Manchester City Forum - Manchester City v Spurs - 5.30pm GMT Sat 21st Jan 2017 - Premier League Match Day Thread
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Manchester City v Spurs - 5.30pm GMT Sat 21st Jan 2017 - Premier League Match Day Thread
20 January 2017 09:08 Post ID: #592768
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"I want to believe"

This phrase is no longer exclusively the preserve of FBI agent Fox Mulder from the 1990s hit tv series The X-Files but perhaps more currently recited by many a Blues fan as we stumble into the second half of Pep Guardiola’s inaugural season as the coach of Manchester City. The undercurrent of anticipation that was felt nearly a year ago when it was confirmed that Guardiola would be joining our club; the cautious optimism that emerged during the early autumn as City won 10 consecutive matches (yes, it really did happen, it wasn’t a parallel universe); the euphoria experienced when City defeated Barcelona at the Etihad…………are all dim and increasingly distant memories.

Last weekend’s emphatic defeat at the hands of Everton felt like a significant moment in our season and Blues fans could be forgiven for feeling conflicted right now. The promise of last summer has faded far too fast it might seem and although Guardiola did warn that defeats would come and the road ahead would not be smooth it feels far too early for our faith to be being tested yet again. And talking of being tested…….

The visit of Pochettino’s in form Spurs side this weekend will offer a massive test to Guardiola and his battered squad. They secured their seventh consecutive victory last weekend with a comprehensive 4-0 thumping of West Brom. Their confidence will be sky high and they will be salivating at the very thought of taking on a City team seemingly low in confidence; assailed by doubts about their ability to defend; in the midst of a raging debate swirling around Pep’s choice of goalkeeper and lacking any serious cutting edge. Perhaps this is all part of a masterplan - lull your opponents into a true sense of security?

Pep and his team of advisors will have their work cut out to develop a plan to cope with Tottenham’s marauding full backs Rose and Walker; with on form striker Harry Kane; with the guide and delivery of Eriksen and the skills of England’s current ‘Golden Boy’, Dele Alli. The only cloud on Spur’s horizon is the absence of Vertonghen which will disrupt their defensive unit but given how toothless City have been recently (WHU excepted) Pochettino may not lose too much sleep over this. Lamela will also be missing for Spurs. City await news on whether Kompany will ever be fit again and Fernando may face a late fitness test. Fernandinho will be absent again due to his suspension. In the good news column, new signing Gabriel Jesus, Brazil’s current No 9, has finally been cleared to play for City. The FA eventually decided that they could find no additional reasons to hold up his paperwork to handicap City but, should he make an appearance this weekend, I would not be surprised to see him booked twice (simulation perhaps and maybe a goal celebration shirt removal?) and sent off by Andre Marriner.

In the eyes of many City fans Pep has a big call this weekend - whether to retain Bravo or ‘rest’ him in favour of Caballero. I am not entirely sure Pep will see it this way though. To many out makes perfect sense to take the guy out of the firing line - he has been subject to dog’s abuse on social media; faced sarcastic cheers from the club’s own fans whenever he catches the ball and generally been held up as the one responsible for City shipping pretty much any goal this season. That he could have done better in certain situations (e.g. one-on-ones) is not in question but City’s defensive failings this season are not his sole responsibility and for him to be hung out to dry is unfair and damaging to the morale of the whole team and the atmosphere at the ground.

At times this season City’s defence has had more holes in it that a Swiss cheese and whilst making a few saves would do Bravo’s case the world of good, the fact remains that City present far too many clear cut chances to their opponents who seem to take it as shooting practice. Pep has always prided himself on his side’s defensive strength. Ernesto Valverde, a coach at Atletico Madrid and friend of Guardiola, is quoted:-

“What Pep achieved at Barca and Bayern was to teach teams how to organise an almost impenetrable defence ……..his positional play resulted in superb attacking but his real genius lay in the way he created and managed his defensive line”

Martí Perarnau - “Pep Guardiola the evolution”

The words ‘impenetrable defence’ and ‘Manchester City’ are not part of a sentence anyone is likely to construct right now except to point out that Pep has his work cut out creating anything like the defensive bedrock that he established at Barcelona and Bayern. It has to be put down under ‘Work in Progress’ and it is no doubt hampered by a number of factors - not having sufficient players of the right quality at his disposal right now; the age of some squad members especially in the full back positions; the realisation by some of the squad that they do not feature in Pep’s long term plans (drop your intensity by 5% in this league and you will be found out); and the squad still adapting to his ‘positional play’ philosophy (in fact maybe some are resisting?).In Defensive strength comes from the whole team - hardly radical but nevertheless it is the responsibility of every player and if they don't make themselves available at the right moment to receive a pass, if they fail to track back and pressure opponents, if they fail to anticipate the huge gaps that opponents can exploit......well, that puts a lot on the keeper. In short, Bravo could do better, but he is not solely to blame and whilst I would personally favour his removal from the cross hairs as his confidence is almost certainly shot to pieces butI would also not be at all surprised to see him named in the starting XI at 4.30pm Saturday.

