MP needs maximum points for Mission Possible! MAN CITY v SUNDERLAND

The game of football was the winner when Manchester City finally overcame Sunderland’s stoical resistance to win the League Cup at Wembley just 45 days ago.

Capital gain - City banked the League Cup after victory over the gutsy Mackems. Courtesy @MCFC

Capital gain – City banked the League Cup after victory over the gutsy Mackems. Courtesy @MCFC

The Mackems, having dumped Chelsea and Manchester United out en-route to the Capital One showpiece in the capital city, produced a battling display that warmed the hearts of the invading red and white-striped hordes, who outnumbered their sky blue counterparts.

Gus Poyet’s side lost 3-1 on the day but the amazing after-match camaraderie between the two sets of fans – Sunderland supporters applauding City and City reciprocating – was an unusual but very welcome occurrence.

Jubilations - City players pile in, as they pile up a winning League Cup lead. Can they do the same tonight?  Courtesy @MCFC

Jubilations – City players pile in, as they pile up a winning League Cup lead. Can they do the same tonight? Courtesy @MCFC

Hope and belief swelled the ranks of all departing down Wembley Way on the day. City had captured the first instalment of what was always going to be a highly unlikely, media-hyped quadruple, whereas Sunderland had shown they could mix it with the best…relegation would almost certainly be avoided.

Having been denied the pleasure of each other’s company because of the stormy weather that lashed the North West of England on February 12, the clouds have since gathered on the horizons of both clubs.

Pre-match chat but no combat - Joe Hart with ex-City winger Adam Johnson before the February fixture was postponed due to stormy weather. Courtesy @MCFC

Pre-match chat but no combat – Joe Hart with ex-City winger Adam Johnson before the February fixture was postponed due to stormy weather. Courtesy @MCFC

Wigan and Barcelona put paid to City’s other ‘cup’ ambitions and Manuel Pellegrini’s men no longer control their own Premier League destiny.

Sunderland have harvested a single PL point in their last eight matches, are rooted to the foot of the table and are reliant on others to avoid dropping back into The Championship.

A not-so magnificent seven point disparity haunts both sides. After Sunday’s controversial, Clattenburg-induced defeat at Liverpool, City will still find themselves at least a point shy of title honours if the Scousers win all four of their remaining fixtures.

Call to Arms - City fans need to get fruity and make NOISE to ignite City's title charge. Courtesy @MCFC

Call to Arms – City fans need to get fruity and make NOISE to ignite City’s title charge. Courtesy @MCFC

Similarly, Sunderland would still be a point behind fourth-from-bottom Norwich, if the Wearsiders can conjure up two wins from their games-in-hand.

It doesn’t make happy reading for either of the team’s South American managers. Defeat tonight game will signal the end of City’s title push or Sunderland’s survival bid. A draw would be as useful as a one-legged man in an arse-kicking competition to both clubs.

Following the events at the emotional cauldron of Anfield, City will be hoping for a fully fit Vincent Kompany, and not the 70% on show as Captain Fantastic had an injury influenced nightmare.

Good Kompany - Vinny, can come roaring back after a rare off day in the 3-2 defeat. Courtesy @MCFC

Good Kompany – Vinny, can come roaring back after a rare off day in the 3-2 defeat. Courtesy @MCFC

The Belgian Boulder struggled in a rocky performance and was a culpable factor in all of Liverpool’s goals. By a strange paradox, the much maligned Martin Demichelis performed well against Pool’s untouchable (because he wasn’t touched) diving, cheating Uruguayan rodent.

Luis Suarez has been ‘linked’ with a bank-busting £70m switch to City this summer. The rumour could be without foundation. Nonetheless and notwithstanding his on-field brilliance, surely City fans don’t want this repugnant creature representing their club? Hopefully the only sky blue he will ever wear is for his country.

Injuries will weigh heavy in Pellegrini’s team selection. Yaya Toure has already been ruled out for at least a fortnight after limping out of the Anfield fray after 18 minutes. I am led to believe both David Silva and Jesus Navas will also be absent from the starting XI tonight, but could figure on the bench.

