Newsletter #1942

Well, one down, one lost, another long shot and another really long shot.

Some really passionate articles tonight, from those who don’t often put finger to keyboard too.

There’s a bit of a catalogue building, unfortunately. despite some of the most amazing football any of us have seen, we have also seen some genuinely basic, glaring, “I cannot believe he hasn’t seen that” errors.

  • Not spotting Cardiff were good at set pieces and doing nothing.
  • Stalemate against Stoke and no change to tactics.
  • Defeat at Villa… if Plan A isn’t working…
  • Bayern… no… just no… don’t play that team we’ll get murdered… it’s 80 minutes in… we are getting murdered… do something! Too late.
  • Attack Chelsea… they lack pace at the back… great, one up front.
  • Sunderland… no… just please tell me that didn’t happen.
  • Southampton… hmm, ok… a draw… but really?
  • Bayern away… screaming… we only need one goal… Silva off… Rodwell on… you have to be joking… doesn’t he know the rules? Great, we’ve drawn Barça.
  • Watford… Manuel… you are not getting it… these teams are organized and playing like it’s the game of their lives…
  • Chelsea… undeserved but entirely predictable… Mourinho has the measure.
  • Barça… haven’t I done well to get this far and not mention Demichelis? Everybody knew… literally everybody.

But, why the rant? I thought he was the nice, calm measured man. No, he is banned from contact with the team for our most important match of the season. Genius. Wigan… please read comments about Watford and Barça above… it’s the repetition that is just so troubling. Game management. I’m no expert, but…

Milner vs. Garcia? Lescott vs. Demichelis? My mum vs. Demichelis… With two replacement knees and two replacement hips (my mum that is, not Demichelis)?

If he is the Engineer, then his finest moment awaits. If not, then a dodgy win in the weakest tournament, humiliation in the FA Cup, very likely out of the Champions’ League and 4th in a League we should be walking away with… I dare say if he was Mancini, he’d be long gone.

Right… ok… focus… get the first goal tomorrow and… well… Pellegrini teams sure can attack… and there is the dilemma my friends.

Next Game: 12 March, Barcelona, Champions’ League, Camp Nou, 19:45 GMT


You’ve got to know when to hold them, know when to fold them…

The Engineer? More like the plumber’s mate (apologies to any plumber’s mates reading this).

Pellegrini showed this weekend he is not a good gambler. I also think he showed he is struggling with the pressure. He appeared to think he could put out his second string against Wigan and win, and save his top players to deliver a miraculous turn-around against Barça.

Where do we start?

I watched interviews with two managers this week.

Uwe Rösler said he would try something different to other teams. We’ve had teams come to slug it out and they’ve been dispatched. We’ve had teams come and park the bus and we have limped to victory. So what was Uwe’s Master Plan? Leave two players forward to stop our backs overlapping freely with the added bonus of giving them an out ball. Genius. Made easier by the fact we didn’t have either of our two best overlapping full backs playing anyway, which might have given his plan some problems.

Manuel Pellegrini said he would pick a team to win this match without any thought to Barcelona on Wednesday. No Hart, Kompany, Zabaleta, Fernandinho or Silva. That’s just about half of our first team rested. That is either arrogance on Pellegrini’s part, or over-belief in, what we as City fans know, is an over-rated, albeit expensively assembled squad.

The only thing Pellegrini did right today was to take Touré off before he got sent off, after he’d thrown his toys out of the pram. There is no doubt Touré is one of the best midfielders in the world but, unfortunately, he only thinks he has to try against the best teams. When upstart ‘lesser’ players close him down and get tackles in, he has a real problem dealing with it.

The players Pellegrini rested today probably expended more energy trying to get us back in the game than they would have if they’d played from the start and took control of the game.

Another debate surrounds “What on earth does Pellegrini see in Demichelis?” He has had a huge hand (or rather foot) in costing us the FA Cup, the Champions’ League, and nearly the Capital One Cup. Please change it before the League disappears as well (Ed – it might have gone already).

This could be the worst week of Pellegrini’s career. From quadruple contenders to out of the FA Cup, out of the Champions’ League and, if we lose at Hull on Saturday, a difficulty in challenging for the Barclays Premier League, given our run-in.

The only upside is, if we do go out of the Champions’ league, there is nothing else, no excuses, to distract us. No more claims of “it is so hard for us because we have to play every three days”, which by the way is an improvement on Mancini’s disingenuous claims that we have to play every two days.