We want to believe - we really do - that after decades of serial underachievement and after witnessing some fantastic times since the takeover in 2008, that this final piece placed on the carefully constructed MCFC footballing chessboard isn’t in danger of crumbling before our very eyes. Too much has been invested - funding and trust by the owners, faith and their hard earned cash by the fans - to see all that hard work and meticulous preparation fail. So it is time to gird our loins, don the tin hats and return to the bottomless well of faith that football club supporters keep in their hearts and back the team - ALL the team - this weekend. Being a City fan has rarely been easy - but we have to believe if we want to succeed so let’s show our support this Saturday and become our own 12th man at the Etihad! Let’s make it 12 v12!!

Come on City!!!
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20 January 2017 09:09 Post ID: #592510 - in reply to #592768
I appreciate the game isn't until Saturday and by then Skoorb will have written his preview but between now and then I think we just may have one or two things to discuss.

The MDT is officially open for business.

Bravo - in or out?

VK - in or out?

Gabriel Jesus - will be make an appearance?

Will Pep have walked by Saturday?
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20 January 2017 09:09 Post ID: #592511 - in reply to #592510
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Today is Blue Monday, the day when everyone feels depressed after Christmas, when we're all back at work and the credit card bills arrive and we've just been murdered by Everton.
Now you go and make it even worse.


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20 January 2017 09:09 Post ID: #592512 - in reply to #592511
As the saying goes Rising....

Its good to talk
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20 January 2017 09:09 Post ID: #592513 - in reply to #592512
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Tudor - 16/1/2017 10:10

As the saying goes Rising....

Its good to talk :034:


Bollox, I say.


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20 January 2017 09:09 Post ID: #592514 - in reply to #592513
Rising - 16/1/2017 10:12

Tudor - 16/1/2017 10:10

As the saying goes Rising....

Its good to talk :034:


Bollox, I say.


Perhaps its time for a
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20 January 2017 09:09 Post ID: #592515 - in reply to #592514
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Yes, together with a nice bottle of red.


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20 January 2017 09:09 Post ID: #592517 - in reply to #592510
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Monday has been a bad day for me, kept checking all the links just in case the score line was an apparition! I think we have to put out our best available side v Spurs. VK on the bench, but bring on as a sub. Bravo is still better than Willy. Jesus also on as a sub. Will Pep walk, no, but the Sheik will be asking some hard questions of his Chair by now.
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20 January 2017 09:09 Post ID: #592518 - in reply to #592515
Rising - 16/1/2017 10:16


Yes, together with a nice bottle of red.


I was very good yesterday and only had two glasses of vodka / redbull whilst cooking the Sunday roast. However, this afternoon a nice bottle of red, which will have had time to breath will have been corked and consumed come 5pm.
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20 January 2017 09:09 Post ID: #592523 - in reply to #592510
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I may need some time to get my thoughts together after the shredding we experienced yesterday
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20 January 2017 09:09 Post ID: #592554 - in reply to #592510
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we need a few days, this is too early to get back on the horse and the media are going to run with back to back defeats, but again it should not all be laid at Bravo's feet or tell me which shots from 6 yards should he have stopped, if the defence don't do their job in front of him..

They looked heads down after the second, so how do you back your team? only support them when they are winning?

Of course not, still 5th and still a long way to go.
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20 January 2017 09:09 Post ID: #592558 - in reply to #592510
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Bravo isn't the only one not playing well but as a keeper any mistakes are amplified tenfold, any mistake of positioning is crucial but he has been horribly exposed by some awful defending and the dog's breakfast that is in front of him. The team is in a mess, confused, lacking confidence, unsure of exactly how to execute Guardiola's instructions and unable to get the ball in the opponet's net. Maybe if our strikers could score it wouldn't be such a issue - unfortunately they keep missing or pissing about with the ball to zero effect. Let's talk about them.
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20 January 2017 09:09 Post ID: #592560 - in reply to #592510
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Yes but again if we can see it, so must Pep or is it that stubborn streak that we have pointed out before. Give CB a break from the firing line, let the media have a go at someone else, because for certain they will.

The only way to stop it is by winning 18 games on the trot.
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20 January 2017 09:09 Post ID: #592608 - in reply to #592510
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Niall Quinn.

He says that Typical City has never gone away so that means we are going to batter Spurs?
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20 January 2017 09:09 Post ID: #592611 - in reply to #592510
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Quinn is an arsehole, I'm going to tell him as much too if I bump into him again.

Pissed me right off the other day, one example was saying Sterling should shoot first time, if you recall it was when he had a stonewall penalty turned down.

Now that in itself is fine but then a few moments later DeBruyne picks out Silva in acres in the box, Silva tries to control but it's a bit loose allowing Robles time to come out and close it down, no mention from Quinn about hitting it first time, why doesn't the same apply to Silva as Sterling?Instead just praise for Robles for being so alert.
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20 January 2017 09:09 Post ID: #592621 - in reply to #592510
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In.
Berti
Berti.
No.

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20 January 2017 09:09 Post ID: #592641 - in reply to #592611
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Bluedub - 17/1/2017 14:15

Quinn is an arsehole, I'm going to tell him as much too if I bump into him again.

Pissed me right off the other day, one example was saying Sterling should shoot first time, if you recall it was when he had a stonewall penalty turned down.

Now that in itself is fine but then a few moments later DeBruyne picks out Silva in acres in the box, Silva tries to control but it's a bit loose allowing Robles time to come out and close it down, no mention from Quinn about hitting it first time, why doesn't the same apply to Silva as Sterling?Instead just praise for Robles for being so alert.


BD - NQ has the short term memory of a goldfish (3 secs)
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