Missing from action? - Will David Silva be resting his battered ankles tonight? Courtesy @MCFC

Missing from action? – Will David Silva be resting his battered ankles tonight? Courtesy @MCFC

Sergio Aguero is available after his substitute appearance in the Merseyside injustice. His form and goals are crucial factors if City are to start bridging the points chasm on the ‘champions-elect’.

By the way, has the date yet been set for the coronation of Queen Brenda I ?

The changes forced upon Pellegrini should see the excellent James Milner start, along with Aleksander Kolarov in for Gael Clichy, Javi Garcia for Yaya – allowing Fernandinho to play further up field – and Alvaro Negredo and Aguero restored to a two-man attack.

Expect a bench of Jovetic, Dzeko, Lescott, Silva, Rodwell, Clichy or Navas and Pantilimon.

Making an entrance - Sergio's return to the Etihad will be a welcome sight. Courtesy @MCFC

Making an entrance – Sergio’s return to the Etihad will be a welcome sight. Courtesy @MCFC

Sunderland will be hindered by the ongoing loss of Stephen Fletcher and the suspended ex-Manure full back Phil Bardsley.

Read But Never Red coined the #TrustOurMP line before the season kicked off and the ‘MP’ element now has multiple applications because City need Maximum Points and a Liverpool stutter to turn Mission Possible into Mission Probable.

Despite the new found affinity between the sets of fans, a Sunderland relegation could be a blessing for City in the future. Four successive 1-0 away defeats at the Stadium of Light has made for much pain and suffering, especially when City have dominated possession on each occasion.

Floored & Flawed - City & Sergio hit rock bottom against lowly Sunderland last November. Courtesy @MCFC

Floored & Flawed – City & Sergio hit rock bottom against lowly Sunderland last November. Courtesy @MCFC

The Sunderland ‘bogey’ is compounded by two draws at the Etihad in the last four encounters, most notably that remarkable 3-3 thriller on City’s 2012 run-in to becoming champions.

With Easter Sunday just five days away, Manchester City must resurrect this season’s title hopes and, as was the case two years ago, goal difference could yet be crucial.

City hold a +3 goal advantage over Liverpool at present, a figure bound to increase if they can win their games in hand over Sunderland and Aston Villa.

The media’s Liverpool ‘love-in’ continues apace, so it is down to City to let their actions do the talking – unlike ex-City ‘favourite’ and Sky pundit, Niall Quinn.

Maximum points - MP needs to ensure it's Mission Probable as City go for Premier League supremacy. Courtesy @MCFC

Maximum points – MP needs to ensure it’s Mission Probable as City go for Premier League supremacy. Courtesy @MCFC

The likeable Irishmen – Martin Tyler’s sidekick in that never to be forgotten commentary as ‘Aguerrrrooooooo’ scored the title deciding winner against QPR – has since dropped like a stone in any popularity competition where City fans are involved.

His affiliations to Sunderland as a player, manager and chairman are well documented and it’s understandable he retains more affection for them than City – not a problem.

However, Quinn becomes more and more of a condescending irritant with each City match he covers. He displayed staggering hypocrisy in criticising Edin Dzeko who, when clearly fouled by Liverpool’s Sakho in the penalty box, tried to stay on his feet.

Quinn quibble - Ex-City striker Niall Quinn is a detractor of his old team in his Sky TV commentaries. Courtesy @MCFC

Quinn quibble – Ex-City striker Niall Quinn is a detractor of his old team in his Sky TV commentaries. Courtesy @MCFC

When, a split second later, Dzeko eventually toppled over as a result of the contact, Quinn claimed the moment had passed and City could have no expectation of a spot kick.

Quinn is laughably drafted in on certain City games due to his former ties with the club, to give some sort of ‘sky blue spin’. The man from the Emerald Isle must be colour blind e.g. blue = red.

