MAN CITY v WBA – City must bag Baggie points

The Boing Boing Baggies bounce into Manchester for a fixture that has suddenly assumed new meaning in Manchester City’s quest to secure second spot in the Premier League.

Rafa Benitez’s ability to ram it up Fergie’s fundament in recent times, means City face a rude awakening after the snoozy sunny Saturday in Swansea, and a real fight to hold on to the runners-up position.

A match, previously viewed as nothing more than an inconvenience in City’s FA Cup Final Wembley preparations, is now one that needs winning to keep daylight between the Sky Blues and Chelsea.

Any Manure defeat is normally greeted with smiles on the blue side of Manchester. The fact that Rafa’s men rained on the Red’s parade, disappointing 72,500 of the muck-spreader’s fans – be they from Kensington or Kuala Lumpur, Battersea or Bangkok –  was tempered by the clear and present danger Chelsea now pose to City.

Understandably, Roberto Mancini will want to safeguard some of his stars from any potential injuries, keeping them fresh for the rigors of City’s fifth Wembley date in the past two years – but there are risks attached.

Anything less than a 14th home win of the season would give Chelsea added impetus,  as they go into their crucial all-London Champions League crunch game against Tottenham on Wednesday evening.

That said, what appeared to be arguably City’s preferred first XI sent us all into slumber in South Wales, as they swanned around with little purpose and no end product.

Logically, Mancini could select Edin Dzeko to minimise Aguero’s exposure to Messrs Olsson, McAuley and Ridgewell, but the Bosnian striker’s recent form has dropped quicker than Stuart Hall’s listening figures.

Lest we forget, he was City’s hero at The Hawthorns back in October when he struck two goals in 10 minutes, sinking the buoyant Baggies in his super-sub role.

It’s as obvious as the purple nose on Slur Baconface’s fizzog that Dzeko’s ‘Edin’ (sorry that’s an appalling pun) out of the Etihad this summer, but while he continues to collect his six figure weekly wage it would be nice if he’d put in a decent shift now and again.

Whether he can be trusted to wear a City shirt again is debatable. It’s a sad, ignominious end to his City career, but fair to say his ‘efforts’ at Everton, Spurs and Swansea have been pathetic.

It’d be a measure of the man if he could produce a couple of barnstorming games prior to his departure, with Dortmund the most likely destination.. To think he could be leading the line for the newly crowned European Champions next season…quite bizarre.

Whereas City may toy with changes to their attacking line-up, the PL’s best defence may stay intact after notching their 16th clean sheet of the season in the snore draw at Swansea.

Whether Joleon Lescott is recalled to help cope with the rampaging  Romelu Lukaku remains to be seen, but City skipper, Vincent Kompany will do well to help quell the danger of his Belgian compatriot.

Matches against West Brom are normally entertaining affairs, and Steve Clarke’s side are able to play with a freedom  of expression, so often denied them in recent years due to relegation worries.

Sitting pretty in eighth and, barring a late flourish from Swansea, destined to stay there for their highest PL finish, Albion will undoubtedly have the backing of one of the most vociferous travelling support in the country.

It behoves the Blue Mooners to match and surpass the vocals of the boys from the Black Country on the night, aided and abetted by some additions to  City’s ‘Goals For’ column, sadly 26 down on this time last year.

In the past it took City eight attempts to beat the Baggies when the Blues, under Keegan, Pearce and Eriksson all failed after returning to the top flight. It was left to a Mark Hughes’ led City, to finally beat the hoodoo with a 4-2 win in April 2009.

Fair to say the West Midlanders were something of a bogey team, but in those days so were Spurs, Everton, Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea…it was tough being a City fan.

With four wins and two draws from the last six games against WBA, City must be favourites, but they cannot afford to be afflicted by the malaise that has so often infuriated supporters and Mancini alike.

Triple points and good form are vital as City look towards Wembley Way, especially when the warriors from Wigan are fighting for their Premier League, lives with some sterling showings.

A gutsy 3-2 win at the Hawthorns at the weekend and City’s fortunate 1-0 win over the Pie Eaters just three weeks ago, is evidence enough that this will be no Wembley walkover for Mancini’s side.

Whether or not City can risk multiple changes remains to be seen. Richards, Kolarov and Lescott could come in for Zabaleta, Clichy and Nastasic, Rodwell or Garcia might replace Yaya, with Dzeko and Tevez starting ahead of Silva and Aguero.

Irrespective of any changes, a fully committed and focused City should have enough on home turf to make sure Albion don’t get their sixth away win of the season.

