Writer: Johnny Baguette
Date:Thursday April 30 2009
THE VITAL CITY ZEN - THE TURNING
'Mine is a dream and it won't be long...' - The Turning - Oasis.
The away win albatross around the City squad's necks has been lifted. Time for the side to kick on from Everton and see where it takes us...
This season's rollercoaster has taken an upturn once more and a feel good factor is threatening to emerge at Eastlands again should Blackburn be seen off on Saturday.
A win would see The Blues on 47 points with three games remaining. Admittedly, trips to The Swamp and Tottenham will be difficult but at least the squad will have given themselves a chance of securing the club's highest ever Premier League finish. Besides which, as fans we haven't been used to having something to aim for at this stage of the season of late!
This was a previously unthinkable consideration not so long ago when the team appeared to be caving in as they struggled to cope with injuries and the distraction of a gruelling 16 game European campaign.
The signs right now are that Mark Hughes' side are pulling together and working hard for each other. The resurgence in Elano and Robinho's form allied to the backbone instilled in the team by the Kompany-De Jong midfield axis and the Nedum Onuoha-Shay Given rearguard bode well for a challenging three weeks.
The outpouring of vociferous emotion and absolute support that exploded from the stands on the night of the ultimately doomed Hamburg fightback seems to have registered in the players mind set. They have upped their work rates and there looks to be a foundation in place for the siege mentality we hoped Sparky would bring to City with him.
If City can maintain this winning momentum, that night could prove to be the turning point that we have been crying out for all season. Sure, it's come late in the day but just about everyone associated with the club deserves to reap some sort of reward from this marathon season. All power to The Blues.
CARRY ON CARRINGTON UPDATE
All of a sudden, Mark Hughes squad, beleagured with an unprecedented amount of injuries all season has options heading into the final four games.
Regular Vital MC reader and City legend Shaun Wright-Phillips is fully fit and raring to go. But it's a case of 'Hugheston - we have a problem' as Elano has been doing an excellent job in the England international's absence. Sparky, you've got a job on deciding that one.
Meanwhile, we should have the non stop running of Pablo Zabaleta back for the battle at The Swamp if not for Blackburn this weekend.
Outside of the usual Benjani and Bellamy absences, two City careers are seemingly at a crossroads. They are those of Daniel Sturridge and Michael Johnson. Sturridge is injured again. A hip problem has dictated that he hasn't trained all week and I'll wager he won't feature for City again this season. His contract negotiating stance is growing weaker by the day as it did for Johnno who has been rested following his recent reserves comeback.
CITY BULGARS FIRING BACK
The feel a bit better factor continues at SportCity as Martin Petrov and Valeri Bojinov's carefully managed return from serious injury begins to reap rewards.
Both were in sizzling form for City reserves this week sharing the goals in a 3-1 win over Everton at the Regional Athletics Arena.
The Boj bagged two goals including a 30 yarder and Rigbsy hit a spectacular howitzer to seal the win.
Of note, hairdresser's favourite and former City ball in net retriever Carlo Nash was the hapless Everton 'keeper.
BARCELONA - LET'S BE FRIENDS
It could be that City's hierarchy have learnt the very public lesson they were battered with for their January dalliance with Silvio Berlusconi and AC Milan. Mark Hughes confirmed this week that meetings have taken place between Barcelona supremo Joan Laporta and The Blues board in an effort to build bridges.
He also fended off a number of hacks assertions that the reason behind the meeting was an upcoming signing of Barca's brilliant striker Samuel Eto'o.
'The meeting was not about individuals but how both clubs can help each other. As a club, we are trying to get relationships with clubs who would not previously have passed the time of day with us.
'Now, because of Sheikh Mansour, they want to have a relationship. We are aiming to have this kind of relationship with all top clubs in Europe.'
Give this correspondent business with Barca any day of the week over AC Milan.
I hope we never do business with Berlusconi again after the way he manipulated 'Kakagate.' The gaff prone Dracula impersonator's recent fawning comments about His Highness Sheikh Mansour indicate he is beginning to crap himself over future oil relations having already caused much embarrassment to City's owners.