The squad obviously needs a major overhaul (Ed – not so sure it does). Unfortunately we paid such exorbitant fees for most of our squad players we are unlikely to recoup even half of it. Which, given Sheikh Mansour’s deep pockets, might not be a problem if it wasn’t for the FFP rules.

You’ve got to know when to hold them, know when to fold them… a tactical disaster from Manuel Pellegrini.

Which raises another subject for debate. The rumours about Messi coming have resurfaced, but I think if that was to happen it could be at the expense of Sergio going the other way. Messi for Agüero… discuss. (Ed – No… just no!)

Dave Kilroy <dave.kilroy(at)>


Just watched City go out to Wigan at home. I must admit I was very surprised with the team selection. We should not have been thinking about the Champions’ League on Wednesday (a forgone conclusion in my opinion). Our goal was to get into the semi-finals… so put out the strongest team you can.

For whatever reason, Demichelis is an accident waiting to happen (à la Savic), but he seems to be Pellegrini’s favourite! Say no more.

Yaya Touré has this habit of going missing in games (quite often when they are not against fancied opposition), and today, he really slowed down the play. We needed a fast paced pressing game… we got just the opposite.

The second half was so much better… wow, what a difference it made having Silva, Milner and Dzeko, who had a better match than normal.

Why is it that Milner is hardly ever used? He has so much industry; compare him to Javi Garcia (I just don’t rate this guy… does nothing, never ever goes forward or try to get forward – he might as well play at the back).

Ever since Negredo injured his shoulder (Pellegrini’s fault, for not subbing him when we were 9-0 nil up against West Ham), our quadruple is not going to materialise; gross ineptitude from City management – at least target the “more manageable” treble (same could be said of Agüero 90 minutes against Watford).

We will have a real struggle now that teams have worked out that they just need to get numbers behind the ball, and play us on the counter. Every match from now on, regardless who it is, is going to be extremely hard, plus our goal scoring has really dried up!

I am trying to be positive, but it’s not easy.

Come on City.

Glyn Albuquerque <glyna1705(at)>


Thank heaven I did not spend another $3,000 to return to watch this re-match with Wigan who, once again, deservedly beat us!

All the platitudes before the game about not repeating the errors of the Watford game seem to have been forgotten after the kick off. A very poor performance and once again we were chasing a game we should have been winning.

Have we been found out?

Yes, I think so because it was the same old attack against defence game with pushing and prodding and looking for a breakthrough and teams then making counter attacks against us; with Vinny not in the team we are always going to be vulnerable against pace.

Typical City, coming off a Wembley win we should have been buoyant and grasped the game by the scruff off the neck. I’m sure no City fan expected to win four trophies but now we are going to have our work out winning more than one.

Let’s hope in typical City fashion that we beat Barcelona! So disappointing.

Tony Higginson <Tony.Higginson(at)>


Writing on Monday, I’m sure today’s papers are full of articles on how City’s defeat by Wigan is a disaster of biblical proportions (or if they aren’t then I’m sure a certain Portuguese scumbag will have stirred it up by Wednesday). Personally, I’m quite sanguine about this as I believe that Pellegrini will take lessons from it, or maybe it will just confirm what he already knows. (ED – Ok, a balanced argument, I’m liking the cut of your jib already)

Our system depends on us putting the opposition under pressure for long enough for them to crack. We don’t play with one (or, in Chelsea’s case two) holding midfielders blocking the route to goal, we will always offer a chance, so it is imperative that the offensive part if our game works.

Given this, what didn’t work yesterday was:

  • Full backs – It is vital that if Silva, Nasri or Touré are pushed wide bythe opposition they have an outlet ball to an advanced full back. Richards isreally out if his depth and comfort zone in this respect. He comes acrossas a nice guy etc. but his ball control and positional sense are not goodenough for the rôle. Similarly, Clichy has been reluctant to push forwardrecently so, suddenly, rather than 8 vs. 8, you have 6 vs. 8.
  • Holding midfielder. That’s what Garcia is and he plays that role verywell (despite what some people say) as we saw towards the end of the LeagueCup Final when he closed the game out. However, he will not burst forwardlike Fernandinho but will lurk behind Touré whereas Touré usually lurksbehind Fernandinho when we are in the opposition half. The only player onour books who I think could play like a Fernandinho is Rodwell but we knowhe’s injured again (or getting fit before getting injured again).

These two factors meant we had 5 vs. 8 when attacking, so it’s no surprise that we struggled to break them down.