Clearly the man is no friend to Manchester City and, although City can extend the hand of friendship to the visiting fans this evening it can only go so far.

Beautiful gesture - Cioty fans showed empathy, sympathy and class over the Hillsborough Tragedy. Courtesy @MCFC

Beautiful gesture – City fans showed empathy, sympathy and class over the Hillsborough Tragedy. Courtesy @MCFC

Pellegrini and his team need an iron fist in that velvet glove and nothing less than a City win will suffice.

TRUST OUR MP – MAXIMUM POINTS!

#TrustOurMP

By David Walker

www.readbutneverred.com

@djwskyblu

 

FOOTNOTE: Well done to the City fans who released 96 red balloons bearing the names of the Hillsborough victims at 15.07 at the Etihad Stadium yesterday. A beautiful gesture as befitting our great club and wonderful supporters…in fact BLOODY WELL DONE!

27 Comments

  1. April 16, 2014  9:42 am by Guvnor Reply

    arse-kicking for the Ref as well tonight Dave, great read as usual, don't know how you know, Silva a Navas out, but I hope your wrong.

  2. April 16, 2014  9:45 am by David Walker Reply

    Can never ever divulge sources BUT I hope I'm wrong as well. Information given and received in good faith. Haven't checked out who is the ref tonight - bound to be shyte ;-)

  3. April 16, 2014  9:49 am by James HouseOlogy Reply

    Great read again. There is no doubt that injuries have hindered our season and continue to do so, missing Yaya at this critical time is a blow but we have the resolution & resilience to cope, infact we played better against pool.without him, still a great loss. I always fear these games rather than playing a top 10 team as City complacency sets in. However i expect and hope that we put this game to bed in 1st half so we can make changes so our players remain fresh. We may have lost the battle on Sunday but the war is very much not over, and with pressure off us from bookies abs pundits alike all making Liverpool champions already i see us sneaking back in. I'd also like to add that the title winners fate will be decided by Palace!!!

    • April 16, 2014  10:03 am by David Walker Reply

      Good shout on Palce. If any of our players are complacent tonight they should be shown the door this summer. It's time to dig in and dig deep - 6 more wins and 1 Scouse draw!

  4. April 16, 2014  9:53 am by carol Reply

    I'm avoiding the media wankfest at all costs Davy, lets hope we can still upset them

  5. April 16, 2014  10:03 am by Alan Baxter Reply

    I was surprised to read that Aguero has only played for 1 and 1/2 Hours in 2014, hopefully he'll get some time and a few in the goals + column this evening.
    I hope there's no hangover from Sunday and we return to the scintillating displays of earlier in the season, no idea who he'll start with up front, I think he'll stick with Navas at the expense of Milner because this is the kind of game that should suit him. Garcia dropping in for Yaya and the rest remain the same?
    Anyway, lets just get the 3 points and keep the pressure on.
    Cheers Mr. W.

    • April 16, 2014  10:05 am by David Walker Reply

      I am advised that Navas could be carrying an injury and won't play. Info given and received in good faith so time will tell.

  6. April 16, 2014  10:05 am by simon hancox Reply

    You soooooo right about quinn .... in my eyes quin =C#NT ....

  7. April 16, 2014  10:06 am by Susan richardson Reply

    I concur! Niall Quinn is an odious toad to repay City fans for their past support with such unveiled bias is repugnant but says more about him! Hoping for a rout and a very noisy Etihad tonight.
    Surely the EPL is more bankable this year because of the competition so the media bias against us is baffling??

    • April 16, 2014  10:14 am by David Walker Reply

      Quinn has become a major disappointment. You don't expect him to be City's PR department but he will always opt for a negative as opposed to a positive comment if given a choice. It probably states he has to in his Sky contract (mandatory I believe for all pundits). Because Manure are on the slide it's a case of OOOH let's have Liverpool win e.g Stevie F'in G, love-fest, PL global brand bollocks etc.

