The Vital City Zen: Give Ned The Nod
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Time is standing still for Nedum Onuoha's City career and our Premier League rivals will be well aware of the fact that the articulate young athlete is seeing very little first team action this season.
The MCFC Academy graduate who turned 22 last week is fit and ready to take his place in a City defence that has been groaning and creaking throughout the now completed first third of the season. But he finds himself resigned to the bench watching Micah Richards, Richard Dunne and Tal Ben-Haim drop clangers left, right and centre.
We all know that Mark Hughes has experimented defensively all season and Vital MC regular bluescot has come up with a suggestion that Bluesy should certainly consider having seemingly exhausted all other channels in a bid to shore City up at the back.
The game plan would be for Pablo Zabaleta to move into the midfield enforcer role that we know he has already performed at club and country level. Micah Richards would then slot into the right back slot in which he made his name, having become something of a liability at centre half.
This plan would give Nedum the opportunity to start in central defence. It would of course be up to Bluesy who would play alongside him.
It's a great shame that the oustanding promise of Ned's 2007-08 season was ended by that dislocated shoulder injury against Chelsea, having blasted a match winning headed first City goal against Spurs which looked to be an indicator of a bright future to come.
The lad has never let us down and his brilliant performance in the Munich Derby win this year said it all. Surely, City's catalogue of defensive disarray this season warrants Ned a run in the side at the heart of the defence.
The stark fact is that we risk losing Nedum Onuoha if Bluesy doesn't start to play him soon.
KASPER'S GOT PLANET BLUE IN HIS HANDS
Opportunity knocks for the player I recently pidgeon-holed as the 'Talk a Great game Dane' after his forgettable League Cup performance at Brighton. Joe Hart's ankle knack now means that Kasper Schmeichel has a golden opportunity to stake his claim to be City and Denmark's Number One.
Kasper has annoyed many Blues this season by repeatedly bemoaning his lack of first team opportunities to the sports hacks instead of gritting his teeth and getting on with the task at hand. If anything, Joe Hart's recent performances have been anything but commanding so his chance could have come along at some stage as our defensive woes continued. However, it was refreshing to see young Schmikes bollocking his defence during his promising return to senior action at Hull.
Kasper performed bravely early last season but was also well protected by Svennis' safety first tactics. With Arsenal, Schalke 04, the rags and PSG on the horizon there'll never be a better opportunity for the City 'keeper to prove himself.
There is a degree of urgency involved for both Schmeichel and Hart because continued defensive failure will almost certainly see Bluesy move for an experienced guardian in January.
In other goalkeeping news, Sweden's Halmstad have allowed their highly-rated youngster Karl-Johan Johnsson to link up with City. The 18-year-old will spend a week training at SportCity.
150th MANCHESTER DERBY BUILD UP - KEEP THE RAG FLAG FLYING HIGH
The latest we have from just outside Manchester concerns firstly their manager Sir Bacon Chops. Unfortunately, his impression of an angry Harold Ramp after the rags home win over Hull that earned him a two game suspension didn't come early enough and he will be chewing and ranting from the touchline at Eastlands on 30th November.
There's bad news for the rags drooling at the chance of shrieking anti-Arab chants at us in just under a fortnight. Their friends the American Insurance Group have been well and truly credit crunched and want out of their rag shirt sponsorship deal. The swamp hierarchy are now understood to be in negotiations with, wait for it...Saudi Telecom as replacement sponsors. Bring it on!
Finally, there's sure to be not much good cheer knocking about Manchester's Christmas Market or the M1 to and from London on Wednesday 3rd December. The rags League Cup fixture at home to Blackburn will now be played on that night, the same night that City entertain Paris Saint Germain in the UEFA Cup. The latest derby result will be only a couple of days old and that's sure to add spice to the mulled wine!
WHAT'S IN A WORD? THIS WEEK'S QUOTES
'Afterwards, Robinho came up to me in the tunnel and shook hands. We spoke Spanish. He seems a nice person. Like Geovanni, he`s very respectful. Maybe that`s how they breed them in Brazil.'
- Hull gaffer Phil Brown emphasises how Robinho's stock keeps rising as he continues to lead by example both on and off the park.
'I have spoken with the manager and I do not want any trouble with him. He knows what my qualities are and I now just want to help the team.'
- A post fine Elano toes the Bluesy line for the hacks at Das Daily Mail.
'We feel we can put recent form behind us and that we can take on anyone when it comes to football. I am so happy with my game and around the club that I have been doing extra work in the gym in terms of weights and running. I cannot get enough work.'
- Superman of the moment Stevie Ireland reveals he is still working hard and on the up. To think he was close to joining Sunderland via the back door last summer!
'I am at 70%. In other words I'm very close to playing. I know there's interest from Manchester City and I'm focused on my recovery to explore this.'
- It's that Pie Taster again! Ronlardo takes another walk down 'The Street of Shame'* again to talk up a move to Manchester City, shortly before making a rotund appearance at a United Nations Charity match in Morrocco.
WE WEREN'T REALLY THERE? THE FINAL SCORE THIS WEEK 10 YEARS AGO
Football League Division One
Man City 0(0) - 0(0) Gillingham
@ Maine Road on 21st November 2008
Man City: Weaver, Crooks, Vaughan, Morrison, Wiekens, Mason, Pollock (Brown,51) Bishop, Goater, Branch (Dickov ,57), Russell
Subs not used: Tiatto,
@ The City of Manchester Stadium
FA Premier League:
Saturday. Yes, that's Saturday 22nd November @ 1500 GMT
Last six PL games: D,W,L,L,L,D
Last six PL games: W,W,D,L,W,L
Internet: www.arsenal.com / www.arsenal.vitalfootball.co.uk
Vital MC will be bringing you our Mag 7 Fan's Interview with Vital Arsenal before the weekend.
Johnny On The Spot?
I think we're going to beat Arsenal. It's written in the stars over Ashton New Road tonight. After all that has been said and not done that well in recent weeks, I sense that City could be about to up their game. No matter who lines up in Sky Blue, they're sure to be buoyed by the knowledge that Arsenal dangermen Walcott and Fabregas are injured and suspended respectively for this one.
Still, Arsenal as we know now have fantastic youth players in reserve ready to slot in alongside their established stars and are capable of turning over anyone on their day so it's going to need a big all round improvement from The Blues in order to beat them.
If we can get that crucial confidence building early goal, anything is possible with this current City side.
Both sides have struck a combined 51 goals this season and it's sure to be a cracking game. I'm banking on City exposing the lack of self belief that seems to have crept into some of Arsenal's recent senior displays.
City 2 Arsenal 0
VITAL MC INFO:
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