CARDIFF CITY v MAN CITY – Pellegrini out to slay dragons and bluebirds alike

Will Manuel Pellegrini’s Manchester City be all hot and bothered when they attempt to slay the fiery Welsh dragons of Cardiff City, or will it be all sweetness and light as they knock the tweeting Bluebirds off their perch this coming Sunday?

If Malky Mackay’s newly promoted side embodies the characteristics of one of its elder statesman, one Craig Douglas Bellamy, it could be hotter than a holiday in Cairo in August for the sky blues of Manchester.

Signed by former City boss Mark Hughes, but then shown the door by his new boss Roberto Mancini, Bellamy remains a favourite with Man City fans, who admired his tenacity, industry and commitment – not forgetting his undoubted quality –while plying his trade at the Etihad.


Bellamy in sky blue - ever popular at the Etihad

Bellamy in sky blue – ever popular at the Etihad

Now 34, ‘Bellers’ still retains a nifty turn of pace and oozes undoubted class and, if fit and selected, could prove a real handful for a Manchester City defence that will be minus it’s central defensive partnership of  injured starters Vincent Kompany and Matija Nastasic.

City have had the meanest defence in the Premier League for the past three seasons, and long may that continue, but one gets the impression that Pellegrini’s football philosophy edges more towards the mantra of  ‘…if they score three, we’ll score five…’ i.e. that crazy 45 minutes against AC Milan in the Audi Cup.

If it were to go that way there wouldn’t be many complaints from City fans or neutrals alike, but for all of the grand designs and expansive play, the deployment of wingers of the calibre of Jesus Navas and attacking flair, no team likes to concede at the back.

With Micah Richards extremely doubtful with yet another injury, Pellegrini’s centre back options could be down to two from three of Joleon Lescott, Dedryk Boyata and the versatile, but less than convincing in defence, Javi Garcia.

Ironically City’s defensive ‘crisis’ comes as one of the club’s brightest stars of the future – Dutch prodigy Karim Rekik – on loan at PSV Eindhoven, has just received his first full international call up by The Netherlands.

And as if a fired up Bellamy wasn’t enough, Cardiff will have record signing Gary Medel – a fellow countryman of Pellegrini – making his home debut after his £11m switch from Sevilla.

Fiery character - Bellamy in the new look red of the 'Bluebirds'

Fiery character – Bellamy in the new look red of the ‘Bluebirds’

To describe Medel as combative would be like saying Mario Balotelli was less than introverted or that it can be a bit damp in Manchester in November!

His nickname of ‘El Pitbull’ wasn’t gained lightly – seven red cards in 90 La Liga encounters is testimony to his rough-tough style – and despite being team mates with City’s Navas and Alvaro Negredo at Sevilla last season, there’s little prospect of Medel seeking to take any prisoners.

Medel played in one of the world’s hardest fought local derbies – with Boca Juniors against River Plate – during his time in Argentina, and promises to be a key component if Cardiff are to gain their first Premier League point, or even points.

Cardiff’s new great Dane forward, Andreas Cornelius, will be looking to get his team off the mark, so City’s backline need to step up, despite being somewhat dilapidated.

The manner of City’s majestic 4-0 flattening of Newcastle last Monday night, suggests Pellegrini has a wealth of attacking riches that, as the season develops, should have City’s opponents more pre-occupied with the damage that could be done unto them, rather than on what they might inflict on City’s Joe Hart & Co.

The obvious fragilities of Alan Pardew’s under resourced Magpies aside, City’s performance full of verve and vitality, industry and intensity, bodes well for a second title success in three years.

The power-packed combination of Fernandinho and Yaya Toure looked very promising, while Navas’ wing play was scintillating. Negredo was robbed of a perfectly good debut goal and looks like a natural goalscorer. Dzeko was a man re-born with a new found confidence coursing through his veins, Silva was sublime and Sergio was, well, simply Sergio.

Silva on song - Merlin the Spanish magician can weave his spells in South Wales

Silva on song – Merlin the Spanish magician can weave his spells in South Wales

Perhaps we should lobby for the word Aguero to be submitted to the Oxford Dictionary as an adjective meaning; stupendous, wonderful, unsurpassed. His contract extension this summer was as significant as any of the £90m spend on new signings, if not more so.

Lest we forget the maestro from Montenegro, Stevan Jovetic, wasn’t even part of Monday night’s proceedings due to injury, and he could well be involved at Cardiff come the weekend.

