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Blackened Blue Eyes

City's poor form and inability to beat the all but doomed Derby County tonight means we face a hell of a fight to remain in the European places throughout February...

The biggest indicator of how far City's form has dipped since Newcastle away is certainly summed up by the fact that this was Derby's first point at home for four months. And it ended a run of seven successive defeats for them.

Furthermore, the same Derby side, save for a couple of changes,were humiliated at home 1-4 by Championship relegation threatened Preston North End in the FA Cup only a few days ago. Our side's incapability to take advantage of the deeper hole that Derby had fallen into is cause for alarm bells in all directions as far as this correspondent is concerned.

February needs no introduction. Arsenal and the rags are scoring for fun, shooting on sight and steamrollering some sides into submission. Sometimes, they choose to coast. City are currently unable to achieve any of these tasks and we now must look at the next three fixtures with a heavy degree of trepidation. Sheffield United and Derby County were always going to be the platform to build on going into the Gooners and rags games and essentially, City blew it.

Svennis and Hans Backe are now going to have to work some serious magic to lift morale and drag the team out of it's current malaise.

A proper shake up is required and reports that we have signed 20 year old Ecuadorian striker Felipe Caciedo from FC Basel for 5 million will at least give Sven another option, but surely Ishmael Miller would be more in tune with the demands of the Premier League than Caciedo. The rumours of signing Benjani Mwaruwari from Portsmouth, if realised, would give the side a lift. There has to be more room for manoeuvre wages wise now Pearce failures Dabo, Isaksson and Samaras are up the road after Bianchi's departure.

Again, City were reliant tonight on 18 year old Daniel Sturridge's instinct for goal to make sure of a point. The lad must be wiped out tonight. Surely he cannot maintain a sustained run in the side so soon after a 6 month lay off. Such is the pisspoor performance of our senior strikers that Sven chose to start with Sturridge at Derby. Mpenza and Vassell are going backwards and we may as well have played Bobbit Dickov for a bit of push and shove with the opposition keeper such is their ineffectiveness.

Elsewhere, up pops Jihai Sun again. His inclusion mystifies the vast majority of Blues and the conspiracy theories persist.

Back to the future, and I understand we will be without the cultured Corluka for the rags game and that is a major blow. Our MCFC Vital MOTM polls have shown him to be one of our most consistent performers and we'll miss his presence. - There's not a lot of upbeat news around Sportcity tonight. Sven says he's satisfied with the effort tonight but he'll know we have to start scoring goals and sharpish.

In summing up the situation on a bitterly disappointing night I'm going to try to accentuate the positive.

Sven-Goran Eriksson is no mug and we must keep the faith. He's performed a miracle turning our squad around and we continue to cling to our European qualifying position but only just. I think many of us maybe expected too much too soon and have to look for some balance. But we are still in a great position as we head into February.

Eastlands remains our Fortress and Arsenal have to come to Manchester and take us on as well as that bit of psyche. The rags will be another story altogether. Form always goes out the window and they have failed to beat us seven times out of 11 in the league since we were promoted under Mad Kev. Everton are up there on merit and will be no pushover but beatable.

Okay, this might sound like straw clutching and if we are to get anything out of these games then City must raise their game in all areas. The inclusion of Richards, Johnson and Bojinov in the team can't come quickly enough.

Miracles can and do happen. Look at where we were 12 months ago.

With due respect to the brilliant Charlatans.

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The journalist

Writer: Johnny Baguette Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Thursday January 31 2008

Time: 12:30AM

Your Comments (oldest first)

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Latest Poll Result: "Micah Richards - Indispensable?" 43% say No, he is badly advised, sell him and 57% say give him the money he wants.
Johnny Baguette
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31/01/2008 01:22:00

Close on the Micah Richards vote, he says he is not greedy, but is he already outpricing himself out of a move, should one of the top three come in for him. Of all the teams that are 'spashing the cash' It would not surprise me if Tottenham had a late bid for him. I cannot remember what % Oldham is to get when and if we sell him.
Buzz Lightyear
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31/01/2008 05:36:00

A good article JB, but after we have played poorly for a number of weeks and have created little in the way of chances in matches last night we could have seen off Derby by half time, if only we had the clincal finish of a Jimmy Greaves or Denis Law etc. Sadly that is what is lacking. You cannot dispute that Darius puts himself about and runs his heart out, but if only he had that composure in front of goal. The passing was a bit woeful, but then got better. Petrov made some excellent chances for the front men and we split the Derby defence on numerous occasions but with no look. Again cast iron penalty for handball, I think we are coming back to form and anything from the next three games is going to be a bonus and we are still in with a shout at Europe.
Buzz Lightyear
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31/01/2008 05:43:00

Just watched the interview with Svennis on Sky, he is right we should have won, appears that he is confident of signing someone. Richards definately back for Saturday, no Corluka, but have able deputy in Onuoha if he is still here at 12.00 tonight.
Buzz Lightyear
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31/01/2008 05:53:00

Got to put sides like Derby to the sword. What an opportunity we had to progress last night as last weekend in the cup. Admittedly still early doors in The Sven Revolution but we need more options going into next month's challlenges. This could be an interesting day!
Johnny Baguette
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31/01/2008 07:10:00

JB, coming out of a bad spell, with a Derby team already doomed to relegation, who were lucky to score and were lucky not to concede a penalty, this was a good reult. The passing was better and when Elano came on, there were more chances. I know we should put away teams like these, but this is a new team and we would have lost this game in the past, we came back from being a goal down. There are positives like you say in your article, but SGE rested players who would have normally played had we not had too many game in a short space of time. I believe that the Transfer window at this time is flawed because you can't do good deals at this time. We were late in the summer getting going and SGE has done fabulous job and is still bringing in the youth players to see how they cope. The future is bright even if we don't get that Europeon place at the end of the day, 41 points in January is brilliant.
Buzz Lightyear
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31/01/2008 09:36:00

Yes BL, One point and quite equal to the total points last season.
city 81
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31/01/2008 10:47:00

Any balloons to be seen?
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31/01/2008 11:23:00

Have I missed something ? Why does Corluka miss the next match???
Report Abuse
31/01/2008 11:36:00

5 yellows for Corluka
Report Abuse
31/01/2008 13:46:00

Storagematt .... no balloons but maybe a Benjani on Saturday.
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31/01/2008 13:47:00

A pity Sven didn't take any notice of my team selection last night where I left Corluka out of the squad completely !!!
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31/01/2008 13:58:00

I've been told Corluka was duped into the booking by classic Savage play antics. The git.
Johnny Baguette
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31/01/2008 14:06:00


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