Double trouble for City…again! – Man City 0 Middlesbrough 2

For some it spells magic, for others, unexpected misery.

FA Cup upsets are fuelled by the over achievement, hunger and desire of the underdog, aided and abetted by the sub-standard performance, arrogance and complacency of the favourites.

Penalty denied - Sergio had a bona fide appeal waved away by ref Phil Dowd after ex-City man Adam Clayton bundled the Argentine to the ground. Courtesy@MCFC

Penalty denied – Sergio had a bona fide appeal waved away by ref Phil Dowd after ex-City man Adam Clayton bundled the Argentine to the ground. Courtesy@MCFC

Whatever the factors Manchester City and, to an even greater degree, Chelsea, were given a sickening double dose of ‘it’, as Middlesbrough and Bradford City embarrassed and humiliated the Premier League’s front-runners in the oldest football competition in the world.

In what has been dubbed the craziest ever round in the history of the Cup, both Manuel Pellegrini and Jose Mourinho saw their expensively assembled sides capitulate in the most unpalatable of ways.

With both teams still contesting the Champions League and Chelsea on the brink of the League Cup Final, it isn’t quite the old mantra of ‘now we can concentrate on the league…’ which used to accompany an early FA Cup exit.

Deeply disappointing - Pellegrini suffered FA Cup defeat to Championship opposition for the second consecutive season.Courtesy@MCFC

Deeply disappointing – Pellegrini suffered FA Cup defeat to Championship opposition for the second consecutive season.Courtesy@MCFC

But concentration on the Premier League will never have been higher on each manager’s agenda than it will be this coming week – more so for Manuel than Jose.

In City’s present vein of form it looks as if they’ll have to score three at Stamford Bridge to stand any chance of winning – it’s almost mandatory at the moment, that they have to concede two to their opponents each and every game!

It’s oft said that you learn more about your team in defeat than in victory. If that’s the case then Pellegrini must have been on an almighty learning curve in the past eight days.

Deja vu - City lost at home 2-0 for the second time in eight days. Last week Arsenal, this week Middlesbrough. Courtesy@MCFC.

Deja vu – City lost at home 2-0 for the second time in eight days. Last week Arsenal, this week Middlesbrough. Courtesy@MCFC.

Faltering form caused by injuries, fatigue and players absent on international duty, has resulted in consecutive 2-0 home defeats to Arsenal and now Boro. It means City’s season is virtually on the line on Saturday evening in West London.

If it sounds defeatist to state that City are not going to win the Champions League this season, then so be it.

Pragmatism screams out that a team who continue to look increasingly toothless in attack and vulnerable at the back, are not going to beat Europe’s finest in Berlin on June 6th.

Holy Grail - Champions League success seems unlikely for City this season. Courtesy @MCFC

Holy Grail – Champions League success seems unlikely for City this season. Courtesy @MCFC

A win at Chelsea, narrowing the points deficit to just two, plus the imminent returns of Samir Nasri, back from injury and Ivory Coast duo Yaya Toure and Wilfried Bony from the African Cup Of Nations, will soon have the confidence levels rising inexorably.

Of more pressing concern is improving the form and fitness of Vincent Kompany, Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko.

Come on Cameroon - If the Ivory Coast lose on Wednesday, Wilfried Bony and Yaya could conceivably make the City bench at Chelsea next Saturday night. Courtesy@MCFC

Come on Cameroon – If the Ivory Coast lose on Wednesday, Wilfried Bony and Yaya could conceivably make the City bench at Chelsea next Saturday night. Courtesy@MCFC

City’s skipper has looked a shadow of his usual self since his long injury lay-off. The rock like Belgian Boulder has struggled in both the 2-0 reversals and City need their leader back to his commanding best.

A 14-game unbeaten streak, whilst highly praiseworthy, had papered over the cracks and patchy form of the team, as Pellegrini juggled with injuries to key personnel.

Winning, when playing below par, is supposed to be the sign of champions, the hors d’oeuvre before a team really gets cracking and rampages through to the main course of title success.

