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The Vital City Zen: The January Man?

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THE JANUARY MAN?

When Mark Hughes took over the Eastlands hot seat post Svengate, myself, like many other Blues was somewhat uneasy, the ex-rag factor being of course the reason for that discomfort. However, a step back told me we had obtained the services of a widely respected young British manager who had precisely the type of winning determination we badly needed.

I looked forward to City discovering a "them against us" siege mentality and the signs were good as he overhauled the Carrington training nerve centre chucking out everyone from WAG`s to Agents and autograph hunters.

But eleven games into the new Premier League season and a middle of the road 13 points earned from a possible 33, albeit obtained through some terrific attacking football and a shedload of goals, Hughes City side are surprisingly soft centred and looking increasingly vulnerable pushovers.

Bluesy himself admitted after the chastening defeat at Bolton that his side were lacking experience and he would be aiming to strengthen the squad as soon as possible, but January is a long way off and there is a hell of a lot of season shaping football to play between now and then.

Furthermore, there is no guarantee that big European sides will be prepared to sell their star players half way through a season.

For that to happen and for City to appear an attractive proposition, we must firstly, at all costs qualify from UEFA Cup Group A and find consistency in the Premier League. Secondly, Sheikh Mancity will have to release seismic funds. That is of course another issue altogether but right now Hughes and his squad are right up against it and it is time to deliver.

This next two months promise to be the most challenging of Hughes` managerial career and all we can do is remind ourselves that Rome was not built in a few months and that Manchester City is very much a club under "Work In Progress."

Blues, for us all to realise the ambition that our newfound stability promises we have to get behind the gaffer and the team, give it everything we`ve got and see where it takes us.

DUNNEY GET YER GUN

You don`t win Manchester City`s Player of The Year Award four times over without having something about you.

Richard Dunne has always worn his heart on his sleeve and his City badge with pride, but this season has seen him struggle for form and he's become symbolic of City`s acute lack of defensive cohesion.

The look on his face after that terrible own goal against Bolton was agonising to witness and the whole team`s inability to defend as a unit has seen many of us question the big Irishman`s leadership credentials.

We asked the Vital MC Community "Should Richard Dunne stand down as Captain and take a break?" and opinion is divided with the No`s edging out the Yes vote by 52% to 48%.

So come on Dunney, pull the side together and get back to that Future Ireland Captain form!

WHAT'S IN A WORD, THIS WEEK'S QUOTES

'Eric`s not going to make big strides in terms of making me a better goalkeeper.'

- Now here`s one that slipped the Vital MC net. The rag`s Edwin WandersFar reminds us that former City goalkeeping coach Eric Steele is now himself a rag. They kept that one quiet.

'I want to be useful, but sometimes I feel left on the side. I will never change my behaviour towards my friends and I`m not saying bad things about the manager. He has the right to do whatever he wants. Yet it leaves me sad because I have my own targets and I`d like the manager to force me to do things because I`m the type who has the capacity to learn many things.'

- Elano worries us sometimes with his press statements, nevermind his erratic form of late.

'They will come into the equation. It is important that they got some game-time under their belts, but they impressed and Benji scored into the bargain. We have got young strikers here and at times we have lacked a little bit of experience up front so it will be good to welcome them back.'

- Bluesy reveals he is considering returning Benjani and Vassell to the squad after they came through this week`s reserve game against Liverpool unscathed. We need as many options as possible and I for one would like to see Benjani working alongside a strike partner.

'We have enjoyed the games in Europe, FC Twente are a decent team, who are very well organised and it's going to be a good test.'

- The gaffer weighs up the Dutchmen knowing City must right a good few wrongs on Thursday night.

WE WEREN'T REALLY THERE? THE FINAL SCORE THIS WEEK 10 YEARS AGO

Oldham 0 (0) - 3(2) Man City
@ Boundary Park on 07-11-1998
Attendance: 12,976

Scorers: Horlock 17,31, Morrison 69

Man City: Weaver, Edghill, Vaughan, Morrison, Wiekens, Crooks, Bishop (Brown ,54 ), Mason, Goater, Branch, Horlock

Subs not used: Dickov,Allsopp

NEXT OPPONENTS

FC Twente @ The City of Manchester Stadium
UEFA Cup Group A:

Thursday 6th November @ 1945 GMT

Citizens Form:
Last six PL games: W,L,W,L,L,D

The Tuckers Form:
Last six Eredivisie games: W,L,W,W,W,L

Internet:www.fctwente.nl / www.twentefans.nl

"Manchester City-fan blikt vooruit" - JB takes on Twentefans (er, at once) as Vital MC goes global:
http://www.twentefans.nl/nieuws.php?berichtID=1709

Johnny On The Spot?

