Writer: Johnny Baguette
Date:Tuesday March 10 2009
THE VITAL CITY ZEN - CALM BEFORE THE STORM
Since the classy victory over Villa, City have dipped out of the news somewhat despite desperate Sun hacks dreaming up 'Messi' stories. Time to brace ourselves for the action...
As outlined in last week's VCZ 'No Hiding Place' feature, our mini season is now underway. Ten league fixtures remain. Five home and five away.
Meanwhile, The Blues are potentially 6 games away from a place in this season's UEFA Cup Final. Of course that fact hasn't been helped by us suddenly being installed as favourites, but not one of City's remaining games of the 2008-2009 season can be classed as an easy ride.
Yet there are a lot of positives that we can take into the tough challenges presented this week by Danish Champions Aalborg and Cockney Champions Chelsea. At the back, we have only conceded 3 goals in our last 4 fixtures. That's testament to the fact that Nedum Onuoha's introduction has helped forge an understanding across the back four with Richard Dunne and Shay Given marshalling the line.
Without key personnel Micah Richards, Robinho and Craig Bellamy, the City squad that had suddenly begun to look frail again responded superbly by tearing Aston Villa apart. Shaun Wright-Phillips, Stephen Ireland and Elano look to be running into form at the perfect time.
Furthermore, there is a sense of unity coming out of every City press interview which bodes well for the coming weeks.
Providing the team continue to work hard for each other and defend as a unit, they have shown the football world that there is no reason why we cannot go to places like Stamford Bridge, The Emirates Stadium, The Swamp and Aalborg and not get decent results.
Bring on the storm!
UEFA CAMPAIGN UPDATE - 'ISTANBUL, ISTANBUL, WE ARE COMING!'
THE STORY TO COME
Round of 16
12.03.2009 v Aab Aalborg (H)
19.03.2009 v Aab Aaalborg (A)
-Draw for the Quarter-finals, Semi-finals and Final: Nyon, 20th March 2009 @ 1300 CET
Quarter-finals: 09 and 16 April 2009
Semi-finals: 30 April and 07 May 2009
Final: Istanbul's Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium on Wednesday 20th May 2009.
LISTEN UP, ROUND UP
Vital Man City PURESSENCE Exclusive
Vital MC is delighted to announce that we will be publishing our Q&A with rock star City fans James and Tony of the brilliant Manchester band PURESSENCE next week.
The Carl Ramsbottom Appeal
'3rd April 2009: Cabaret Night for Carl'
Tommy Booth, Mark Lillis, Paul Power and Jim Cassell have already confirmed their attendance with MCFC to send further guests. Should be a classic night!
For tickets which are only £5, please send a cheque for the P&W MCFC CSA to:
Don Price, 56 Bannerman Avenue, Prestwich, Manchester
or please phone Ian on: 0785 2826150
The Blues' Roadshow Fans' Forum
Tonight (10th March), City will be continuing the policy as directed by His Highness Sheikh Mansour of reaching out to the fans and the Manchester Community by holding a 'Blues Roadshow Fans' Forum' in the Citizen's Suite at the City of Manchester Stadium.
Manager Mark Hughes and Executive Chairman Garry Cook, as well as two members of the playing squad, will be on the panel. Fair play once again to the club for this initiative.
Following Vital Man City's exclusive link up with our number eight Shaun Wright-Phillips last week, take a look at his website. It gives plenty of insight into the hard work the quicksilver winger does off the field in helping others: **Club SWP**
WHAT'S IN A WORD? THIS WEEK'S QUOTES
'It was one of the best performances of the season, if not the one, because of the different elements we had to produce to win the match.'
- Mark Hughes hails City's brilliant win over Aston Villa.
'It was a good game to play in, they are a top four team and we knew what we had to do. As a team we know what we are capable of, it's all about going out on the pitch and producing it, which is exactly what we did.'
- Vital MC Man of The Match against Villa, Shaun Wright-Phillips backs up the view of his boss.
'Despite no R 'n' B, City were still able to rock 'n' roll!'
