Johnny On The Spot - October Preview
Our irrepressible march towards glory continues...
Let's get back to business. Pep Guardiola's stealthy Manchester City Sharks (copyright Blue Mendy) sealed a sensational September by winning stylishly at the the home of the reigning Premier League champions Chelsea in our last fixture before the latest international break. This capped a straight 7 wins for the month with 4 of those victories coming on the road, built upon a solid defence superbly marshalled by Ederson. October has now dawned and with it a fixture list that boasts 4 consecutive home assignments, all eminently winnable. This is a time for consolidating The Blues positions in both our domestic and European campaigns.
Stoke City, The Etihad Stadium, Saturday 14th October 15h00 BST, PL
The erratic Potters arrive in Manchester having scraped past luckless Southampton at the death last time out to register only a second top flight win of the season following some wretched showings that still leave them hovering over the relegation places. That 2-1 win was proof again that if you don't make your control of a game tell in the Premier League, then any opponent is capable of beating you. This warning applies to City with extra red alert this weekend who will know that opportunity knocks this month to kick on and see where it takes us. Pep might be tempted to rest the unfortunately Dutch taxi knacked Kun Aguero for this one, at least bench him initially and run with a Sane-Jesus-Sterling three up top. The spirit and togetherness within City's squad is simply bursting out of the training sessions at the Etihad Campus and I am expecting the belief that our Brazilian wunderkind Jesus has energised the squad with since his arrival to prevail again. In all forms of football, the kid from Sao Paolo has not tasted defeat in over 11 months. I fully expect Leslie Hughes' injury ravaged side to be put to the Catalan sword, especially if City bag another early goal.
City 4 Stoke 0
Napoli, The Etihad Stadium, Tuesday 17th October 19h45 BST, CL Group F
The clash of the month, without question. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that this game and the return leg in two weeks at the Stadio San Paolo will be the most intriguing of the entire Champions League group stage. The Premier League and Serie A's swashbuckling leaders have close to identical records save to say that City are unbeaten in all competitions and Napoli's only defeat came in Europe away at Shakhtar. Nutjob President Aurelio De Laurentiis says he wouldn't ever want to swap tab smoking Maurizio Sarri for golf club toting Pep Guardiola. Let's see how he feels after this imminent double header. Undoubtedly, Napoli will give City a stern test of our credentials, very possibly our toughest fixture of the season to date. As ever, much will depend upon which referee gets off the 217 bus, but I reckon City will edge it on the night.
City 2 Napoli 1
Burnley, The Etihad Stadium, Saturday 21st October 15h00 BST, PL
Sixth in the table at the time of going to press and on absolute merit, Sean Dyche's men have gone unbeaten at Chelsea, Spurs and Liverpool already this season, opening with a win at the champions erstwhile fortress, following up the subsequent draws against top 4 finishers with a battling win at Everton. The Clarets don't score many, but they don't concede many either and it is very likely that they will arrive in town having further cemented their place amongst the league's pace setters by dispatching West Ham at Turf Moor. This will be a tough, uncompromising contest but I expect City to secure the points.
City 3 Burnley 1
Wolverhampton Wanderers, The Etihad Stadium, Tuesday 24th October 20h00 BST, LC4
Standby for the battle of the bearded Baldies! Pep should be wary of selecting too second string a side for this Carabao Cup clash which historically represents City's first home domestic cup draw in years, provided the intention is to progress rather than go out half heartedly like we did to a full strength Stretford Galacticos at the swamp last season. Nuno Espirito Santo has got Wolves playing some nice stuff and 14 League and League Cup games to date have realised 8 clean sheets. They have only been beaten twice but tellingly those defeats came against Championship top 4 rivals Cardiff City and Sheffield United. They also failed to see off the other team in that quartet Bristol City. So there is something of the flat track bully about Santos' men to exploit. There is great excitement in the Black Country for this one so expect the Old Gold to hit Manchester in droves, only to see their hopes dashed despite a strong showing.
City 4 Wolves 2
West Bromwich Albion, The Hawthorns, Saturday 28th October 15h00 BST, PL
The second part of this month`s Black Country double header sees The Blues return to the scene of a not entirely convincing Carabao Cup win last month. Leroy bailed The Blues out of a situation they should not have been in having spurned numerous chances to stuff The Baggies out of sight. I thought that Tony Pulis' men were filthy in that game, particularly one Mr. Yacob, but found themselves up against a City side more than ready to dish it straight back. I don't think Pulis knows how to tackle us so I am expecting similar fare, but this time around The Blues will have their flight to Naples on their mind a couple of days later. The mission will be to secure the points quickly. And we will.
WBA 0 City 3
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