn proved at Ewood that they're a tough nut to crack.

    On the subject of Newcastle, I don't see why you should let it go, as the Geordie hoards don't appear to be giving up on the subject. Their local press is still going on about the "terrible injustice" of the disallowed goal, and almost everyone has started in on the "City buying the league" nonsense, whilst conveniently ignoring Yanga Mbiwa's GBH on Nasri, Pardew's (and his team's) disgraceful loss of control, and the additional 3-4 yellow cards the referee bottled showing to Newcastle players, Cabaye in particular. I also note with some dismay that NOBODY in the media has picked up on Santon's shocking dive to win a free kick just outside the area when replays show Zabaleta didn't actually touch him!

    I guess now that we're the team that everyone in the league is afraid of, we are no everyone's favourite target. Tell you what, as infuriating as that is, I prefer it to the old patronising "City are my second team" nonsense we used to get in the old days when everyone loved the 3 easy points we provided!

    • January 15, 2014  9:56 am by David Walker Reply

      Well said No 5 - better to be hated winners than pitied losers.

  3. January 15, 2014  10:23 am by Mole Rocks Reply

    I'd settle for two early goals, then keep it tight. 1-0 would be far too stressful :-)

    I agree a quadruple is the stuff of fantasy, the refreshing think is MP showing his thought process!

    You can't fault the desire to attempt to win every competition you enter.

    Can't give you any names, however I would like to see City dip in to the transfer market. I'm sure they have players they're tracking and with the injuries, there are first team positions available.

    City should be too strong for Blackburn at the Etihad, but as always, there is no room for complacency.

    Come on Blues, history is there for the making!

    • January 15, 2014  11:38 am by David Walker Reply

      Agree Carl - would like a CB & LB. Also want bloody Jovetic fit - it's getting a bit daft now £22m & nowhere to be seen. Likewise I'd obviously prefer goals galore to ease the nerves but a win is all we need.

  4. January 15, 2014  10:31 am by Graham Ward Reply

    I'm never comfortable with one goal - but a nice 2-0 will do me fine. Hard to really work out what XI will be picked, but it'll still be competative.
    Here's mine.....
    Pants, Richards, Dimichelis, Nasty, Clichy, Garcia, Fernie, Navas, Milner, Lopes, Dzeko.
    Sub (outfield) Zabaleta, Lescott, Kolarov, Negredo, Aguero, Huws
    Maybe a bit short on leaders, so I wouldn't be surprised if Kompany is on the bench. This is an area we sometimes struggle.
    Dzeko to start as Negredo completed the game on Sunday, and, as you point out, David, options if the game doesn't go to plan.

  5. January 15, 2014  12:35 pm by David Walker Reply

    MP has done well with his squad rotation thus far- long may it continue.

  6. January 15, 2014  6:58 pm by Phil Entwistle Reply

    Best review by far David. Get the job done without any further injuries and onto Cardiff at the weekend.
    Good opportunity for some players to impress our MP and break into the 1st team with plenty of games and Silverware up for grabs.

    • January 15, 2014  11:07 pm by David Walker Reply

      Mission accomplished Philip!

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