- Key103 Total Football presenter and City legend Andy Hinchcliffe brilliantly sums up City's performance without Robinho and Bellamy.
'We are in the semi-finals for the third time in four years, and it will be two very good teams battling it out. Arsenal are excellent. We will have to be at our very best over two legs to beat them.'
- MCFC Academy manager Jim Cassell underlines the tough task City's FA Youth Cup semi-finalists face after their 1-0 quarter final victory over Norwich at Eastlands.
'I believe in the next three or four years Manchester City will become one of the very best teams in the game. A lot has changed since I came here - and I want to be a part of it. Success will come very quickly because we can attract big names.'
- Our Raging Bulgar Valeri Bojinov is steadily building upon his comeback and is eager as ever to score goals.
'We've done a lot of hard training, and we're feeling fit. We're feeling fit enough to see us through the season. Games are what we want. The longer we stay in Europe, the more our name is lingering around and the more people will think that City are a decent side. We want the UEFA cup run to continue for as long as possible'
- City Captain Richard Dunne talks up the City squad's fitness levels and the intention to go all the way in the UEFA Cup.
'I want to play a long time for Manchester City. I already have four years on my contract. I enjoy life here - I don't even mind the rain!'
- City's increasingly admired Pablo Zabaleta declares his belief in the City cause.
'It's very good to be getting a run of games. I'm quite happy because it has coincided with us getting a few wins, so I hope that will carry on.'
- Nedum Onuoha, the man who has helped secure City's defensive door remains focused despite desperate hacks striving to link him with a laughable transfer to Newcastle!
WE WEREN'T REALLY THERE? THE FINAL SCORE THIS WEEK 10 YEARS AGO
Football League Division One
Maine Road, 13th March 1999
City 1 (0) - 2 (1) Oldham Athletic
Scorers: Reid, 27 pen, Duxbury 56, Taylor 79
City: Weaver, Edghill, Vaughan (Tiatto,66), Wiekens, Morrison, Horlock, Brown, Bishop (Pollock, 64), Taylor, Goater (Dickov,45), Cooke
Attendance: 30, 321
@ The City of Manchester Stadium
UEFA Cup Round of 16, 1st Leg
Thursday 12th March 2009 @ 1945 GMT
The Citizens Last 6 UEFA Cup games: WWDLDW
AaB Last 6 European games: LDWDWW
Johnny On The Spot?
And so to City's 13th fixture of the season in Europe this season. Aalborg, Danish Champions and subsequent unlucky Champions League drop outs are no mugs and will be our toughest Euro assignment of the season to date.
They came away with creditable draws at both the rags and Celtic so City are going to have to give it everything in order to be in the best possible situation before setting sail for a third trip to Denmark.
Early good team news tells us that Robinho is on the mend after his knacking at West Ham. We are going to need all available options for this one.
I understand that Aab like to play in brown in Europe so here's to Eastlands rocking to an early City goal and Aab going all 1970's Coventry City on us!
I think it's going to be tough and we must keep a clean sheet, but I reckon we'll nail it.
City 2 Aab 0
NEXT OPPONENTS BUT ONE:
@ Stamford Bridge
FA Premier League
Sunday 15th March 2009 @ 1330 GMT
The Citizens Last 6 PL games: LWLDLW
The Pensioners Last 6 PL games: WLDWWW
Internet: http://www.chelsea.vitalfootball.co.uk / www.chelseafc.com/
Vital MC will be publishing our Magnificent Seven Fan's Q&A with our mates at Vital Chelsea after the UEFA Aalborg clash.
Johnny On The Spot?
It's 'Big Four Time' again. It'll be interesting to see how both sides come out of their European missions this week. Chelsea's depth and wealth of talent and options need no introduction, but they'll be welcoming a stronger City side than they have pasted at home in recent seasons.
There's no reason why we cannot come away from Laandaarn with a performance to match that of the one we put in at Liverpool.
Chelsea 1 CITY 1
JOIN VITAL MANCHESTER CITY:
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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Date:Tuesday March 10 2009
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