  8. April 16, 2014  10:09 am by Rikki Reply

    Nice & accurate as always #TOGETHER remember the spirit of 2012

  9. April 16, 2014  10:46 am by Gary Derbyshire Reply

    Another fine article, David. I think as the title is now, effectively, out of our hands, it kind of takes me back to the west brom game that took place after the arsenal loss in 2012. I remember leaving the emirates with the horrible feeling that we'd just thrown the title away and I had that same feeling leaving Anfield on Sunday. Alas, we turned west brom over, yoonited lost at Wigan and the rest is history. I think we'll brush the mackems aside as we should play without the pressure of being title favourites hanging over us. Although the Scousers aren't playing tonight, I think they may look at their remaining fixtures and think it's a done deal and we all know how dangerous that can be. I still have a glimmer of hope and, of course, stranger things have happened! #TrustOurMP

    • April 16, 2014  11:00 am by David Walker Reply

      Agreed Gary.

  10. April 16, 2014  11:38 am by Graham Ward Reply

    I've had a look at both parts of the Pellegrini Sunderland press conference, and no mention is made of Silva and Navas. However, he wasn't asked specifically about them, so we'll see tonight if your source is correct. Certainly hope not like yourself!
    If it is correct, although we seem to be putting a fair XI and bench up, it's worryingly short of playing time for me. Blitz Sunderland early so that it doesn't become a factor.

    • April 16, 2014  12:55 pm by David Walker Reply

      I may have misunderstood my source - Silva could be on the bench ;-)

  11. April 16, 2014  12:06 pm by Richard Cooper Reply

    As always a good read David
    Whatever team we "put out" tonight should be good enough to beat Sunderland
    Unlike last Sunday "hit the ground running" and kill the game off by half time
    As bad as Mr Clattenburg was and the awful 2nd half antics of Suarez we lost that game in the first 20 minutes
    We will miss Silva and Navas if your sources are correct. Silva has been battered a bit during the last few games and probably should have rest - So assuming Milner starts (good game Sunday) a bench that should comprise Dzeko, Silva, Jovetic and maybe Navas ain't bad !
    96 Red Balloons - Super gesture and proud to belong to the club - whatever the outcome of title race

    • April 16, 2014  12:50 pm by David Walker Reply

      Nicely put RC - Silva could yet make the bench if my source is correct. Thanks for reading & commenting.

  12. April 16, 2014  12:57 pm by GeorgeInIsrael Reply

    David Silva deserves a rest and even without him we should be too good for Sunderland. Let's hope we build up that goal difference as well.

    Martin Atkinson is the ref tonight. You can usually find the next game's ref a couple of days in advance here: http://www.premierleague.com/en-gb/referees/appointments/

    • April 16, 2014  1:58 pm by David Walker Reply

      Thanks George - it was never going to be Clattenburg - they'd have been a lynching!

  13. April 16, 2014  3:07 pm by Bill Glas Reply

    Great read, yet again, David. I would love to see the Aguero/Negredo combo in action tonight. It's been missing for too long. I endorse the various comments about Niall Quinn. A bit of balance on his part wouldn't come amiss!

    • April 17, 2014  9:09 am by David Walker Reply

      Sadly, I am writing this after the event and The Beast & Aguero combo looked rusty last night and we threw away our title chances. Thanks for making time to comment.

  14. April 17, 2014  8:33 am by John Evans TT Reply

    We should respect Niall Quinn opinion, however pro or anti city it is. Do we want a City Roy Kean equivalent, our very own sycophantic Irishman?

    I don't think he tells porkies (although currently it look as if he ate them all) and I can't recall ever seeing him give less than 100%. If not a legend, then a hero. I will never forget his penalty save against Derby http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E-OudU-1NQg

    • April 17, 2014  9:07 am by David Walker Reply

      I don't know about respect his opinion but he's obviously entitled to have one. It depends what comprises an opinion and the motivations within.My understanding is that he is a very kindly and generous man, it's just that I don't like the majority of the opinions he presently holds on MCFC. That said, we live in a democracy thank goodness and everyone is able to express their opinions...even when they're wrong ;-)

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