Revenge redemption & Rosler reunion – Man City v Wigan Athletic – FA Cup QF

The 3 R’s of ‘writing, reading and arithmetic’ used to be the foundation of basic education in Britain.

Manuel Pellegrini continues his schooling in English football amid Manchester City’s 3 R’s of a different kind – redemption, revenge and reunion – as Uwe Rosler brings Wigan to the Etihad for an emotional FA Cup quarter final tie.

Cup double - Pellegrini wants City back at Wembley ASAP.Courtesy @MCFC

Cup double – Pellegrini wants City back at Wembley ASAP.Courtesy @MCFC

With designs on a unique domestic treble of trophies, the City manager has already experienced one Wembley triumph when his team bagged the League Cup a week ago.

Victory against Wigan, the team that had the temerity to beat Roberto Mancini’s sky blues 1-0 in last season’s FA Cup showpiece, will mean an immediate return trip to the home of English football and a step closer to a cup double.

It would deliver FA Cup redemption for a City side that, under Pellegrini’s stewardship, bears little resemblance to the ramshackle garbage served up on May 11th 2013.

Fancy another 'cuppa' - City want two more Wembley occasions to savour this season, an FA Cup semi final and final  Courtesy @MCFC

Fancy another ‘cuppa’ – City want two more Wembley occasions to savour this season, an FA Cup semi final and final. Courtesy @MCFC

Revenge would be sweet as it would wrench the famous trophy from the holder’s grip, although it will never exorcise the demons of that awful afternoon where City disintegrated in the rain.

Who knows, it might even stop Dave Whelan, the Wigan Chairman, regaling the world with tales of how he had ‘unfinished business’ at Wembley…something to do with him breaking his leg – he may have mentioned it once or twice!

Unfinished business - Wigan Chairman Dave Whelan broke his leg at the old Wembley playing for Blackburn in the 1960 FA Cup Final against Wolves - he doesn't like to talk about it...

Unfinished business – Wigan Chairman Dave Whelan broke his leg at the old Wembley playing for Blackburn in the 1960 FA Cup Final against Wolves – he doesn’t like to talk about it…

The fact that the two Roberto’s – Mancini and Martinez – have long since departed doesn’t diminish this re-match, only this time the hot favourites won’t under estimate their opponents.

Nor will they come into the match set against a backdrop of mayhem and discord, as was the case with Mancini’s imminent departure, amid rifts, rancour and player rebellion.

The Italian firebrand was well liked and many fans mourned his departure.  It made life difficult when the new man took over, but City’s supporters are taking Pellegrini to their hearts, as he proves his worth as a manager capable of leading the club to glory, with his trademark brand of attacking football.

Winning 'Man-tality' - Manuel has first trophy in England now for the second, third... Courtesy @MCFC

Winning ‘Man-tality’ – Manuel has first trophy in England now for the second, third… Courtesy @MCFC

Perversely, the manager of today’s opponents is already firmly embedded in the affections of the sky blues – and they in his.

Uwe Rosler scored 64 goals in 176 appearances for Manchester City at a time when City not only struggled for survival in England’s top flight, but actually succumbed, dropping to the third tier.

Often described as a cult figure with the then Maine Road masses, Uwe is more, much more, than that for both professional and personal reasons. The tag of ‘living legend’ seems more apposite, especially as he came so close to death.

He will be accorded a wonderfully warm reception – almost as hot as the one Vincent Kompany & Co have in store for Rosler’s team – when he is greeted by the Etihad crowd.

The bond between a popular and talented player and supporters escalated beyond the norm when Uwe was stricken with cancer in 2003.

Maine Man - Uwe Rosler is a living legend and iconic figure with City fans

Maine Man – Uwe Rosler is a living legend and iconic figure with City fans.

The story of him lying in a Norwegian hospital bed battling non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and taking a call on his mobile, from the City of Manchester Stadium, is almost as famous as Dave Whelan’s Wembley leg break in the 1960 FA Cup Final.

One of Uwe’s friends rang him from inside the Stadium and told him ‘…listen to this…’  All Uwe could hear was the sound of City fans chanting his name, willing him back to health at a time when his survival hung in the balance.

The ex-City striker realised that he had a body of support behind him like no other – every man, woman and child with sky blue in their soul – were thinking of him and wanting him to win the greatest battle of his life.