Captain Fantastic - Kompany needs to recapture his best form...and soon! Courtesy@MCFC

Captain Fantastic – Kompany needs to recapture his best form…and soon! Courtesy@MCFC

Delusional or wishful thinking, City fans have to cling to the belief that’s where Manuel’s men are heading.

For that to happen, it will require a massively enhanced return on investment on players acquired during Pellegrini’s reign, and that of Director of Football, Txiki Begiristain.

The patently unfair and punitive constraints imposed on City by UEFA’s laughable Financial Fair Play rules, have been a major impediment in recent seasons.

Notwithstanding the antics of Napoleon Platini and his corrupt cronies, Pellegrini delivered City’s most successful single season, with the Premier League and League Cup victories in 2013/14.

Who's in charge of City's transfers? - City CEO Ferran Soriano and Director of Football Txiki Begiristain have presided over off field and on field success, but can City do better when buying new players?

Who’s in charge of City’s transfers? – City CEO Ferran Soriano and Director of Football Txiki Begiristain have presided over off field and on field success, but can City do better when buying new players?

Against that backdrop and the risk of contradictory evidence, City’s acumen and sustainability in the transfer market is looking increasingly suspect.

Not including new boy Bony at an initial £25m, City have still managed to spend over £150m since the summer of 2013.

Of half-a-dozen major purchases, how many of Fernandinho, Fernando, Navas, Jovetic, Mangala and the now departed Negredo would feature in a first XI at Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Barcelona or even Chelsea?

Answer – none!

Bags of potential but the jury's out on Eliaquim Mangala after his reputed £40m switch to the Etihad. Courtesy@MCFC

Bags of potential but the jury’s out on Eliaquim Mangala after his reputed £40m switch to the Etihad. Courtesy@MCFC

Conversely the argument is that City ARE the Premier League Champions, and could go on to retain the title for the first time in the club’s history.

Recent signings however, don’t appear to take Sheikh Mansour any closer to his Holy Grail of achieving Champions League success.

Martin Demichelis at £4.5m and Frank Lampard on a free represent good value, but City haven’t bought a marque player since Sergio Aguero arrived from Atletico Madrid for £38m in the summer of 2011.

Last one in - Sergio Aguero was City's last real stellar signing - way back in 2011. Courtesy@MCFC

Last one in – Sergio Aguero was City’s last real stellar signing – way back in 2011. Courtesy@MCFC

Rumours abound that situation will be addressed and rectified this summer, once City are finally free from the shackles of FFP, thanks to the club’s stunning off the field commercial successes.

City have risen to 6th place in the ‘Money League’ – the barometer of world football’s biggest revenue earners, irrespective of the wealth of club owners – ahead of Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal.

The sponsorship, advertising and endorsement deals show no sign of slowing down, keeping the money flowing in and the prospect of eye-catching signings more than a distinct probability.

Stonewall handball - City's FA Cup fate might have been different if ref Humpty Dumpty Dowd - had given City a clear penalty. Courtesy@MCFC

Stonewall handball – City’s FA Cup fate might have been different if ref Humpty Dumpty Dowd – had given City a clear penalty. Courtesy@MCFC

Expect wholesale changes in personnel this summer, signings that should take City to the proverbial next level, necessitating the moving on of household names – players who have been instrumental in recent title wins.

For all the speculation surrounding the possible signings of Marcos Reus from Dortmund, Sami Khedira of Real Madrid, Paul Pogba from Juventus, and lingering longings to try and lure Lionel Messi from Barcelona, City also have to address the issue of ‘homegrown’ quotas.

Farewell Frank - Lampard will be gone at the end of the season as City face up to the challenge of recruiting 'homegrown' talent. Courtesy@MCFC

Farewell Frank – Lampard will be gone at the end of the season as City face up to the challenge of recruiting ‘homegrown’ talent. Courtesy@MCFC

Super Frankie will finally be heading off to New York City, James Milner looks as if he’ll be leaving on a Bosman in the summer – if not before, for a fee this month – and Scott Sinclair is a totally peripheral figure.

If City are to buy English talent are they prepared to pay the over-inflated rates demanded by their Premier League counterparts? If so, do they try and buy the best or ‘make do’ with squad players?

