The Vital City Zen: The January Man?
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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
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
FC Twente @ The City of Manchester Stadium
UEFA Cup Group A:
Thursday 6th November @ 1945 GMT
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:
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
@ The City of Manchester Stadium
FA Premier League:
Sunday 9th November @ 1500 GMT
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.
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