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'If It's Football, It's Vital'

Job Dunne

City continue to defy the odds and remain in the Premier League's fifth place thanks to some terrific defending against Liverpool...

A lot of people in football, and a good degree of Blues, have drifted into expecting far too much from a City side hastily assembled only four to five months ago. I myself was holding out for 40 points by tonight!

That City have been able to trouble the Champions League positions divine right of 'The Big Four' for so long this season is testament to some no less than brilliant work by Svennis and his backroom team.

The fact that there is some disappointment around Sportcity and in the sports media that we did not go for it more readily today gives cause for a reminder or two.

The Liverpool side repelled repeatedly today by a City side absolutely led by Richard Dunne cost a hell of a lot more to assemble, with resources on a different planet to us down the years and have absolutely battered some sides this season. With a bit of luck, and the ball rolling for us on the odd occasion, we could have sneaked a goal.

That we are able to hold one of the Big Four underlines some unbelievable progress under Sven's leadership. We've out-defended the rags and Liverpool and were worth a point at the Gooners. We are slowly becoming a no mug's side. Two league defeats in 15 games now, 36 points by New Year's Eve. I'll settle for that and would have never believed it in the summer, let alone after we were battered at Cheslki.

Above all else, take a look at that starting line up today, especially any visiting sports hack looking to guage the mood. Only 3 of the players starting today were brought in by Sven: Elano, Corluka and Petrov. All the remaining 8 players stumbled along under Stuart Pearce!

One thing's for sure, and I can say this clearly now that we are at the half way stage of the season. From what I've seen across the Premier League and the long haul, if Frank Shinawatra had not bought City and brought in Sven we would be sure fire relegation certs, unable to live with a good number of sides.

In conclusion, we have a team with bags of character to be proud of at long last and the future for MCFC is burning bright.

So see you in 2008 for three tough away assignments to take us into the second half of the campaign. We also have an intriguing transfer window swinging open...

A Happy Blue Year to all Manchester City fans world wide!




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The journalist

Writer: Johnny Baguette Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Sunday December 30 2007

