Pellegrini plays numbers game – SPURS v MAN CITY

So, after 17 wins, two draws and 64 goals scored, Manchester City face up to the team who they soundly thrashed at the start of their auspicious run of form.

After a wretched 1-0 defeat to Sunderland on November 10, few could have envisaged that City, even with the array of talent within their ranks, would sustain such a rich seam of goal gluttony.

Shot Spurs - The Beast bagged a goal when it was Six & The City last November

Shot Spurs – The Beast bagged a goal when it was Six & The City last November

It was a low point, with a good percentage of City fans up in arms. The early season ratio of away day losses suggested a long hard winter might lie ahead.

Admittedly it’s still January and spring has yet to be sprung, but Manuel Pellegrini has done a superlative job, keeping the plates spinning on four fronts as City chase a highly unlikely quadruple.

God forbid City’s season should descend into a Greek wedding, with their lofty hopes and ambitions shattered like Athenian crockery. It could yet happen, and how sweet would it be for Tim Sherwood if it started with vengeance for his Spurs side, who were so utterly humiliated at the Etihad.

Nice viewing - The Etihad scoreboard says it all but any kind of win at White Hart Lane will suffice

Nice viewing – The Etihad scoreboard says it all but any kind of win at White Hart Lane will suffice

Of course they weren’t ‘his’ team at the time. Since taking over from Andre Villas Boas, the combative and pragmatic, Sherwood has remained unbeaten in his first half-a-dozen Premier League games, hoisting his rapidly heating up Hotspur’s into the Champions League qualification positions.

He’s also managed something that was beyond the compass of both AVB and City’s ex-boss, Roberto Mancini – he’s getting decent output and goals from the enigmatic Emmanuel Adebayor.

There was a time when just about every striker that ever flopped in a Manchester City shirt somehow returned, to haunt their former employer and score against the sky blues…even the likes of Lee Badbuy, sorry, Lee Bradbury, famous for his interpretation of something to do with a banjo and a cow’s backside.

Belgian Boulder - Kompany will need to block out the threat of Adebayor

Belgian Boulder – Kompany will need to block out the threat of Adebayor

How Adebayor, held in pretty low esteem by the vast majority of City fans for his languid/lazy style of play, would love to add his name to the roll call of the dishonourable who did the ‘dirty’ on City, in the name of a new employer.

A pumped up and inspirational Belgian Boulder by the name of Vincent Kompany, will be out to try and ensure there’s no Tango in Tottenham for the Togolese striker, renowned for ‘throwing some shapes’ in his goal dance celebrations.

Without Kompany, City’s defence is somewhat compromised, but with Alvaro Negredo and David Silva set to return and a raring to go Stevan Jovetic in the squad, Pellegrini will be confident the best form of defence will be occupying Spurs’ backline.

His gorgeous football philosophy of simply outscoring the opposition has served him, and City, supremely well so far. 63 goals scored in 22 PL outings, contrasts with Spurs’ relatively sparse 29.

Alvaro's return - Negredo is back in the City squad for the challenging encounter with Spurs

Alvaro’s return – Negredo is back in the City squad for the challenging encounter with Spurs

When it comes to goals conceded there’s little to choose between them, City having let 25 into their net, just one less than their White Hart Lane hosts. Had it not been for the 6-0 loss at the Etihad, Spurs would have the second best defensive record in the PL, with only North London neighbours, Arsenal bettering them at the back.

It all adds up to an intriguing encounter at a traditionally very unhappy hunting ground for City. One win in the last 10 – albeit a stunning 5-1, Edin Dzeko inspired spanking in 2011 – would not usually augur well.

Since Sherwood took over, Spurs are second only to City on present form, taking 16 of 18 points, whereas City have a full house of 18/18 and 21/21 if we go back to AVB’s last rites and Liverpool’s 5-0 demolition of the Lilywhites.

Merlin Magic - Silva should return at Tottenham

Merlin Magic – Silva should return at Tottenham

Thus far, Pellegrini has managed to rotate his squad to almost optimum levels, negotiating numerous Capital One and FA Cup ties, less demanding Champions League ties (if you can categorise an away trip to the reigning European Champions as such) and more manageable games against the English top flight’s lesser entities.

One look at the fixture list for February and March strongly suggests that the days of mass rotation are well and truly behind us. Spurs, Chelsea in PL and FA Cup, feisty Sunderland in the PL and Capital One Cup Final…and then there’s the rather considerable task of FC Barcelona and the much anticipated two-legged Champions League affair.

