City go for record-breaking 10/10 – Man City v Burnley

Resolute, resurgent and resourceful, Manchester City are 90 minutes away from becoming record-breakers as they go seeking a 10th consecutive win in all competitions.

Injury ravaged and stripped bare of strikers, Manuel Pellegrini has steered City through a remarkable renaissance over the past 48 days, a period that has seen the points pile up, both home and away in domestic and European competition.

Showtime in the snow - City brought festive joy at WBA. Courtesy@MCFC

Showtime in the snow – City brought festive joy at WBA. Courtesy@MCFC

Having weathered the winter storms of West Bromwich Albion and put on a professional show in the snow, City can end the year on a high against a Burnley team battling for Premier League survival.

City effectively bounced the boing boing Baggies out of contention on Boxing Day with a 3-0 first half masterclass. As the second half blizzard took hold at The Hawthorns, so too did Pellegrini’s new found pragmatism.

Snow way - City were never going to relinquish their three goal lead in a subdued second half. Courtesy@MCFC

Snow way – City were never going to relinquish their three goal lead in a subdued second half. Courtesy@MCFC

The City boss substituted the sublime David Silva, stand-in skipper Yaya Toure and Samir Nasri at timely second half intervals to safeguard his attacking options, with the victory assured.

Stevan Jovetic made it onto the bench as the Black Country turned decidedly white, but with the Montenegrin as susceptible to breaking as a Ming vase being introduced to a jackhammer, Pellegrini opted for prudence.

Sensational Samir - Nasri is performing superbly for City this season. Courtesy@MCFC

Sensational Samir – Nasri is performing superbly for City this season. Courtesy@MCFC

City’s £22m buy from Fiorentina seems so fragile it’s become a game of Russian roulette every time he trains, let alone plays a game.

Undoubtedly talented, he’s more readily associated with other City ‘sick notes’ of recent times e.g. Roque Santa Cruz who never delivered due to constantly occupying the medical facilities.

Since Sergio Aguero – City’s ‘one man team’ – suffered knee ligament damage against Everton, his colleagues have won all five games by a combined margin of 10-1.

Team leader - Yaya is back to his best. Courtesy@MCFC

Team leader – Yaya is back to his best. Courtesy@MCFC

There’s even been a hint from certain pundits, that City don’t and haven’t been receiving the recognition that their achievements in adversity deserve.

That said, one cannot but scoff at some media coverage that lauds Chelsea as ‘runaway’ leaders, but who could yet conceivably be caught by the Trafford Troglodytes.

It’s laughable, but in a perverse way it plays into Pellegrini’s hands.

On the spot - Yaya has never missed a penalty for City. Courtesy@MCFC

On the spot – Yaya has never missed a penalty for City. Courtesy@MCFC

The Chilean doesn’t care for the glare of publicity and, in the same way Brendan Rodgers was the darling of the media last season, it won’t phase him that Mourinho and Van Gaal are grabbing all the headlines.

Captain Vincent Kompany is being suggested as fit and ready for action today, but the ever dependable Martin Demichelis, and rapidly maturing Eliaquim Mangala have forged a good understanding in recent games.

Simply THE best - David Silva, City's finest, celebrates his third goal in two games with Jesus. Courtesy@MCFC

Simply THE best – David Silva, City’s finest, celebrates his third goal in two games with Jesus. Courtesy@MCFC

Kompany would make any World XI and will improve City as a unit – but only if that troublesome hamstring has been quelled.

Pellegrini has rotated his squad to great effect in recent weeks and today could see starts for Pablo Zabaleta and Aleksander Kolarov following the efforts of French compatriots Sagna and Clichy on Boxing Day.

Fernandinho might start ahead of City’s most unlikely goalscorer of the festive period – Fernando, albeit the ex-Porto man is now finally settling into the ebb and flow of life in the Premier League.

Festive Fernando - City's defensive midfielder opened the scoring at WBA. Courtesy@MCFC

Festive Fernando – City’s defensive midfielder opened the scoring at WBA. Courtesy@MCFC

Silva and Yaya – scorers of City’s other goals at WBA – will once again provide the inspiration and drive, along with the tireless James Milner.

If Jovetic were to start, there is an obvious case for makeshift forward ‘Jimmy’ to be rested.

The nagging doubts about the Englishman’s long term future at City persist with his new contract offer remaining unsigned. The Sky Blue supporters truly appreciate what he brings to the team and he can hardly complain about a lack of game time this season.

Blizzard - what blizzard? Well hard James Milner sheds his shirt at WBA. Courtesy@MCFC

Blizzard – what blizzard? Well hard James Milner sheds his shirt at WBA. Courtesy@MCFC

It may be Milner’s qualms lay in what the future holds with a fully fit and improved squad in seasons to come. Even so, from the outside looking in it’s a question of being a part – an important part – of a trophy winning club, or a nailed on regular at an aspiring, but doomed to failing rival?

Milner’s homegrown status is a big factor but, nonetheless, City’s fans, as well as the manager, value his worth way beyond his nationality.

