Sticks and stones for Manuel… MAN CITY v SUNDERLAND

Manuel Pellegrini has endured a difficult week as Manchester City have suffered a bombardment of insidious invective spewed forth by the pungent Portuguese snear.

I never cease to be amazed at the willing gullibility of a large section of Her Majesty’s Press and the sychophants at Sky Sports News, when the wretch Mourinho spits out his bile.

Trust Our MP - Pellegrini can be top of the table tonight if City get the breaks

Trust Our MP – Pellegrini can be top of the table tonight if City get the breaks

There are certain paragons of journalistic virtue such as Martin Samuel who stand tall in terms intelligent unbiased comment, but sadly he is one of the few.

Despite his tactically astute victory at the Etihad nine days ago, Jose stills fears that a fully fit and focused City will be too strong for his Chelsea side in the Premier League title stakes.

Mourinho is a huge talent – of course he is – just look at his CV, but his achievements are sullied by his acrimonious character – a thoroughly nasty, self serving piece of something we’d all rather not tread in.

One can only hope the adage of  ‘nice guys coming last/second’ is not applicable to Pellegrini, who resolutely refuses to rise to Mourinho’s purile posturing.

Shouldering the burden - can The Beast get back to his goal scoring best?

Shouldering the burden – can The Beast get back to his goal scoring best?

Tonight’s game against a resurgent Sunderland gives the man from Chile the chance to once again let actions speak louder than words.

A win could take City back to the top of the PL if – and it pains me to say it – Manure manage to grab a point at the Emirates. I couldn’t sanction David Moyes gaining his first ever win over Arsenal in North London, that would be just too much, but a draw, is almost palatable.

When Pellegrini conducted his pre-match press conference the media scrum were all willing him to bite back at Mourinho’s contemptible and hypocritical utterances about Financial Fair Play, how Yaya Toure should have received a three-match ban and how City are big favourites against ‘Little Horse’ Chelsea.

No ban - Yaya needs to focus on his football and park the petulance

No ban – Yaya needs to focus on his football and park the petulance

When Jose speaks I don’t see a thoroughbred, I see a donkey braying, albeit it’s full of horsesh*t!

City’s recent dip – which stretches back all of two games – comes as the side have been decimated, and I use that word advisedly, by injuries.

Aguero, Fernandinho, Nasri, Garcia, Nastasic and Milner have all missed game time. Negredo and Dzeko are carrying niggling injuries and yet the media categorise the casualty list as an ‘excuse’.

Huge loss - Fernandinho misses tonight's League Cup dress rehearsal

Huge loss – Fernandinho misses tonight’s League Cup dress rehearsal

Pellegrini, quite rightly, corrected the jaundiced journos by saying it wasn’t an excuse, simply a fact.

Titles and cups are not won in the depths of winter, but of course they can so easily be lost. Sunderland figure prominently in the mix as City need three points to get back on track in the league and a Wembley win in just over a fortnight to secure the League Cup.

Gus Poyet’s Black Cats have found their claws in recent weeks and are unbeaten in their last six away games. Historically, the Mackems lose in Manchester, in the way that is almost mandatory for City to capitulate at the Stadium of Light, season-after-season.

Getting sharper - Jovetic is needed to start the goals flowing again

Getting sharper – Jovetic is needed to start the goals flowing again

Ex-City winger Adam Johnson is bang in form with six goals and two assists since New Year’s Day, and he’d love to show that the Sky Blues were wrong to let him go.

If AJ were to inspire the visitors it would be the first time in over a year since City would have failed to win in three consecutive league games.  You have to go back to February 2008 to find when City fired three successive blanks in the PL.

It’s clichéd but City have to dig in right now and just find a way to win. Forget all the blather about entertainment and free flowing goals, as nice as it is, pragmatism has to be Pellegrini’s watchword with Chelsea and Barcelona looming on the horizon in the next six days.

The much hyped quadruple simply isn’t going to happen and it may well be that the FA Cup is the first casualty, with Premier League and Champions League clearly the priorities.

Prolific not profligate - Dzeko cannot afford to keep missing chances

Prolific not profligate – Dzeko cannot afford to keep missing chances

City’s ‘squad’ players have to show their mettle and go toe-to-toe with less flamboyant opposition. Against Norwich it was almost as if a team led by ‘The Engineer’ was guilty of over-engineering their play.

