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Manchester City v Watford - 8pm Tues 2nd Jan - Premier League Preview and Match Day Thread
01 January 2018 09:14 Post ID: #615057
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Rant & preview

Pep Guardiola and his squad enter 2018 battered and bruised but with their spirit unbowed and, I am sure, with a burning desire to continue their unparalleled run in the Premier League. Top of the league by a record 14 points, undefeated in the league this season (P21 W19 D2 L0) and playing football which has finally got the hacks and pundits eating their words about Pep Guardiola’s ability as a coach.

After a costly trip to the return nation’s capital on New Year’s Eve where they gained a point but lost Gabriel Jesus and Kevin De Bruyne to injury, next up at Fortress Etihad on Tuesday are Marco Silva’s Watford. Despite Pep’s plea to officials in his post match press conference on Sunday to protect players, he will be going into this game I am sure with some trepidation having lost both Jesus and De Bruyne to poor challenges in the draw against Palace.

After all, Watford are not a side renowned for being shy in knocking their opponent’s about. Troy Deeney will miss the game after he received a 4 (yes, four) game ban for a straight red card after lunging at Huddersfield’s Collin Quaner and, lest we forget, it was against this side in December 2016 where Prodas could easily have received a red card and where Ilkay Gundogan was on the end of a tackle from Amrabat which tore his ACL leaving him facing nine months+ of painful rehabilitation. I am recall saying at the time that that injury was the result of weak refereeing where the failure of Kevin Friend to punish the Watford players for their persistent foul play - they were constantly committing fouls high up the pitch in City’s half - led they to continue their assaults until eventually a player was seriously hurt.

The referee on Tuesday evening will be Lee Mason. All eyes will be on him because it seems that after the words of Paul Pogba, Moaning Maureen and Danny Murphy last month it is open season on Manchester City players.

Their words, seeded in December, have taken root and are now bearing their evil fruit.

The rest of the league, frustrated by their inability to defeat City by fair means have resorted to the darker arts and are, I am ashamed to say, being aided and abetted by the officials.

The words…….

Paul Pogba - BBC Football Focus - 2 Dec 2017

"I hope - and it's bad to say things like this - but I hope they will get some very important players injured like what happened with us,"

Jose Mourinho - 8th Dec 2017

“One thing that I don’t like a lot is that they lose their balance very easily. A little bit of wind and they fall”

Danny Murphy - MotD - 14 Dec 2017

"But not one Swansea player got a yellow card. Some people would say 'good discipline' — I don’t.

"I think you've got to be trying to get in their faces. A few badly-timed tackles and a few bits of indiscipline... I don't mind that from my players.

"No tackles and no yellow cards. It was powderpuff.”

Grateful thanks to the BBC for providing the platform for these guys to spout their ‘stuff’.


Since Murphy advocated that City’s opponents ought to make “a few badly-timed tackles” we have seen red card offences committed by Kane, Alli, Diame and now Puncheon against Sterling, De Bruyne & Gundogan. three of those resulted in yellow cards despite the fact that they were all sending off offences.

The effect………

Foden sustained a ligament injury after a heavy challenge rom the thug Maguire in the League Cup quarter final, Jesus could be sidelined for 4 weeks+ after a tackle from Townsend on Sunday where he went through Gabriel’s standing leg causing him to twist, lose his footing and strain his knee and then have the referee - clearly a medical expert - diagnose that he was not injured (the effect of Maureen’s words?) and initially refuse him medical treatment on the pitch.

And then we had Jason Puncheon’s ‘assault’ on De Bruyne which was pretty much pre-medititated IMO. Occurring immediately after Palace’s missed penalty Puncheon was stood on the edge of the City penalty area with his back to the City goal and watching Kevin De Bruyne. When the ball breaks and is collected by De Bruyne who breaks forward, Puncheon accelerates and launches himself at the Belgian taking none of the ball but catching the City play maker knee height and laying him out. He was positioned and Intended to prevent a City counter attack by fair means or foul. It was a leg breaker straight out of the book of Chopper Harris - for those of us old enough to remember his agricultural tackles. He chose foul and then proceeded to require treatment of his own - it worked as the referee took pity on him and only issue a yellow card for what could not have more clearly been a sending off offence.