That little lot alone has to cast grave doubts on the viability of a quadruple, if only because of the sheer volume and intensity of fixtures…and that’s before the minor details of a trip to the ‘Theatre of Screams’ and the Emirates.

Let's go round again - is Pellegrini's rotation game coming to an end with City tough fixture schedule?

Let’s go round again – is Pellegrini’s rotation game coming to an end with City’s tough fixture schedule?

That said a fit, focused and free-scoring Manchester City are a match for just about anybody at the moment. Where else are you going to find a ‘spine’ of a team to eclipse Hart, Kompany, Yaya, Silva and Aguero?

Zabaleta, Fernandinho, Navas, Nasri, Negredo are all having stellar seasons and lest we forget the likes of Milner, Jovetic, Kolarov, Clichy and Dzeko who all have significant parts to play.

Here to assist - Navas is a principal goal supplier since joining City but he netted twice against Spurs

Here to assist – Navas is a principal goal supplier since joining City but he netted twice against Spurs

Pellegrini’s squad oozes class, flair and capability coupled to a never-say-die attitude that used to be the hallmark of the Dark Side down the road.

If – and with just three days remaining in the transfer window, if is such a big word – if, City can reinforce at centre back and possibly defensive midfield you’d be hard pressed to state a case to say the much vaunted ‘Quad’ was beyond City.

A lack of strength in depth at CB could be City’s undoing if anything were to befall Captain Kompany, so what price a £30m or £40m ‘investment’ to secure City’s greatest season ever?

Nasty job - Nastasic needs to rediscover his form of last season to help City go trophy crazy

Nasty job – Nastasic needs to rediscover his form of last season to help City go trophy crazy

If City don’t splash the cash it falls on the shoulders of the likes of Lescott, Nastasic, Demichelis and Garcia to drop anchor and secure the rear, whilst Manuel’s marauders inflict incalculable damage on the frontline.

Since that dark day in the Stadium of Light in November Manchester City FC have remained undefeated at 1st team, Under-21 and Under-18 level – 37 games in total with 34 wins and three draws.

If Pellegrini can guide his team to another 28 games without a loss – (not much to ask is it?) – it would extend the league and cup run to an incredible 47 – matches undefeated and ensure a minimum of three trophies won.

Big numbers - Another 28 games undefeated and another 100 goals should get the quad job done!

Big numbers – Another 28 games undefeated and another 100 goals should get the quad job done!

Such giddiness will count for nothing if Spurs manage to end what they started 66 days ago and deprive City of outright top spot by 22.00hrs Wednesday night.

 

#TrustOurMP

 

By David Walker

www.readbutneverred.com

@djwskyblu

22 Comments

  1. January 28, 2014  11:15 pm by Graham Ward Reply

    There's plenty of rumours floating around social media tonight regarding proposed transfer activity. It looks interesting, as it seems to address weaknesses, but I think the most prudent course of action would be to concentrate on this tough game tomorrow, and wait and see what 11pm on Friday brings (or doesn't).
    Good news that we seem to be full strength on the forward front, and bolstered by the return of Silva, but weakened in terms of numbers by the loss of Milner and Garcia. There also seems to be encouraging news about Nasri, as well.
    City to edge this 2-1, but, I won't complain if we maintain our scoring levels. We've certainly got an incentive with Arsenal's draw tonight.

    • January 28, 2014  11:40 pm by David Walker Reply

      It sure as hell won't be 6-0!

      Maybe 7-0...no, only joking, I'll take 1-0 as the winner bobbles of somebody's backside...who cares, just get the damn points.

  2. January 28, 2014  11:16 pm by Paul Reply

    Really good David, I don't where the words come from, Jess and Jack have had early nights so they can stay up and watch the match, We have to do it this is the first chance to take the lead.

    • January 28, 2014  11:44 pm by David Walker Reply

      Glad it brightened your evening Paul and hopefully the City boys will illiuminate tomorrow night for you and all the little Glennons. Always in my thoughts mate...can't think of anything else to say to you, and I'm supposed to be a bloody wordsmith! You're one helluva heroic Blue Bros!

  3. January 28, 2014  11:34 pm by Junior Brown Reply

    I feel good,Looks like come tomorrow night we will be on top of the league looking down at the others.

    • January 28, 2014  11:44 pm by David Walker Reply

      Let's hope we all need vertigo tablets #dizzyheights

  4. January 29, 2014  3:17 am by GeorgeInIsrael Reply

    What an absolutely awesome abundance of alliteration. :-)

    • January 29, 2014  8:38 am by David Walker Reply

      Maybe you can give me some tantalisingly, titillating tips? Cheers George.

