Manchester City 3 WBA 1 - Johnny On The Spot
A third consecutive home win has placed Pep Guardiola's Manchester City in pole position for Champions League group stage qualification ahead of the final round of Premier League fixtures...
Finishing third at the end of a season of what might have beens would certainly give the Catalan chief a clearer scope to work with this summer without the niggly addition of eastern European qualifying round jaunts. However, we are not there yet and Sunday's Arsenal, Liverpool and City fixtures amount to something like the cannon fodder Champions League shoot out that sports networks shorn of a relegation D-Day are talking up, albeit our mission to Watford is arguably the tougher of the 3 games that will see Everton and Middlesbrough roll up in London and Merseyside with nothing to play for.
Admittedly Watford are in something of an internal crisis right now, but they are more than capable of unravelling the hard yards City have put in this week, especially now player power means that Walter Mazzarri will be toast come Sunday night. Furthermore, from grim experience this season we cannot rule out the risk of match officials over-influencing the outcome again. Jonathan Moss will take charge of his 5th Watford game and 3rd City game at the weekend. Proof in itself of how even refereeing appointments are as scattergun as their application of the rules of the game.
I thought it was a pity this week to see an Arsene Wenger that I had begun to feel some sympathy for after months of abuse from his own club's support decide now is the time to remind us of the Arsehole Whinger of yore and his entitled opinions that infuriated rival clubs for so many years by publicly calling for Middlesbrough and Watford to put shifts in against ourselves and the Mickey Mousers. He all of a sudden felt comfortable enough after 4 straight league victories to open his trap but let's face it, he is only a Liverpool win, a City win and a Chelsea cup final win away from another terrible Ashburton Grove Bottling Factory fans backlash.
Back to our beloved Blues and the state of play both inside and outside of the Manchester City walls. Tuesday night's superb send off for our warrior Pablo Zabaleta won't quite be enough yet to satiate our Argentine hero before he heads south. He harbours a strong dislike of the Stetford Galacticos and would be delighted to see them finish the season a full 9 points behind us in the final table. All the more reason for City to get the job done swiftly at Vicarage Road. Zabba will know as well as the rest of us that this will provide some proper order to a season wherein this time around Jose Mourinho's rags have benefitted yet again from a clear and present repeat season of alleged Peter Scudamore and David Gill inspired favourable refereeing decisions, laughable cup draws and fawning media back up. City have yet again across 4 campaigns not benefitted from the paucity of opposition the rags have continued to face post Taggart and it's pathetic to see Moaning Maureen after his latest scrape through against Stalybridge Celtic Vigo suddenly calling for the type of fixture protection afforded top flight club's in other countries ahead of big European fixtures. Last season City were hammered 4-2 at Southampton 2 days before losing the Champions League Semi-Final to Real Madrid. Nobody in the media nor anywhere else batted an eyelid. Suck it up Jose.
Blues, never let ANY Stretford tell you that beating a still in the pub Leicester City in the Community Shield and a limited Southampton in the League Cup final constitute great achievements for the most expensively assembled squad in Premier League history. Ajax are a wholly different proposition to what they've stumbled past in a competition they sneered at for decades. It could yet be that they will finally cop for the pasting they have merited all season in Stockholm.
In the meantime, City, play misty for Zabba in London and finish this arduous season with aplomb.
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