Maestro from Montenegro - Stevan Jovetic has yet to make his competitive City debut

Maestro from Montenegro – Stevan Jovetic has yet to make his competitive City debut

It’s sometimes hard to know when is the best time to play a side newly promoted to the top tier of English football?

Do you play them early when they’re a novice, like a new born foal flailing around? Alternatively, the new boys and their fans could be on a natural high as they explore their PL odyssey and come out punching above their weight.

The answer will be forthcoming soon enough for Pellegrini and his galaxy of stars with both Cardiff and the Hull City Tigers (don’t you just love foreign owners who obliterate tradition for commercialism) on the fixture list in the space of a week.

While Gollum the Glaswegian Gargoyle bemoans the PL fixture list for picking on his champions by giving them ‘nasty horrible and hard’ games at the start of the season, a rather regal chap from Chile is getting on with the job of harvesting maximum points…whether facing dragons, bluebirds or tigers.








By David Walker



  1. August 22, 2013  6:39 pm by Alan Baxter Reply

    The close season inertia was overcome in less than 6 mins on Monday, now it's all about momentum. Sunday's game surely cannot be the walk in the park we had on Monday, but, I'm confident we'll have the last laugh by the Taff. Looking forward to it as the long trip back is cushioned by a bank holiday on Monday. My prediction? 0-2 and A Bellers Red!

    • August 24, 2013  9:04 am by David Walker Reply

      Hope MCFC DO have a LAFF by the TAFF! If I use that line you WILL be accredited young Alan! Thanks fella.

  2. August 22, 2013  9:04 pm by Graham Ward Reply

    Hard to work out how this one will go, but I agree with Alan, it is about momentum now, and if we continue as we did on Monday, we will be hard to stop.
    Interesting to see if any unenforced changes are made. Personally, in defence, if Nasty is fit, I would play him. The example of Aguero showed that Pellegrini is not afraid to put players in if their 'preparation' has been questionable. If not, I would play a natural centre half, Boyota. The manager has said he will get a chance - what better way of proving that commitment?
    I like the comment 'last laugh by the Taff'' - I think you would be pleased to claim that one, David ;-)

    • August 24, 2013  9:09 am by David Walker Reply

      Really Graham do you think I would be such a cad & a bounder as to pinch Mr Baxter's line? I could've before you drew attention to it

  3. August 22, 2013  9:45 pm by MoleRocks Reply

    As a very proud Welshman, I doubt any dragons will be slain, but I hope a few bluebirds will be suitably plucked after Sunday.

    As ever, we are slightly more concerned about our perceived defensive problems and busy talking up the opposition, than acknowledging the immense attacking qualities of City in it's current guise.

    If City play to their potential we should win, at this early stage of the season, that is the unknown quantity. Can City carry on where they left off on Monday?

    Come 6pm on Sunday we'll know and win, lose, or draw, the future is all about trusting our MP.

    #trustourMP :-)

    • August 24, 2013  9:13 am by David Walker Reply

      No dragons slain but hopefully the Bluebirds have a few leeks in defence!

      I'll get my coat - taxi for Walker!

  4. August 23, 2013  8:19 am by Steve Yates Reply

    A great piece of writing. Well informed, amusing and enlightening. And from a red not read.......

    • August 24, 2013  9:17 am by David Walker Reply

      Cheque's in the post Steve - express delivery of course! Cheers Mr Y

  5. August 23, 2013  8:36 am by Grant Mills Reply

    Top notch again. Do worry about Kompany, every season we lose him for one reason or another. I'd play Toure there and bring Milner into midfield CTID.

    • August 24, 2013  9:20 am by David Walker Reply

      Yes we do have CB options but looks like there's a fair chance Nasty will be back. I would still like to see a quality CB acquisition for the long haul & give us strength in depth.

  6. August 25, 2013  9:34 am by Chris Battersby Reply

    An early goal will do us wonders again and instill confidence in to a 'makeshift' back 4. Away from home granted but hopefully our possession and attacking will dictate the game.

  7. October 12, 2013  3:22 am by Phill Reply

    A wasted opportunity - City should have took the bull by the horns and said ''we are building a German style safe standing area'' and had the backing of all the other clubs who have said they want them too and forced the governments hand to end this nonsensical regulation that allows standing in lower league games as well as rugby games (both codes) and standing up in all seated stadiums when hosting rock concerts!
    The cost of converting to standing areas would be mightly cheaper and more cost effective than building two third tiers.

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