The world and his wife seems to believe that Everton’s Ross Barkley is heading up the East Lancs Road to the Etihad. It remains to be seen. City are also regularly linked with Jay Rodriquez, Southampton’s presently injury-stricken striker.

Bye bye  Jimmy - Milner looks destined to depart the Etihad either this month or on a Bosman in the summer. Courtesy@MCFC

Bye bye Jimmy – Milner looks destined to depart the Etihad either this month or on a Bosman in the summer. Courtesy@MCFC

Who knows, would City fancy pushing the boat out for Raheem Sterling who, despite having two years on his Liverpool contract, has yet to sign a new long term deal?

It’s all conjecture, but for the time being City are suffering a dip in form when they can least afford it, with Chelsea up next.

The ignominious defeat to Boro – despite two bona fide penalty appeals being dismissed by the idiot ref Phil Dowd – demonstrated that City’s much vaunted strength in depth is something of a myth.

Magic of the Cup? - City's Merlin was unable to conjure up some trickery to overcome Middlesbrough. Courtesy@MCFC

Magic of the Cup? – City’s Merlin was unable to conjure up some trickery to overcome Middlesbrough. Courtesy@MCFC

Although 0-0 at half time, City had shown enough attacking prowess to suggest the goals would come and they would progress to the 5th Round.

Defensive howlers and an irritating habit of wanting to walk the ball into the net, combined to bring about City’s second half downfall.

Once again City were reduced to looking clueless and lethargic, but that isn’t to deny due credit to an enterprising and clinical Boro.

Up in the air - Fernando has a long way to go to prove his worth to City, after so far failing to adjust to the demands of the Premier League. Courtesy@MCFC

Up in the air – Fernando has a long way to go to prove his worth to City, after so far failing to adjust to the demands of the Premier League. Courtesy@MCFC

Opinions are polarized among the City support.

The old hands – the stalwarts of Lincoln City, Wycombe and York away fixtures in the last millennium – seem impervious to the shortcomings of the modern day, remaining sanguine when contrasting rare defeats with the unbridled masochism of yesteryear.

At the other end of the spectrum are the ‘newbies’, those attracted by City’s rise in recent years and who are accustomed to winning – not quite the hardy perennials who suffered through many a winter of Mancunian apathy and discontent.

Friend or Foe - Zaba couldn't help his team beat George Friend and Boro to progress in the FA Cup. Courtesy@MCFC

Friend or Foe – Zaba couldn’t help his team beat George Friend and Boro to progress in the FA Cup. Courtesy@MCFC

Ultimately it boils down to keeping a healthy perspective, avoiding knee-jerk reactions but still retaining the ‘right’ to justifiably criticise expensive, very well paid signings, who are failing to deliver the goods.

As ever social media fans the flames and stokes the fires of debate, banter and sometimes, unfortunately, abuse.

It’s not a witch hunt, character assassination or harbouring feelings of a divine right to win every game, to express disappointment or discontent at the team, the manager or individual players.

Under performing  - Jovetic is under increasing pressure to produce the goods following his £22m move from Fiorentina. Courtesy@MCFC

Under performing – Jovetic is under increasing pressure to produce the goods following his £22m move from Fiorentina. Courtesy@MCFC

Manuel Pellegrini has done and is continuing to do a pretty good job, sometimes in difficult circumstances. Some of his players have not – as yet – lived up to their billing namely Fernando, Mangala and Jovetic – they should all be doing better.

Fernandinho runs hot and cold, Navas works hard and has improved, but for a winger, seems incapable of beating ‘his man’.

Even the ‘untouchables’ of Kompany and Zabaleta have struggled at times this season, Yaya has yet to hit the heady heights of 2013/14 and the media are once again ramping up the volume on the giant Ivorian’s desire to leave the Etihad.

Here we go again  - speculation over Yaya's City future continues while he's on international duty at the African Cup Of Nations. Courtesy @MCFC

Here we go again – speculation over Yaya’s City future continues while he’s on international duty at the African Cup Of Nations. Courtesy @MCFC

Losing to Arsenal and Boro, the prospect of losing to Chelsea and falling eight points behind for a second time this season, means these are not the best of times for Manchester City.