MIDSUMMER MADNESS WARMING UP
The hacks in The Street of Shame* are already tripping over themselves in guessing then second guessing which players Manchester City will 'outrageously' sign this summer. Many of them have had their pontificating thunder undermined by Mark Hughes regularly fielding at least 5 MCFC Academy graduates in his 18 week in week out this season, but it looks as if a second wave of bluster and nonsense is on the way for us.
Despite the resurgent Elano's protestations to the contrary a 'Sportsmail Reporter' at Das Daily Mail insists this week that the midfield maestro will be up the road this summer '...if Mark Hughes remains in charge.' The usual lazy journalism we've come to expect.
Meanwhile, Felipe Caicedo is set to accumulate offsides for Wigan, Gelson Fernandes to calm down Arsenal's midfield, a City return to 'Arsey' Milan to sign Goofy and Miguel Veloso on his way from Sporting Lisbon are all lined up. Alledgedly. 'It's only just begun...' as someone once beautifully sang.
* The Street of Shame - copyright Private Eye.
DECENT CLOBBER AVAILABLE SOON
Manchester City fans are reknowned for their cutting edge music and fashion tastes.
Pretty Green is no exception to that rule. Let's see those desert boots in August... *CLICK HERE*
WHAT'S IN A WORD? THIS WEEK'S QUOTES
'We're on track. We've still got difficult games to come but they're certainly winnable, and given the fixtures of the other team around us, we've given ourselves the opportunity to possibly get that seventh spot.'
- Mark Hughes captures the increasing mood of belief at Eastlands as City suddenly run into form with the end of this season's tunnel in sight.
'We need more performances like this to show the manager we are worthy of playing in his team. He has his plans and he will sign players in the summer, there's nothing you can do about that. Players are putting in a performance to try and get us a highest Premier finish and hopefully with it Europe.'
- City skipper and erstwhile (?) red card specialist Richard Dunne sounds a rallying cry to the troops after the Everton victory.
'..he's a great example to the kids. People say the young lads won't get a look in because of the money, but he shows you can be a star here if you work hard and have the ability.'
- Dunney underlines his admiration for Stephen 'Superman' Ireland who was inexplicably overlooked for PFA Young Player of the Year.
'This is the end of my second season with City and if it were up to me I would be sat around a table discussing a contract extension right now. I would love to renew my contract at City and remain here for a long time. I love England and I enjoy living in Manchester. I am very happy here.'
- Elano talks to City magazine about his wish to stay on at City. An undeniable talent, he's settling so well now and becoming such an experienced weapon for the team that surely a contract extension is on the cards.
'Munich is a very traditional club, we have by far and away the biggest fanbase in Germany - but we wouldn't even consider bidding £100m for a player like Kaka because it is irresponsible.'
- Well, we've heard some tripe from alledgedly learned sporting figures this year regarding Manchester City but just when you thought Kakagate was off the agenda, up pops tennis playing Bayern director Boris Becker to stick his belated oar in. Yet another sap sucked in by the Berlusconi twister.
WE WEREN'T REALLY THERE? THE FINAL SCORE THIS WEEK 10 YEARS AGO
Football League Division One
The Memorial Stadium, 1st May 1999
Bristol Rovers 2 (0) - 2 (2) CITY
Scorers: Goater 27, Cooke 42
City: Weaver, Crooks, Edghill, Horlock, Morrison, Wiekens, Brown, Bishop, Dickov, Goater, Cooke
Subs not used: Gareth Taylor, Allsopp, Vaughan.
@ The City of Manchester Stadium
FA Premier League
Saturday, 2nd May 2009 @ 15:00 GMT+1 BST
The Citizens Last 6 PL games: LWLLWW
Rovers Last 6 PL games: LDWLLW
The Vital MC Magnificent Seven Fans Q&A with Vital Blackburn will be published by the weekend.
Johnny On The Spot?
I'm sensing that City are going to give Blackburn or Bolton the kind of pasting they dished out to Portsmouth and Hull before this season is out.
There has been real drive and cohesion about The Blues in the past 3 outings and I reckon City will put Rovers to the sword if we convert our chances. I'm not an Allardyce fan either and his ungracious comments in defeat by City at Newcastle still rankle.
CITY 4 Blackburn 0
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Date:Thursday April 30 2009
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