City face stern test at the Madjeski
Manchester City's monday night fixture against Reading could prove to be a banana skin for several reasons.
Not only is it imperative that City overcome their baffling habit of following up a hard fought victory against one of the top four with a performance of abject lethargy, but they also have to fight against the perception that they are unable to put mediocre teams to the sword when it counts. Add to that a couple of stats concerning Reading specifically:
* No team has managed to beat them on their own turf since August '05
* They have only lost once in their last 24 league fixtures
...and it is not difficult to predict that City will find Monday night anything but a walkover.
However, an insight emerged this morning into Steve Coppell's tactical decision-making which may provide City fans with reason for good cheer. Speaking in his weekend press conference Coppell, ruminating on his days as Manager of Crystal Palace, remarked of Pearce:
' He was a tremendous player. Certainly for a few years he was far and away the best left back in the world. When my Palace teams used to play against Forest, ironically we used to cater for him.
Although he was the left back we used to man-mark him'.
Certainly an interesting concept, using valuable playing resources to stifle the opposing left back. Here's hoping that Coppell delegates Steve Sidwell to sit on Stephen Jordan for 90 minutes come Monday night...
(What do you think the score will be on Monday night and which two of the three fit strikers do you think should start up front?)