But neither is it time for running up a white flag. Champions are champions for good reasons and City need to display such qualities in the face of adversity. They’ve done it before and need to do it again.

Out of character - Mourinho was generous in defeat after Chelsea's shock FA Cup defeat to Bradford. Let's hope he's a loser next Saturday night!

Out of character – Mourinho was generous in defeat after Chelsea’s shock FA Cup defeat to Bradford. Let’s hope he’s a loser next Saturday night!

Chelsea are not exactly in rude health themselves and Mourinho was, to his credit, uncharacteristically honest and magnanimous in the wake of the shock defeat to Bradford.

Let’s hope it’s a habit-forming and he will be expressing similar sentiments when City attempt to haul themselves back into Premier League contention next weekend.

 

#TrustOurMP

By David Walker

www.readbutneverred.com @ReadButNeverRed @djwskyblu

26 Comments

  1. January 25, 2015  6:35 pm by guy Burke Reply

    Excellent read as ever Mr.W - one thing i would like to point out is the fact that it is not always the best team in Europe who wins the champions league? Chelsea and Inter are recent examples of this, a combination of hard work and luck can often triumph over skill and technical ability. Shocking second half yesterday, as the song goes ......"things can only get better " can't they ?

    • January 25, 2015  6:52 pm by David Walker Reply

      Thanks GB. Fair comment on CL but I just couldn't see us overcoming Real Madrid or Bayern Munich over two legs, we're just too flaky at the back. If we were to somehow reach the Final then totally agree, all bets are off...or on, as the case may be ;-) I'd be more than happy to retain the PL and then revamp the squad in the summer.

  2. January 25, 2015  7:15 pm by Doug Henshaw Reply

    Agree with you Dave poor 2nd half performance I just hope we can solve why were so poor at moment & struggling to score. Just want to mention about the fans criticism I've been a blue since birth & always will be & while at games will support the team to the bitter end I have never booed a blue & never will. But it seems some fan seem to think we should stick are heads in the sand & not dare to criticise a poor performance. Well not this bunny I have an opinion & I will use it nobody has to agree or like it but to tell me & other fans we shouldn't be saying anything is rubbish,rant over. Excellent piece again Dave & as always spot on I just wonder what has happened to us what has gone wrong & how do we fix it.Just hope the recovery starts next weekend.

    • January 25, 2015  8:53 pm by David Walker Reply

      Absolutely Doug - we live in a democracy so TOO DAMN RIGHT about airing opinions! People are far too quick to jump to opposite ends of the spectrum e.g. criticise a player and you're a knee-jerk, gloryhunter. Say everything in the garden is rosy and you're a so-called 'happy clapper' - whatever the fck that's supposed to mean! Folk should stop sticking labels on people, everyone has the right to their own thoughts and the right to express them. One of the perils of social media I'm afraid is the yobbo element who lack manners and a sense of decorum. Thanks as ever for taking the time to read and comment, hopefully I'll have a more enjoyable match report to tackle next week - it seems a while since I wrote one ;-)

  3. January 25, 2015  8:10 pm by guy Burke Reply

    Couldn't agree more David, i can't believe even defeat at chelsea next Saturday would be the end of City's title challenge this season .we unfortunately have a combination of key players missing, players off form and players probably coming back from injury too soon ? Time for the team to "man up" and get it right. The 2 Ivorians in next weekends line up would be a very welcome boost !

    • January 25, 2015  8:39 pm by David Walker Reply

      Even if Ivory Coast go out of #AFCON on Wednesday we'd be lucky to have Yaya & Wilfried in the bench on Saturday night e.g. travel, time zones, fatigue, climate change etc.

  4. January 25, 2015  8:17 pm by pete lynch Reply

    Excellent, balanced piece David. I think you make really valid points regarding our recent signings which is the real crux of the matter. Navas, Jovetic and co just havent worked out as of now. Whilst I can see us taking Barcelona all the way, I just cannot see us beating the elite of europe. I hope and pray the game time for serg, vinnie and dzeko are enough to shut bloody maureen up and reignite the race. Beyond that boy are we crying out for some marque signings!