Time: 7:35PM

Your Comments

We had the same score last season, before your summer investment, and I remember City playing us better then. You played for a point at home, and you got it. Elano was non existent, Petrov showed some glimpses early then disappeared as well. If it wasn't for your CB's, we would've won easily. Good luck the rest of the season.
JohnDoe
As I said, only 3 of the starting line up were part of City's 30 odd million summer investment. I don't know what you'd qualify as "playing us better then." I don't recall Liverpool looking that good back then either, even after a shedload of money was thrown at your squad again. In fact, the likes of Liverpool, the rags, Arsenal and Chelski should be battering sides like City week in, week out. It speaks volumes for your superstars that they are unable to do so. City defended as a team and clearly have a strong spirit. To say that you'd have won easily were it not for our centre backs is pretty dismissive and smacks of classic Big Four arrogance. Joe Hart, 20 years old was outstanding. Credit where it's due. All the best for 2008 and here's to the end of the Big Four domination!
Johnny Baguette
I was praising your CB's, not being arrogant. Your midfield was not existent, you didn't have one shot on goal, you only had two shots attempted, and you were the home team. While we on the other hand had 16 shot attempts, and six on target. It looked that we were the home team, not you. Based on that performance, you'll not be ending the big four domination any time soon. By the way, your net spending was more than Liverpool this summer, so lets not use our spending as an excuse.
JohnDoe
I think that this is the last match we play the defensive plan, With the addition of Castllo, back for Bojinov, presence Vassell Mpenza Bianchi and Perhaps there one striker will buy in few week come, For this it will be difficult to play 451, I think the plan will be 442 & Changed to 433, So I say goodbye to 451 & Goodbye to 2007, I wish to all ( Especially Manchester City fans ) the best in 2008 .
city 81
I think we proved today that with a couple more quality signings we are ready to break into the top four especially if Liverpool continue to play like they did today and at Derby last week we haven't much to fear. It will be interesting to see how Chelski perform over the next few weeks without their African Cup players. It could well be a seven horse race this year with Everton and Villa joining us in the top four tussle.
alphieblues
Understand you were praising our centre backs, but Ball, Onouha and Hart all played their part. Have to disagree re spending. You have to take into account the money it has taken to assemble this Liverpool squad in recent years, giving top drawer options all over the park. derby fans will agree that it's not quite coming together. Never said city would finish in the Champions League this season. Under no illusions, but some teams, including City are slowly getting stronger. The small squad Sven has assembled have achieved the unthinkable in the first half of this season. The odds have to be in favour of being able to give sides like Liverpool a real game in the years to come!
Johnny Baguette
Interesting points, city 81 and alphie. Could be that Svennis and Hans will aim to kick on from here and see where it takes us. We're now on 36 points. Looking backwards, City's last 5 Premier League seasons saw us attain 42, 43, 52, 41 and 51 total points. We are well on course to beat all those totals. Here's to City giving it a right go. Miracles can happen!
Johnny Baguette
Johnny, have to disagree regarding Ball, Onouha and Hart, We've gotten behind your fullbacks on several occasions, especially Onouha, and we either didn't cross the ball well or it was cleared by your CB's. While Hart only made one good save if I remember correctly, from Kuyt's header, and even then it had to be cleared of the line by Dunne. All other shots were straight at him, or missed the goal.
JohnDoe
I don't even think the Kuyt save was a good one. He seemed to spill the ball and knock it towards the goal.
Aamir
JB, look what JohnDoe say ( your net spending was more than Liverpool this summer ) ! look JohnDoe With the exception of the first season we come in Premier League, We had Spent in the last five years what the Liverpool spent in one season, We were not in the past have a base of the stars & In this season we started to Building team able to achieve championships in the future. With club & fans wants to restore glory, With the coach wants to Response Mind & Investor wants to achieve success, For all this factors I say we will achieve the goal .
city 81
I understand that city 81, although I don't think it's that big of a difference. I was merely replying to Johnny's post, when he said that we spent a shedload of money this summer. I was trying to make the point that Man City spent more than us last summer, yet played a better game against us last season. That's all.
JohnDoe
JohnDoe Liverpool do not need to spend a lot of money, Because you have possess a base of the stars, But you was need to a vaccination the team for one or two player contrary to our team .
city 81
One thing that seems to be overlooked in the game today is that Richards playing right of Dunny and the inclusion of Onouha has given the back four a real look of solidarity that has been missing in quite a few games this season. I just wonder if swopping Richards for Corlika in midfield would give us that extra bite that we are looking for....Answers on a postcard please !!!
alphieblues
I thought Onouha was actually pretty poor today, gave the ball away a lot, and many of Liverpool's breaks came down their left wing when Onouha seemed to have wandered infield a bit leaving space. Hopefully he's just rusty and will improve, otherwise I can't see him keeping his place for long, which would be a shame because Corluka looks good in midfield.
Chillum
Dunne was superman this game. One of the best defensive preformances I have ever been priveleged to see in my life.
gunnerkid107
