Writer: Johnny Baguette
Date:Friday May 15 2009
THE VITAL CITY ZEN
City's penultimate game of the season is upon us. So too, is the penultimate Vital City Zen...
City substitute Martin Petrov's venomous howitzer of a shot that defiantly flew at Edwin Wanders Far's rag goal towards the end of last week's dreary derby was a declaration of intent and no mistake.
That it was City's one true shot in anger spoke volumes for The Blues' disappointing display. However, for many of us it confirmed that Rigsby is ready for a start against Spurs in this weekend's Europa League showdown in London. Robinho is knacked so this could be the chance the flying winger has been patiently waiting for.
What this weekend's task is crying out for is for Mark Hughes to take full advantage of a returning Petrov and possibly Shaun Wright-Phillips by taking to the wings and getting in behind an injury and absentee hit Spurs with Wayne Bridge and Mr T overlapping.
What have we got to lose? Somehow, we are in with a chance of last minute European qualification, scarcely merited on the back of some of the awful displays served up this season. Still, this has been a poor Premier League this year and a top ten finish is all but secured.
To his credit, Sparky has brought Petrov and Valeri Bojinov back with caution as City have managed to maintain the fans' interest to almost the end of the campaign.
He is highly likely to give the young Raging Bulgar Bojinov a start alongside his international team mate in order to freshen City's attacking options up. Bojinov deserves a chance to prove himself before City's cheque book comes out again having battled back from two terrible injuries two season's running. The learning man mountain Felipe Caicedo could then revert to an impact player role having had more than a good run out recently.
More than anything else, it will be good to hear teh sound of Petrov's name sang by the Blues travelling army again. Bring it on.
City have decided to declare the last game of the season as something of a celebration to mark the end of a gruelling 10 months.
I'm not quite sure where the inspiration for the 'party atmosphere' the club are calling for should come from considering what's gone on during that period but like all Blues I'm hoping that the game will start with something to aim for as it did in the Fatty Fowler sabotaged battle with Middlesbrough a few seasons ago.
Personally, this correspondent will be celebrating by breathing a huge sigh of relief that we managed to put together some wins during the past few weeks.
A season is certainly a long time in football. Ask any doomed Middlesbrough fan. How hollow that 8-1 against all form with City on strike result looks now.
QUASIMODO TEVEZ THE ANSWER?
I smell a rather large rag rat up to tricks here over the recent Tevez to City rumours which have even seen the MUEN calling for City to move for the player that inspires thousands of day trippers to shriek 'Argentina! Argentina!' every week...and it chews gum with it's mouth open under it's red nose.
Nobody leaves the rags on their terms, I guess Ruud Van Kneestillsore being just about the exception to the rule. The Tevez saga is sure to run and run in the coming weeks. Above all else, it will give the football world a closer insight into what is going on financially at the appallingly debt laden G14 elite club.
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WHAT'S IN A WORD? THIS WEEK'S QUOTES
'In the end we didn't have quite enough in key areas to ask enough questions of a good United side. But we gave a better account of ourselves than we did in the home game. We tried to get the ball down and play our football. Our shape was good. Our back four played well, and the two guys in front were good in possession. What we haven't got is the option to go 4-4-2 on a regular basis away from home. I'm still of a view that we need a more physical presence than we have at the moment.'
- Mark Hughes came across to many of us as somewhat deluded with regard to City's vapid performance in the 2-0 derby defeat at the swamp. The Blues never gave it a go.
'There are a lot of people who are out there who would like to manufacture deals and situations where they would in turn become part of a big money move for a player to come to City. Raul is an exceptionally talented and great player and has been for many years. He is someone I clearly admire and respect enormously and has done great things for his club and his country but I have not tried to sign him. He will not be coming to City.'
- Hughes comes out to openly dismiss the latest transfer drivel lurking in the shadows around what was once Fleet Street. Raul and Ronaldinho. Here's to the next 100 rumours!
'These last few weeks of the season have been good, and - the derby game apart, obviously - the results have been good and we've performed well. We feel we're in form and our confidence is high. The manager says there won't be many teams working quite as hard as we are on the training ground at the moment. Hopefully, that will work in our favour at Tottenham on Saturday and we'll be the stronger side.
- City skipper Richard Dunne rates The Blues chances in the capital this weekend.
'City have some quality players and are starting to hit some good away form. They had a good result at Everton the other week and they've been a force all year at home. Mark Hughes has got a good squad there to work with, including quality players like Robinho, Elano, and Stephen Ireland, whose had a great season. But we're a good side and our home form has been fantastic. We want to finish the season at home with a win.'
- Honest 'Arry bigs up City before the Euro clash but underlines his own side's determination.
'He has become a little bit underhand...Roque should really concentrate on getting himself fit and playing football for Blackburn, never mind talking about where his future may lie. Without his fitness and his capability of producing more than last season, he will perhaps struggle to get the move he is looking for.'
- Blackburn's one season wonder crock Roque Santa Cruz has again been calling for a move away from Ewood Park. Samuel Allardyce isn't impressed and neither are the majority of City fans.
WE WEREN'T REALLY THERE? THE FINAL SCORE THIS WEEK 10 YEARS AGO
Football League Division One
Play Off - Semi Final, Second Leg
Maine Road, 19th May 1999
CITY 1 (1) - 0 (0) Wigan 0 (City win 2-1 on aggregate)
Scorer: Goater 27
City: Weaver, Crooks, Edghill, Wiekens , Vaughan, Horlock, Brown, Whitley, Dickov, Goater (Gareth Taylor,73), Cooke (Pollock,76)
Sub not used: Allsopp
Ten Year Memories: The stuff of legend as City booked a place at Wembley to face Gillingham in the play off final that all but saved our club from extinction.
@ White Hart Lane, Laandaarn Taarn
FA Premier League
Saturday 16th May 2009 @ 15:00 GMT+1 BST
The Citizens Last 6 PL games: LLWWWL
Spurs Last 6 PL games: LWWLWD
Internet: *VITAL SPURS*
Johnny On The Spot?
I'm predicting a firecracker of a goal blitz at The Lane. Both sides have the ability to score goals although Spurs have not been hitting the net with abandon recently. Spurs v City clashes are traditionally explosive and I'm forecasting an end to end game. As long as Mark Hughes doesn't aim for the 'afford too much respect to them' option on the road that has failed us all season.
Based on the chances City have been creating and the laws of probability and the absentee factor on both sides, I think we'll shade it. We've been through the mixer all season, so why not give us another nerve shredder, City?!
Spurs 2 CITY 3
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Date:Friday May 15 2009
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