Newsletter #1714

With the international break this weekend there’s time to reflect upon the recent performances, “tiredness” and lack of goal scoring ability.

We have news from Alex tonight with reaction to the recent games, player views on the season, the latest target rumours and international faux pas.

Next Game: Sunderland, home, 4pm Sunday 3 April 2011


General News

Let’s All Do The Poznan: City’s staff took to the Eastlands stands last week to take on ‘the Poznan’ for charity. Employees of the website, Platt Lane and Ewen Fields were joined by Garry Cook and Roberto Mancini as the staff donned red Comic Relief tops with the message “Once a red, always a Blue”. For those who haven’t seen the clip, both the facebook and twitter feeds have posted it since Friday.

Squad News

Given the Green Light:After months of legal wranglings, Ivorian midfielder Abdul Razak has beengranted permission to remain in the country. The youngster, who made his débutin the Premier League tie against West Bromwich Albion earlier this year, hadlooked set to be sent home, but thanks to the hard work of the City legal team,the promising talent is now able to stay in the UK and freely turn out for City.Manager Mancini has revealed that he is very excited by Razak’s potential: “Thisis great news for both Abdul and Manchester City Football club. He is a talentedfootballer and a very good young man who now has the opportunity to make themost of his ability. I have been very impressed with his attitude and technique.He has been training with the first team for a while now. I know a lot of hardwork has gone on behind the scenes on Abdul’s case and I would like to thankeveryone connected with the case for their efforts. I believe he has the abilityto become a very important player for Manchester City and am looking forward toseeing him progress.”

Winging Their Way to Glory:

While many Blues will have their eyes firmly focussed on finishing in theChampions’ League spots this season, the returning Adam Johnson believes that atitle challenge is not too far out of reach. Speaking ahead of the loss toChelsea at the weekend, AJ suggested that only a couple of results can changethe whole outlook of the season and that the Blues haven’t given up hope. Nowthat City sit ten points off the summit, any revival looks much less likely, but‘Johnno’ still believes: “We are battling with all the teams at the top and thetop two aren’t too far off. A couple of bad results for them and everythingchanges again. Everyone says the title is done for us, but two defeats for ManUnited or Arsenal and a couple of win for us or Chelsea, and it is back on.Anything can happen, and I still think there is a lot of football to be played.”

Spurred On: One player who has more realistic expectations is City centre back Vincent Kompany. The superb Belgian defender knows that the chances of finishing anything higher than fourth will be a struggle given the good form of those clubs above them, but if the battle is between them and Tottenham Hotspur, then Kompany is confident of success. City faced Spurs at CoMS in the decisive fixture of last season, a fixture that sent Harry Redknapp’s side on their current Champions’ League journey. With this campaign’s home tie against the London side re-arranged to be one of the final games of the season on 10th May at 7.45pm, Kompany is confident that City will come out on top this time round: “We will see what happens. We hope that we can make a difference before then, and if it has to go to that game again then we will be happy to play it. We are ready for big days – Spurs, United, everything that comes after this. We are more solid as a team and I don’t think that we will be fazed by the importance of the game. We will keep playing our game and get our goals, but defensively we are solid. There are no surprises for us there. We can win every game. If we win every game, then we will be there.”

Project Blue: Kompany has also been speaking of the progress that the club has made of late. Though many have criticised City for not making the leaps expected i.e. claiming their first Premier League title, Kompany has assured fans that the club is well on target. With comparisons being made between Abramovic’s Chelsea side, who went on to win the title under Jose Mourinho, Kompany has explained that City are not trying to go from nought to sixty in the shortest amount of time, their project is a considered plan, but one which will lead to success: “If you have any sort of ambition, the Champions’ League has to be part of your season. It’s a beautiful project but obviously you will have people shocked or not being positive about us all the time. It is just a matter of time before people see us differently. You get used to anything. This has been going on for three years and we will grow out of this image, slowly but surely. First of all we have other targets to achieve, to become a stable club, to become a winning club. I suspect that when that happens all the rest will come into place.”

