Face off – MAN CITY v CHELSEA

Two distinct and very different faces of the Premier League come together at the Etihad in a proverbial six pointer when Chelsea confront Manchester City. Sorry, make that three faces – Jose Mourinho will bring two with him – as he matches up to the impeccable Manuel Pellegrini.

Trust Our MP - Pellegrini the diplomat wants to hammer poisonous Mourinho

Trust Our MP – Pellegrini the diplomat wants to hammer poisonous Mourinho

Has there ever been a more pronounced difference in approach, attitude and behaviour of true contenders for English football’s top domestic honour?

Mourinho’s CV is as impressive as they come boasting – no – bragging, titles in four different countries, two Champions League crowns successes and a plethora of cups that, when polished, would empty many a Mr Sheen canister.

By comparison Pellegrini’s achievements are viewed in a much more modest manner, albeit the anti-City factions in the media have directed the floodlights on his apparent ‘failure’ to win a title in his time in European – more correctly Spanish – football.

Together but apart - Pellegrini will miss Aguero's world class striking prowess

Together but apart – Pellegrini will miss Aguero’s world class striking prowess

Thus far the genteel Pellegrini has won titles in two countries with (Quito in Ecuador & in Argentina with San Lorenzo and River Plate) cups in his native Chile and the less auspicious Intertoto Cup with Villarreal in 2004.

The fact he took unfashionable Villarreal to both the semi finals and quarter finals of the Champions League, breaking Barcelona and Real Madrid’s stranglehold on La Liga’s first and second places, was a huge achievement.

Imagine Norwich breaking in between City and United, or more realistically in the modern day City and Chelsea or City and Arsenal. It simply wasn’t done, but Manuel did it.

Only last season he took his unfancied Malaga side to within 120 seconds of the CL semi-final before they were cheated by two outrageous refereeing decisions in Dortmund.

Fan's favourite - Sergio is adored by City supporters in a way Adebayor never even came close to achieving

Wonderstrike – Sergio is passing the goalscoring baton to Negredo, Dzeko, Jovetic…

The only realistic opportunity afforded Pellegrini to win a title in his nine years in Spain was in 2010 when he took the reins at the Santiago Bernabeu.

His Real Madrid team ran up a club record 96 points only to be shaded by Pep Guardiola’s finest ever Barcelona side by three points. With typical Madrid madness, Manuel was sacked and replaced by the ‘Sour One’ – the snide, sneering, snake –  who will sit in the visitor’s ‘dug-out’ on Monday night.

The contrasts between the managerial combatants are manifold. Jose is reptilian, fuelled by confrontation, spewing bile and venom, a classless hypocrite, a very successful coach, albeit a nasty piece of work, with undeniable tactical acumen and motivational powers.

Midfield battle - Silva and Hazard will be fighting as the creative sources of City and Chelsea

Midfield battle – Silva and Hazard will be fighting as the creative sources of City and Chelsea

Pellegrini is the personification of understatement, unassuming, keeping his own counsel, diplomatic, courteous and kindly. All laudable traits but they only serve to mask a passion and unsurpassed desire to win. His intensity and professional dedication is illustrated by the time he spends apart from his nearest and dearest who remain in South America.

His quadruple chasing Manchester City side, the talk of  ‘Planet Football’ with 115 goals scored thus far, are Pellegrini’s ticket to sticking a metaphorical finger in the eye of his detractors.

City celebrate - will City be in party mood after their top of the table clash with Chelsea?

City celebrate – will City be in party mood after their top of the table clash with Chelsea?

The putrid Portuguese is better known for literally sticking a thumb in the eye of his opponents – just ask Tito Vilanova, now battling cancer, but at the time of malevolent Mourinho’s assault, the assistant manager to Pep Guardiola’s all-conquering Barcelona – who had the measure of Jose’s malignant Madrid.

It speaks volumes that City’s executive hierarchy of CEO Ferran Soriano and Director of Football, Txiki Begiristain ruled Mourinho out of the running for the Barcelona job before choosing Guardiola. Similarly, Mourinho was never a contender for the City job when Roberto Mancini departed last May.

Step up to the plate - Jovetic can put all his troubles behind him and become a City hero

Step up to the plate – Jovetic can put all his troubles behind him and become a City hero

Why? The answer is simple. City, like Barcelona, want to be the best in club football but want to achieve that objective with attractive, mesmerising play on the pitch, aligned to grace and style off it.

The 60-year old from Santiago ticks all the boxes. Cultured, skilled and sage-like, the engineering graduate has finally been given adequate tools to create a ‘machine’ of nigh on perfection, mechanisms in synch, smooth-flowing natural momentum, efficient, effective…a thing of beauty.

Double trouble - Negredo and Dzeko can fire City to victory

Double trouble – Negredo and Dzeko can fire City to victory

He’s only seven months into a projected 36 month tenure, so it’s still comparatively early days, but that should only serve to scare the living daylights out of Manchester City’s rivals both at home and abroad.