Other lessons we can confirm:

  • An out-of-form Dzeko is more effective than an out-of-form Negredo. Yes,he may need 6 chances to score 1 and he often looks disinterested but hewins headers, holds the ball up and plays the ball round well.
  • Agüero can’t win matches on his own and we shouldn’t expect him to.
  • Silva makes us tick and we have no real backup for him.
  • We have no backup for Touré.
  • Milner is significantly more effective in this type of game than Navas(the only thing that may be new information after yesterday). Maybe becauseso many other players were not effective.

In summary, it’s what we City fans already knew (and what the vast majority of supposedly educated and professional journalists seem unable or unwilling to acknowledge). When everyone is fit and available we have the best starting 11 in the Premier League by a mile. When we have to bring in more than 2 squad members for non-tactical reasons (tactical being things like using Garcia to shut up shop) then we struggle because the replacements are not good enough.

From here, then, get a Champions’ League spot for next year and ignore the press labelling us failures for winning just one trophy, despite what Portuguese Joe has to say on the matter. Roll on the summer and sign a couple of more educated defenders and take it from there. Treat anything more as a bonus.

Andy Longshaw <Andy(at)>

DEAR EDITOR (Ed…to you Dad, that’s ‘Son’!)

Re the Wigan match. I am persuaded to write my first comment to MCIVTA after reading my paper this morning and reading the quote from the Manager blaming the players for the outcome of the game.

The problem with the Manager, who came into the job with no Premier League experience, is that he doesn’t seem to have any respect for the so called “lower” teams we play.

You have only to look at our results this season playing teams in the bottom half of the League (yes I know there have been exceptions during those goalden few weeks earlier in the season).

As soon as I saw the team he picked my heart sank.

He picked a completely new back four, plus Garcia, none of whom have the genuine pace required in today’s game. Micah Richards used to have pace but I think he left it in the gym in return for more muscle.

I only hope that in the game on Wednesday we at least give a good account of ourselves.

Russ Alcock <Russell.alcock(at)>


Well, what an absolute disaster that was!

We got what we deserved, a truly inept display. Again we thought we could just turn up and win. This is what happens when you don’t put out your strongest team. The excuse that some players need a rest is an absolute joke. These guys are getting an absolute fortune to do what they do. My dad just laughs at what is going on in the game these days; imagine this generation playing on the quagmires of pitches and with the heavy ball of yesteryear!

Demichelis is an absolute liability; why is he in the team? Can someone please explain? Also why is Javi Garcia in the team? He’s not fit to lace Milner’s boots yet he always seems to get the nod from Mr Pellegrini.

When we go to Barça on Wednesday, we need to field our strongest team and not go and defend. We are 2-0 down for goodness sake, we need to play an extremely high line and play in their half of the pitch.

If we go down, which is pretty probable, then let’s go down playing the way we are used to, with attacking verve and flair, scoring goals at will!

It’s going to be a tough next few weeks, we need to get back to what we are all used to, winning, and soon.

Andy Armstrong, Florida <and_arm(at)>


Having been at the League Cup Final, I was reminded how great Sunderland fans are. It was great to see City and Sunderland fans applauding each other as they left the stadium. It reminds me of a tale about the day we sent them down on the last day of the season in 1991, as referred to by Phil Banerjee in MCIVTA 1941.

I was also at that game and I can remember many of them wearing fancy dress (there seemed to be a lot of Vikings?) and that they would not leave the ground for hours afterwards, choosing instead to stay and sing.

Later that evening I was out in Manchester with some mates and we ended up in the Manchester University Bop, a good, cheap night out in those days. I was wearing a City shirt and we bumped into some Sunderland fans who were dressed in theirs. We had a good laugh with them for part of the night.

Later on, by which time I had had far too much to drink, I bumped into some thug on the dance-floor who took this as licence to lamp me. As I stood there wobbling this bloke drew back his fist to deliver a blow that would have ended my evening and probably necessitated a tip to MRI. Just before delivery he looked over my shoulder, stopped and hurried off into the crowd. I turned around to see half a dozen Sunderland shirted fans looking back at this bloke, stood in a line, with their arms folded across their chests. I’m not surprised that he pegged it!

This lot had saved me from a kicking, despite my inebriated state, just because I was a City fan who had had a laugh with the opposition. I swapped shirts with one of them and still have it to this day! Sunderland have always been my second team from that day!

ED – on such moments are bonds for life formed!

St. John Cox <stjohn.cox(at)>

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Newsletter #1942