City don’t want trouble – they’ll settle for just a double

Two headlines – 13 months apart – crystallise the hideous hypocrisy and blatantly biased agenda constantly directed against Manchester City.

Rewind to March 3rd 2021 and, ‘Manchester City might win the quadruple – and this is not good for English football’ – it’s not exactly catchy and certainly not balanced.

Have We Got News For You – This is how it feels to be City.

Fast forward to April 29th 2022 and feast your eyes on, ‘Neutrals should be cheering on Liverpool’s quadruple hunt – they are one of the greatest teams ever’ – certainly not catchy and not exactly balanced.

I won’t name check the lobotomised individual masquerading as a journalist – why give the imbecile any extra oxygen – but suffice to say it’s typical of the gut churning garbage being trotted out by the half brained lovers of Liverpool (lyrics not quite in tune with little Jimmy Osmond’s horrific, Long Haired Lover from Liverpool, number one hit in December 1972).

It’s now four FA Cup semi defeats in five attempts for City under Pep.

Before regularly crashing out of FA Cup semi finals, any talk of City achieving a quadruple was purely to set us up before a fall. Having routinely won the League Cup in late February/early March, it was always on the radar.

As City finally relinquished their hold on that particular trophy after five years and the Scousers snaffled it up, suddenly it was Liverpool’s turn. The only difference being, well, everything – tone, sentiment, content and the overriding wish for it to come true.

When you’ve been in a football warzone and emerged victorious who gives a sh*t about crappy journalists?

The fact I’m writing about this shouldn’t be misconstrued as being overly bothered by the nauseous numbnuts who trot out such tripe. It’s an observational fact, seeking to shed a perspective on City, who are seven games away from what would be dumbed down as a paltry ‘double’.

The scale of City’s ambition is reflected in their April fixtures and the perceived wisdom that a 3-2 FA Cup semi final loss to Liverpool, is the lesser of the evils. If they had to lose any game, that was the most ‘palatable’. Premier and Champions League titles are Pep’s priorities.

KDB opens the scoring against Real Madrid.

City could have already booked their place to Paris, courtesy of a resounding win over Real Madrid in the first leg of the Champions League semi final. It’s no exaggeration to say they should have been four goals up, before Karim Benzema guided his shot past Ederson to reduce the lead to 2-1.

City’s eventual 4-3 victory was a modern day classic, a spellbinding delight for any neutral and yet, as ridiculous as it sounds, it left the majority of City’s supporters disappointed, rueing missed opportunities.

Jesus scored his fifth goal in two games when City went two up against Real Madrid.

A chorus of, ‘It should’ve been 10’, might have been pushing it, but six, maybe even eight City goals, would’ve been hard to argue against. As it is, it’s ‘game on’ in the Battle of the Bernabeu next Wednesday night, but the Spanish capital should hold no fears for Pep’s troops, after the veritable war zone in the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium a fortnight ago.

The composure, concentration, character, class and collective courage City displayed for well over 100 minutes against the thugs of Atletico, will serve them well as they go for a fourth win on the bounce over Real.

Atletico’s Stefan Savic, who couldn’t knock the skin off a rice pudding in his City playing days, suddenly acts the tough guy.

Paradoxically, Diego Simeone’s rabid rabble were key to Real staying in the contest. Had it not been for an injury to Kyle Walker and a yellow card, harshly meted out to Joao Cancello in the 0-0 quarter final, Guardiola’s first choice full backs would’ve been available to form a much tighter City rear guard.

Gambling on John Stones’ fitness as a makeshift right back, backfired as the stellar centre back was incapacitated in the pre-amble to Benzema’s first goal.

Pep went through a gamut of emotions during City’s classic encounter with Ancelotti’s Real Madrid.

His 36th minute departure meant even more defensive disruption with Fernandinho (let’s hope he’s celebrating his 37th birthday on Wednesday with an aggregate win) coming on and going one-on-one with Vinicius Junior – 16 years Dinho’s junior and one of  world football’s speed merchants.

It’s not apportioning any blame to the club’s veteran skipper and inspirational dressing room leader, but it does highlight the profound influence Walker has on City’s play. His lightning quick pace and physicality is virtually irreplaceable, and yet City still edged Real Madrid and fought – warrior like – to hold off a late Atletico assault and battery in Spain.

Kyle Walker is key to City’s success and his absence is a real blow during the Premier League and Champions League run-in.

Despite Pep’s positive and defiant words about Walker’s possibly prolonged absence, it does weaken the team. Both he and fellow Yorkshire man, Stones, will be absent when City enter the feral surroundings of Elland Road this evening, in search of three priceless points.

Having dispatched Marco Bielsa’s hapless Leeds United 7-0 in the reverse fixture, it will be a much more structured and resilient opponent under new boss, Jesse Marsch.  Yes, City did give his RB Leipzig side a 6-3 Champions League pasting last September, but it promises to be an altogether closer affair.

Will Pep be celebrating two wins over two teams in white over the next five days?

