City need to roar back after pain in Spain – HULL CITY v MAN CITY

From Barcelona to Hull – it’s a cultural shift of seismic proportions – but Manchester City must retain their focus …win the game and stride on to become champions.

It’ll be at least another 15 months before City can fulfil their Champions League ‘Holy Grail’, but only 12 games to see if they can be crowned Champions of England, for the second time in three years.

City’s inspirational leader Vincent Kompany claimed City ‘had nothing left in the tank…’ after their gallant but, nonetheless, disappointing defeat at the Nou Camp on Wednesday night.

Refuel - Vincent Kompany must lead his side to a win at lunchtime Courtesy @MCFC

Refuel – Vincent Kompany must lead his side to a win at lunchtime Courtesy @MCFC

If the sky blues haven’t refuelled and aren’t raring to go in East Yorkshire by lunch time today, they could be savaged by a club who could claim to have a ‘Tiger in their tank…’ if a petrol advertising slogan from 1960s is anything to go by!

A wretched FA Cup quarter final defeat at home to Wigan means City will not be contesting any more matches at Wembley this season, but just ignore the location…Manuel Pellegrini’s side have a dozen ‘cup finals’ ahead of them before May 11th.

Languishing nine points behind Premier League leaders Chelsea, but with three games in hand, it is nonetheless difficult, for City to apply the pressure on Jose Mourinho’s side at present.

Back of the net - City need to get their goal machine up and running again at Hull today.

Back of the net – City need to get their goal machine up and running again at Hull today.

Quite simply there is no margin for error. City presently control their own fate – win the last 12 games and they’ll be champions. Who knows it could yet come down to goal difference!

Pessimistically, fatigue and injuries could be the undoing of City as they head into the final phase of the season. Pellegrini has been unlucky in that he has lost key players at vital moments. Kompany, Silva and, above all Aguero, now in to his third enforced absence, among them.

Stevan Jovetic has endured, rather than enjoyed his debut term in sky blue. Once again, the lively and talented Montenegrin is unavailable for selection today, along with Sergio, Matija Nastasic and the powerful, yet porcelain vase-like Micah Richards…talk about fragile!

Sitting this one out - Sergio's hamstring has 'gone' again! Courtesy @MCFC

Sitting this one out – Sergio’s hamstring has ‘gone’ again! Courtesy @MCFC

Whereas Mourinho bemoans a lack of strikers on his books, he often has more fit ones at his disposal than Pellegrini.

When it comes to deadly marksmen, City’s have been compared to Oscar Pistorius after exiting the Champions League.. they lost both legs but still managed four shots on target.

Closer to Pellegrini’s thinking today, will be Hull’s recently imported duo of Shane Long and Nikica Jelavic. The January signings from WBA and Everton will be fresh after being FA Cup-tied last weekend, when Steve Bruce’s men booked a semi final trip to Wembley.

No mistakes Manuel - City mustn't go 'fawlty' at Hull today.  Courtesy @MCFC

No mistakes Manuel – City mustn’t go ‘fawlty’ at Hull today. Courtesy @MCFC

Historically Hull is not a happy hunting ground for City, winning just once in the league and that was none-too-recently…1909 to be precise. Fast forward to the present day and a healthy run of seven Premier League away games without defeat – five wins and two draws – and there are grounds for optimism.

Added to that is Hull’s poor home form, with just one win in seven, and all of a sudden there are reasons to be cheerful. The doom and gloom of a horrible week for City could be jettisoned before Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal kick-off over the weekend.

It’s a month to the day since goals from Jovetic and Nasri saw City destroy Mourinho’s much vaunted men in the FA Cup. Since then City have also won the League Cup, so a positive perspective is required.

No show - Jovetic is just one name on City's crippling injury list this season.  Courtesy @MCFC

No show – Jovetic is just one name on City’s crippling injury list this season. Courtesy @MCFC

The ‘Special Needs One’ has the advantage because City last played a Premier League game 21 days ago – that remains the only reason.

Pellegrini has 12 games to confound all of the snide snipers in the media and deliver City’s best ever season. They’ve never been champions and won a domestic cup in the same season. It would eclipse Mercer & Allison, as well as Mancini.

How sumptuous would that be?

No doubt, it’s a big ask to win a dozen on the trot, especially with Arsenal and Liverpool away fixtures, but that requirement is solely on the premise that Chelsea will grind out nine wins.

Order of the boot - Dzeko can kick on in Aguero's absence and get the goals to make City champions. Courtesy @MCFC

Order of the boot – Dzeko can kick on in Aguero’s absence and get the goals to make City champions. Courtesy @MCFC

‘Maureen’ has still to take Chelsea to the red half of Merseyside, with Liverpool still fancying their chances of pipping both the royal blues and sky blues to the title.

Today is a day when the likes of Yaya Toure cannot – simply cannot – go missing in action.

The Ivorian is singled out because if he ‘doesn’t fancy it’ it shows, and he does have ‘previous’.

Same again - Yaya Toure can be a match winner for City at Hull. Courtesy @MCFC

Same again – Yaya Toure can be a match winner for City at Hull. Courtesy @MCFC

The frustration is that he, above all others, has the world class ability to take the game by the scruff of the neck and drive City onto three vital points.

He should listen to his skipper when Vincent Kompany says the pain of two cup exits will motivate City to their second PL title in three years.

It might be doing City a favour as well if Pellegrini takes heed of the overwhelming consensus when it comes to the Pony Tail – Martin Demichelis.