We Are Coming: Following on from Kompany’s comments, Shay Given has backed City to step it up to the next level once they qualify for the Champions’ League this season. Everyone knows that City’s reputation is quickly growing across Europe and that qualification to Europe’s elite competition would almost cement their place as a new force to reckoned with on the world football scene. Irish ‘keeper, Given, believes that finishing in the Premier League’s top four this season would make a massive difference to the way people perceive this club, and would also be a great reward for the City faithful who have waited so long for success: “It would be a huge statement to other European clubs that Manchester City have arrived and they are going to be around for a long time, that they are going to be the team to watch over the coming years. Even to attract more players in the summer and to keep some of the players we have happy, because everyone wants to play in the Champions’ League. To bring Champions’ League football to the City of Manchester Stadium [Eastlands] and teams like Barcelona, Real Madrid – looking back years ago, that would have been fantasy stuff to the fans, but now there’s a realistic chance of it happening.”

Leading by Example: After the dismissal of Mario Balotelli during last week’s Europa League tie with Dinamo Kyiv, Nigel de Jong has warned the Italian that he must learn from his mistakes. Balotelli was sent off for a rash, high challenge on opposition player Popov, and it is being argued that with 11 men on the pitch, City would have gone on to win the game and progress through to the next round. Dutch midfielder Nigel de Jong has become a leader on the pitch without the need to be wearing the captain’s armband and has offered Balotelli some friendly advice in order to help both his own game and the team’s chances: “Balotelli is a talented boy but I’ve told him he’s got to learn from his mistakes and he’s disadvantaging his own team by doing these kinds of things. Tomorrow is a new day, we’re going to sit with him and he’s going to realise that he’s got to change the way that he plays because he’s always going to be a marked man.”

The Bell’ Tolls for Craig: He’s spent the whole of this campaign out on loan at boyhood club Cardiff City, following a reported spat with Roberto Mancini last year, but Craig Bellamy has revealed that he plans to return to City next season. The Welsh striker is well aware that Cardiff’s financial situation means that they could not afford him and also that City will not sell him to a rival club, so ‘Bellers’ plans to return to CoMS and prove himself worthy of a place in Mancini’s side: “Even if Cardiff were promoted, it’s very unlikely I’d stay here. I don’t want to be on loan anywhere next season. If we got promoted, Cardiff would have to buy me. It sounded romantic in August but if we look at it money-wise, it’s probably not going to happen. It is difficult because I do have another year at City. I could be at Man City the whole year and not be involved. It will be an uncomfortable situation for everyone because Mancini will be in charge. There’s nothing I can do. He is the manager, he chooses the squad and rightly so.”

Rumour Mill: Reportedly unsettled at Real Madrid, rumours of a City move for Kaka have re-surfaced amongst the tabloids. Following reports last week that City had failed in a £30 million bid for Palermo midfielder Javier Pastore, Mancini looks to be serious about adding another creative midfielder to his side, and Kaka would fit the bill. If not Kaka, then Mancini may instead bid for Alexis Sanchez of Udinese, though he has also attracted the interest of Chelsea and Real Madrid. Long-time target Dani Alves looks set to remain at Barcelona, having signed a new contract with the Catalan giants and so City may instead move for Hoffenheim right back Andreas Beck who has been impressing the pundits in the Bundesliga, and there may be a return to the club on the cards for academy old-boy Wayne Hennessey after it was rumoured that Mancini would be keen to add him as competition for Joe Hart, should Shay Given leave.

Post-Match Reaction

Costly Mistake: One-nil simply wasn’t enough on the night and the whole game seemed to turn on one incident. Two-nil down following their trip to the Ukraine the week before, City started much the brighter against Dinamo Kyiv and saw both Balotelli and Micah Richards miss early chances to put the Blues in front. Despite applying all the pressure, Mario Balotelli’s rash challenge led to a straight red that would ultimately turn the tie in Kyiv’s favour. Though Aleks Kolarov gave the Blues the lead on the night mere moments after the Italian’s dismissal, the effect of playing with only ten men began to show and Kyiv progressed through to the next round at City’s expense.

During his post-match press conference, Mancini decided to focus mainly on the performance itself rather than the actions of his expensive striker: “I was happy with the way we played: we didn’t concede many chances, created some good ones at the other end and were a little unlucky. We are very disappointed to go out of the Europa League. It was hard because we started 2-0 down and losing Mario did not help even if we did score with ten men. A stupid red card is something we could not afford. When Mario gets sent off he makes things difficult for me, for him and for the team. I will look at the incident later.” Balotelli has since apologised for his actions: “I was trying my best for the team as I always do. The ball was in the air and I went for it with my foot high. I never tried to make contact with Popov and I certainly didn’t want to hurt him. In retrospect, however, the tackle was poor and I’m very sorry to my team mates in particular that I got sent off so early in such an important game. I should have showed more consideration, but I was so involved in the game. It was not a good way to repay the manager who has shown so much faith in me or the owners and fans who have made me so welcome since I arrived from Italy.”

