City aim for Super Six on the bounce – MAN CITY v STOKE

Manchester City’s much anticipated midweek gastronomic delight at European football’s top table left a nasty bout of lingering indigestion.

What should have been a taste bud tingling excursion into haute cuisine was ruined by a decidedly sour swede and news that the caviar and champagne had been cancelled.

Not palatable - City's loss to BarcelonaCourtesy @MCFC

Not palatable – City’s loss to Barcelona
Courtesy @MCFC

So-called experts of football fayre claim the menu was a little too rich for City, that Manuel Pellegrini and his team were always liable to choke if Barcelona brought their own special ingredients to the party.

Well, revenge is either a dish best served cold, and/or, in the shape of roaring success, and who’s to say City won’t be dining out at the Nou Camp on gazpacho followed by lobster salad and chilled dessert on March 12?

Any fruitful foraging in Catalonia would stick in the craw of the putrid pundits, who revel in the belief that Pellegrini’s paella is already well and truly cooked.

Eithad takeaway - Barcelona took the spoils on Tuesday. Stoke could feel the backlash today  Courtesy @MCFC

Eithad takeaway – Barcelona took the spoils on Tuesday. Stoke could feel the backlash today Courtesy @MCFC

Closer to home it’s more like fish n’ chips and bread & butter as Stoke City roll up to the Etihad edibiles counter for a more traditional offering of Premier League subsistence.

Putting the Holy Grail of the Champions League to one side, City are well set for a domestic three-course menu of  League, Capital One Cup and FA Cup…but they can’t afford any hiccups today.

Beating the likes of Mark Hughes’ pugilists from the Potteries is vital if City are to press on with their ambitions to become champions of England once again.

It’s no good some of City big-name players craving the stage of the Champions League if they aren’t prepared to mix it up with the likes of Norwich away and Stoke at home.

Revenge mission - ex City boss Mark Hughes says he bears no grudges against his former employers!

Revenge mission – ex City boss Mark Hughes says he bears no grudges against his former employers!

City cannot afford any kind of hangover from Tuesday night’s 2-0 reversal to a Swedish led Barcelona side, as they strive to close the three point gap on Chelsea.

Doubtless some of the heroic Sky Blues were out on their feet after battling with 10-men against Barca for 40 minutes, but it’s time to rev up the engine and get Manuel’s
slick Manchester machine purring once again.

Sergio Aguero will be missing his fifth game as he puts the finishing touches to his hamstring recovery, in time for next week’s Wembley showpiece with Sunderland.

Still missing - Sergio is out for the fifth consecutive game  Courtesy @MCFC

Still missing – Sergio is out for the fifth consecutive game Courtesy @MCFC

Pellegrini’s centre back options are limited by the ongoing absence of Matija Nastasic, but other than that he has a full squad at his disposal.

After two substitute appearances, both of where he noticeably injected pace and flair into the proceedings, Samir Nasri should start today. An in form James Milner, suspended on Tuesday night, could also return offering a fresh pair of legs and hearty set of lungs.

Javi Garcia has suddenly alerted City fans to the fact that he can be a more than decent holding midfielder, after his superb display against Chelsea in the FA Cup. He is an option against the rough and tumble approach of a Stoke team, supposedly playing a more cultured style after the sacking of the Neanderthal Tony Pulis and appointment of ex-City boss Hughes.

Starter Samir - Nasri will be raring to go today  Courtesy @MCFC

Starter Samir – Nasri will be raring to go today Courtesy @MCFC

When Charlie Adams is hailed as a team’s ‘elegant playmaker’ it speaks volumes!

Captain Fantastic Vincent Kompany suffered a hamstring strain against Barcelona but is apparently deemed fit for duty.

God forbid anything befalls the ‘Belgian Boulder’ between now and season’s end. City are vulnerable enough at centre back as it is. His loss would be nothing short of catastrophic.

Pellegrini showed his undoubted tactical acumen against the Spanish champions, despite what the anti-City media would have you believe in the wake of the defeat.

Up until Messi scored from the penalty spot, Barcelona had posed very little threat to City’s goal. A solitary long range strike from Xavi was the sum total of Joe Hart being tested.

Back to front - Kompany is vital in defence and Negredo needs to get back in the goals  Courtesy @MCFC

Back to front – Kompany is vital in defence and Negredo needs to get back in the goals Courtesy @MCFC

Had the Turnip from north of Stockholm (that’s referee Jonas Eriksson for the unenlightened) awarded a free kick to City for a Sergio Busquets foul of Jesus Navas, Martin Demichelis would have stayed on the field and the penalty that never was, would not have happened.

There’s every expectation that City will revert to their default setting of attack, attack and attack again at three o’clock today.

David Silva was outstanding against his countrymen on Tuesday – the best player on the park, closely followed by Kompany – totally outshining Messi, Iniesta, Xavi, Neymar etc.

Magical Merlin - David Silva is in top form

Magical Merlin – David Silva is in top form

It’s easy to see why rumours abound that the Nou Camp money men covet ‘Merlin’ and might make a move for him this summer.

City obviously have the financial muscle to ward off any interest and the Spanish tax authorities have the appetite to scutinise any Barcelona transfer dealings in light of the dubious deal for Neymar. It could get interesting.

Silva is City’s gold standard in the midst of a season where the club could conceivably surpass the past glories achieved by Mancini, Mercer and Allison.

A second PL title accompanied by one, or even two, domestic cups would constitute City’s single most successful season. It would shut up the shysters who besmirch Pellegrini’s managerial track record.

