Writer: Johnny Baguette
Date:Wednesday October 1 2008
THE IMPORTANCE OF BEATING OMONIA
Tomorrow night's UEFA Cup clash with AC Omonia at Eastlands is an absolute must win game for The Blues. Mark Hughes and his management team will certainly be all too aware of the fact that failure to see off the Cypriots would have serious repercussions for the rest of our season.
It is absolutely imperative that City reach the group stages of the UEFA Cup for a number of reasons, chiefly the quest for success this season. But it is also crucial in the fact that a decent UEFA Cup run would aid the signing of the top quality players that our young squad needs
in order to be in a position to challenge English Football's 'Big Four' establishment. As the defeat at home to Chelski proved, we are nowhere near that situation yet and the visit of Liverpool on sunday presents City with another opportunity to see how far we have come.
Khaldoon Al Mubarak, City's new Chairman will certainly be monitoring City's european progress with great interest having already seen a number of fringe players put in forgettable performances in the League Cup elimination at Brighton. The outcome of the Omonia tie will not only impact upon incoming signings but also the futures of a number of our current players.
BENNETTGATE: IN SEPP WE TRUST?
FIFA President and foreign footballing mercenary nemesis Sepp Blatter has regularly stated that he would like to see two referees patrolling the field of play. He may yet get his wish in the years to come, but would that have helped the pisspoor Steve Bennett out at Wigan last weekend? Two Steve Bennett's officiating the same game? It doesn't bear thinking about!
ARE CITY ON? - TOP LINK
For Full world and European football match satellite listings, go to LJ`s LiveOnSat.com: http://liveonsat.com/today.php
WHAT'S IN A WORD? THIS WEEKS VITAL MC QUOTES
'If a lad rang me and said 'I'm 16, playing at Crewe and Chelsea have come in for me, what do you think I should do?' I would reply 'stay where you are and play some football with the club you are at'. 'I watched Chelsea train last year. I saw Steve Sidwell, Reading's best player from the previous season, and Tal Ben Haim, Bolton's best player from the year before.
But neither was in the first team. So Chelsea have cherry-picked the best players from elsewhere and stockpiled them. That is not right.'
- Our erstwhile Touchline Jester but bloody good bloke Stuart Pearce tells it like it is over Chelski.
'I think it [diving] is part and parcel of the game and the foreign players are a bit more adept at it than the British-based players. The ability to draw fouls in some places is seen as a skill so he's obviously very skilful at that. I didn't used to fall down quite as easy as that.'
- Mark Hughes on Wigan's Penaltymaker Wilson Palacios.
"There`s a much better atmosphere in Manchester City`s dressing room than in Real Madrid`s. Every day I feel more united to the group. I want to do as well as possible this year and then play in the Champions League like I used to. I`m going to score as many goals as possible for Manchester City and look to show I`m worth the money they spent on me.'
- Our Robhino, who has impressed with his work rate and team play sets the record straight.
"Possibly the hardest job will be careful selection of the players we bring in, but also moulding them into a team. We have to make sure that we have a team. You can`t just point at the best players in the world, it does not work that way.
You have to man-manage them and motivate them, you have to carefully select who you bring in and who they will work around.'
- City's astute assistant gaffer Mark Bowen confirms that City will not only recruit top players in January, but the right ones.
'I would be surprised if Shaun isn't in the England squad because he has been outstanding since he came back to the club, The benefit from playing with a smile on his face and playing regularly is there for everyone to see.'
- Bluesy on the SWP resurgence.
'I am very happy here and there is no reason for me to move. Signing players like Robinho shows me I have to raise the bar
and I believe I can step up to the plate. Playing around great players, you can only get better.'
- The brilliant Daniel Sturridge reveals how the signing of Robhino has inspired him.
'Berbatov kept telling us he had 'a dream'. Well, good for you Dimi. You had a dream with a few extra noughts added to your bank balance. But did Spurs have a dream too? You got your way but your poisonous presence at the start of the season - the brooding and the reluctance to play - has cost the club that believed in you.'
- Terry Venables' all time classic assessment of City's brief dalliance transfer target, the rags blank firing Dimitar Berbatov.
LISTEN UP, ROUND UP
Contract talks are underway at SportCity to secure the long term futures of upcoming England stars Joe Hart and Daniel Sturridge.
It might not be worth Euro qualified teams turning up for domestic cup competitions next season the way it's going. The Uefa Cup is to be renamed 'The Uefa Europa League.' The competition will be expanded to include 48 clubs in 12 groups of four, with teams playing each other home and away as opposed to just once as it stands now. Good grief.
The mother of all revenge matches we have all been waiting for at Middlesborough has been put back 24 hours. City and our still seething support were due to return to the Riverside Stadium on Tuesday, 28th October. The re-arranged fixture will now kick off on Wednesday 29th October at 2000 GMT+1
The reason for this is that City's home clash with our former bitter lower league rivals Stoke City the previous weekend has also been moved. This was due to a request from Manchester Coppers who had intelligence that Stoke fans could kick off with rags supporters who would be visiting Manchester City centre.
AC Omonia Nicosia at The City of Manchester Stadium UEFA Cup, 1st Round, Second Leg:
Thursday 2nd October 2008 @ 1945 GMT+1
(City Lead 2-1 on aggregate)
Last 6 games including Cup fixtures: W,L,W,W,L,L
AC Omonia Form:
Last 6 games including Cup fixtures: Not a clue. The truth remains out there!
Internet: www.omonoia.com.cy - But the website is not active.
Johnny On The Spot?:
As already debated here, this is a big game for City. The team must capitalise on the abject failure to proceed in the League Cup by focusing on a prolonged UEFA Cup run. As we predicted and certainly realised, the Cypriots are no mugs and we can expect them to come at us with nothing to lose. All the pressure will be upon City to deliver and I expect Bluesy to have his charges fired up with so much at stake. If Eastlands can generate the same brillaint support the team have been backed with this season, I'm predicting a memorable European night for The Blues, hopefully a precursor for many more to come this season. If we bag an early goal, I forecast a rout.
City 4 Omonia Nicosia 0
NEXT OPPONENTS BUT ONE
Liverpool at The City of Manchester Stadium
FA Premier League:
Sunday 4th October @ 1500 GMT +1
Last six PL games: L W,W,L,W,L
The Reds Form:
Last six PL games: W,W,D,W,D,W
Johnny On The Spot?:
It's our second Lancashire derby of the season and they don't come much more difficult than Liverpool. They are unbeaten in the league so far this season, but as yet I don't think they have really fired, despite beating the rags. Compared to City's 16 League goals, the Mickeys have only bagged 7. Certainly something of a surprise considering their firepower and it's this lack of league goals that could prove their achilles heel if City can get their defence together, which has often been slow to scent danger this season. Much depends upon how the two sides fair in Europe this week of course. I always remember my old man telling me every year at Maine Road 'Here comes our annual football lesson' whenever we played Liverpool, but this is a very different City side to the one regularly battered in the days of Alan Ball and beyond. I predict a close run thing but City to get back on track with a confidence boosting narrow win.
City 2 Liverpool 1
VITAL MC INFO:
- Vital MC's Magnificent Seven Fans Interview with Vital Liverpool should be with you after the UEFA clash.
- When the first whistle blows, don't forget to join the Vital MC Community on our popular Live Match Thread in the Forums on match days.
Date:Wednesday October 1 2008
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