MPs happy to be judged on actions rather than words! Man City v Spurs

Forget manifestos and election slogans, the Premier League’s top two MPs aren’t interested in votes on Saturday lunchtime…just three precious points.

Manuel Pellegrini and Mauricio Pochettino both want to be first past the post as Manchester City look to hold on to their overwhelming majority of recent times, having won six of the last seven PL encounters, including four on the bounce at the Etihad.

Good to see you - Pellegrini welcomed back his players after international duty. Courtesy@MCFC

Good to see you – Pellegrini welcomed back his players after international duty. Courtesy@MCFC

It’s a massive turnaround for City who used to be easy perennial prey for Spurs until Roberto Mancini sparked a change in fortunes, continued in style by City’s trusted MP last season, with thumping 6-0 and 5-1 victories.

In 11 PL and cup encounters in Manchester between 2001-2010 City, under Joe Royle, Kevin Keegan, Stuart Pearce, Sven Goran Eriksson and Mark Hughes managed one win, two draws and eight defeats…the term Indian sign didn’t even come close.

I once chatted with ex-Spurs keeper Paul Robinson who said the men from White Hart Lane used to refer to the then City of Manchester Stadium and more latterly, the Etihad, as Three Point Park.

Shot Spurs - The sadly departed Beast bagged a goal when it was Six & The City last November. Courtesy@MCFC

Shot Spurs – The sadly departed Beast bagged a goal when it was Six & The City last November. Courtesy@MCFC

How times have change. City have plundered the spoils every time since Peter Crouch’s own goal paved the way for City’s first entry into the Champions League in May 2011.

Such a contrast to the previous year when the gangly striker had scored the winner to put Spurs into the CL at City’s expense.

It’s not do-or-die this time around with just seven games played, but if City were to stumble to a second league defeat of 2014-15 and go three games without a home win – the first time since November 2010 – it would cast grave doubts on them retaining their status as Champions.

Out of Africa...double quick - Yaya arrived back at the Etihad a day ahead of schedule. Courtesy@MCFC

Out of Africa…double quick – Yaya arrived back at the Etihad a day ahead of schedule. Courtesy@MCFC

Pellegrini received a selection boost when Yaya Toure arrived back in Manchester a day ahead of schedule, following Ivory Coast’s shock 4-3 defeat in the African Cup of Nations qualifying round.

The Ivorian colossus missed City’s 2-2 draw against Spurs’ North London rivals, Arsenal, again a Saturday lunch time kick off after the last international break, when he didn’t join up with the team until the Friday morning.

Credit to the much maligned Yaya for obviously putting in the effort to get back early enough to be in contention.

An added bonus from a City perspective is that the Ivory Coast is far from certain to qualify for the finals in January and February.

Player of the Month - Super Frankie Lampard has proved an immediate hit with the City fans. Courtesy@MCFC

Player of the Month – Super Frankie Lampard has proved an immediate hit with the City fans. Courtesy@MCFC

Any hiccups against Sierra Leone and Cameroon in November could see Yaya available for a number of key fixtures against the likes of Everton, Arsenal and Chelsea.

Speculation surrounding the postponement of the Finals because of the deadly Ebola outbreak has so far amounted to nothing so, on a totally selfish basis, City fans will be backing the Ivory Coast’s opponents.

Apart from the post surgical Samir Nasri, only Eliaquim Mangala is unavailable for selection, having picked up a thigh strain while with the French squad. Fernandinho has seemingly overcome the hamstring strain that saw him exit early at Villa Park and fears over Stevan Jovetic have been quelled.

Out of contention  - Eliaquim Mangala is ruled out with a thigh strain. Courtesy@MCFC

Out of contention – Eliaquim Mangala is ruled out with a thigh strain. Courtesy@MCFC

It’ll be a big boost to the home team if Spurs are missing a key Frenchman in the form of keeper Hugo Lloris, who also picked up an injury on international duty. The lively Belgian midfielder, Nacer Chadli, currently Spurs’ top scorer with four PL goals is also facing a fitness fight.

Ex-City striker Emmanuel Adebayor is likely to be available, but whether he makes the starting XI is down to Pochettino. Forever an enigmatic figure Adebayor, on his day is a top class player, capable of winning a game with a flash of brilliance.

City will be hoping to see the ‘other’ Adebayor – the lazy, languid version who couldn’t strike a match, let alone work up a sweat.

The irony of the day is that City’s imperious home form of recent seasons, the platform for two titles in three years, has still to kick in with just one win in a trio of PL outings.

Job done - Vinny and Jimmy salute the fans as City won their 3rd away game of the season at Aston Villa. Courtesy@MCFC

Job done – Vinny and Jimmy salute the fans as City won their 3rd away game of the season at Aston Villa. Courtesy@MCFC

It’s three away wins and the draw at The Emirates that has so far kept Pellegrini’s men in touching distance of leaders Chelsea.

That’s in stark contrast with Spurs who have just three wins in their last 11 PL away days. Prior to this they had won five consecutive league matches on the road.

Pochettino already has Spurs looking more like a team than either of his predecessors, Tim Sherwood or Andre Villas Boas, who suffered maulings of 5-1 and 6-0 last season.