Early teething troubles have been ironed out – hopefully repeats of the malfunctions so evident at Cardiff, Villa and Sunderland – are banished under the manifest of ‘Lessons Learned.’

Points giveaway - City deserved at least a draw at Stamford Bridge. Now is the chance to take all three

Points giveaway – City deserved at least a draw at Stamford Bridge. Now is the chance to take all three

The defeat at Chelsea falls under a different heading of good team performance, sound tactics and personal blunders not to be repeated.

Mourinho’s most recent utterances on Financial Fair Play compliance are yet another example of the insidious way he sets out his stall. Interpreted another way, it reveal’s Chelsea’s fears in relation to City’s potential domestic domination and growing European influence.

City’s recent ascendancy to the top of the PL would be consolidated by a 12th straight PL home win, a victory that would open up a significant six point gap on Chelsea and give Jose that certain ‘sinking feeling’.

Indefatigable - Fernandinho has played the most minutes of any City player this season

Indefatigable – Fernandinho has played the most minutes of any City player this season

In interviews he always ‘sinks’ this and ‘sinks’ that, so it can only be hoped that City can depth charge Chelsea into oblivion.

The loss of Aguero, whilst significant, is not insurmountable. With 26 goals to his name in just 25 appearances this season, Sergio is in the form of his life, re-affirming his status as truly world class, but the timely emergence of Stevan Jovetic could be a PL lifesaver.

The Montenegrin showed real quality in the 5-1 demolition of Spurs and with Negredo set to return and Dzeko continuing his steady stream of scoring, City shouldn’t want for goals.

Not a prayer- Jesus can help nail Mourinho and Chelsea at the Etihad

Not a prayer- Jesus can help nail Mourinho and Chelsea at the Etihad

Silva is in sublime form and Navas has brought a new dimension in providing width and speed to City attacking prowess.

Chelsea’s strength lies in midfield with their much vaunted trio of Hazard, Oscar and Willian but an assertive Yaya Toure and indefatigable Fernandinho will prove more than worthy adversaries.

Schurrle and Eto’o will need some policing by Zabaleta, Kompany & Co and City would do well not to concede the opening goal, just in case the ‘principled’ Mourinho decides to emulate Big Sam’s West Ham and indulge in a spot of  19th century charabanc parking.

Class act - Zabaleta can show an audience of millions why he is the best right full back in the Premier League

Class act – Zabaleta can show an audience of millions why he is the best right full back in the Premier League

Aguero and Samir Nasri’s absence should not be under estimated but on the plus side, there was one very noticeable absentee when Chelsea stole their 2-1 win last October – a certain City Field Marshall who commands the backline and inspires like no other.

Field Marshall - Captain Kompany was absent when City fell to an undeserved defeat at Chelsea in October

Field Marshall – Captain Kompany was absent when City fell to an undeserved defeat at Chelsea in October

Vincent Kompany is Manchester City’s influential player like no other – as Chelsea will find to their cost.

It promises to be an intriguing collision of football philosophies and one that could be pivotal as to who wins the PL this season. It’s a stark contrast in personalities and outlook, Pellegrini the paragon of virtue versus the serpent of Setubal, the virus that is Mourinho.

Standing alone - No way Jose - all City fans are right behind Pellegrini #TrustOurMP

Standing alone – No way Jose – all City fans are right behind Pellegrini #TrustOurMP

 Let it be a night where the football does the talking and miracles really do happen and Mourinho is gracious in defeat…

#TrustOurMP

By David Walker

www.readbutneverred.com

@djwskyblu

18 Comments

  1. February 2, 2014  9:41 pm by fifhcolumnblue Reply

    If they can't beat us they will kick us. I'm virtually praying that David Silva escapes this match unscathed, Mourinho wil know that he is our main threat and instruct his players accordingly - hence his attempts at softening up the refs by claiming City are "Lucky".

    I think it speaks volumes about Mourinho that even a club as venal as Stretford said "No way Jose".

    Let's send this thug and his vile, racist captain packing back down to the Kings Road.

    P.S. Will never have much respect for Chelsea fans after standing on a tube train to Wembley for the FA semi last season with about 30 well-dressed and groomed thugs Zieg heiling in my face. Dirtbags.

    • February 2, 2014  10:07 pm by David Walker Reply

      Says it all No 5 - let's smash them and open up a cavernous 6 point gap before moving on to whinger Wenger.

  2. February 2, 2014  9:43 pm by GeorgeInIsrael Reply

    Here's hoping that the maliciously mendacious Mourinho leaves Manchester after having been hugely humbled.

    • February 2, 2014  10:08 pm by David Walker Reply

      Stop it George...stop it now! ;-) #AlluringAlliteration

      • February 3, 2014  5:50 am by GeorgeInIsrael Reply

        Sorry, couldn't resist it.

