Villa in crosshairs of Sky Blue Spanish Eyes

Fresh from creating a vision of Champions League wonderment in Seville’s architectural paradise, Manchester City’s focus now switches to demolishing a domestic Villa in not-so beautiful Birmingham.

Magnificent - City looked as good as the Plaza de Espana when beating FC Sevilla 3-1.

Magnificent – City looked as good as the Plaza de Espana when beating FC Sevilla 3-1.

City’s exquisitely crafted 3-1 victory in Spain cemented the foundations of what promises to be their best ever Champions League campaign, and underpinned the strength in depth of Manuel Pellegrini’s squad.

Hewn from an irresistible blend of Hispanic, Latino and European influences, City have assembled a structure that is as easy on the eye as any of the finest buildings in the capital of Andalusia.

Big hand - City players and supporters alike performed brilliantly in Seville.

Big hand – City players and supporters alike performed brilliantly in Seville.

It wasn’t just the win and the luxury of qualification for the knockout stages of the CL with two games still to play, that impressed.

The emphatic manner of Tuesday night’s triumph had City fans and detractors alike drooling, albeit the latter, via a grimace and gritted teeth.

Minus Aguero, Silva, Zabaleta and Nasri, City dominated and neutralised a stylish Sevilla side who had given the Sky Blues a real scare at the Etihad, before finally succumbing to Kevin de Bruyne’s 91st minute winner.

Great exchange rate - Sterling rose sharply in the Euro zome. Courtesy@MCFC

Great exchange rate – Sterling rose sharply in the Euro zone. Courtesy@MCFC

KdB was surprisingly left on the bench in the return at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjaun Stadium, as Pellegrini opted for what appeared to be a more ‘solid’ defensive minded approach.

Appearances can be very deceptive.

City’s blistering first half savaging of Sevilla suggests it would be dangerous to play poker with Manuel, as he called Unai Emery’s bluff and annihilated the Spaniard’s team.

Flying Fernandinho - Dino capped a Man of the Match showing with City's 2nd goal. Courtesy@MCFC

Flying Fernandinho – Dino capped a Man of the Match showing with City’s 2nd goal. Courtesy@MCFC

It was a fantastic City football fiesta as Sevilla slumped in a mistimed siesta and found themselves 2-0 down inside 11 minutes.

The value of Sterling rocketed in the Eurozone as Raheem slotted home his first Champions League goal, before being instrumental in the approach to Fernandinho’s headed second.

Bony Lad - Wilfried led the line brilliantly in Seville. Courtesy@MCFC

Bony Lad – Wilfried led the line brilliantly in Seville. Courtesy@MCFC

Wilfried Bony stepped up to deliver his finest City showing, leading the line and scoring City’s third goal – his fourth of the campaign.

City were imperious, prompting Sevilla coach, Emery to say: “We played against a fantastic team.”

The superlatives flowed as easily as cheap Sangria with some of City’s understated stars – Fernando in particular – finally showing their worth.

Promoted - Jesus has a God-like status in Seville where FC Sevilla fans still love him.

Promoted – Jesus has a God-like status in Seville where FC Sevilla fans still love him.

Navas was promoted from Jesus to God for the night as the home fans poured out their love for one of their former icons.

One suspects they may even have applauded had his thundering drive gone in the net, instead of cannoning off the post.

City travelling support revelled in the atmosphere, despite the overzealous attentions of the Seville Riot Police who, like most Spanish forces, prefer to pose in a misguided display of machismo.

Big Hart - Joe shows his appreciation of the travelling City supporters.

Big Hart – Joe shows his appreciation of the travelling City supporters.

It was ‘typical City’ in the humour stakes as hundreds of fans produced mini-placards displaying ‘BOO’ as UEFA’s tainted anthem reverberated around the arena.

Well done to Howard Burr and the Reddish Blues for the hysterical interlude, as the rest of the Blues booed themselves hoarse.

BOO-tiful - Howard Burr and his Reddish Blues let UEFA know what they thought about Platini's tainted symphony both viusally and audibly.

BOO-tiful – Howard Burr and his Reddish Blues let UEFA know what they thought about Platini’s tainted symphony both viusally and audibly.

It was such a far cry from the despair that had enveloped many fans, when Sergio Aguero and David Silva were crocked on international duty in early October.

The media hate brigade declared City’s Premier and Champions League ambitions would falter without the world class goal-taker and playmaker.

He'll be back - Super Sergio could return for the Liverpool game later this month. Courtesy@MCFC

He’ll be back – Super Sergio could return for the Liverpool game later this month. Courtesy@MCFC

Five wins and a draw at The Swamp would suggest otherwise.

The 5-1 dismantling of Crystal Palace in the Capital One Cup, the patient 2-1 picking off of a defiant Norwich City in the league, and this sublime sinking of Sevilla mean City are firing on all fronts.