This is it then, we`re right in amongst it in Europe and it`s a former rag head to head as Taggart`s erstwhile Number 2 and England`s worst manager for some time, Steve McClaren takes on Mark "Bluesy" Hughes.

I`m fed up going on about games we cannot afford to lose but there is a hell of a lot at stake this Thursday. It`s a cup tie essentially and City have one chance to get it right and get the Group campaign off to a flyer.

Home advantage is everything and the team will know that a full house will not be guaranteed with the top tier of Eastlands already closed following poor Credit Crunched attendances in Europe so far this season.

Twente are doing very nicely thank you in the Eredivisie and will have done their homework. McClaren was spotted in the stands as City lulled him into a false sense of security at Bolton.

All things considered, I`m expecting a draw, unless Hughes can lift a side that Micah Richards foolishly advised a couple of weeks ago is struggling with tiredness.

City 1 Twente 1

NEXT OPPONENTS BUT ONE

Tottenham Hotspur
@ The City of Manchester Stadium
FA Premier League:

Sunday 9th November @ 1500 GMT

Citizens Form:
Last six PL games: L,L,D,W,L,L

The Lilywhites Form:
Last six PL games: L,L,L,W,D,W

Internet: www.tottenhamhotspur.com / www.spurs.vitalfootball.co.uk

Vital MC will be bringing you our Mag 7 Fan`s Interview with Vital Spurs at the weekend.

Johnny On The Spot?

What a difference everybody`s favourite footballing equivalent of a cockernee used car salesman makes! This is a fixture that only a fortnight ago I was relishing. Time to put one of our relentless bogey sides to the sword.

But suddenly, rock bottom Spurs fortunes changed literally overnight and now our own flagging forces will be welcoming a tough proposition on Sunday. A resurgent side that sensationally fought back against the Gooners and saw off Liverpool. As ever this season, much will depend upon how the UEFA games go morale wise, but I think this could be a firecracker of a clash. I`m going for City to edge it with home advantage.

City 3 Spurs 2

VITAL MC INFO:
- 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.

Vital Manchester City is growing fast and there`s more to come - Be Here Now and join our worldwide community.




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The journalist

Writer: Johnny Baguette Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday November 4 2008

Time: 8:30PM

Your Comments

Hi JB. I fear for the Spurs match as we will surely be tired after FC Twente. I think we will sneak the UEFA tie by a goal but draw v Spurs. All these games show how we are desperate for a bigger squad. I hope we drop Ben Haim and Richards goes back central. Garrido for left back til January. Shape is all important. Maybe Vassell and Benjani to come in v Spurs and rest SWP. All depends on who is fit!
Barney Daniels
Good calls, Barney! One thing Benjani and Vass have is Premier League experience and a bit more muscle. Looking to Jo put himself about more if his tonsils are ok!!
Johnny Baguette
Like to see us go 4-4-1-1 against Twente with Hart - Richards, Kompany, Onuoha, Garrido, - SWP, Ireland, Elano, Robinho, - Jo - Benjani. This will give Jo a chance to play in a familiar role behind the striker where he scored most of his goals with his last Club.
alphieblues
Its worth a shot alphie, ..we just cant get a working back four! hoping the guys can get it right thursday!
ArabianKnight
I like that formation alphieblues. There should be so much punch going forward that the pressure on the back four will be so much less. We should be able to keep a team like Twente on their back foot for most of the 90 minutes. And score a hatfull of goals!
Sindbad
All about confidence with our side. Again we need an early goal to prosper. The Twente fans tell us they are going to approach us with respect. I wonder if that means they will play deep...
Johnny Baguette
if twente do play deep they will give us the advantage we need....if they come at us from the off....we may just struggle........
lincolnblue
I know what you mean, lincoln. Our lads will hardly be stepping out boldly early doors on recent evidence!
Johnny Baguette
unless MH can wind them up for it........I hope he can...
lincolnblue
Do you think he had to adopt too much of a statesman like approach after he took the job? He had to fend off a lot of questions in Frank and Cook's absence which must have deflected his focus.
Johnny Baguette
Nothing to do with it JB he has had months now to stamp his mark (forgive the pun) and we just haven't seen anything like the steel you expect from an MH team.
alphieblues
We really did look lightweight against Bolton. You could have driven a bus through our midfield.
Johnny Baguette
We are back to inconsistant performances, but if we can get the back four to play like we know they can then the game gets easier for the fowards to do their job.
Buzz Lightyear
Some bite in midfield wouldn't go amiss!!
Johnny Baguette
 

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