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City Dig Deep And Show Character

Post Chelskigate, City have registered three clean sheets, picked up four valuable points and reached the League Cup Quarter finals. We also head into mid November third in the Premier League.

Boy, would we have settled for that after the six niller!

Positive stuff. We can now look forward to welcoming Reading to Fortress Eastlands in good heart and with renewed confidence.

Following that game, the December fixture list in the run up to Christmas sees a string of games that this City team is more than capable of winning. Those fixtures will prove pivotal in how the second half of our season shapes up.

International breaks are handy for relatively small squads such as City's. We continue to be fortunate where injuries are concerned. Not only that, it's imperative to start the break with a good result and the hard fought draw at Fratton Park was no exception.

There are clear signs now that this team are prepared to dig deep and show character. They have responded to their humiliation at Chelsea by evidently following Sven's advice and learning to defend again. Sure, some of the football hasn't been pretty and we've rode our luck on occasions, but there's no doubting that coming back with some pride after a nightmare defeat like that takes some doing. The signs at Pompey were that the team's play is starting to flow again.

The two main plus points for me against Portsmouth were firstly, Joe Hart and his saves. He is showing terrific potential between the sticks. Secondly, the solid performance of Gelson Fernandes, who was touted as a possible replacement for the injured Michael Johnson on this very site but only picked up 9% of the vote. Andy Hinchcliffe, commentating on Magic 1152 was impressed by Gelson's tireless workrate and named him 'The Tasmanian Devil.' - If the lad keeps at it, it's a nickname that might just stick!

So, time to take a breather again and get ready for welcoming Reading. Only nine months ago, an abysmal, clueless City side stood aside and handed The Royals a 0-2 win. We wandered out of Eastlands in collective disbelief.

Reading have shipped fourteen goals in their last three Premier League away fixtures and have not won away in the league all season.

Payback time, I reckon.





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The journalist

Writer: Johnny Baguette Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday November 12 2007

Time: 12:33AM

Your Comments

It was one of the best 0-0 draws I've seen - Both teams had chances to with it (Pompey a few more than City) but both defences looked very solid and it took some very skillful play (Krancjer, Ireland, Elano & Kanu) to crave open a chance for either side - Micah is imense as is Dunn and where did you get that keeper from? - City fans did you proud as always and are still one of the best travellers to Fratton. See you in Eurpoe City.
Chix
A sound viewpoint, Chix! I've trawled the sportshack response to the game via newsnow and it's almost totally positive in favour of the two sides. The key now is to maintain results through the season.
Johnny Baguette
I see we got our usual star billing on MOTD not even a comment after it, another all time low for the Beeb. Never mind it was a great team performance after the Chelski debacle, showing plenty of character. Fernandes played some delightful one touch football and Hart's performance should silence the critics who reckon our top priority is for a top class 'keeper. A pity Bianchi & Geovanni can't get a chance to show they can do, still with the Christmas rush of games to come no doubt their chances will come.
alphieblues
Pleasing to see a clean sheet on the road - Hart growing in stature and the defence improved with Fernandes and Petrov getting back to shore up that left flank. Fernandes v. accomplished and more than adequate in the role. Agree some slick passing and movement - but if we can't take our chances...the priority is a striker (Vas.Mpenza,Sam not good enough) and Bianchi, well who knows?
Craig Cain
JB, I would like to see you do another article on who do you think we will get in the january sales. The one you did at the start was brilliant and Svennis didn't take on board any of your signings. I just wonder if now you know what he is looking for whether you can predict who this time.
Buzz Lightyear
Alphie, whats even better about Fernandes was that this was his first start, just think how good he will be if he gets the runs he deserves from this. Sven can only pick 11 to go on the field, but i do think that Bianchi should be get a run before the transfer window. He cant do any worse and probably would benefit from a start rather than the last 30 seconds of a match to impress.
Buzz Lightyear
Buzz ...JB was not the only one who couldn't guess who Sven's signings would be the whole of the media couldn't guess either. I counted at least 58 players rumoured by the media and not one was correct. I think the same thing will happen in January especially with his world wide contacts.
alphieblues
Hello fellas. There is definitely going to be something afoot transfer window wise and I'd suggest contacts are being worked on now. We'll certainly weigh it up. Sven promises a big name, and I'm with CC's analysis. It will be a striker. The Patrick Viera spotted with Sven rumour still lurks on the continent. Myself and CC discussed this recently and though he's done it all, he could share Hamman's shirt as the big German's legs will need some cover at some stage. Future central midfield pairing? Gelson and Johnson. Exciting times!
Johnny Baguette
JB, will big named players come to City, even if we don't make the champions league, is the eufa just a big a draw for players? Can we make that leap from the big four to the big five. We certainly need to bolster the squad, the only trouble with that comes with trying to make everyone happy. Alphie I was not having a go at JB, I thought his article was brilliant and I was thinking that some of the names mentioned wouldn't even look at us twice, I was thinking small time. We are short in several areas (squad wise) Also who is going the other way? Do you give Sam Harris another season, do you keep Vass as a squad player. He always gives 100% but is he good enough for a top premier team. I don't propose a wholesale clearout, but a gradual one, one in one out.
Buzz Lightyear
Well, we haven't been out of the top five all season. If we can maintain that through until Christmas, I see no reason why big name signings would not get on board. We are playing attractive football under a top class coach. There will be agents circling Eastlands in December looking for a big pay day, I assure you!
Johnny Baguette
Jb: As we have said, we need to be looking for a long term replacement for Hamann. Buzz. I'd sell sell sell (Sam, Mpenza and Vas).Take a look at the boy Doyle against Reading - see how he handles Micah and Dunne - reckon he could probably do a job for us. On the league - we should be, and can be top 5/6. The league outside of the top four is flaky no doubt.
Craig Cain
I don't think Sam, Mpenza and Vas will be sold, more that the likes of D. Mills, M.Mills, Dickov, and Corradi would go first. I don't think Doyle would be an improvement on our present squad.
alphieblues
Cannot argue with that. Not many teams will go down their and get a result. Well done.
will it ever happen
How many times have Elano & Bianchi played together ? A:Twice !!!!!!!
city 81
Wasn't aware of that stat, city 81. The countdown to January is on and these lads will be surely anxious to prove themselves. Bianchi won every header after he came on at Sunderland and certainly unsettled their defence. His reward was the bench again. I don't understand it.
Johnny Baguette
Any truth in you lot going for Barbietov? Spuds rubbish that rumour, but you never know...
Blue is the colour
no thanks, as we say in Manc: a smacked arse.
Craig Cain
If there is one thing we need to avoid in January, it is recruiting any player with the slightest prima donna reputation. It's clear there's a real team ethic existing in our young squad which could be disrupted if somebody like an Anelka, who has downed tools at Bolton like he did under Mad Kev arrived. As for Berbatov, I've heard similar but some hacks are making a great deal of his fellow countryman connection with Petrov and Bojinov.
Johnny Baguette
I wonder why Petrov chose us when most hacks thought he would join Spurs ???
alphieblues
Alphie money money money
Buzz Lightyear
er, must be funny, in a rich man's world...
Johnny Baguette
So can I assume we actually did you a favour?
merlin
It was a good game for a 0-0 draw. Thought young Hart had a great game in goal.
dazza71
 

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