You only need to cast your mind back a week, to City’s youngsters clinching the Premier League Two title with a 3-1 win at Leeds, to know what awaits. A record crowd in excess of 21,300 made the EDS lads decidedly unwelcome, but still the Blues came through. A re-run with the senior team will do just fine. After all, what can be worse than the antics deployed by Atletico, both on and off the field?

It was alleged – and obviously not confirmed or commented upon by City – that Jack Grealish wasn’t involved away at Atletico (apart from quite rightly and correctly calling Stefan Savic a c*nt) because Messrs Savic, Felipe, Vrsalijko et al were out to ‘do him’ in the second leg.

You can just hear Jack Grealish with his Brummie accent, calling Savic a c*nt!

‘Peaky Jack’ had played a blinder, during his ten minute cameo appearance in the 1-0 win at the Etihad, wickedly winding up Simeone’s Neanderthals.

City kept their cool in the face of some of the worst provocation and lamentable refereeing ever witnessed. It wasn’t nice and it certainly wasn’t pretty, but it means trips to the likes of Leeds and Real Madrid, are nothing in comparison.

KDB’s solitary goal was enough to see off the Atletico bully boys over a gruelling two-legged Champions League quarter final.

Whereas City have, thus far, come out on top in tussles with the two Spanish giants, things haven’t gone to plan with gurning Jurgen’s quadruple chasing media darlings.

Having been by far the better side at the Etihad, City had to settle for a share of a 2-2 draw, with Raheem Sterling’s ‘goal’ disallowed, courtesy of VAR and the width of a gnat’s chuff.

A depleted, bruised and battered City were always going to be Wembley underdogs after the Atletico affair. Liverpool had enjoyed the luxury of resting seven first choice players during their 3-3 Champions League draw with Benfica.

City’s top scorer Riyad Mahrez broke the deadlock against Brighton

It would be churlish to suggest City were unlucky when losing their fourth out of five FA Cup semi finals under Guardiola. They’d produced an utterly abysmal first half showing, shipping three goals amidst a calamitous collective no show. That said, second half goals from Grealish and Bernardo had Liverpool on the ropes and mightily relieved at the final whistle.

Customary wins and goals galore against Brighton and Watford see City still a point clear at the summit of the Premier League, but with little or no margin for error.

With five league matches and potentially two Champions League games to go, a full strength City would be odds on to crown their greatest ever season.

And Jesus said, ‘Go forth and score’, so Gabby did just that against Watford.

Sadly that isn’t the case, but to Guardiola’s eternal credit he never seeks excuses.

He doesn’t moan about injuries, the length of the grass, the width of the goal lines, the snow, the wind or the wrong kind of rain. He doesn’t whinge about fixture congestion nor report bizarre multiple, unsubstantiated positive Covid tests to have games postponed.

He conducts himself with dignity and decorum, seeking solutions and strategies as, what he refers to as, ‘Cup Finals’ come along every three days. He has faith in his squad players – the likes of Zinchenko, Ake, Fernandinho and even the Academy kids – a firm belief they have the ability and mentality to cope.

Brilliant Bernardo celebrates his wonder strike against Real.

Bernardo – one of the standout players of the season – encapsulated the mood when he said: “I like this pressure – look, it’s better to be here than to be fighting against relegation or for fourth place or the Europa League.”

The Etihad Stadium – home to The Champions – let’s hope it stays that way, come the end of May.

Of course Bernardo is right. Long gone are the days when the height of City’s ambition was 40 points and maybe the odd win over United, but as the media constantly complain, you can’t have ‘moneybags and oil c*nts’ ruining football with quadruples. No that would never do.

City aren’t bothered about quadruples, they don’t need the grief, they’ll happily settle for a double and a redefining of Sky Blue Heaven.

Dedicated to the memory of a man who I never had the privilege of meeting, Jimmy Riley, a staunch Manchester City supporter over many decades, and Dad to one of the nicest and most dedicated of Blues, Sean. If we’re talking about the proverbial ‘chip off the old block’, the Riley family specialise in chips and blocks of the highest calibre. Empathy, sympathy and deepest condolences to Sean, his family and friends, and here’s hoping there’s a Sky Blue Heaven beyond the football served up by Pep Guardiola’s team.

By David Walker

www.readbutneverred.com @ReadButNeverRed @djwskyblu

30 Comments

  1. April 30, 2022  9:00 am by Mark O'Dell Reply

    Absolutely agree ,for once someone tells it as it is .instead of the brookside media or brookside sky sports .

    • April 30, 2022  9:03 am by David Walker Reply

      The Liverpool media luvvies are rather tiresome aren't they? Thanks for your feedback.

  2. April 30, 2022  9:20 am by Michael Parker Reply

    Fantastic read. 💙💙

  3. April 30, 2022  9:33 am by Tracie Wilson Reply

    You have an amazing way with words …. and always make the point that needs to be said
    Great read and great sentiment
    Thank you 🙏🏻
    💙🙏🏻💙 to the Riley family

    • April 30, 2022  9:40 am by David Walker Reply

      Much appreciated feedback and thank you for your sentiments for Sean and his family.

