Newsletter #1690

A win on a very cold Wednesday night against Salzburg and news from Alex tonight with the FA Cup draw, a green fingered award, potential transfer moves and post-match reaction. All of which proves a welcome distraction from the media, who have only one football-related story, that being England’s failure yet again to host the World Cup.

We’ve also a request for the West Ham game in this brief issue.

Next up, Owen Coyle’s 6th placed Bolton are the visitors.

Next Game: Bolton Wanderers, home, 3pm Saturday 4 December 2010


General News

Battle of the Bands: In one of the most unlikely draws in recent times, rock idols Serge Pizzorno and Noel Gallagher drew their respective clubs against each other in the FA Cup third round. The lead singers of Kasabian and Oasis, who also drew Manchester United to face Liverpool in the tie of the round, were equally surprised as Pizzorno’s Leicester City were drawn to face Gallagher’s boyhood club. The tie will offer the managers of both clubs a trip down memory lane. The Blues travel to face former manager Sven Goran Eriksson, who managed current City boss Roberto Mancini during their time at Sampdoria. Not only that, but in 2001, City’s Italian coach spent time on loan at Leicester City during his playing days. Mancini admitted he was delighted to have been handed a reunion with his former boss: “I’m happy because of my time at Leicester in 2001; I have some good memories of playing there but also because I can meet my teacher! I’m happy to be facing Sven and pleased for him as well, it should be a good match. We speak every three or four days and I know he is enjoying managing in England again.”

Born and bred in the home of the World Champions, Spanish starlet David Silva revealed this week that the FA Cup remains the most prestigious national cup competition across Europe and the creative winger can’t wait to play a part in it: “I can’t wait to play in the FA Cup because it’s such a famous competition around the world. I like the challenge of knock-out football, and with Leicester being at home they will be motivated to spring a surprise on us. Every team wants to beat us, no matter what competition it is, and this will be no different. We have an important few weeks before that but I will be really looking forward to it.”

From the Ground Up: Whilst City’s main focus is on achieving success on the pitch, it’s the quality of the Blues’ pitch itself that has received the most recent plaudits. Despite facing stiff competition from the ground staff at Nottingham Forest’s County Ground and Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium, it was City who were named The Professional Grounds Management Team of The Year. Roy Rigby represented the club at the awards ceremony and told of how delighted he was that the ground staff’s good work was being appreciated: “We are delighted to win the award for Professional Football Grounds Team of the Year. It’s great to see the team get the recognition they deserve for all their hard work, week in week out ensuring not only the City of Manchester Stadium pitch is in perfect condition, but also the Academy and Training Ground pitches. The fact we were voted the best by our peers in the grounds industry from all over the United Kingdom is a huge honour and something we are extremely proud of.”

Facts and Figures: The club has announced the total amount of fees paid out to agents during the period from 1st October 2009 to 20th September 2010 and the statistics reveal a huge 53.8% fall from last year’s stats. Despite the mega-money signings of Yaya Toure, David Silva and Mario Balotelli, City’s total pay-out to agents this year was less than half of last year’s £12 million total and stood at £5,952,261.

Squad News

Amongst the Best: City skipper Carlos Tevez has been named on the 55-man shortlist for the 2010 FIFPro World XI Team of the Year. In recognition of the Argentine’s superb form since his move to Eastlands in 2009, the former West Ham United striker will now compete with the likes of Barcelona’s David Villa and Liverpool’s Fernando Torres for a place in the final XI. Nominated by their peers, a place in the FIFPro XI is considered a great honour by the professionals and all those in contention will be waiting for the final squad to be announced at the Ballon d’Or Gala on January 10th.

Glory, Glory Man City: Ahead of the club’s decisive win over Salzburg on Thursday, City defender Pablo Zabaleta was warning the club’s Europa League rivals that the Blues were taking the competition very seriously this season. Having only just missed out on a Champions’ League place last term, Mancini’s men believe that the next best thing would be to win Europe’s next most prestigious competition. With that win over Salzburg, City have now guaranteed themselves a place in the knock-out rounds and will hope that they are capable of beating any side over two legs: “Can we win this competition? Yes, of course. No matter what some people say, throughout Europe this competition is seen a being prestigious. There are some great teams involved. The Europa League is a great chance to show we are capable of winning titles. We have to believe we have a great chance.”