In football parlance, City have to take it game by game, but preferably arrive in North London with a full complement of fit playing personnel and automatic Champions League qualification sorted.

FORZA MANCINI

 

15 Comments

  1. Pingback : MAN CITY v WBA – City must bag Baggie points(RBNR) | Quick News

  2. May 6, 2013  11:06 am by Graham Ward Reply

    Yes, this game assumes a bit more importance than first thought. Lescott making a return following the birth of his child (congratulations!) is a good call, to cover the threat of Lukaku, in the same way as he did recently with Carroll. Nasty, by all accounts, had periods of uncertainty in South Wales.
    Easy to say, but no silly yellow cards or reactions required tomorrow, and just get through the game with a clean bill of health.

  3. May 6, 2013  12:22 pm by Alan Baxter Reply

    I expect 3 points with the minimum of fuss tomorrow, (I said exactly the same for Reading at Home).
    It's a bit of a fine balancing act as to who to start with, but, we should bring down the boing with Richards, Rodwell, Kolarov, and Dzeko even though he does my Edin sometimes (stolen your bad pun for a worse one) Remember in Bobby we trust. #Forza Mancini

    • May 6, 2013  6:18 pm by DAVID WALKER Reply

      I would concur Mr B - this should be navigable given that the Baggies grabbed their beachbags a few weeks ago!

  4. May 6, 2013  12:30 pm by Andy Devereux Reply

    I must admit to being surprised we're not sorted in second spot already but still don't think it will be a problem.One or two changes in the line up for tomorrow are probably inevitable but as you say we should still have too much at home for the baggies.Great read again David cheers. FORZA MANCINI

    • May 6, 2013  6:20 pm by DAVID WALKER Reply

      Agree Andy - we should have been home and hosed now. I had hoped to get Manure's winning margin to single points but it's just academic now. 2nd place and the Cup will do but just wait until 2014 after a summer of wondrous transfer activity.

  5. May 6, 2013  3:48 pm by Frank Reply

    Always fun to read smart supporters here! Totally agree with Graham re: Lescott. I don't think we are going to see Yaya play tomorrow, and it's key he be fit for Saturday. I'd love to think Dzeko has something to prove now, but now if the rumours about him being part of the Cavani deal are true (http://www.football-italia.net/33810/citys-%C2%A335m-plus-dzeko-cavani) I am concerned he is already mentally out the door. I'd rest Silva and Aguero for sure as well. Give Rodwell a start, he's hungry. This is going to be a big week for us!

    • May 6, 2013  6:21 pm by DAVID WALKER Reply

      We are as one Frank on all aspects #MCFCFamily

  6. May 6, 2013  5:22 pm by Kev Russell Reply

    Spot on as usual David. WBA have been playing 3 up front recently & I can't see any reason why they won't adopt this gung ho system against us. After the tepid display v Swansea & Chelsea's win, we have to step up a gear & play WBA off the park. That then a draw Spurs v Chelsea should confirm the second spot. Always an interesting read with mucho intelligent comment, your writings have become a must read for ALL Blues. What we gonna read in the summer???? #TopScriber

    • May 6, 2013  6:24 pm by DAVID WALKER Reply

      Top man Kev and so right about the Baggies' formation. As for the summer, as we salivate over our new signings and renewed promise of a Mancini Man City dynasty I'm sure I'll find some things of worth on which to have a scribble. FA Cup preview all written - subject to any hiccups tomorrow night - and out on Thursday. FORZA MANCINI!

    • May 6, 2013  10:05 pm by Frank Reply

      I think we are going to read a whole lot of Transfer Talk this Summer!

      • May 6, 2013  10:20 pm by DAVID WALKER Reply

        I think most of Man City's will be completed by 1st July - make a nice change!

  7. May 6, 2013  10:54 pm by Ian Barton Reply

    Great and insightful read as ever Dave. Several changes required to protect the jewels for the final but must not take our eyes off the ball. Think Rodwell might be key and a hungry Guidetti might be useful. I expect Carlos o replace Sergio as a matter of rotation. Would be very sad to see Edin leave wit a whimper, prefer to remember him at WHL, the Bernabeu and the swamp.

  8. May 6, 2013  11:33 pm by David Walker Reply

    I think Guidetti is still off the pace fitness wise and yes, Carlito for Sergio makes sense. You get the feeling Tevez is virtually indestructible - rather like a tank. It's such a shame about Edin but it still doesn't excuse his lacklustre approach to life.

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