    • January 25, 2015  8:42 pm by David Walker Reply

      Thanks Pete delighted you agree & I agree with you - so we're agreed

  5. January 25, 2015  9:15 pm by James HouseOlogy Reply

    Great read and must have been hard to write. Ok so what can I say from all of the above... Am I surprised by the result.... No.... Am I surprised by our performance... No... What I am surprised by is how we seem to under achieve this season, after how we were RM after title win didn't think it would happen again...... But this really is déjà vu and can't put my finger on it!!! Team selection to blame not really we should be able to cope injuries have hampered us I just don't get our inconsistency time and time again, over Christmas I thought we were immense without a striker and all players stepped upto the mark but this simply cannot continue only good thing is Maureen result and my first team Cambridge holding manure... Chelsea next and these games do bring out best in us. So hopefully this time it will again, still have faith but it's wavering rapidly!!!! We must march on and get back our fight til the end attitude

    • January 25, 2015  11:30 pm by David Walker Reply

      Thanks JHO - you can feel the passion oozing from your keyboard. Yes, worrying parallels with the Mancini title 'defence' but as you say, let's hang in a while longer with keeping the faith and fighting 'till the end. We're still standing and even a draw on Saturday would leave us with more than a sporting chance with Nasri, Yaya, Bony plus improving fitness of Sergio, Vinny and Edin. Rumours abound that we're going or Marcos Reus in this window...which would be nice!

  6. January 25, 2015  10:38 pm by Toby Teasdale Reply

    David nice piece. Please excuse my rant, but I am more than cross.

    The folks around me (none of whom could be described as arriviste) were pretty angry when the final whistle blew on Saturday. They weren’t too chuffed about the result, but what really incensed them was the ill-conceived visit to Abu Dhabi.

    It would be churlish not to put on a display for the man who has given us billions. However, things could hardly have been organised worse. Some questions;

    1. Why wasn’t the match played on Tuesday?

    2. Why didn’t the team fly home straight after the game? Time difference 4 hours, flight time 7 hours. They could have been back home around midnight.

    3. Given the stick handed out to Ambrose and Lampard, had anybody told Hamburg this was a friendly? (Hamburg had no fixture this weekend, German mid-season break,)

    4. Why were nine of those selected against Hamburg, picked again for Saturday?

    Squad vs Hamburg Caballero, Sagna (Demichelis78), Boyata, Mangala, Kolarov (Clichy 78), Fernando (Ambrose 46 (Navas 56)), Lampard (Sinclair20), Milner (Zabaleta 78), Barker (Evans 46), Jovetic (Aguero 66), Dzeko (Celina). Most definitely not a ‘development side’.

    5. Who was the idiot responsible for arranging the trip?

    One of the boasts of our new management (in justification for culling Mancini) is ‘the Holistic approach’. If true why weren't Evans, Barker and Celina playing against Middlesbrough? Indeed why don’t they play against anybody?

    • January 25, 2015  11:27 pm by David Walker Reply

      I can't give you the answers TT but I can understand your frustration and anger. It could be argued that a warm weather break, plus the fact City travel in unbridled luxury - not RyanAir with no extra legroom - should not have impacted physically on the squad BUT your point about the players used for the Hamburg game is very valid. The quandry is how to develop a development squad but denying them the chance to step, up as and when appropriate, to another level. Excellent points, well made but alas I simply can't off the rationale behind what went on.

      • January 26, 2015  9:56 am by Toby Teasdale Reply

        Malcolm Allison was a stickler for ensuring his teams were in the peak of physical fitness. The amateurishness of this trip would have him turning in his grave.

        Jet lag (symptoms include insomnia, fatigue and brain fog) is caused by disruption in circadian rhythms, not cramped conditions. Flights from Abu Dhabi to Manchester take longer than New York to Manchester (no jet stream) The pineal gland (The little control centre in the middle of you brain) is disrupted on airline flights across time zones and cannot tell your body if it should be awake or sleeping!

        Pellegrini should have said NO!!

        Do you think the Sheikh would fly one of his horses to Epsom the day before the Derby?