Greatest ever? - Pellegrini could lead City to the club's single most successful season  Courtesy @MCFC

Greatest ever? – Pellegrini could lead City to the club’s single most successful season Courtesy @MCFC

The verbal diarrhoea gibbering of, ‘He’s never won anything in Europe…’ is truly tiresome. Pellegrini has only ever had one realistic crack at La Liga glory when he managed Real Madrid for a solitary campaign.

He amassed a record 96 point haul for Los Blancos, missing the title by three points to a Pep Guardiola inspired Barcelona who were in their prime…yes, abject failure – NOT.

Apparently, according to Her Majesty’s Football Press, Pellegrini is cracking under the strain, can’t take the pressure etc. The evidence is so obviously overwhelming…he spoke out against an idiot referee who helped package a Barcelona win better than any IKEA collection point!

With Chelsea playing Everton in the lunchtime kick off, City are unlikely to get back to the PL summit tonight, but a 12th home win will keep them in touch with Maureen’s bunch, with an all-important game in hand.

Back on the scoresheet - an Edin Dzeko strike against Stoke today will keep up City's title tilt  Courtesy @MCFC

Back on the scoresheet – an Edin Dzeko strike against Stoke today will keep up City’s title tilt Courtesy @MCFC

A sixth consecutive 3-0 PL home win over Stoke would be a perfect outcome today, and give those who love to undermine Manchester City’s rise to prominence something to chew on!



By David Walker





READ BUT NEVER RED is delighted to show its support for Wythenshawe AFC who are one of seven finalists competing for a £100,000 supergrant from Budweiser to improve the facilities at the club.

It is the only competitor from the North West region and both Manchester City and the Trafford Troglodytes (sorry that should read Manchester United) are backing the club.

VOTE WYTHENSHAWE AFC - do as Fernandinho does & vote local  Courtesy @MCFC

VOTE WYTHENSHAWE AFC – do as Fernandinho does & vote local Courtesy @MCFC

On this rare occasion it does not matter if you’re Sky Blue or a Red – it is for the betterment of a local club in Manchester and the associated community. Please view the attachments to see more about the funding and PLEASE VOTE FOR WYTHENSHAWE AFC TODAY! Voting closes next Friday 28th February. Representatives of Wythenshawe AFC will be at the Etihad today seeking signatures and your support so PLEASE VOTE FOR WYTHENSHAWE and bring 100,000 smiles to a great community!


  1. February 22, 2014  10:22 am by blue boy Reply

    A well written piece Dave, as always.
    It would bring me great pleasure if we got one over on agent Hughes, time to show the fans the pain inflicted on the team midweek, hope Stoke feel the backlash.

  2. February 22, 2014  11:06 am by Gary Moughton Reply

    I agree completely with Pellegrini's tactics against Barca and have had enough of the Anti-City media knocking him. After the Bayern Munich home game they called him naive for
    playing 2 strikers and not adopting the 5 in midfield that United have been doing against the top teams in Europe. They have an agenda and frankly I'm bored by it. Hope he shuts them all up in May, I have faith in Manuel. Well written piece as always David

  3. February 22, 2014  12:24 pm by Toby Teasdale Reply

    It was a shame to see the old boy kowtowing to EUFA I am sure he's still seething underneath. Chile is a beautiful country whose population is tough and resilient. The complete opposite to the duplicitous louse Eriksson. His display will stick in my throat for a long time.

    I am surprised that someone who works for Betsson (Swedens equivilent to Paddy Power) is allowed to be a referee.

    Lets get back on track today and show ‘The Potters’ we are no mugs.

    • February 22, 2014  12:48 pm by David Walker Reply

      Haven't a clue who the ref is today but even a hybrid of Crappenburg, Dowd & Marriner would be hard pressed to be as bad as that dodgy Swede.

  4. February 22, 2014  1:56 pm by Graham Ward Reply

    A good, solid, home performance and win would do very nicely following on from Tuesday night. I understand that the referee today is someone who we've previously had issues with, Chris Foy.
    No matter, the easiest thing to do is give him nothing to make us reprise those issues.
    A clean bill of health for next weekend would be fine as well.....Aguero to get through the week in shape as well. We'll see.

    • February 22, 2014  5:22 pm by David Walker Reply

      Foy is pretty dodgy - does he have Swedish grandparents?

  5. February 22, 2014  8:42 pm by blue boy Reply

    Talking about dodgy, Foy must have bionic Eyes for him to say Dzeko's Chested ball was handball from the halfway line, the Lino who was closer didn't even Flag. The less said about Dzeko's miss the better, ah well these things happen, something for the Media to take the gloss of the win I suppose and also not mention it being six on the bounce. Happy with the 3 points today, 'Next'.
    Hope jovetic is ok, nothing too serious i hope.

    • February 22, 2014  9:27 pm by David Walker Reply

      Screw the media, it's gone beyond a joke now - the majority have no credibility when it comes to City.

  6. February 22, 2014  9:04 pm by blue boy Reply

    Did I Type Next, just being a little blase.... 'WEMBLEY'....

  7. February 22, 2014  9:20 pm by Pete Lynch Reply

    Well below par but ill take 3 points all day long! Dzeko and Negredo not at races today

    • February 22, 2014  9:30 pm by David Walker Reply

      Thank goodness Sergio is just about ready. Our much vaunted strike force has been misfiring recently. Sad to say but Dzeko has to go this summer - just not good enough to be entrusted as a MCFC striker. It's not a witch hunt but his chances to goals ratio are ridiculously out of kilter.

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