If Negredo can battle the obvious effects of a bothersome shoulder injury and Dzeko can summon up acceptable levels of aggression and anticipation, then the goals should come.

Jovetic is gradually dusting off the cobwebs and looking lively, but City’s play from out wide needs improvement with some of Navas’ crosses and Silva’s corners leaving much to be desired.

Yaya needs to cut out the petulance – he would be doing his team mates, the club and the fans a huge disservice were he to be banned for something as innocuous as his flick out at Norwich’s Ricky Van Wolkswinkel on Saturday.

Captain Fantastic - Kompany must drive his men on to victory tonight

Captain Fantastic – Kompany must drive his men on to victory tonight

City should have won at Carrow Road, but they could so easily have lost the game in the closing moments. Surely, Joleon Lescott needs to be alongside Vincent Kompany at the back for the present time?

Lescott would be playing for an England World Cup slot as well as glory in his final games for City, and he performs so much better with Kompany as his Commander-in-Chief.

It’s not using him as a scapegoat, but Martin Demichelis is looking increasingly erratic with every passing game. Lescott is PL proven and can be a champion again.

A win tonight is imperative after WBA managed to do what City couldn’t, by grabbing a late equaliser against Chelsea.

Supply line - Jesus needs to improve his crosses

Supply line – Jesus needs to improve his crosses

If Arsenal stumble, but don’t fall, against the Trafford Troglodytes, Pellegrini will have weathered a mini-storm and come out on top of the league.

It’d be a satisfying conclusion to a torrid few days, but don’t expect any let up in the war of words being spat forth from Stamford Bridge.

Jose can and will undoubtedly have his say, but any sticks and stones that could potentially damage Pellegrini can be adapted as hardcore for foundations as City intensify their pursuit of trophies in the days and weeks to come.



By David Walker



The winner of two tickets in the READ BUT NEVER RED competition to see City play Sunderland tonight is Karl Vallantine. He correctly identified Dennis Tueart as the scorer of City’s winning goal in the 1976 League Cup Final against Newcastle United.

Well done to him and let’s hope for a 12th home win this evening.


  1. February 12, 2014  3:04 pm by Graham Ward Reply

    Hope I'm wrong, but I've got a feeling this could be another difficult night at the office.
    An early goal or two would certainly settle everyone down, that's for sure. Be interesting to see the starting XI with a probable eye to Saturday, when I hope Mourinho is left complaining again.
    Welcome back from your break, David, I'll wager it was a good one!

    • February 12, 2014  4:45 pm by David Walker Reply

      MP has said the FAC is the weakest link so it'll be a patchwork on Sat with tonight & Tuesday the main events. Agreed it'll far from easy tonight but we simply have to win to have credible PL ambitions. Thanks Graham & yes, nice break - now back in YUK on a hazardous M6!

  2. February 12, 2014  3:34 pm by carol Reply

    I hate playing this lot Davy and I almost wish Chelski had won last night, I can't help thinking its when we're under pressure to produce (like saturday when a win would have taken us top after Arsene Whingers boys got stuffed) that we go all giddy and feck up, or is that just my "typical City" mentality?

    • February 12, 2014  5:15 pm by David Walker Reply

      Get thee behind thine sofa Blondie! #trustourMP x

  3. February 12, 2014  4:11 pm by Nev Artingstall Reply

    Hope you enjoyed your holiday David.
    Jose is someone I want to like but just can't. He just needs to shut his trap. I hope MP sticks to his word and never mentions Mourinho again this season. That would get to him more than any words.

    • February 12, 2014  7:59 pm by David Walker Reply

      Cheers Nev - MP is a class act. Just on way back from Etihad after GMP said it was too dangerous for spectators. Called off approx 6.45pm - that could have been done at 4pm IMHO!

      • February 13, 2014  10:38 pm by Nev Artingstall Reply

        Thankfully I only live 20 mins walk from the stadium so I never set off. Really feel for the ones who made a long journey though. For the record, ive been in Droylsden 17 years. The stadium moved closer to me.
        #Mountain and Mohammad.