A Bridge Too Far: Only three days after their exit from the Europa League, City faced Chelsea in a crucial Premier League tie. The Blues were beaten 2-0 after two second half goals from Brazilians David Luiz and Ramires. Without Captain Fantastic Carlos Tévez, Dzeko and Balotelli couldn’t find a way past the Chelsea defence and the result led to Chelsea overtaking City in the league table. Though Mancini understands that the game was of particular importance, he has faith in his side to recover: “This was an important game. If we had won or got a draw it would have been fantastic, but nothing has changed really. We’ve got eight (League) games to the end. We played three days ago against Kyiv with ten men, and in the last 20 or 25 minutes we were tired. Maybe we can train better because we don’t have the Europa League.”

International Blues

Capello’s Captain Car-Crash? Fabio Capello’s decision to re-instate John Terry as England captain has caused much controversy this week, but City midfielder James Milner has backed the Chelsea skipper to prosper in his return to the rôle. Terry was stripped of the armband just 12 months ago after reports that he had had an affair with the wife of then-club and international team-mate Wayne Bridge. Rio Ferdinand stepped into his place but has played just four times since receiving the rôle. In the face of reported divisions on the training ground, Milner has refuted such suggestions and claimed that the whole team is behind Terry: “It’s just business as usual; the manager’s made the decision. Everyone’s happy for JT. It’s obviously disappointing for Rio. We’re fortunate to have a number of leaders in this squad. He puts his head in where a lot of people wouldn’t. He leads off the field as well. The manager makes his decision and we stand behind them. JT is a leader, he might not have been captain over the last year but he’s not changed the way he has been. The most important thing is leading on and off the field and as an England player he’s been absolutely fantastic.”

Alex Rowen <news(at)>


It’s hardly surprising that City’s exit from the Europa League, their struggles in the FA Cup and our slip to fourth place in the league coincides with our lack of scoring. In the past five matches, we have managed a total of three goals; two of them came from defenders and one courtesy of a late Christmas present from the Wigan goalie.

Defensively, City have been superb with Hart, Kompany, Richards, de Jong, Lescott and Barry setting up one of the strongest rearguards in the Premier League. But as was evident in the Chelsea game, this defence can only hold out for so long if we are not able to put the ball in the net. You only have to look at the statistics to see our problem. Tévez has 18 goals but the next leading scorer is Balotelli with six and three of those came in the one game against Villa! I continue to read all sorts of rave reviews about Silva, but the reality is he rarely scores. Add to this Dzeko’s inability to live up to his scoring reputation and it is easy to see why City seem to be running out of gas.

Tévez, in the past few games, looks tired and desperately needs offensive help. But where is this help coming from? Mancini may have constructed a solid defence, but offensively his gamble on replacing Adebayor with Dzeko and his insistence in persisting with Balotelli have yet to pay off.

Here’s hoping that in the semi-final against United, Fergie’s mob will be so wrapped up in winning the league and Euro Championship that he will put out a weakened side at Wembley… but I doubt it! Suffice to say City’s season could hinge on them making it to the Cup final. Tottenham’s continued adventure into the European Cup should aid our attempt to beat them for fourth spot, but on current form, even this is not certain.

We need goals from someone, otherwise I can see Mancini’s tactics being examined by City’s hierarchy.

Here’s hoping.

Keith Sharp <>


I am getting ‘tired’ of Mancini saying how ‘tired’ the players are. Does he not get ‘tired’ of repeating himself?!

Even before the Europa League clash with Dynamo Kiev he was saying if they win, they will play 2 games a week until season ends poor players! But do not the ‘best’ teams do this? I cannot wait for the semi-final game as City have no mid-week game, so they will not be ‘tired’ and should beat United!

Wonder what Mancini will say if they do not win?! I’ll be watching the game early on Sunday 17th – early live in New Zealand.

Need a pick up and a good win will do fine.