Unsung Heroes: In the same week that City’s Argentine defender has been talking up the club’s chances of success, manager Roberto Mancini has taken the time out to praise those unsung heroes at the club who will be the secret to any success. It may be the likes of Carlos Tevez, Mario Balotelli and David Silva who attracted the big money when it came to transfer fees, but Mancini feels that the Blues have a number of players, like Zabaleta, who go about their jobs and don’t receive the plaudits they deserve: “I am happy for Pablo. We always speak about Carlos (Tevez) because he is a fantastic player and scores the goals, same with (Mario) Balotelli. But sometimes we must also mention Zaba, (Vincent) Kompany, (Nigel) de Jong and (Gareth) Barry. These players are very important too.”

Dreaming of Home: Since making the move to Rangers this summer, Slovakian winger Vladimir Weiss has lit up the SPL with a combination of talent and creativity. A City Academy graduate and Slovakian international, Weiss has firmly established himself as a player capable of breaking into the City XI. Should Weiss return to Eastlands, he would face competition from James Milner, Adam Johnson and David Silva but the 21-year-old understands this and feels he is capable of proving his worth to the club: “It’s too early to say whether I will be going back to City but I want to. It is the club where I grew up and I love the place. But they have got a lot of top players now and there will probably be even more arriving. Although I haven’t spoken to Mancini this season I don’t feel forgotten because the club have been in touch and I hope that’s a sign that they want me. I don’t see the move to Glasgow as the end for me at City. They had offers from clubs wanting to buy me in the summer and I hope the fact they turned them all down suggests I have a future back there. They told me to get some experience at Rangers and come back a better player. I want to go back even though it’s going to be a massive challenge getting into the first team.”

Transfer Talk

Swede Dreams for John: Swedish striker John Guidetti has joined Championship side Burnley on a one-month loan deal. The 18-year-old impressed Burnley boss Brian Laws during a reserve fixture earlier in the season and City will be hoping that the loan spell will act as great experience for a player who Sven Goran Eriksson signed during his time at the club. Since joining Leicester City, Sven has again chased the Swedish front man, but was eventually beaten to his signature by Laws who said: “We noticed him against our reserves when we had a very strong side out. He did very well and scored a hat-trick against us and ran our centre-halves all over the place. We couldn’t believe how old he was. He’s only a young boy but he’s got a man’s body and a mental strength.”

Academy graduate Andrew Tutte has also made a temporary move away from the club, joining League Two side Shrewsbury Town on a month-long-deal: “City have so many big names it’s hard for young lads to break into the squad. I know Manchester City will be watching me, and the best way to impress is to be in a winning side.”

Santa’s Gift to Rovers: Blackburn Rovers manager Sam Allardyce expressed an interest in City striker Roque Santa Cruz this week after stating he would love to take the Paraguayan striker back to Ewood Park. Santa Cruz, who signed for City for a fee of £12 million during Mark Hughes’ tenure, has announced that he will leave the club in January due to a lack of first-team-opportunities. Lazio, Sampdoria and Atletico Madrid have all been linked with a move for Santa Cruz, but Allardyce has his sights set on the former Rovers forward: “He would be the sort of person we would like, because he’s a proven Premier League player who scores goals in this league and we would obviously be looking at that end of the squad first, because I believe we’ve got a very good defensive unit in the club at the moment.”

Manu Upfront About Move: Juventus, AC Milan, Tottenham Hotspur – only three of a number of clubs linked with a move for City striker Emmanuel Adebayor come the winter transfer window in January. Adebayor has been nothing but upfront about his desire to move away from the club since the arrival of Mario Balotelli forced ‘Manu’ down the pecking order. Nonetheless, Mancini has told the Togolese striker that he expects him to fight for his place: “Manu must continue to work hard and when he has a chance to play, he must play well. We must play ten games to the end of the year; it’s important every player thinks of their job and when they play, play well. No player is happy when he doesn’t play, but all the players will play this coming month. It is the same for Adebayor, the same for Jo, the same for Balotelli.”

