Manuel’s Self Preservation Society – Man City v AS Roma

Back in 1979 the Monty Python team asked, ‘What have the Romans ever done for us?’

The supposedly rhetorical question from the fictional ‘People’s Front of Judea’, drew unexpected answers in the hilarious film ‘Life of Brian’.

MP & the Romans - first it was Monty Python and now it's Manuel Pellegrini looking to beat the men from Roma.

MP & the Romans – first it was Monty Python and now it’s Manuel Pellegrini looking to beat the men from Roma.

The Romans who were being derided by John Cleese & Co had actually provided the Jews with the aqueduct, sanitation, roads, irrigation, medicine, education, wine, public baths, law & order and peace!

Okay, so you have to have seen the film to appreciate the humour, but 35 years on a man with the same initials as Monty Python is asking questions about some modern day Romans in the Champions League.

Correction, Manuel Pellegrini will be asking his players to ask questions of AS Roma, and banking on the men from the Stadio Olimpico to come up short with the answers.

Trust - City fans trust their MP and MP trusts Joe. Courtesy@MCFC

Trust – City fans trust their MP and MP trusts Joe. Courtesy@MCFC

City’s trusted MP even has his own Brian by his side to ensure City enjoy life among Europe’s elite.

Kiddo and Ruben Cousillas have been minding the shop on the Champions League touchline at Barcelona and Bayern Munich while Manuel ‘did his time’ for the ‘crime’ of correctly stating that a Swede was more akin to a turnip.

But enough about referee Jonas Eriksson, the architect of Barcelona’s 2-0 win at the Etihad last February.

One in & one out - Jovetic is ready to return against Roma but Fernando will have to wait until Villa. Courtesy@MCFC

One in & one out – Jovetic is ready to return against Roma but Fernando will have to wait until Villa. Courtesy@MCFC

With 11 goals scored in their last two outings against Sheffield Wednesday and Hull, City have found the scoring touch that produced a staggering 156 successful strikes last season.

The goals are coming from a healthy spread of players, noticeably Aguero, Dzeko and Lampard with Stevan Jovetic ready to return after a five game lay-off. James Milner and Jesus Navas have displayed fine form, while David Silva is well, David Silva – enough said.

Yaya’s looking more interested and Fernandinho seems to have adapted back to a sky blue shirt, after the horror shows he became accustomed to in the yellow of Brazil.

Italian Job - Manuel has to pull off the heist and get three precious points for City. Courtesy@MCFC

Italian Job – Manuel has to pull off the heist and get three precious points for City. Courtesy@MCFC

City have kept only two clean sheets in eight competitive games so far this season – ironic, given that the squad has more strength in depth than in previous years.

Joe Hart is restored to the team to replace Willy Caballero after Pellegrini carried out his intention of squad rotation for all, hence Joe has had a rest since the likes of Munich and Chelsea.

Pellegrini rightly states that Hart is, “In a good moment…” and a new five-year deal is in the offing for City’s number one – further testimony to the manager’s faith in the 27 year old Englishman, who has 262 City first team appearances to his name.

Hart restoration - Joe is back between the sticks against the Italians. Courtesy@MCFC

Hart restoration – Joe is back between the sticks against the Italians. Courtesy@MCFC

Captain Kompany will anchor the defence with veteran Martin Demichelis his likely partner in place of Eliaquim Mangala.

The young Frenchman had a difficult first half at Hull but, with Roma’s attack led by 38-year old Francesco Totti, Demi – soon to be 34 – will seem like a young buck against a true Roman, a one club man and Roma’s all time leading scorer (235 goals).

City should benefit from the absence of Totti’s fellow Roman, Daniele De Rossi who has a torn calf muscle. Former City boss Roberto Mancini pursued the signature of the defensive midfielder over several transfer windows, but all to no avail.

Etihad absentee - Daniele De Rossi will surely miss the tie with a torn calf muscle?

Etihad absentee – Daniele De Rossi will surely miss the tie with a torn calf muscle?