Every club needs a ‘James Milner’ and City want to keep the real McCoy.

Headless Sagna - Bacary prepares to throw his shirt into the travelling support at The Hawthorns. Courtesy@MCFC

Headless Sagna – Bacary prepares to throw his shirt into the travelling support at The Hawthorns. Courtesy@MCFC

The last time Burnley visited the Etihad they went away with something of a shock 3-3 draw.

Having gone 2-0 down, City fought back with goals from Shaun Wright-Phillips, Kolo Toure and Craig Bellamy, only for the visitor’s Kevin McDonald to snatch a late late equaliser.

There’s a certain irony that as City go for 10 consecutive victories in 2014, back in 2009 it was a seven game streak of draws that paved the way for the then manager, Mark Hughes’ departure.

It'll be all white - well it will be if City achieve a club record of 10 consecutive wins today. Courtesy@MCFC

It’ll be all white – well it will be if City achieve a club record of 10 consecutive wins today. Courtesy@MCFC

Points dropped against Villa, Wigan Fulham, Birmingham, Burnley, Liverpool and Hull meant City’s projected points haul was off track in the eyes of Sheikh Mansour and Chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak.

A win today would be the polar opposite for the present incumbent as City continue to defend their title with rigour, determination and no small amount of skill.

Back to the laundry - Joe Hart and Eliaquim Mangala will want a return to clean sheets today. Courtesy@MCFC

Back to the laundry – Joe Hart and Eliaquim Mangala will want a return to clean sheets today. Courtesy@MCFC

In the absence of any strikers, City will once again need to exercise patience and deploy City’s finest ever – a certain Mr Silva – to the greatest effect.

Pellegrini knows there are no easy games in England and Sean Dyche’s team are to be respected…but beaten by 5pm today.

 

#TrustOurMP

By David Walker

www.readbutneverred.com @ReadButNeverRed @djwskyblu

12 Comments

  1. December 28, 2014  10:03 am by Carl Reply

    Great read Dave, also enjoyed the pics of a slightly intoxicated Mr Walker over the festive period. Let's hope we have a tenth win to toast tonight..

    • December 28, 2014  10:26 am by David Walker Reply

      Harsh - I'd only had the one! Cheers hic Carl ;-)

  2. December 28, 2014  10:40 am by Richard Cooper Reply

    From the snowy wastes of Baggieland to a no doubt very cold Eastlands
    Silva and Demichelis superb and ably assisted by Nasri, Milner (pen to paper please James) and Navas who in turn were assisted by Fernando and Toure, whilst not as his awesome best was quietly efficient.
    Hard to comment on the second half but I think the plan was to just hold what we had got in ever worsening conditions. Silly error by Joe Hart but on a day like that will let that one go without too much criticism.
    The only scary bit of the day was after the game going down that hill behind the ground. I had the silly vision of one person slipping, causing a domino effect and a shed load of people piled up against the Mostonian coach !
    Burnley gave Liverpool a decent "run for their money" and with a bit more firepower would have got a deserved point or three. We should secure the three points as long as we avoid the overused word - Complacency

    • December 28, 2014  11:52 am by David Walker Reply

      Yes the 'C' word. We played it cute this year & waited 15 minutes for the gate away to right to open & save the trek to Dudley etc. We don't need the coaches as we live in Worcestershire & had the luxury of being home in half-an-hour. Back to the usual 5-6 hours travel today :-(. Good trek to the Hawthorns as is now the norm.

  3. December 28, 2014  10:48 am by guy Burke Reply

    We must all remember of course Stoke at home in Aug ,that was a "nailed on" 3 points that somehow never materialisd !!!! Anyway enough of this negativity - i fully expect 2 wins in the next few days and i am more than confident that Chelsea will drop points, it is possible that City could top the league come 7.15ish on 1st Jan . How the "experts" will cope with their beloved Portugese pillock playing catch up to City should this happen will be interesting to say the least?

    • December 28, 2014  11:55 am by David Walker Reply

      As MP says you don't win the title in December. You can of course lose it if you drop too many points? but if City can keep winning it'll be a helluva match at Stamford Bridge on Jan 31st.

  4. December 28, 2014  12:30 pm by STIZmcfc Reply

    Fantastic read as always! Let's hope we can secure that win for the 10 win run.... And may it long continue.

    • December 29, 2014  8:52 am by David Walker Reply

      Cheers Stiz - only now getting to respond after the fact - what a second half cock up!

  5. December 28, 2014  1:04 pm by pete lynch Reply

    Quality read. As much part of pre match as beers and banter!

    • December 28, 2014  2:24 pm by David Walker Reply

      Nearly didn't happen after spending time with family last night. Quick bashing of keyboard at 8am. Cheers Pete.

  6. December 28, 2014  6:15 pm by pete lynch Reply

    Shocker!

    • December 29, 2014  8:08 am by David Walker Reply

      This blogging lark can sometimes be a pain in the backside and, as it's entirely voluntary, it shouldn't really be that way. It can't go on indefinitely as it consumes too much time.

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