Back from the brink - Sergio's hat-trick helped City come back from 2-0 down against Watford from the Championship in the 4th Round of the FA Cup.   Courtesy @MCFC

Back from the brink – Sergio’s hat-trick helped City come back from 2-0 down against Watford from the Championship in the 4th Round of the FA Cup. Courtesy @MCFC

There are some who dream of the day that Uwe may one day return to manage City. It’s a lovely ideal but not one that will sit well with Manuel Pellegrini or, in the longer term, a certain Pep Guardiola.

But enough of the past and the future. For 90 minutes later today, Uwe Rosler, City’s own cherished version of Der Bomber, will become the ‘enemy’…well, of a sort.

Sentimentalism will give way to professionalism as Rosler seeks to beat City and they look to return the ‘compliment’.

Wigan are flavour of the month in The Championship, the form team with four wins out of five and a place in the play-off positions, earning Uwe, Manager of the Month Award recognition for February.

Repeat performance - Jesus Navas scored his first competitive goal in sky blue against Wigan in the 5-0 League Cup win in September. A repeat today would go down a treat.

Same again – Jesus Navas scored his first competitive goal in sky blue against Wigan in the 5-0 League Cup win in September. A repeat today would go down a treat.

His Wigan team is not only much changed from the FA Cup winning side, but also the line-up that went down to a resounding 5-0 thumping last September, as City embarked on their road to Wembley and League Cup success.

That was supposed to be payback, but that was before the teams were once again thrown together in FA Cup combat, just 72 hours before City renew ‘hostilities’against Barcelona.

Milner return? -  Will James get a starting berth in what could be a physical encounter against Wigan today?  Courtesy @MCFC

Milner return – Will James get a starting berth in what could be a physical encounter against Wigan today? Courtesy @MCFC

Ever practical and pragmatic, Pellegrini quite rightly says the FA Cup quarter finals is City’s most important game, simply because it’s the next.

It should prove more winnable than the uphill battle that awaits in the Nou Camp, but if City allow their thoughts to drift to Catalonia anytime before 18.00 hours today, the unlikely quadruple could already have gone.

With Balkans duo Jovetic and Nastasic the only players definitely ruled out by injury, Pellegrini has the rare luxury of selecting from a nigh on fully fit, but arguably fatigued, squad.

Heart stopper- Jovetic is a none starter as he nurses a hamstring injury.  Courtesy @MCFC

Heart stopper- Jovetic is a none starter as he nurses a hamstring injury. Courtesy @MCFC

Aguero will benefit from another hour on the field as he strives for full match fitness. Negredo should get the nod over Dzeko after the Bosnian striker’s very passable Wembley impersonation of City’s fabled ‘Invisible Man’.

James Milner could be suited to the physicality of Wigan’s game and could conceivably play, giving David Silva some respite as the matches keep coming every three days.

With Martin Demichelis suspended for Wednesday, Joleon Lescott seems set fair to play alongside Kompany in Barcelona, so a ‘dry run’ against the Latics would make sense.

Joleon joy - Lescott could be back alongside Vincent today to see off Wigan and forge a centre back partnership in readiness for the Nou Camp.  Courtesy @MCFC

Joleon joy – Lescott could be back alongside Vincent today to see off Wigan and forge a centre back partnership in readiness for the Nou Camp. Courtesy @MCFC

Uwe Rosler will forever be an iconic figure in the eyes of Manchester City fans, and rightly so.

City just need to ensure they don’t give Wigan the ammunition for him to achieve hero status too early in to his time with the FA Cup holders. They don’t want to have to  accommodate a 4th ‘R’ – there can be no regrets!

 

 

#TrustOurMP

By David Walker

www.readbutneverred.com

@djwskyblu

13 Comments

  1. March 9, 2014  8:02 am by Graham Ward Reply

    I'm thinking along the same lines as you with regard to the starting XI today. We should be wary of Wigan, as they are on a good run of form and results, but we should have too much for them - I said that the last time we played them in the FA Cup, so I hope I'm right this time!
    Dave Whelan is a parody - I heard a R5L interview on Friday, and, yes, 'it' was mentioned, albeit first by the host, but even an intelligent man like he is must realise even national broadcasters now slightly make fun of it?
    Good read as always, David. 3-0 City.

    • March 9, 2014  8:10 am by David Walker Reply

      Cheers Graham. Imagine if Dave Whelan had been a Shakespearan actor or trodden the boards - how would he have reacted to the old showbiz salutation 'Break a leg'...?