Pony & Trap - Cockney rhyming slang for MDM's levels of performance in recent weeks. Courtesy @MCFC

Pony & Trap – Cockney rhyming slang for MDM’s levels of performance in recent weeks. Courtesy @MCFC

It’s often ill-conceived to highlight the faults of individuals when a team either wins or loses as a team – but there are exceptions and MDM qualifies.

The veteran Argentine is an ill-fitting piece in City’s problem position alongside Kompany. Joleon Lescott, by no means the long term ‘solution’, is a better bet as a tried and tested PL winning centre back.

It’s a 12-game season from lunchtime today and Lescott knows how this league works. It may not sit easily with Pellegrini’s vision of a supremely confident defender, who is at ease and comfortable bringing the ball up field, but needs must.

Carry on defending - Lescott could continue alongside Vincent today Courtesy @MCFC

Carry on defending – Lescott could continue alongside Vincent today Courtesy @MCFC

‘Demichaos’ has shown himself more a liability than an asset on too many occasions. I for one would cast doubts on my own #TrustOurMP slogan if he lines up against a big traditional striker like Long.

A win today will re-energise a team which is flagging under the perceived weight of failure, but City’s destiny remains within their own control.

It’s time for action and time to make Mourinho’s jibber jabber count for its true worth…NOTHING.


By David Walker



  1. March 15, 2014  9:10 am by Rikki Reply

    Accurate again hopefully not a last day goal difference again as I don't think my heart would take it again!

    • March 15, 2014  9:55 am by David Walker Reply

      Fear not - if we win the title on goal difference I will sort out your medical bills!

    • March 15, 2014  10:44 am by carole Reply

      My biggest worry today is Pellegrini's tactics....he was outwitted by Uwe who played a back 3 and Bruce will do the same. Long has undone us before with his pace and our lads will be tired. The Tigers are on a high, on their way to Wembley and have all week to rest and work on this match. I'd take a a draw right now....

  2. March 15, 2014  9:34 am by carol Reply

    bang on the money again Davy, and to quote John Cleese character in "clockwork" its not the despair, I can handle the despair, its the hope I cant stand x

    • March 15, 2014  9:55 am by David Walker Reply

      Very amusing Blondie and how very apt.

  3. March 15, 2014  9:39 am by Gary Moughton Reply

    I don't like to knock anyone in a blue shirt but Demichaos is one the best nicknames I've heard in a while

  4. March 15, 2014  10:02 am by fifthcolumnblue Reply

    Time for this lot to stand up and prove they've got the bottle to win this thing. Tiredness and injuries are a partial excuse for our collapse in form from being unbeatable 8 weeks ago to fragile at the moment, but now is not the time for excuses. We have 12 cup finals on the horizon, let's go and win the lot.

    • March 15, 2014  10:09 am by David Walker Reply

      Totally agree No 5.

  5. March 15, 2014  10:17 am by Guvnor Reply

    Pellegrini, leave the tinkering alone, pick the best team every week, do not bother about letting the rest of the squad, have a game, if they spit their dummies out, sell them.
    Ya Ya did not want to upset his old buddies in the week, Nasri,s talk was hot air.
    Come on City, wake up.
    I can feel a 0-0 draw coming today, god I hope I am wrong

    • March 15, 2014  10:33 am by David Walker Reply

      I hope you're wrong as well Dave. Guvnor might not always know best

  6. March 15, 2014  11:09 am by Graham Ward Reply

    All that matters today after Wigan and Barcelona is a win and 3 points. A performance is a bonus.
    Let's turn the tables on Chelsea, and put the pressure on them.

    • March 15, 2014  3:18 pm by David Walker Reply

      Absolutely - we can do this. Screw the world we are masters of our own destiny.

  7. March 15, 2014  11:48 am by DOUG HENSHAW Reply

    Yep spot on Dave every game is now a cup final all the players need to be 100% up for every game. We have to star with the strongest 11 every game. Lost a bit of faith in MP recently as i have said before he got it wrong in two big games so come on MP prove me wrong. PLEASE PLEASE MP DON'T PICK DEMICHAOS EVER AGAIN.

    • March 15, 2014  3:19 pm by David Walker Reply

      Responding to this after the win and in all fairness MDM didn't let us down. Great and deserved win.

  8. March 15, 2014  12:15 pm by John Evans TT Reply

    I hoped we don't play two up front, and end up overwhelmed in midfield.

    Garcia whilst is too slow for a CB, is an outstanding defensive midfielder (who doesn't go walkabout) if he plays in that position I am confident we will win.

    If not, beware the ides of March.

    • March 15, 2014  3:20 pm by David Walker Reply

      It all came right in the face of adversity. What a great endorsement of MCFC Team Spirit.

      • March 16, 2014  1:54 am by John Evans TT Reply

        City lost captain Kompany very early on, yet we buckled down to produce a master class and might have scored 4 or 5 goals. Silva was action man, De Michelis had his best ever game for us and Garcia wasn't far behind.

        Chelsea, the darlings of England's London based media, lost Willian (unjustly in my view) then Ramirez, then the plot and finally the 'snide sniper' to a seat in the stand (next to his son I hope). Make of that what you will.

        Draws at the Arse, Swamp and Liverpool will probably win us the title. Funny old game isn't it?

        • March 16, 2014  11:07 pm by David Walker Reply

          I think we can win at the Emirates & The Swamp and will happily take a draw at Anfield. Win all the home games, away at Palace and see if we can wrestle the Goodison bogeyman to the ground and we might, just might, have ourselves a Premier League title.

  9. March 16, 2014  2:40 am by Simon Wilson Reply

    Two things. Merlin, thank you! Magnificent as always. Jose, enough already. You were funny the first time; now it's just dull.

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