Dortmund And The Derby
The drubbing that City gave out 14 months ago is still firmly fixed in the minds of the Reds and the Blues. Could it be repeated? In a word 'No'...
Back then, the Citizens were full of confidence and firing on all cylinders, quite clearly the Rags were not. This could be put down to rag complacency and cockiness on behalf of Fergie as he quite clearly had taken his eye off the proverbial ball. This time around however, the complacency won't be visible but not the ever present cockiness of Mr Ferguson!
At that time the Rags did not have their one man army Robin van Persie. He is certainly one for City to keep an eye on to say the least...
I am not saying that the The Blues will lose but I am not saying they will win either. Would a draw be acceptable? I believe it would.
The way in which we were scoring last season in all our games was amazing but to keep hitting the highs like that is an unrealistic expectation for any team.
Looking back at our latest outing against Everton (which I have to say struck me as a performance being a little on the lacklustre side to say the least), the Fellaini goal was not a goal borne of genius, it was a case of it being dammed unlucky for Joe Hart to be caught like that on the rebound whilst sat on the pitch after saving the ball the first time.
Roberto Mancini's choice of strikers against The Toffees was not taken lightly by the fans asking around me 'Why oh why do we have to have Edin Dzeko start?' In my opinion, keeping Dzeko on the pitch for so long, even though he was not having, shall we say, the best of games, was a must. Height was the main priority in a game with the Toffees where set pieces are a speciality!
David Silva, for me put in another maestro performance, lining up shots right, left and centre. Carlos Tevez played his socks off. Sadly, Sergio Aguero is still not hitting that mark even though he was only on for a short space of time, and is known to work miracles in minutes. Maicon plays with the strength of an ox and you can tell by watching him that he has played some class football. He reminds me of Micah Richards, the 'tank'.
One question that was raised by fans is 'What is going on with YaYa Toure?' Are the days of his lung busting runs over? Has he grown tired due to Mancio not letting him rest as he always seems to be picked? Concern has grown in the stands over his performances. I myself spotted a problem a good couple of months back when he had a 'moment' with his knee. Ever since that 'moment' he has not been firing as he did last season. Something is seriously amiss there and needs to be addressed, the sooner the better.
However, the fact remains that we are unbeaten after 15 games and we still do not seem to have gotten into first gear yet, so to be unbeaten shows how solid a team we really are. The other fact that we are not hitting the high notes can be said to be irrelevant. The fact that that we have a strong defence is evident. This is one advantage that the Rags do not have...a strong defence. To see Reading fire the goals in last Saturday was a perfect example of just how weak the Rag rearguard is.
Visiting teams coming to Fortress Etihad will find it tough going as it is obvious City are excellent at keeping the ball and we have a multitude of players who can, will and do score. Fire at will is most definitely going to be the order of Derby day. However, if on the day getting the goals in is proving to be a problem then keeping them out should be the preferred option!
Hopefully, when we play Dortmund tonight we will not gather any further injuries and then we can all look ahead to Sunday. It has been noted that Taggart has yet again resorted to mind games by suggesting that it cannot do anything for the morale of a team especially City 'with their depth and riches' to lose out on the Champions League...enough of this bitterness.
So we take the field at Dortmund without Silva and Toure. YaYa's suspension might not be such a bad thing at all, he may return for the derby a little more refreshed and focused. One person who will be definitely missed is James Milner, what an asset he has turned out to be just lately.
The big question is if Silva cannot play Sunday who would we replace him with? The name that was on everyone's lips when Silva was out last time was Samir Nasri. Nasri has more strengths than weaknesses as an attacking midfielder, direct free kicks, passes, through balls and is very adept at cutting inside. He's not too hot on aerial duals but then we can't have it all. Aleksander Kolorov would have been good to rely upon as a further option. A free kick master, but alas, another injury in the squad.
Let's hope Mancini chooses wisely for Dortmund so at least we can hold our heads up high and salvage something by getting into the Europa League. Then united, YOU are next.
TONIGHT - BvB versus City - CLICK HERE TO FOLLOW THE GAME LIVE IN THE VMC FORUM
all times East Manchester
Su 09Dec 13h30 The rags, The Etihad, PL
Sa 15Dec 12h45 Newcastle, St James' Park, PL
Sa 22Dec 15h00 Reading, The Etihad, PL
We 26Dec 15h00 Sunderland, Stadium of Light, PL
Sa 29Dec 15h00 Norwich, Carrow Road, PL
Tu 01Jan 15h00 Stoke, The Etihad, PL
Sa/Su 05/06 Jan TBC Watford, The Etihad, FAC
Su 13Jan 16h00 Arsenal, The Emirates, PL
Sa 19Jan 15h00 Fulham, The Etihad, PL
Tu 29Jan 19h45 QPR, Loftus Road, PL