The captain of the Italian national team was on the cusp of coming to the Etihad as he played financial ‘Russian Roulette’ with the AS Roma board, in search of improved terms from his hometown club.

His arrival would have been a huge boost for Mancini’s City. Likewise his likely absence would be a huge boost for Pellegrini’s City.

Expect Zabaleta and Kolarov to occupy the full back positions, as City mobilise their overlapping wing backs to stretch the joint Serie A leaders.

Milner time - James can step in and make a difference with Nasri ruled out. Courtesy@MCFC

Milner time – James can step in and make a difference with Nasri ruled out. Courtesy@MCFC

Roma have conceded only once in the league and once to CSKA Moscow, having hammered five in at the other end in their opening Group E game.

They have a 100% record along with Juventus, with both teams having won their opening five games, but something has to give on Sunday when they go head-to-head.

Pellegrini will not underestimate Roma, but the quality of the modern day Serie A is in stark contrast to a quarter of a century ago, when it was the best league in the world.

Manager Rudi Garcia does not have the luxury of being able to focus on the domestic Italian showdown as his team tries to improve on its wretched record in England – just one win in 14 attempts.

Garcia claims Roma will adopt a ‘positive approach’ at the Etihad but then almost contradicts himself in saying, “We need to be protagonists and not spectators and make it hard for Manchester City.”

Up for it - Super Frankie has been a revelation in the past week-and-a-half for City. Courtesy@MCFC

Up for it – Super Frankie has been a revelation in the past week-and-a-half for City. Courtesy@MCFC

An interesting sub-plot is the possibility of ex-Chelsea legends Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole playing against each other. Neither could have ever envisaged such a scenario with one seemingly New York bound and the other off to the Eternal City.

Fernando isn’t quite ready to enter the fray and Samir Nasri is a confirmed casualty for the next month or so after surgery, but those two apart, Pellegrini has a full 19-man squad from which to select his team.

It has to be 11 or 14 players who will get the job done.

Hope springs eternal - City have to beat the men from the Eternal City! Courtesy@MCFC

Hope springs eternal – City have to beat the men from the Eternal City! Courtesy@MCFC

Anything less than three points would leave City’s Champions League aspirations hanging in the balance, rather like the ending of another classic movie – The Italian Job.

Manuel is in charge of City’s ‘Self Preservation Society’ and a home win is imperative.

 

#TrustOurMP

By David Walker

www.readbutneverred.com @ReadButNeverRed @djwskyblu

 

 

COMPETITION TIME IN CONJUNCTION WITH ETIHAD AIRWAYS

 

READ BUT NEVER RED IS DELIGHTED TO INVITE READERS TO WIN A BOXED MANCHESTER CITY HOME SHIRT IN PARTNERSHIP WITH CITY’S SHIRT SPONSOR ETIHAD AIRWAYS www.etihad.com @EtihadAirways

A special one-off T-shirt has been produced to reflect the international flavour of Manuel Pellegrini’s squad – all you have to do is tell us how many individual players are named on the shirt and how many countries? If a player’s name appears on multiple occasions PLEASE ONLY COUNT IT ONCE.

Number's game - count how many INDIVIDUAL names and countries appear on the special Eitihad Airways commissioned T-shirt and you could win a Man City boxed home shirt with Read But Never Red.

Number’s game – count how many INDIVIDUAL names and countries appear on the special Eitihad Airways commissioned T-shirt and you could win a Man City boxed home shirt with Read But Never Red.

 You can enter by leaving your answer in the comments section on the www.readbutneverred.com website or www.rbnr.co.uk alternatively on Twitter by following us @ReadButNeverRed and leaving your answer or posting on Read But Never Red’s Facebook page and if you like us click the LIKE button 😉

Win with Read But Never Red & Etihad Airways - a boxed MCFC home shirt awaits the winning entry.

Win with Read But Never Red & Etihad Airways – a boxed MCFC home shirt awaits the winning entry.

 The winner will be drawn at random and contacted after next weekend’s game away to Aston Villa.

 

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