Smashed Crystal - Kelechi & Kevin celebrate during City's 5-1 thrashing of Palace. Courtesy@MCFC

Smashed Crystal – Kelechi & Kevin celebrate during City’s 5-1 thrashing of Palace. Courtesy@MCFC

Sitting just two tables away in a tapas bar from the likes of Mike Keegan of the Daily Mail, Jeremy Cross of the Daily Star and Ian Herbert of the Independent, on match day, your author was tempted to have ‘a word’ with the jaundiced journos.

Preferring hotel accommodation to a Spanish jail, the temptation was resisted, and even this trio of wasters would subsequently find it difficult to find fault with City…on this occasion.

Enter stage left - Fabian Delph proved a hit with the City fans in Seville. It'll be a different story with the Villa fans on Sunday.

Enter stage left – Fabian Delph proved a hit with the City fans in Seville. It’ll be a different story with the Villa fans on Sunday.

Pellegrini and his players are doing it the right way – actions speak louder than words – whereas additional silverware screams volumes!

Next up is a trip to Villa Park against the team who City have enjoyed the most success in the Premier League.

With 21 wins and 68 goals scored against the Villains, it would be a massive shock if the league leaders didn’t take maximum points.

On the spot - Yaya stroked home a penalty winner against Norwich. Will he be on the scoresheet at Villa? Courtesy@MCFC

On the spot – Yaya stroked home a penalty winner against Norwich. Will he be on the scoresheet at Villa? Courtesy@MCFC

Complacency, so often in the past the worst ‘C’ word in the Manchester City dictionary, can have no part to play in the Sunday lunchtime proceedings.

To many it looks a total mismatch – top versus bottom – but such upsets can and do occur in England, unlike most of Europe’s top flight divisions.

Villa should field former City favourites and defensive stalwarts Micah Richards and Joleon Lescott. Both will be generously received and warmly applauded by the 3,000 City fans.

Ex-City favourite - Micah Richards is now the skipper at Aston Villa.

Ex-City favourite – Micah Richards is now the skipper at Aston Villa.

Fabian Delph will receive the polar opposite reception from Villa diehards, still smarting from their ex-skipper’s ‘on-off-on’ transfer saga to City last summer.

Injuries have so far severely limited Delph’s playing time at City, but the England midfield man is viewed as an important asset at the Etihad.

Top of the League - Joleon Lescott was a two time Premier League winner with City.

Top of the League – Joleon Lescott was a two time Premier League winner with City.

Following a brief appearance as sub, Delph endeared himself to the fans in Seville with a humorous warm down routine – an astute PR exercise – as the supporters waited 50 minutes after full time to be allowed to vacate the stadium.

New Villa manager Remi Garde will be hoping his influence will spark an immediate upturn in Villa’s fortunes, but City are firm favourites.

Does Pellegrini make changes to rest weary limbs and freshen things up by bringing back de Bruyne and involving Kelechi Iheanacho? Does the Chilean rest Nicolas Otamendi for Eliaquim Mangala?

Yes to NO - Nicolas Otamendi is rapidly establishing himself as one of the finest defenders in the Premier League. Courtesy@MCFC

Yes to NO – Nicolas Otamendi is rapidly establishing himself as one of the finest defenders in the Premier League. Courtesy@MCFC

Great dilemmas for Manuel, and that’s before Aguero, Silva, Zabaleta and Nasri are hopefully back in contention for Liverpool’s visit on November 21st.

One City youngster, on the bench in Seville – Brandon Barker – won’t be pushing for a start in sky blue for now, following a loan deal to Rotherham United in the Championship.

It makes sense to gain First XI experience, return as a more rounded performer and push on for a promising career at City.

Off the mark - Manu Garcia scored his first goal for City's First XI against Crystal Palace. Courtesy@MCFC

Off the mark – Manu Garcia scored his first goal for City’s First XI against Crystal Palace. Courtesy@MCFC

He’ll be in good company with Iheanacho, Patrick Roberts, Manu Garcia, Pablo Maffeo, Thierry Ambrose, Angus Gunn and others who could graduate into senior stars of the future.

In the here and now, City must ensure one of the best ever adverts for their Youth Academy doesn’t prove their undoing.

Rolling back the years - Micah Richards scored a last gasp equaliser for City against Villa in the FA Cup in February 2006. Courtesy@MCFC

Rolling back the years – Micah Richards scored a last gasp equaliser for City against Villa in the FA Cup in February 2006. Courtesy@MCFC

Micah scored that most memorable of FA Cup equalisers in added time for City against Villa way back in February 2006.

Pellegrini’s blueprint for success doesn’t include any dropped points against Villa. The Engineer with an eye for architecture, needs to keep the ‘spirit levels’ on an upward trajectory in the City camp before the international break kicks in.

 

#TrustOurMP

By David Walker

Dedicated to the memory of two true Blues tragically taken from us in recent weeks. Chris Shaw and Nick Bookbinder both succumbed to cancer and will be greatly missed by all who had the pleasure and privilege of knowing them as loved ones, friends or City acquaintances.