Immediate Replacement? If Adebayor is eventually granted a move away from the club, City’s replacement may lie in the man dubbed ‘the new Adebayor’. Lacina Traore is an Ivorian striker who plies his trade at Romanian side FC Cluj though both Inter Milan and Arsenal have expressed an interest in the past. The player’s agent revealed he has hopeful of a move for Traore: “It is true that there are a number of teams watching Lacina (Traore) and maybe in a couple of weeks we will have some information, but at the moment I cannot say anything regarding specific clubs. The situation is he is playing well in the Champions’ League and our goal is to get him playing in a superior league. That is a fact. But I cannot reveal any information on specific clubs at this point.”

Best of the Rest: Newcastle United have been linked with a shock move for City winger Adam Johnson in a £15 million deal, though he has also attracted the interest of Liverpool. If Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson misses out on AJ then he may instead move for Shaun Wright Phillips. Felipe Caicedo is set for a move to German club Werder Bremen and could be replaced by Barcelona striker Bojan if Mancini has his way. Other big-name targets include Real Madrid centre-back Pepe and Bayern Munich midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger, who is out of contract in the summer.

Post-Match Reaction

Etherington Stokes the Fire: “Typical City” were the words on City fans’ lips once again as the Blues conceded in the last minute to draw against Stoke City at the weekend. In all honesty, the home side were probably the better of the two and were unfortunate to go behind in the 82nd minute when Micah Richards dummied his defender and slotted past Thomas Sorenson. Despite dealing with the ever-present threat of Stoke’s long-ball game, City were to be denied all three points as Sanli Tuncay back heeled to Matthew Etherington who equalised for the hosts. Though the Blues dropped two vital points, Mancini said he was pleased with his side’s performance: “We deserved to win and I’m disappointed for the guys because they played very well. We tried to play football on a difficult pitch and we deserved to win 2-0. I’m happy with Balotelli, he worked hard for the team, and I’m happy for Micah, he scored a fantastic goal. We are disappointed to concede so late, because we played some fantastic football in the second half. But if we continue to play like we did at Fulham and today, we will win a lot of games.”

Goal-scorer Micah Richards admitted he was gutted that his impressive goal wasn’t enough to earn his side all three points, but explained that he felt the Blues were more than capable of competing at the top of the table despite their last minute wobble at The Britannia: “I thought we defended well, so to concede in the last few minutes was devastating. We knew we’d face a lot of balls in the air and we dealt with them. We dug in deep in a hard fixture, but we knew it was going to be tough. Liverpool and United found it hard coming here as well. Stoke created a lot of chances and had one cleared off the line. It’s going to be really tight at the top. It’s now a top five or six up there. It’s getting harder every year but I’m sure we’ll be all right.”

Although the long ball tactics of Stoke City have led to many ‘keepers experiencing a sleepless night or two, City stopper Joe Hart has proved he’s the exception to the rule by claiming that he quite enjoyed the challenge: “It was good fun! I really like playing at Stoke; they are a great side to play against for a goalkeeper – if you like that sort of thing! I enjoyed it and I thought we got through it well, but it was a shame about the last few seconds. Stoke took the game to us in the first half but in the second we settled and showed what a good side we were. Shame about the last minute, I could barely feel my hands and I don’t know how much I got on the ball. We showed who we are, and we have some very good players. Physically we were strong and football-wise we were too, but we showed we can dig in when we need to. Stoke threw a lot of throw-ins and corners at us, but I thought we dealt with it well.”

Alan for City! Following a run of disappointing home performances, an impressive 3-0 win over Austrian club Red Bull Salzburg helped City progress to the final 32 of the Europa League. A brace from Mario Balotelli and a stunning individual effort from Adam Johnson led City to the top of Group A, but it was opposition striker Alan who won the hearts of the 37,000 home fans. In freezing cold conditions, the game wasn’t much to look at during the first half but in the 55th minute, the visitors introduced Alan. Never has an opposition player ever been supported so much by a home crowd. The South and Kippax stands rose to welcome the unknown Brazilian to Eastlands, simply because his name made them laugh. For the remaining half hour, Alan’s name was incorporated into the club’s crowd chants including “Alan! You saw me standing alone…” and “Feed Alan and he will score”. Every time the Brazilian touched the ball he received a cheer and when the home crowd started chanting his name, the young Salzburg substitute seemed completely dumbfounded. On a night that qualification to the knock-out rounds was assured, the Blues ran out 3-0 winners in a game that may only have been bettered by a goal from City’s favourite Salzburg star.

