Pellegrini orders tasty Saturday night takeaway

Heartburn and the aftertaste of a disagreeable ‘Italian’ should be replaced with easier to digest domestic fair, as Manchester City re-focus on the ‘bread and butter’ of the Premier League.

Down but not out - City will have chances to redeem themselves in the Champions League. Courtesy@MCFC

Down but not out – City will have chances to redeem themselves in the Champions League. Courtesy@MCFC

Juventus’ 2-1 Champions League win at the Etihad still sticks in the throat, but City have to move on and gobble up a win at the expense of West Ham’s jellied eels, pie and mash brigade.

Much has been written and said about City’s failure to win their opening Champions League fixture, for a fifth successive season, and whilst hugely disappointing, it doesn’t mean imminent failure for Manuel Pellegrini’s men.

Mandzukic magic - Juventus equalise against the run of play on Tuesday night.

Mandzukic magic – Juventus equalise against the run of play on Tuesday night.

If City win their sixth consecutive top flight game since the season kicked off, it’ll be a club record. If they keep a seventh consecutive clean sheet it’ll be a club record. If they take their winning sequence to 12/12 in the Premier League it’ll be a club record, and just two shy of Arsenal’s all time 14/14 record.

A maximum 18 points and 100% record would be a great achievement, but with the season not quite 1/6th complete, only a fool would say City were certainties for a third title in just five years.

Similarly, City’s Champions League campaign is only 1/6th complete, and only an idiot would be writing off City’s chances of making it out of Group D, either as winners or runners-up.

Captain Fantastic - Kompany wheels away after forcing Chiellini into an own goal. Courtesy@MCFC

Captain Fantastic – Kompany wheels away after forcing Chiellini into an own goal. Courtesy@MCFC

That’s not to say the poisonous pundits and press weren’t rejoicing at City’s first setback of the season.

Ex-Sky Blues, Messrs McManaman and Quinn could barely contain their joy at having – at long last – the opportunity to slag off their former employer and stick the proverbial boot in.

It’s almost on a par with the armchair saddos who get up close and personal to their TV screens to spot the unoccupied blue seats at City’s home games.

Extra seats - City's magnificent extended South Stand. Courtesy@MCFC

Extra seats – City’s magnificent extended South Stand. Courtesy@MCFC

First we had the barbs about the ‘Council House’, whereas nowadays it’s the ‘Emptyhad’ – slurs thrown around, often from the Theatre of Screams, more commonly recognisable as The Swamp.

A crowd of just under 50,400 watched the game with a great swathe of seats in the newly extended – and rather magnificent – third tier of the South Stand, unpopulated because Juve didn’t take their full allocation.

The Etihad’s new 55,000 capacity is reduced for CL fixtures, so all things being equal, you could only get a couple of cigarette papers between what would have been a full house and any shortfall.

'Emptyhad'? - Hardly. Great show of support from the South Stand. Courtesy@MCFC

‘Emptyhad’? – Hardly. Great show of support from the South Stand. Courtesy@MCFC

This fixation with empty seats is puerile nonsense.

At a time when City are reputed to have 42,000 season ticket holders and a growing waiting list, does any City fan care if there are a few unoccupied seats now and again?

The Champions League is, and always has been, a massive pain in the backside for City, albeit a necessary one if the club is to aspire to greatness and global adulation.

Juve jibe - Pogba claimed Juventus had beaten Qatar City. Obnoxious and obviously useless at geography. Courtesy@MCFC

Juve jibe – Pogba claimed Juventus had beaten Qatar City. Obnoxious and obviously useless at geography. Courtesy@MCFC

It’s galling because the team has still to show its mettle in a competition that carries glory and commercial kudos in equal measure, but one that is matched by contempt and suspicion from within the City ranks.

The Old Lady of Italian Football got lucky on the night, but there’s plenty of time and opportunity for Pellegrini to exact his revenge and gather the 11 points that would ensure progress to the knockout stages.

Back on the home front, City have to ‘vent their spleen’ by hammering the East End Irons on Saturday evening.

Sterling takes a pounding - City's No7 was on the receiving end of some heavy Juventus challenges. Courtesy@MCFC

Sterling takes a pounding – City’s No7 was on the receiving end of some heavy Juventus challenges. Courtesy@MCFC

Having already won away at Arsenal and Liverpool, City will know not to take Slaven Bilic’s side lightly, despite the Londoner’s woeful recent record at the Etihad.

Seven straight defeats, 20 goals conceded and only three scored does nothing to suggest City could be heading for a fall, but you never can tell.

It’s been 9 hours and 26 minutes since Joe Hart last picked the ball out of his Premier League net, but injuries have forced changes to City’s back four.

First team start - Nicolas Otamendi should replace injured skipper Vincent Kompany. Courtesy@MCFC

First team start – Nicolas Otamendi should replace injured skipper Vincent Kompany. Courtesy@MCFC

Captain Vincent Kompany is ruled out by a calf injury so the home fans should expect to see Nicolas Otamendi start for the first time since his £30m+ move from Valencia.