  3. February 2, 2014  9:43 pm by Phil Taylor Reply

    one of your best Dave, an excellent summary of the situation.

    • February 2, 2014  10:08 pm by David Walker Reply

      Merci Mr T. Barca ticket news imminent!

  4. February 2, 2014  10:04 pm by Andy Devereux Reply

    Great piece David, what Mourinho and Wenger for that matter have been spouting the last few days has been nothing but sour grapes on both fronts.What me and probably every City fan wouldn't give to see City take Chelski to the cleaners.I'd love to see Mourinho speechless!!!!! #TrustOurMP

    • February 2, 2014  10:10 pm by David Walker Reply

      Well he will always 'sink' win lose or draw - it's just the bar steward to drown...metaphorically speaking.

  5. February 2, 2014  10:22 pm by Graham Ward Reply

    Despite all the evidence to the contrary, I would love to know why the so-called 'Special One' is so admired by the press corps in this country.
    Do his teams play attractive football? No, just very pragmatic, win-at-all-cost football.
    Yes, he is outspoken, and his record dictates respect, but, for me, his methods don't warrant admiration. I am glad he is nowhere near our club.
    I think we will win tomorrow, by 3-1.
    The team - Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany, Demichelis, Kolarov, Fernie, Toure, Navas, Silva, Negredo, Dzeko
    Mourinho will try to provoke - if we keep our collective cool, on and off the pitch, and in the stands, Chelsea will go home defeated. This will be a taster for the cup tie.

    • February 2, 2014  10:27 pm by David Walker Reply

      Totally agree. I wonder if he might play Clichy to counteract speed of Hazard & Jovetic instead of Dzeko for extra movement and pace up front. This will be a big psychological boost if we can win. We just need to ignore that Portuguese heap of wotsit and Trust in the MP.

  6. February 3, 2014  5:57 am by carol Reply

    Brilliant Davy, you know my feelings on that man, I'll never forgive him for laughing at us apart from anything else, hateful man! Each match we play feels like a cup final at the moment, I'll be taking up my accustomed position behind the furniture!

    • February 3, 2014  7:06 am by David Walker Reply

      Well it's worked so far so take a flask and sandwiches - head down behind the settee/sofa and only come out when you hear Mourinho sobbing on Sky Sports News...Cheers Blondie.

  7. February 3, 2014  7:38 am by Mole Rocks Reply

    I agree with a lot of other blues, when Jose first came to the Premiership he was a breath of fresh air, second time round he seems to be suffering from halitosis!

    The pressure is etched on his face and he just sounds bitter and miserable.

    Switch to Manuel, who we know is under immense pressure, but is presenting a calm and cultured face to all around him.

    Aguero will be a big loss, but having Kompany is probably a bigger plus. City will need to keep it tight at the start and build from there.

    No predictions from me, I will just trust in MP to engineer a winning performance.

    • February 3, 2014  7:52 am by David Walker Reply

      You & me both Carl - obviously want collective City success, but it'll be nice for MP to put one over on Jose on a personal level.

  8. February 3, 2014  12:33 pm by Toby Teasdale Reply

    Question and Answer

    Received email this morning from a good friend (and Sky Blue) In Scandinavia. My reply is included.

    Can`t wait tonight´s match....

    Your opinion?

    Q Will Chelski park the bus ?
    A On past form YES.

    Q Can we keep up 100% home record?
    A) For me tonight depends very much on how Dzeko plays/get’s involved. Hopefully now the transfer window is closed his mind will be clear. We can’t afford any passengers this evening. The bus will not be leaving the depot.

    Q) Will we get revenge for last match against Chelski?
    A) Anger/revenge can effect your judgement and hence your performance, that's why Mourinho stirs the shit. They say ’revenge is a dish best served cold’ although other things should be served hot. Stupidly (IMO), Mourinho has revved up City’s 12th man, ’THE CROWD’.

    Q) And last one, will that City obsessed idiot called "special one" make by itself again a clown?
    A) Mourinho may have his players respect, but Pellegrini has his players love. Going into battle who would you prefer as your leader?

    One prediction. Chelsea players will be falling faster and thicker than leaves in winter. Referee: Mike Dean. Matches: 15, R3 Y53.

  9. February 3, 2014  5:46 pm by stuart reed Reply

    Great pre-match Dave. Couldn't agree more. JM has been so pathetic these past few weeks. I think most football fans in the country now are seeing him for the narcissistic egomaniac that he is. MP on the other hand, is becoming quietly, very quietly the most dignified man in football.
    Oh & can I add Ian Herbert to the sht list after the article in the Independent at weekend

    • February 3, 2014  7:54 pm by David Walker Reply

      You may add him to the list - injuries are a concern but we gotta #TrustOurMP

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