Focussing on the players who are actually on his books, Mancini paid tribute to young stars Balotelli and Johnson: “Mario can play better than that. I am delighted with the goals he scored but he can play better. The fact that he didn’t celebrate is just him. It is normal for him to score. He does it every day. I think he can run more, take more of his chances and choose different options sometimes when passing. I know there is more to come. Adam and Mario could become two of the most exciting players in the world if they think on the pitch and sustain their form. They must work hard all the time. The goals they scored against Salzburg were really good goals but that match is gone now and they must carry on working and improving as we are as a team.”

Veteran midfielder Patrick Vieira believes the game will prove a stepping stone in the club’s quest for trophies: “We wanted to start well and keep that up throughout the game. We had them under pressure from the beginning, and of course scoring the first goal makes things a lot easier. I thought we deserved the win, we played quite well and everything went according to plan. The club has ambitions and wants trophies, that’s what we are trying for but there is a long way to go in this competition.”

Alex Rowen <news(at)>


I will be travelling to Upton Park on for the game on the 11th Dec and would like to meet up with other travelling Blues. Does anyone know any pubs in the area where City fans are likely to go to for a pint before game?

CTID, David Moran <davidmoran14(at)>


League table to 01 December 2010 inclusive

                              HOME          AWAY        OVERALL
                    P  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F   A   GD Pts
 1 Manchester Utd  15  7  1  0 24  6  1  6  0 11 10  8  7  0  35  16  19  31
 2 Chelsea         15  6  0  1 17  3  3  2  3 12  7  9  2  4  29  10  19  29
 3 Arsenal         15  4  0  3 17  9  5  2  1 15  8  9  2  4  32  17  15  29
 4 Manchester City 15  3  3  1  7  5  4  2  2 13  7  7  5  3  20  12   8  26
 5 Tottenham H.    15  4  3  1 13  8  3  1  3 10 12  7  4  4  23  20   3  25
 6 Bolton Wndrs    15  3  4  1 17 11  2  4  1 11 11  5  8  2  28  22   6  23
 7 Sunderland      15  3  4  0  9  5  1  4  3 10 13  4  8  3  19  18   1  20
 8 Stoke City      15  4  2  2 12  9  2  0  5  7 10  6  2  7  19  19   0  20
 9 Newcastle Utd   15  2  3  3 16 10  3  1  3  7 12  5  4  6  23  22   1  19
10 Liverpool       15  4  2  1 12  6  1  2  5  5 13  5  4  6  17  19  -2  19
11 Blackpool       15  2  2  2 11 11  3  2  4 12 18  5  4  6  23  29  -6  19
12 West Brom A.    15  3  2  2  8  9  2  2  4 12 17  5  4  6  20  26  -6  19
13 Blackburn R.    15  3  2  2  8  6  2  1  5 10 19  5  3  7  18  25  -7  18
14 Birmingham City 15  3  3  1  7  5  0  5  3  9 13  3  8  4  16  18  -2  17
15 Aston Villa     15  3  4  1 12  9  1  1  5  5 15  4  5  6  17  24  -7  17
16 Everton         15  2  3  3 10 12  1  4  2  7  7  3  7  5  17  19  -2  16
17 Fulham          15  2  4  2 10 11  0  5  2  5  7  2  9  4  15  18  -3  15
18 Wigan Athletic  15  2  3  3  6 15  1  2  4  5 11  3  5  7  11  26 -15  14
19 Wolves          15  3  2  3 12 13  0  1  6  5 14  3  3  9  17  27 -10  12
20 West Ham United 15  2  3  3 10 12  0  3  4  4 14  2  6  7  14  26 -12  12

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1690