CTID, John <johncity(at)>


Oh dear. Well it’s the most boring non-productive City team I have seen for a while, with players who for all their big wages just have not got a clue and that can only be down to the manager.

Just complete rubbish, we even have a player who thinks we can be beat a team with 10 men but we are looking like we would struggle with a 110 men.

Sam Duxbury <sammy459(at)>


I was struck by a few oddities in the last edition. Firstly, I cannot believe that there is no one at City who was there when Schmeichel and Seaman played for us. It seems odd that Joe Hart has to ask colleagues who were with Seaman at Arsenal, but I may be wrong.

Secondly, my lack of trust in performance ratings was enhanced by Phil Bannerjee giving de Jong 8/10 and 9/10 for the same match (in the same report).

Finally, I seem to recall the reason Abramovich dumped “The Special One” was precisely because he won titles, but his football style was dull. I struggle to reconcile this with Chris Marland’s assertion that Jose will attack and will not settle for a draw.

I know only too well that I may be deluded, but I seem to think it is not just me with memory problems.

Martin Hunt <Martinhunt1908(at)>


For any Blues based in Manchester and are looking for coach travel to and from Wembley or have any friends that are looking for travel…

We have the possibility of getting a coach for £24 per person return. Departing from Sale approx 9am, possible pick-up also from Posthouse Hotel (near the start of the M56).

To get this coach at this price we need to fill all 53 seats with the £24 payment up front. Anyone interested then please email me directly.

Once at Wembley, get to the Green Man pub!

Thanks and keep the faith.

Andrew Keller <akcity(at)>


Hi fellow City fans,

I have come across a Facebook Group called “Wembley Poznan” where the creator and a growing number of followers are trying to promote the idea that all City fans at Wembley start a massive Poznan when the announcer starts reading the United team sheet out…

I think this would be a fun way to start the game off and get the City fans and players pumped up for the first ever Wembley Manchester derby!

Pass the word around and if on Facebook, join the group.

CTID, Steve Cummings <scummin4(at)>


League table to 22 March 2011 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  30 14  1  0 40  9  4  8  3 24 21 18  9  3  64  30  34  63
 2 Arsenal         29 10  2  3 30 12  7  5  2 29 17 17  7  5  59  29  30  58
 3 Chelsea         29 10  2  2 28  9  6  4  5 25 15 16  6  7  53  24  29  54
 4 Manchester City 30  9  4  2 23 11  6  4  5 22 16 15  8  7  45  27  18  53
 5 Tottenham H.    29  7  6  1 19 10  6  4  5 22 24 13 10  6  41  34   7  49
 6 Liverpool       30  9  4  2 26 12  4  2  9 15 24 13  6 11  41  36   5  45
 7 Bolton Wndrs    30  8  5  2 28 19  2  5  8 14 22 10 10 10  42  41   1  40
 8 Everton         30  6  6  3 24 20  3  7  5 16 19  9 13  8  40  39   1  40
 9 Sunderland      30  6  5  4 18 16  3  6  6 15 21  9 11 10  33  37  -4  38
10 Stoke City      30  8  3  4 24 15  3  1 11 12 23 11  4 15  36  38  -2  37
11 Newcastle Utd   30  4  6  5 32 22  5  3  7 12 23  9  9 12  44  45  -1  36
12 Fulham          30  6  6  3 20 16  1  8  6 13 17  7 14  9  33  33   0  35
13 Blackburn R.    30  6  5  4 19 13  3  1 11 20 38  9  6 15  39  51 -12  33
14 Aston Villa     30  6  5  4 22 17  2  4  9 15 34  8  9 13  37  51 -14  33
15 Blackpool       30  4  3  7 23 27  5  3  8 22 33  9  6 15  45  60 -15  33
16 West Brom A.    30  5  6  4 24 25  3  3  9 17 31  8  9 13  41  56 -15  33
17 West Ham United 30  5  4  6 20 21  2  7  6 16 28  7 11 12  36  49 -13  32
18 Wolves          30  7  3  5 24 22  2  2 11 11 27  9  5 16  35  49 -14  32
19 Birmingham City 29  4  7  4 14 18  2  6  6 14 23  6 13 10  28  41 -13  31
20 Wigan Athletic  30  4  6  6 18 31  2  6  6 11 20  6 12 12  29  51 -22  30

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1714