Just like those who gave their lives in the service of their country, defending our rights to liberty and freedom in wars and military campaigns WE WILL REMEMBER THEM.

WE WILL REMEMBER THEM - Sadness surrounds the loss of City fans Chris Shaw and Nick Bookbinder. It's also a time to honour those who died to preserve our liberty and freedom.

WE WILL REMEMBER THEM – Sadness surrounds the loss of City fans Chris Shaw and Nick Bookbinder. It’s also a time to honour those who died to preserve our liberty and freedom.

Competition Winner

City fan Jamie Pollard correctly indentified Right Word Comms Ltd http://rightwordcomms.co.uk/ as the new sponsors of Read But Never Red in the #6-1 Manchester Derby Competition. Jamie’s name was picked at random from dozens of entries and he receives signed and framed images of David Silva and Mario Balotelli from the 2011 massacre at The Swamp. Congratulations JP.

www.readbutneverred.com @ReadButNeverRed @djwskyblu

15 Comments

  1. November 7, 2015  7:00 pm by Al chap Reply

    Superb write up, but disappointed you didnt have a ruck with the big sky four scribes lol

    • November 7, 2015  10:56 pm by David Walker Reply

      The dedication at the foot of the article refers to the preservation of our modern day freedom of expression and liberty. Countless millions have died in protecting those fundamental rights, so it would be hypocritical and wrong to 'lamp' people simply because I disagreed with their views.

      I do however share your amusement at what could have been if the 'Sunday Supplement' had been somewhat decimated in Seville ;-)

      Thanks for your feedback.

  2. November 7, 2015  7:32 pm by Doug Reply

    Great write up Dave as always. Don't know about Seville but I was blown away by City on Tuesday. We were simply put brilliant. Shame you didn't have a word in the three stooges ears but they probably would of put something in there papers completely different to what you said. More of the same please City on Sunday.

    • November 7, 2015  11:00 pm by David Walker Reply

      Thanks Doug, seeing City play in that fashion was a real delight and one which I hadn't envisaged prior to the game. So many players stepped up at the same time, it just showed what could and can be achieved by this squad.

      Ultimately it wasn't worth the hassle of having a word with the jerk journos, it would only fuel their overblown sense of self-importance and celebrity to be recognised.

  3. November 7, 2015  7:56 pm by Mark Reply

    Great read again David. It's great to see Fernando protecting the back 4 the way it should be done. Hopefully he stays in tomorrow. Manny should rest yaya and a let KDB in his favoured role. Honestly can't see that happening though

    • November 7, 2015  11:02 pm by David Walker Reply

      MP has a number of options if players such as Fernando are finally playing to optimum levels. Delph will definitely have an influence in the weeks and months to come, and we can only hope that another international break doesn't mean more City casualties. Appreciate your comments and favourable feedback.

  4. November 7, 2015  11:10 pm by James HouseOlogy Reply

    Why is it these games I fear the most?

    • November 8, 2015  9:04 am by David Walker Reply

      Simples - traditional 'Typical City' have always done it the hard way. Hopefully no more!

  5. November 8, 2015  8:16 am by thegingerwigmcfc (@thegingerwig) Reply

    Lovely write up David and a stunning photo of Seville to start the place (will have to visit!).

    Brandon Barker capped his debut with a stunning goal for Rotherham https://www.facebook.com/Mancitygiftscom/posts/1052556154777483

    • November 8, 2015  9:06 am by David Walker Reply

      Brilliant start for BB - would love to see him make the grade at City. Seville is a gorgeous city and our City's win was the icing on the proverbial cake. Totally recommended. Thanks Ginger.

  6. November 8, 2015  8:25 am by pete lynch Reply

    Fantastic David and fitting tributes. Thank you, Pete

    • November 8, 2015  9:07 am by David Walker Reply

      Thanks Pete, so much more could have been written about the Seville experience - think I'll have to start a travel blog! Very sad that tributes are required because it means we've lost some lovely folk.

  7. November 8, 2015  11:07 am by Richard Cooper Reply

    Like most people we were surprised KdB was a non starter but MP who has had his critics tactics wise at times got it "spot on"
    It was a super show with ratings of 8-9-10 all over the pitch. Even Fabian Delph & Co should get 8/10 for entertainment
    You are right to praise the superb Fernando who along with Ferna and Sterling were superb
    Great trip to a lovely City
    Expect KdB to start today and hopefully we will overcome the new manager syndrome and collect all 3 points

    • November 8, 2015  6:38 pm by David Walker Reply

      Good to meet you and Mrs C in Seville. Writing now after the 0-0, but solace drawn from Arsenal's 0-0, Liverpool's 1-2 and of course last night's Chelsea 0-1. We had the chances to grab the win against a resolute Villa, but we fluffed our lines. Five wins and two draws without Aguero and Silva, still top of the league and qualified from Group D in Champions League, so a perspective is required after today. Who knows it may turn out to be a point gained rather than two dropped?

      At least I was home from Villa Park in time to take Mollie Zaba around the lake as dusk rolled in.

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