  5. January 29, 2014  6:57 am by Andy Devereux Reply

    Tough game tonight but as you say on our day we can beat anyone so heres hoping for one of them days.Would like to think some of the transfer rumours knocking about are true but we'll wait and see.Excellent preview again David, cheers.

    • January 29, 2014  8:40 am by David Walker Reply

      Spurs away is usually difficult - I have been down there so often and come away empty handed. No reason why we can't win but who knows how it'll go down on the night? Thanks for feedback.

  6. January 29, 2014  9:34 am by carol Reply

    I'll be behind the sofa Davy, tell me when its over!

    • January 29, 2014  9:51 am by David Walker Reply

      As Gary Neville put it so eloquently after Manure had succumbed to Sunderland - it's time to go for your helmet! Not really Blondie - you sit comfy on your sofa & drink it in.

  7. January 29, 2014  9:56 am by Eileen Fullen Reply

    Hopefully our boys will put us where we belong on top of the league. I have faith they will achieve that tonight great read again.unfortunately have to miss the next 8 weeks of football off to Aussie gutted I will miss BARCA and the final but will be watching wherever and whenever I can. At least I have my blogs to keep me updated keep up the good work David.

    • January 29, 2014  10:06 am by David Walker Reply

      Have a great time Down Under - hopefully we'll have a Cup & lots of smiles for you upon your return.

  8. January 29, 2014  10:48 am by Mole Rocks Reply

    The 1st act of the season has brought us to this point and what a show it has been!

    We now begin the final act, will City break a leg, or continue to wow all before them and win a clean sweep at the post season awards show?

    So many difficult games to come in the next 4 weeks and the usual pangs of doubt are creeping in, I'm sure a couple of signings to strengthen defence would help.

    If MP and the management team decide to keep faith with what we have, so be it. They have got us this far and deserve our full support.

    No predictions for the score, I will just be trying to find every way of willing City to victory.

    Trust in MP and Kompany to lead us to glory.

    • January 29, 2014  12:36 pm by David Walker Reply

      It's time to show our mettle. We have great players and a very astute manager & hopefully a new signing by Friday 23.00hrs to keep momentum & create history.

  9. January 29, 2014  11:10 am by Fifthcolumnblue Reply

    City goal difference +38. Spurs GD +3.

    I'd be incredibly surprised if we didn't win this one, even if it's by the odd goal in 3.

    Just hope that everyone will keep their heads if we only come away with a point or worse, as we'll still be in the title mix, and Arsenal will be without their best player for up to 6 weeks with a run of very difficult games coming up.

    We can and should beat Tottenham, it's Jose Bus-Parker Mourinho's team that worries me most

    • January 29, 2014  12:40 pm by David Walker Reply

      Logic says we should win. It's just history doesn't favour us. However MP & his team are history makers in the making. We should be able to edge Spurs, but it's been a difficult venue for City for the past decade.

  10. January 29, 2014  11:11 am by Fifthcolumnblue Reply

    P.S. My sources in France tell me that the rumours about Eliaquim Mangala are hotting up big time - be nice to nick another one from the clutches of the cheapskate rags!

    • January 29, 2014  3:15 pm by David Walker Reply

      Above all else we DO need a top quality CB for now & future - Mangala fits the bill.

  11. January 29, 2014  12:24 pm by Toby Teasadale Reply

    David,

    In my opinion City's success depends on our 'Batman and Robin'.

    Who they, Suarez and Negredo? Yaya and Fernandinho? No, I mean Kompany and Zabaleta. Lose either and we are in trouble, lose both we are in the merde, as the game against Watford proved.

    Last season our defensive shortcomings' were there for all to see. Yet the only defender acquired during the summer was De Michelis. A stopgap passed his 'sell by', who could/should have been signed from Pellegrini's old club Malaga on 'a free'.

    Fast forward to January 2014, having unsuccessfully tried all the usual suspects with your mate 'The Belgian Boulder', and we still have no settled centre back partnership. This is not good.

    If nobody is recruited this window, I'd question whether the Soriano and Bergiristan view Pellegrini as anything other than a seat warmer for their compadre Guardiola. The triumvirate's missing link.

    Perhaps 'The Engineers' success is an embarrassment?

    I do love a good conspiracy!

    • January 30, 2014  11:27 am by David Walker Reply

      Thanks TT - I love a transfer deadline day signing of a TOP QUALITY CB!

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