Writer: Johnny Baguette
Date:Friday November 30 2007
Here comes Decisive December. Fixtures that on paper might not have appeared such daunting tasks a couple of weeks ago have to be negotiated. Tough assignments will swiftly follow heading into the Christmas period.
It's clear that there is a strong team spirit mentality in Svennis' City squad. The sight of Andreas Isaksson charging up the pitch to join in the celebrations after Superman struck against Reading spoke volumes for the evident togetherness. We are going to need every ounce of that spirit this December, as our small squad will be stretched to the limit in the next four weeks.
How the management team and players negotiate injuries will be critical. The hacks are making much of Elano's absence at Wigan, but the lad has looked unsurprisingly burnt out of late. You have to ask whether it was wise to start him against Birmingham and Reading post Brazilian duty. Even though he scored the winner versus Brum, have the demands on his body finally told? The extent of his hamstring injury in training at Carrington this week should be known shortly. Fingers and bootlaces crossed for a positive outcome.
Of course, we have a more than capable replacement in Geovanni ready to make his first start since slaying Taggart's rags at the end of the summer. He's had his own injury issues but encouragingly, got right in amongst it after he came on against Reading. His performance will be the key as we take on the Wigan Pietasters.
And what of Wigan? Yet another side who we owe big time following clueless cave-in's during the Pearce-Wigley era. They will be right up for it led by their new gaffer and one of our favorites, Steve Bruce. New Manager Syndrome can go either way. You either get a continued initial nosedive or a sudden resurgence, and we should know, because we are Man City Fans. I'm predicting a close fought scrap.
Of course, we will take on another new manager both home and away in the league and league cup this month. Juande Ramos, heavily linked with City last summer has got a hell of a job on at Spurs, not least in overcoming the language barrier. But the signs are there that he is slowly galvanising his team and outside of their dodgy defence, they are rediscovering some of their potency.
Whatever happens, both Spurs and Wigan will do well to show City some respect. We are unbeaten in four games since our humiliation at Chelski, only conceding once. That result alone appears to be motivating our players to be prepared to dig in for victory.
Sandwiched inbetween the 'Spurs Series,' newish Bolton manager Gary Megson will bring his increasingly combative but essentially dreadful side to Eastlands. You just can't see Sven throwing a Taggart style hissy fit as the inevitable crunching tackles fly in though, can you?
Assuming we get through the above encounters relatively unscathed, we face a resurgent Aston Villa, an always stubborn Blackburn and a talented Liverpool before we reach January and the MCFC reinforcements arrive.
In conclusion, City have to continue to keep it tight and take the opportunities we create. Home advantage must continue to tell, but we must carve out some wins away from home if we are to maintain our top five position.
However, for Decisive December to become Dynamic December, we need to score more goals and our strikers must deliver.
Date:Friday November 30 2007
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