The VCZ: Alarm Bells Ring, Are You Listening?
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City's diehard supporters who spend their hard earned wedge week in week out to follow City home and away deserve far, far better than the rudderless, clueless dross served up this season by Mark Hughes and his team most notably against FC Midtjylland, Wigan, Bolton, Boro, Brighton, the rags, Fulham, PSG, Everton, Santander and now bottom of the league West Brom.
Our defence lay in absolute tatters as the second West Brom goal went in today. The same can be said for any game plan Hughes and his management team had of setting City up for their long promised 'strong second half of the season' and making our club attractive to megastar footballers expected to unrealistically leave their top sides in mid season.
The facts and statistics are piling up against the Welshman as he continually does nothing to justify his reputation of playing with a disciplined, strong mentality, presiding over a side that either give up far too easily or cannot understand his tactics.
From where this correspondent is sat, he looks increasingly out of his depth managing a club of this size at this level. How he can be expected to deliver results he has previously been unable to by managing the arrival of more expected football superstars is cause for serious concern.
Against West Brom, Hughes utilised again only one substitute, further alienating himself from the benchwarmers and giving the impression he is unsure how to proceed. It's already been well documented how Ball and Hamman refused to warm up for him a few weeks back. Some of this season's substitutions and unsuccessful formation tinkering has left Eastlands groaning with confusion.
Formations have chopped and changed repeatedly. Players have been played out of position repeatedly. Squad rotation was embarrassingly attempted at Brighton and failed abysmally. Sure, City have had some bad luck through injuries and the squad's must use over reliance on youth and inexperience has been exposed time and again, but the almost total inability to collectively handle adverse situations and defend as a team means we sit in the relegation zone on merit.
Making the last 32 in the UEFA Cup has been something to cling to but you would be hard pressed to nominate a wholehearted, convincing win outside of that admirable victory at Schalke. As things stand, this squad will be battered by the stronger European sides in 2009.
There is no smoke without fire meanwhile. The hacks have been queuing up to report about unrest within the City dressing room. All we can do is deal in facts and the facts are that Hughes has been unable to manage our three Brazilians to the extent that none of them figured against West Brom for various reasons.
Robinho was foolishly played against the rags in a shocking City non performance with a cortisone injection in his injured ankle. That decision has backfired. Elano and Jo have both been fined and rightly so for their off field behaviour but what is going on inside a squad from where Richards embarrassingly publicly complained that they were all tired in the autumn?
With each defeat it looks as if Hughes has lost the dressing room. How else can we explain away the gutless, spineless efforts we've endured?
If City's hierarchy decide upon allowing Mark Hughes to continue into a Christmas that could realistically see us bottom of the league and then the freedom of their cheque book this January, then the pressure upon the new signings to deliver without any settling in period will be enormous.
Immediate wins are required right now to haul the club away from relegation, nevermind in January.
Time for realism. Time for facts. This is City`s worst points haul at this stage in the top flight since the relegation season of 2000-2001. We have lost 5 games at home and 5 away.
The side is clearly lacking direction and leadership both on and off the field and the vast majority of us have seen enough. We've seen these nosedives before and know the warning signs all to well. Don't ask me for managerial solutions, suggestions or answers after yet another humiliating defeat other than underlining the fact that Manchester City's playing fortunes are going backwards and it has to stop.
Something has to give. The stakes in the Premier League of 2008 are far too high and clubs are strengthening results wise around us and outmuscling us in games repeatedly.
We can no longer allow ourselves to be complacently lulled along by the myth that January, notorious for a lack of major signing transfer activity will make everything all right when the nucleus of this squad and it's abject failure to be directed to play to strengths by it's manager will remain.
Khaldoon al Mubarrak and Garry Cook, time to wake up and smell the Arabica coffee.
WHAT'S IN A WORD? THIS WEEK'S QUOTES
'We are desperately disappointed because that is two Premier League games running where we have thrown results away. We were in a situation again where we did not recognise the danger as it was occurring, and the opponents have been able to win the game. There is a frustration because of where we are and how it is going for us. I thought the players gave everything today, and I think that towards the end the efforts of a few of the lads who played on Thursday as well as today had an impact.'
- Mark Hughes again begins to explain away defeat at West Brom who had conceded 14 goals in their previous 6 games. His air of complacency again tangible.