JohnDoe, for clarification, in the article I referred to Liverpool's squad assembly, resources and spending "down the years." No comparison was made to City's spending based on one summer alone. The " shedload of money" quote was based on Liverpool's spending before the previous 0-0 at Eastlands.
Johnny Baguette
Any Blues out there up for Berbatov? Petrov-Bojinov factor alongside big cash incentive? Bloke I spoke to in a bar knows someone who...etc...
Johnny Baguette
JB excellent article, totally agree, Svennis has already taken us to another level. Yesterday instead of the 451 we normally have, we went for the Dick Turpin formation and got away with it. Aamir have another look at Harts save and then tell me it wasn't a great stop. Liverpool had 15 attempts on goal, some of those were woeful to say the least and those on target were saved, thats what the goalie does, its his job. Elano had four round him when he got the ball even then he nearly made you pay. Agree JB Liverpool have taken years to assemble a very good team and a lot of money. Yes we have spent loads of money too, but ALL of the experts at the start of the season said we would struggle. Almost all have changed their minds with the exception of Mark Lawrenson, who only occasionally has nice words to say about us, but even he predicted a draw. For all those people who have been knocking Richard Dunne, up yours. Brilliant Dunney thak you.
Buzz Lightyear
Sorry take that back about Lawrenson, he predicted a win for Liverpool, wrong again Lawro!!!
Buzz Lightyear
I was referring to your first post in this article Johnny, this post " even after a shedload of money was thrown at your squad again".
JohnDoe
Christ on a bike, John, this is turning into a correct use of English debate. Let's look at the full sentence in my first post.."I don't recall Liverpool looking that good back then either, even after a shedload of money was thrown at your squad again." - So there I was looking back at the draw last season, considering Liverpool's performance back then and recalling the money spent before that result.
Johnny Baguette
Hey JB forget JohnDoe... I see Sven has stated today on the MCFC website that there will be big names coming in costing a lot of money, that should have the Scousers really worried as it looks now as though they will have to win the Champions League to be in it next season.
alphieblues
I'm hearing news on the continent that it could be Berbatov or Anelka. Both also linked to the rags, but why would either sign for regular football with a squad already cntaining Quasimodo Tevez, Ladyboy Riverdancer, Potatohead and Louis Sahahaha?
Johnny Baguette
Richard Dunne's performance last night was in my opinion world class,people can say City were defensive but at the end of the day football is about both attacking and defending well,and they defended superbly.I do think we really do need more of a threat up front,but over all City have exceeded all expections and with two or three more new signings we could seriously threaten Liverpool for that fourth Champions League place.I believe they are the weakest of the so called "Big Four".It's not always about how much money you spend it's how wisely you spend it that counts.And Sven and co. have done that.So to all those people who have continually knocked City,do so at your peril!!!
Northern3
Hear, hear, Northern3! Spot on. El Diablo Castillo and Bojinov are waiting in the wings, but Sven might go for another striker as Samaras and Mpenza seem to be drifiting into the sea...
Johnny Baguette
alphieblues, Chelsea Perhaps lose three or four players when Africa Cup start ! also Suffering from injuries like the goalkeeper,Lampard, John Terry, Florian , I think it will be a chance for the teams how will meat Chelsea in these times, But is Manchester City one of these teams ?
city 81
Certainly wouldn't want Anelka back,would cause to much trouble in the dressing room for my liking,City seem to have a great team spirit and don't need players like Anelka causing problems.Berbatov seems to fit the bill but would he go to City,not sure about that?
Northern3
All will be revealed within the next 14 days!!
Johnny Baguette
Think the objective is fifth spot and UEFA cup this season guys - if SGE was serious about a champs league spot the Liverpool game would have been a must win. We're in a battle with Everton and Villa.
Craig Cain
Yes Craig I do tend to agree with you,but still think we could give Liverpool a run for there money,if we improved the team with 2 or 3 players.Let's be honest about it City have really exceeded all expections of most people,and a UEFA Cup place would be more than welcome.But wouldn't it be great to spilt up the so called "Big Four".
Northern3
CC Don't be so negative The Gooners and Chelski have to come to our place and we still have to go to Anfield....all winnable games that would really upset the applecart...Believe me the usual top four have got a real fight on their hands this year to maintain their positions.
alphieblues
Aint negative alphie, Eriksson would be a nut to try and break the big four in his first season - his target is fifth place (there's no doubting that after the L'pool game). The sqaud could not handle the rigours of champs league football yet anyway- lets get a UEFA spot and continue to progress solidly rather than pursuing the big bang.
Craig Cain
By next season we will have the squad to handle anything so why settle for anything less.
alphieblues
"that should have the Scousers really worried as it looks now as though they will have to win the Champions League to be in it next season." Personally, I'm not even remotely worried about us finishing in the top four. You have a good squad and I don't think you'll fade away but it's one season too early for you.
Aamir
takes many seasons to galvanize a squad that can operate effectively and consistently in europe and domestically - plenty have failed.
Craig Cain
One has to start somewhere and next season is as good as any. At least if you get one seasons experience in Europe can only augur well for the future.
alphieblues
 

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