Pellegrini is adamant things will be closer – much closer this time out, especially as City have still to hit their full stride pattern.

Gain in the rain - City were loving it at 'The Lane'  last season as they smashed Spurs 5-1 Courtesy @MCFC

Gain in the rain – City were loving it at ‘The Lane’ last season as they smashed Spurs 5-1 Courtesy @MCFC

The return of Fernando will add an effective shield in front of City’s back four, where Demichelis will line up alongside Vincent Kompany.

Pellegrini knows he cannot afford to drop points against Spurs but, he will be ever mindful of Tuesday’s behind-closed-doors Champions League match up with CSKA Moscow.

His full back selection will be interesting with Zabaleta, Sagna, Clichy and Kolarov vying for places.

Edin the line - Dzeko should be part of a twin strike force with Sergio Aguero. Courtesy@MCFC

Edin the line – Dzeko should be part of a twin strike force with Sergio Aguero. Courtesy@MCFC

James Milner should start and, as the Englishman gets ever more playing minutes, it looks as if he will commit himself to a new long term deal at the Etihad – great news for the Blues.

Sergio Aguero, with six goals already this season and five in five games against Spurs since joining City in 2011, will be looking to maintain his scoring ratios, while Edin Dzeko, fresh from a goal for Bosnia Herzegovina against Wales should partner the Argentine goal machine, if Pellegrini goes with his preferred 4-4-2.

Sheer Class - Silva & Aguero will want to be celebrating by 3pm Saturday. Courtesy@MCFC

Sheer Class – Silva & Aguero will want to be celebrating by 3pm Saturday. Courtesy@MCFC

Unlike some of his more established rivals, such as Moanrinho and Whinger, City’s cool Chilean has a healthy respect for the man who bears the same initials.

He knows Pochettino from his time in La Liga, managing Espanyol and witnessed his achievements with Southampton last season.

Both MPs share a similar philosophy and adhere to standards of behaviour and levels of decorum, recently lacking among the likes of Maureen and Arsenic.

Trusted MP - Courtesy@MCFC

Trusted MP – Courtesy@MCFC

The football should do the talking without the need for any pushing, shoving or verbal sparring…a welcome change from the technical area antics of some managers, not forgetting the puerile nonsense oft spouted by the other MPs of this country.

#TrustOurMP

By David Walker

A proposal for Manchester City FC to honour the bravery and humanitarian work of Alan Henning is presently being discussed by the Club with Alan’s family.

Kevin Parker, General Secretary of the Manchester City Official Supporters Club, issued a statement earlier this week saying a minute of silence or applause was most likely to happen at City’s Capital One Cup tie with Newcastle United on October 29th.

Kind  & Courageous - RIP Alan Henning.

Kind & Courageous – RIP Alan Henning.

Read But Never Red is not privy to the private discussions between MCFC and Alan’s loved ones, so it behoves us all to be respectful, and hopefully get an opportunity to acknowledge Alan’s courage and heroism at the appointed date and hour.

It appears Alan was a Blue but his tragic death transcends any football allegiance. It doesn’t matter if he was a City fan, a United supporter or a fan of any other club in Greater Manchester…he was a Mancunian and the whole of Manchester should pay tribute to one of their own.

www.readbutneverred.com @ReadButNeverRed @djwskyblu

6 Comments

  1. October 17, 2014  8:34 pm by Doug Henshaw Reply

    Hate international breaks let's get back to proper footie. Won't be easy but I think we should have enough in the tank to see off spurs.Nice touch Dave mentioning poor Alan I hope all clubs pay the guy & his family some kind of tribute.

    • October 17, 2014  9:08 pm by David Walker Reply

      Alan's life and death put football into perspective. Yes, we all want City to win, we all get passionate about it, cheer and swear (most of us) but ultimately in the wider scheme of our time on earth, it doesn't matter when placed alongside terrorism, famine, disease, poverty etc - it really doesn't matter.

  2. October 17, 2014  11:43 pm by Graham Ward Reply

    What is it with City players picking up injuries on international duty? At least this time it seems that Fernie has shaken off his problem during an international break. Hopefully we'll maintain our good recent record against Spurs before that tricky trip to Moscow. That could be the only bonus of this early kick off.
    RIP Alan Henning.

    • October 18, 2014  12:22 am by David Walker Reply

      It won't be 6-0 but I would be surprised if we don't prevail both against Spurs & CSKA. I will be present at the Newcastle game when I hope to either observe a silence or contribute to applause for Alan Henning - a man who humbles so many of us with his selfless courage & conviction to help those in need.

  3. October 18, 2014  12:42 am by Fifthcolumnblue Reply

    Ah, real football at last!

    Hoping Mr Adebayor meets Mr Fernando quite early in this game so we can see how "interested" he'll actually be in turning up against us!

    Lovely touch RE the tribute to Alan Henning, we need to let the world know that MCFC won't tolerate extremism in any form.

    3-0 City!

    • October 18, 2014  8:31 am by David Walker Reply

      Cheers No 5 - more than happy with your prediction. I forgot to mention Lampard's great scoring record against Spurs - long may it continue - starting today.

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