  2. March 9, 2014  8:13 am by Mole Rocks Reply

    Thanks David, a very eloquent and humorous article as ever.

    Definitely a day for another professional performance from City, without trying to get to caught up in celebrating Uwe's presence.

    Fascinated by the little reference to Pep keeping an eye on City's hot seat, we shall see, perhaps Viera will beat him to it?

    Agree it's definitely a day to give Lescott a full 90 mins and hopefully Aguero and Negredo can limber up for Wednesday with a couple of goals apiece.

    Come on City!

    • March 9, 2014  8:17 am by David Walker Reply

      Spot on Carl - gratitude as ever for reading and taking the time to comment.

  3. March 9, 2014  9:06 am by guy Burke Reply

    I think Chelsea winning yesterday makes todays match even more important. I have a horrible feeling that Chelsea are now in a possibly uncatchable situation, City now have no margin for error at all and with away games at Stretford,arsenal and Liverpool in the fixture list . 3 wins at those places is an extremely tall order for any team. I personally believe winning both domestic cups would be a more than decent season? Lets give uwe a great reception and give Whelan and co a good thrashing!!

    • March 9, 2014  9:37 am by David Walker Reply

      It's simple enough - City win 12 games & we're champions. I can see us winning at Emirates & Swamp. Anfield will be tough but Chelsea still have to go there. It won't be easy but we have our destiny on our own hands.

  4. March 9, 2014  9:10 am by DOUGLAS HENSHAW Reply

    Thanks David great read as always. Hope we go for it get a few early goals to settle the nerves (mine not the team) if we can get a commanding lead MP can look at taking some off with Barcelona in mind. It will be great to see Uve back where he belongs a much loved man & city legend. Maybe one day we will see Uve Rosler City manager now wouldn't that be a fairy story come true. #cityyyyyyyyyyyyy

    • March 9, 2014  9:39 am by David Walker Reply

      We can & will beat Wigan today and I wouldn't write us off in Barca. Chelsea are piling up the points & the pressure in the PL but we have games in hand & just need to remain calm. We can win a treble but sadly not a quadruple IMHO. Thanks Doug.

  5. March 9, 2014  9:47 am by Pete Lynch Reply

    The season really is developing but its all still in our hands so lets do our thing and we are unstoppable. Will be a touch emotional today with Uwe, i his side play well although gracious in defeat. As ever David, superb piece. Your son must be proud!

    • March 9, 2014  9:56 am by David Walker Reply

      Very gracious of you Pete - thanks. The lad's too busy carving out his career in automotive design to be proud of me, more like me being proud of him but #mcfcfamilyalways

  6. March 9, 2014  11:59 am by John Evans TT Reply

    Bright sunny day here in Manchester, forecast to be in the sixties this afternoon. The other good news is that Dzeko is injured (he says) so hopefully won't be available today or Tuesday. God works in mysterious ways

    Let's set off today with all guns blazing, not poncing around for 45 min like last week.

    Then we can really rain down retribution on the aptly named City of Counts 'Ciutat Comtal' in Catalan, (no I didn't make it up). I claim this weeks prize for alliteration.

    • March 9, 2014  12:42 pm by David Walker Reply

      Gracias - bravo! Are you sure it's spelt 'Counts'?

      • March 9, 2014  11:54 pm by John Evans TT Reply

        No Dave, I am not sure about the spelling. We will have to check on Wednesday. More ominously we do look tired and when Dzeko is your best forward, it's time to worry

        They do not re-run controversial incidents in the stadium (presumably to stop us rioting).I can't be arsed to watch match of the day to check, but from where I sat (bird’s eye view) it was no foul but the dive was a triple inward pike with half twist.

        Today’s referee Tony Taylor is from Wythenshawe. There has been a lot of talk in the media recently about the English having Viking genes. Do you think a forefather of the mysteriously wealthy referee 'Eriksson' rowed his longboat up the Bollin and had carnal knowledge of one of Taylors female ancestors?

        Take a look at Tony's stats http://www.refereedecisions.co.uk/ref-reveiw-201213-anthony-taylor-disastrous-when-it-comes-to-penalties/ Over half his decisions on Yellow cards (51%), red cards (80%) and penalties (73%) wrong! Forget Scandinavia, I think his antecedents came from the City of Counts.

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