  4. April 30, 2022  9:42 am by Dave Leyland Reply

    Fantastic as always, the biased cnuts won’t stop the mighty blues from doing what we do best “Boil Piss”

    • April 30, 2022  9:46 am by David Walker Reply

      Gratitude fella, you're not wrong - bring to the boil and simmer for years and years to come.

  5. April 30, 2022  9:49 am by Bob Howison Reply

    Truthful excellence.

  6. April 30, 2022  9:57 am by Fred Nelson Reply

    Brilliant article, David. The hypocrisy and bias is simply astonishing. The Scouse love in on Sky is sickening, and it baffles me that they allow CC (CNUT CARRAGHER) to co commentate. He brings bias and one sidedness to totally new levels. The double would be incredible, bring it on 💙

    • April 30, 2022  10:01 am by David Walker Reply

      As City fans all we ask for is balanced and unbiased coverage. We're not likely to get it anytime soon, so we just have to keep doing things the Pep way and let the haters choke on their own bile and venom. Thanks Fred.

  7. April 30, 2022  10:32 am by Carl Waring Reply

    Enjoyed that DJW. A smashing read 👍

    • April 30, 2022  10:35 am by David Walker Reply

      Always the objective - thanks Carl.

  8. April 30, 2022  12:01 pm by Mike Jones Reply

    Excellent as always David, it would be an interesting battle to line you up in competition - truth and facts vs utter nonsense - week in, week out - against the quadruple idiot at The Daily Telegraph. Four articles a week from each of you, now that could be fun!

    • April 30, 2022  12:27 pm by David Walker Reply

      It'd be unfair - Luke would have far more crayons than I could ever even dream of possessing. That said, challenge accepted. Thanks for the great feedback.

  9. April 30, 2022  12:07 pm by Phill Reply

    Excellent article. Will share widely

  10. April 30, 2022  12:12 pm by Richard Cooper Reply

    Excellent read as always David. I tend to ignore the tabloid ramblings knowing that since Mancini we have been on a super roller coaster !
    We still have a potential double on offer and however this season pans out we know we have been watching a special team with a special and respected manager.

    • April 30, 2022  12:32 pm by David Walker Reply

      The point is RC it's not just the tatty tabloid, red top tw@ts. The imbecile in question works for the Daily Telegraph and the Liverpool w@nkfest infests every dark, damp recess across the media divide. There are two standout exceptions, albeit from a usually repugnant source - Martin Samuel and Jack Gaughan, excellent and fair minded journalists - but strangely working for the Daily Mail.

  11. April 30, 2022  12:51 pm by peter lynch Reply

    Bravo!

    • April 30, 2022  12:55 pm by David Walker Reply

      And he's just won the Copa del Rey with Manuel Pellegrini at Real Betis :-) Thanks as ever.

  12. April 30, 2022  3:04 pm by by Reply

    Excellent read as always David. I am so tired of all these tabloid ramblings hyping Liverpool and kloop like they never spends money . and also like it's their God's divine rights to win every cups and titles.
    We still have a potential double on offer and however this season pans out we know we have been watching a special team with a special and respected manager.

    • April 30, 2022  4:00 pm by David Walker Reply

      We have enjoyed unprecedented success under Pep - he's in his 6th season with City and has won 3 PL titles - possibly a 4th by May 22nd, 4 League Cups and an FA Cup, and who knows, maybe the Holy Grail of the Champions League on May 28th. Klopp in 7 seasons has thus far won 1 CL, 1 PL and 1 League Cup. Yes he could scoop the lot this year, but as things stand, there's no comparison - Guardiola is infinitely superior, as too are his City team. Thanks for your comment.

  13. April 30, 2022  3:41 pm by Doug Henshaw Reply

    Brilliant article as usual David, if only the Scouse loving media would write as fairly as you do about City. Instead we get the same crap all the time the idiot that calls himself a journalist should be ashamed but he won't be what a t**t he is. If we should pull the double or even just one of the trophy's they will do there best to pull it down as though it was nothing. Here's hoping I'm reading an article by you about our double triumph at the end of the season.

    • April 30, 2022  4:03 pm by David Walker Reply

      It'll be my pleasure and privilege to do an RBNR on a sensational City double, but there's a long way to go yet. As City fans we just have to shut out the media noise and enjoy the play and achievements of this remarkable City era. I appreciate the feedback - thanks.

  14. April 30, 2022  10:48 pm by Susan Bookbinder Reply

    Thank you David for your brilliant journalism and incomparable insight!

    • May 1, 2022  9:31 am by David Walker Reply

      And thank you for your most generous comments.

  15. May 1, 2022  8:20 pm by Sue Reply

    Brilliant article. The dippers think it’s their right to win everything this season and the red tops are telling all and sundry to support them ( and cheat) in their quest. Pep says it as it is to the receiving audience without excuses. Spit the dog Carragher is so biased in his red spectacles too.

    • May 3, 2022  11:25 am by David Walker Reply

      Sadly it is what it is with the media and pundits forever pandering to Liverpool, but with Pep at the helm we'll always rise to the challenge. The clever money is on Guardiola extending his contract at City until the summer of 2025 - great news for City and the hell with all the bias and hypocrisy. Thanks for your comment.

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