  4. February 12, 2014  4:14 pm by bluewelder Reply

    S'land are in good form and i think we'll need to be at our best.hopefully an early goal will calm us down and focus our minds but like yourself the quality at crosses and corners are poor,i cannot count how many of these this season have me shaking my head,lets prove to the "spoilt-one" that the Citizens are not for lying down,CTWD.

    • February 12, 2014  8:06 pm by David Walker Reply

      At least we might have key players available for rescheduled fixture!

  5. February 12, 2014  4:16 pm by Carl Reply

    Good read Dave

    • February 12, 2014  8:04 pm by David Walker Reply


  6. February 12, 2014  5:18 pm by stuart reed Reply

    Mourinho's attacks on our dignified manager have been nothing short of disgusting and so low that I expected something from the FA telling him to be more considered in his comments. He's a narcissist who loves the sound of his own voice. Almost as bad has been the reporting of it - the media love the circus even if its brings the game into disrepute. Don't know about Sky Sports but Radio 5 has been bad enough. Only Robbie Savage and Henry Winter seem to have any sense of the BS coming out of Mourinho's mouth. He needs to shut up and act like a man (like MP). So I took great delight in WBAs equaliser last night. Never thought I'd have a dislike for a manager of another team as I had for AF (Pulis gets
    nowhere near Mourihno for his bitterness towards City). All this and the witchhunt over Yaya... and I haven't even started about the football!
    City are not a crap side who've been playing well, they're a great side (as displayed by some amazing football this season) who have a had a blip. The quicker we start winning again the better (obviously) for confidence but I do think that a good performance does matter as well, in order to put the fear of God into our opponents. Good read as always, quality site Dave.

    • February 12, 2014  8:09 pm by David Walker Reply

      Thanks for extensive feedback - if we can get Sergio, Fernandinho & Samir back & firing we can win the PL - no problem.

  7. February 12, 2014  5:34 pm by Rikki Reply

    Another great read and analysis especially on the (moaninho!) Front. Just up to his usual mind games at this time of year. Hopefully no one at City will lower themselves to get involved.

    • February 12, 2014  9:10 pm by David Walker Reply

      In the way that one ignores a temper tantrum of a petulant brat. Cheers.

  8. February 12, 2014  8:27 pm by DOUGLAS HENSHAW Reply

    Hope hols was good Dave wish you had bought sun back. Mourinho needs to shut up & stop with his silly mind game's because MP is ignoring him. Are injuries are hurting us not an excuse just fact if we can get some back it will make a difference & shut some up. Now games off do you think Mourinho will ask the FA to dock us 3pts lol.

    • February 12, 2014  9:11 pm by David Walker Reply

      The man's a dick when he speaks to the media. Accomplished coach but unsavoury individual.

  9. February 12, 2014  11:20 pm by Toby Teasdale Reply

    Evening David, thanks for sharing your wisdom.

    When 'Talk Shite' announced Vincent's had tweeted the game was off, I was driving through Belle Vue. So quick 'hand break turn' and back home in Stockport 20 minutes later. Not sure how far Nev Artingstall had to travel, but for some the late cancelation must have been a bummer. The guys who normally sit in front of me in the CB, come from Catterick and they never miss a game!

    Personally I was glad we had the night off. A full week's rest at this time of year, priceless! Massive difference between 3 games in 7 days and 2 in 10. Particularly when Chelsea and Barcelona are involved! (and one less opportunity for our fit to go lame). If I'd known about the break you could have taken me (and the team) on holiday with you to Damascus.

    Did you see that our baby blues had clinched the National Premier League Crown?

    Oh what delicious Irony. After the pontificating portugoose's pronouncement that City were the 'now' team but Chav's the team of the future, who do you think our babies beat in the final? Yes you guessed, Chelsea! Larf, I split my sides.

    So far, what with Yaya being found innocent and Arsenal & Chelsea drawing, it's been a good week.

    The Gods are smiling. Remind me David, what are the odds for the quadruple?

    • February 13, 2014  5:43 am by David Walker Reply

      It wasn't quite a 'Road to Damascus' moment trawling up the M6 yesterday for 4 hours, but I share your reflections that it could benefit the team, if not the travelling fans! It was 6-7 hours of my life that won't be coming back, but if it helps us to silverware it's a small price worth paying.

      Wish I'd stayed in Egypt but THANKYOU for your comprehensive round up of all things Sky if you could just supply the clear blue skies above please?

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