        • January 26, 2015  1:05 pm by David Walker Reply

          Fair enough TT - CASE FOR THE PROSECUTION RESTS! However, do you think Pellegrini ever had an option...if he wanted to stay in his job? And, in answer to your question - 'NO' Sheikh Mansour wouldn't have been down the 'Flying Horse' the day before the Epsom Derby...he'd have been getting a round of soft drinks in at the Nags Head ;-)

  7. January 26, 2015  11:54 am by Richard Cooper Reply

    Usually I can be philosophical about victories and defeats because it is all part of the game but our home form is really beginning to annoy.
    How many times have we been "found out" - get players behind the ball whilst we play east to west crab-like football and then they break and cause a bit of havoc against our suspect defence.
    Mrs C could get up the pitch faster if there was half a lager in the penalty area !
    At half time I was quite relaxed as I thought a goal was going to come - but alas. I think the Boro half time talk was better than ours.
    I think I commented last week on Navas, Fernando and others so I won't repeat myself - you have said it anyway David.
    Away games are a different animal and next weekend I am sure we will get more space to work in than recent home games and as long as we are clinical when the chances come I expect a close game and an exciting one.
    Yes "that" much talked about trip last week was probably ill advised , but am uncertain if it contributed to our downfall. The nearest City got to an airport before the Owls cup tie was probably Hale Barns and that performance was just as bad as last Saturday.
    Priority for Manuel is to sort out the defence - hopefully Kompany will soon regain his commanding presence and with Demichelis alongside our goals conceded tally will come down because 7 goals against in the last 4 home games (think I am correct) ain't good enough.

    • January 26, 2015  1:08 pm by David Walker Reply

      Agree on all points. I'm no tactical genius (no sh*t Sherlock), but I'm thinking of doing a piece inspired by some feedback from one who knows about such things. The theme is 'space' and there'll be no Captain Kirk or Final Frontier! Cheers RC.

    • January 26, 2015  1:53 pm by thegingerwig Reply

      In total agreement but this line made me wet myself. "The nearest City got to an airport before the Owls cup tie was probably Hale Barns and that performance was just as bad as last Saturday."

      • January 26, 2015  2:06 pm by David Walker Reply

        Cheers Anthony - I've heard of folk taking the pee, but your predicament...well...;-)

  8. January 26, 2015  2:15 pm by carole Reply

    Wow...fair piece but players like Navas and Jovetic just don't deserve the stick they're getting from fans on here

    Both always give 100% and if Jovetic didn't score it wasn't thru lack of trying...just a very good Middlebrough goalkeeper. They have one of the best defensive records in the country and some teams are just impossible to break down. Jovetic is a real livewire, he's the most creative of our strikers. Why is he getting so much stick? Did Sergio do any better? Did Lampard or Dzeko?

    I thought we played brilliantly in the first half....the BBC described our passing as 'mesmerising'. They all gave 100% IMO.
    Navas and Jovetic as well as Aguero and Silva are always going to suffer when creative forces like Nasri and Yaya are missing....what do fans expect? With Nasri out as well as YT, we've lost two thirds of our midfield dynamism. Teams have only one magician to keep quiet instead of 3

    I bloody sympathise with our attacking players who worked so hard in the 1st 45, only to see their defensive counterparts concede that first goal against the run of play. I used to laugh at supporters who moaned when Nigel moved on and wept over Gazbag going to Everton, but boy! what wouldn't I give for both in DM right now and a Javi Garcia sitting on the bench instead of thriving at Zenit under AVB...
    Millions have been wasted by the club in turning the best defence in the PL ( 3 yrs running) into a shambles waiting to happen yet we refuse to take a chance of CBs like Denayer and Rekik who are doing superbly at their loan clubs.
    Meanwhile.....can someone sort out a new contract for Martin Demichelis please??? Seems the only defender at the club with a football brain!

    • January 27, 2015  11:11 pm by David Walker Reply

      WOW - that covers a multitude of sins ;-) Agree entirely on NDJ but it looks like there was dressing room discord with Bobby Manc or shenanigans over his contract offer. Ultimately it probably didn't suit either party for him to go, especially at a bargain basement fee. With Kompany out of sorts we definitely have a problem at CB and Demi still has a good year in him - such an experienced and calming influence.