'The fans have always supported me here since I was 16, and that's why it felt like coming home. Nothing has changed, I don't feel like I've come back to a different place. It's just the same as always. Just because someone has taken over, it hasn't changed the foundation.'
- Shaun Wright-Phillips underlines what it feels like To Be Blue.
'We've got the squad; we've got the potential - but we have to make sure we start producing in games. When you don't win games, obviously players do start thinking about their performance and thinking about themselves. We have to make sure we keep working hard on the training pitch.'
- Didi Hamman calls on his team-mates to start delivering results without any success.
'I think it will be quiet (the January transfer window) because most of the clubs have no money. Except Man City. I think this season Manchester City will not come back to fight for the title but you know my opinion about that and I think that clubs should live on their natural resources. I am convinced that it will happen. The next step for Uefa is to force the clubs to live within their natural resources which is the right decision. It would mean teams with the most supporters to earn the most potential. It would force the clubs to look for more fans.'
- New found City obsessive Arsehole Whinger strikes again. He's now adopted a wishful thinking tactic.
'I cannot talk. I don't want to. They are calling me from England and France, but I will talk inside a few days. I will not say anything. Football is complicated and anything could happen. I cannot say anything, really. You have to respect me. I will talk inside a few days, now I cannot say anything. I cannot talk. I hope my future will be settled in the next few days, soon. This is the only thing I can say.'
- Guess what? Pompey's Lassana Diarra can't say anything. Manchester or Madrid? We'll know this week.
'We don't have to sell anyone in the January transfer window. I think it is very important from my point of view. I have joined the club because I know the players. I know how good the players are here and it is one of the reasons I am here so why would I want to sell any of my best ones. I'm not going to do that.'
- Sam Allardyce is back on patrol at Blackburn and doesn't fancy selling the wantaway Roque Santa Cruz.
THE JANUARY MEN: THE PLANE LOAD OF SPORTS HACKS TRUTH OR DARES EXPANDS
………Kolo Toure - Arsenal, Ginaluigi Buffon - Juventus, Ashley Cole - Z List Celebrities, Ricardo Oliveira - Real Zaragoza, Wayne Bridge - Chelsea, Clarence Seedorf - AC Milan, Michael Turner - Hull City, Lucas Podolski - Bayern Munich, Chris Samba - Blackburn Rovers, Mario Balotelli - Inter Milan, Lassana Diarra - Portsmouth, Franck Ribery - Bayern Munich, David Villa - Valencia, Gareth Barry - Aston Villa, Craig Bellamy - West Ham, Thierry Henry - Barcelona, Fernando Torres - Liverpool, Roque Santa Cruz - Blackburn Rovers, Matthew Upson - West Ham, Luis Fabiano - Sevilla………to be continued…
WE WEREN'T REALLY THERE? THE FINAL SCORE THIS WEEK 10 YEARS AGO
Football League Division One
@ The Racecourse Ground
26th December 1998
Wrexham 0 (0) - 1 (0) Man City
Scorer: Horlock 56
Man City: Weaver, Crooks, Edghill, Wiekens, Vaughan, Horlock, Brown, Pollock, Taylor (Goater ,73 ) , Bishop (Whitley, 86), Russell (Dickov,69)
@ The City of Manchester Stadium
FA Premier League
Friday 26th December 2008 @ 1500 GMT
The Citizens Last 6 PL games: D,W,L,D,L,L
The Tigers Last 6 PL games: D,D,D,W,D,L
Johnny On The Spot?
As things stand, we can cling to the fact that Hull look to be burning out as their results falter, encapsulated by their thumping at home to a now ragless Sunderland. As for City, we are now all at sea. I see nothing else than another defeat.
City 0 Hull 1
The first return fixture of the season has arrived. We hope to be brining you our second Vital Hull Mag 7 Fan's Q&A before Christmas.
NEXT OPPONENTS BUT ONE:
@ Ewood Park
FA Premier League
Sunday 28th December 2008 @ 1615 GMT
The Citizens Last 6 PL games: D,W,L,D,L,L
Rovers Last 6 PL games: L,L,L,L,L,W
Johnny On The Spot?
I fully expect Blackburn to flourish with the modern day 'New Manager Syndrome.' Allardyce is refreshed and gunning with a point or two to prove. I predict another defeat.
Blackburn 2 City 0
Vital MC shoudl be bringing you our next Mag 7 Fan's Q&A with Vital Blackburn before the big game.
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