Pellegrini has hinted at a start for veteran Martin Demichelis, but whether that comes in the league, or at Sunderland in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday night, remains to be seen.

The season is still in its infancy but City have already had more than their fair share of injuries. Samir Nasri suffered a knock against Juve and, along with recent absentees Pablo Zabaleta, Gael Clichy and Fabian Delph, is unavailable.

Nasri knock - Samir will be absent against West Ham. Courtesy@MCFC

Nasri knock – Samir will be absent against West Ham. Courtesy@MCFC

Sergio Aguero is fit to start and hopefully David Silva and Raheem Sterling will return to their best after looking less than 100% against the Italians.

Kevin De Bruyne will surely be starting after two substitute appearances as he gets to grips with City’s playing patterns and formations.

Rising star Kelechi Inheanacho will be in contention after his crowning glory at the Palace and enforced omission from the Champions League squad.

Tasty Nacho - Kelechi will be looking to add to his City goal tally if he gets game time against the Hammers. Courtsey@MCFC

Tasty Nacho – Kelechi will be looking to add to his City goal tally if he gets game time against the Hammers. Courtsey@MCFC

A win over West Ham will be a much more palatable outcome after City made such a ‘bolognaise’ of trying to beat Juventus, leaving Chelsea, Arsenal, Manure and Liverpool feeding off scraps from the top of the table.

 

#TrustOurMP

 

By David Walker

Dedicated to two Mums who share the same birthday of September 19th and gave birth to two wonderful children who sport the initials of DJW 😉

www.readbutneverred.com @ReadButNeverRed @djwskyblu

12 Comments

  1. September 18, 2015  11:54 pm by Kammy Reply

    Should be back to winning ways DW, esp if we start the Four Muskateers in the attacking line up, the records are in sight.

    • September 19, 2015  8:36 am by David Walker Reply

      On paper we now possess the most exciting array of attacking talent - now to put it to work. Records are there to be broken...just hope the needle doesn't get stuck.

  2. September 19, 2015  7:28 am by Doug Henshaw Reply

    Nice one Dave. Totally agree about the obsession with empty seats, it's pathetic how its constantly mentioned as if we're the only ground anywhere that has empty seats rant over. Anyway hopefully back to winning ways against the hammers one hopes. If we had come out on Tuesday & played our usual tempo I think score might of been different & early chances gone in would of been a different game. But 3pts will cheer us all up I'm sure.

    • September 19, 2015  8:38 am by David Walker Reply

      West Ham have started the season well, especially away from home where they've scored five and conceded none. It'll be just fine and dandy if we can score five and concede none ;-)

  3. September 19, 2015  7:36 am by Guvnor Reply

    This wont be easy tonight, but I predict 3-1 (hope I am wrong about the 1) Someone needs to ask Quinn what City have done to him? As for Alan Green on the BBC. Sour grapes because they lost Stirling. Look forward to your article on Sunday David about another win.

    • September 19, 2015  8:41 am by David Walker Reply

      It'd be a damn good read if I could ever get interviews with the likes of ex-City players turned haters e.g. Quinn, James, McManaman, Mills etc Quinn is the standout culprit because nobody can quite figure out where the problem lies. Yes, it won't be easy but hopefully Pelle and the boys will prevail.

  4. September 19, 2015  8:47 am by Mark Reply

    I went on Tuesday, but still recorded the match on BT. Mcmardarse was co commentator, and did nothing but slag the players and fans off. How BT employ idiots such as Owen Savage and this moron baffles me. When sterling came off he even made a sly comment about it being a disappointing night for him, and that he will see many more. Later this morning BT will be getting a call from me to cancel my subscription based on such comments. Back to the prem it is then, and for me our main priority has fans imo, and hopefully back to winning ways

    • September 19, 2015  8:53 am by David Walker Reply

      Very well said (written) Mark. It beggars belief that from the massed ranks of ex-players and managers, BT somehow contrive to select and employ individuals with a collective brain cell count of 1 and an anti-City bile and venom rating of 101%. A station populated by petty small minded pillocks. It'll be interesting to see if others emulate your action. Good on you sir.

  5. September 19, 2015  10:14 am by Pete lynch Reply

    Great read David, it's a shame we didn't get what we deserved on Tuesday but we fight on. It's in our blood after all!

    • September 19, 2015  12:45 pm by David Walker Reply

      Cheers Pete - plenty left to fight for this season ;-)

  6. September 19, 2015  11:32 am by Richard Cooper Reply

    Disappointing on Tuesday but we had chances to put the game to 'bed' before once again in Champs league games City's naivete was very costly. Not the end of the CL world but winning our next two home games is imperative.
    Back to winning ways today I hope, and another clean sheet in the PL would be excellent.
    I agree with all the comments about "emptyhad" - inane and childish.
    By chance we were in Manchester last season when Manu were playing Villa at home - They were still selling tickets at the tourist office on Portland Street at 1430.

    • September 19, 2015  12:46 pm by David Walker Reply

      LOL - surely not...The Theatre of Screams is sold out every week - even when they're not putting manure on the pitch ;-) Cheers RC.

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