      The only one where I can't see it working out is Jovetic. He underwhelms with his frenetic movements and fancy flicks but, unless he actually scores, I fear he is something of a passenger. His main use this year would be to act as a £20m makeweight to get Paul Pogba in from Juventus as Yaya leaves for PSG. I've given Txiki his transfer strategy for the summer ;-)

      • January 28, 2015  1:21 pm by carole Reply

        Sorry Dave....disagree on Jovetic. He's dynamic, reads the game so well & never stops trying to create something....will never forget that brilliant goal he set up for himself against LFC. He's one of a very few players we have capable of a moment of magic IMO.
        As for Reus, I won't be disappointed if we don't get him....his injury record is dire. I'd prefer us to go all out for Isco yet again and he may be available if Reus goes to Real...
        Who doesn't want Pogba...he's the only possible successor for Yaya absolutely perfect for us. But I can't see us getting him if Real, PSG or Bayern step in.
        Don't know if it's true, but heard a journo say recently that we only persuaded Yaya to stop his moaning by promising we'd allow him to leave in summer if he stayed this season. Personally, I'm sorry if that's the case...I think he's got a couple of years in him yet at the highest level.

        • January 29, 2015  2:59 pm by David Walker Reply

          Fair enough. I concur with your assertion that Real Madrid and Bayern have - prima facie - more appeal than City, to a number of players, for obvious reasons. Ironically Jovetic could hold the key to a Pogba deal if Juventus want him in part-ex and Pogba is prepared to come back to Manchester. Sadly, for reasons I can't go into in public, I can't see Isco coming to us while Pellegrini is at City!

          As for Yaya,this summer offers City the best chance of getting a £20m+ return on investment as he has two years left on his contract. If - IF - we are going to have nonsense off him and his agent every summer, then I'd say City are best getting rid at that price and investing heavily in new and younger talents. Yaya at the top of his game is virtually irreplaceable, but if his attitude is wrong we're better off without him.

          Whichever way it goes, I think we can bank on major changes in player personnel and who knows, even the manager, if Pep wants a crack at the Premier League.

  9. January 26, 2015  2:20 pm by howells Reply

    Some of the players we have presently don't deserve to wear the shirt. Sometimes i wonder what kind of a winger is navas?? He can't shoot, cross, dribble etc...
    And to be sincere kompany is the weak link in our defense... All the players that have been paired with him have all struggled. Compared with the ones paired with demichelis. Fernando is too poor.
    My team against chelsea...
    Hart,
    zabalata,demichelis,mangala/boyata,clichy
    kolarov,fernandinho,Evans,silva
    jovetic, aguero.
    On the plus side.. Nasri will soon be back...

    • January 27, 2015  11:24 pm by David Walker Reply

      In his defence I think Navas does a fair job but his final ball or decision-making are not always the best. If - IF - we sign Marcos Reus from Dortmund, Jesus would not get anywhere as much game time, but City need to work with him on his end product - he has lightning speed and can make a positive contribution.

      It's bizarre how Vinny is suddenly being categorised as the pantomime villain. He isn't having his best season and, notwithstanding his injury, he needs a reality check to recapture his previous levels of performance. Cometh the hour cometh the man, and for that reason I'd start him at Chelsea, provided he is genuinely 100% fit. As things stand I cannot offer up any case in the defence of Fernando. We can only hope he needed a season - preferably half a saeason - to settle in and then show his worth. As it stands I'd be shipping him out with half a dozen other this summer.

  10. January 26, 2015  4:17 pm by Guvnor Reply

    Even if Ivory Coast go out on on Wednesday we'd be lucky to have Yaya & Wilfried in the bench on Saturday night, because there is no money in it from our sponsors.
    Poor form, not trying on Saturday. Something is not right at the Etihad at present. Also Ya Ya is away and spouting off again about leaving. Sell him and move on, why show disrespect whilst getting over 200.000 a week?

    • January 26, 2015  10:36 pm by David Walker Reply

      Wholesale changes this summer I suspect , major signings & high profile departures. Murmurings out of Munich that Pep maybe on the move...who knows?

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