The insidious effect of the words of Pogba, Maureen and Murphy are having an effect. Leicester, Spurs, Newcastle and now Palace have taken opportunities to commit bad fouls which have not been appropriately punished by the referees in those games - the standard is set, the licence to go over the top has been issued and the officials have been complicit.

It is a small step from Mourinho’s thinly veiled accusation that City players dive whenever they can to assuming that they are not injured when they claim to be - I cannot see any other excuse for Jon Moss assuming that Gabriel Jesus was not injured after Townsend’s foul on Sunday other than he thought he was making it up. Now where could he have gotten that idea from?

Pep is correct - the officials need to be stronger and punish these offences and ensure that the offenders are appropriately sanctioned. We have seen the effects of their failure to do so in the injuries sustained by City’s players since Danny Murphy advocated more “badly-timed tackles”. WTF?

On to the game……

Aside from Chopper Deeney, Watford will also be missing Kaboul, Hughes, Britos, Femenia, Success, Chalobah, Cathcart and Hoban through injury.

For City, Mendy and Foden are now joined by Jesus and De Bruyne. Delph remains a doubt having missed the last few games suffering muscle fatigue but Tuesday may see the return to fitness of John Stones and potentially Kompany.

With David Silva perhaps still absent dealing with family matters in Spain (our best wishes to him), De Bruyne sidelined and Jesus out of the frame Pep will have to shuffle his pack with perhaps a berth found for Bernardo Silva in the centre of midfield. We all knew that the depth of the squad and their resilience would be tested as the season progressed - well it looks like now is that time. With the FA Cup and League Cup fixtures looming followed by a trip to Anfield on 14th January I can see some game time for young Zinchenko, Toure and Diaz soon but for tomorrow I fancy Pepe to field a string side to start 2018 well and send out a strong message - we will NOT be intimidated.

Possible starting XI and subs: -

Ederson

Walker, Stones, Otamendi, Danilo

B Silva, Fernandinho, Gundogan

Sterling, Aguero, Sane

Subs

Bravo, Zinchenko, Mangala, Adarabioyo, Toure, Delph, Diaz

City’s recent record in all competitions against Watford reads P6 W6 GF21 GA3. The last two fixtures have been 0-6 and 0-5 victories.

I hope we see another one of those thumping wins on Tuesday night. After the weekend and witnessing the level to which sides are stooping to try and stop us I want nothing better than for Pep’s side to ram their thuggery down their throats.

The officials need to get their collective act together and do their job properly.

Referee: Lee Mason
Assistants: Harry Lennard, Matthew Wilkes
Fourth official: Mike Dean

We will be watching you.

Come On City!!!
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01 January 2018 10:09 Post ID: #615060 - in reply to #615057
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Contact with De Bruyne was after he'd passed the ball to Aguero.

I think that team won't be far off the mark
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01 January 2018 14:23 Post ID: #615076 - in reply to #615057
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Ederson

Walker, Stones, Otamendi, Danilo

B Silva, Fernandinho, Gundogan

Sterling, Aguero, Sane


I think too early to start Stones Skoorb, especially on a cold January Day in 2018, and Mangala, is the better bet. I hope Delph is fit, although he may not be the better defender his midfield play is far superior.

Danilo defending on left 6 midfield 4
Delph defending on the left 5 Midfield 8

apart from that I think I would have chosen the same team, but did toy with leaving out sergio and playing a false 9 with Toure in there.
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01 January 2018 14:34 Post ID: #615079 - in reply to #615057
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My thinking was that with the subsequent two games against Burnley and Bristol City in the FA Cup Pep might keep the momentum up in the league before tweaking to a larger extent in the cup comps. But you may have it right - it may yet be a bit early for Stonesy and of course we alsoi may have VK back. For six minutes.
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01 January 2018 14:43 Post ID: #615080 - in reply to #615057
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I am thinking, if we sustain another good kicking against Watford, he will need time to recover what we have left, The FA Cup match I think will be packed with EDS and I was going to say fringe players but everyone has to get involved now and show that we can compete without KDB and David and someone has to step up and says Hi, I am the playmaker while the other are away.

Ilkay Gundogan and Toure
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01 January 2018 17:18 Post ID: #615082 - in reply to #615057
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If Delph is fit I'd like to see him back in there instead of Danilo.

Could also be a case for sticking with Mangala and giving Stonesy a bit more time on the berti.

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01 January 2018 23:40 Post ID: #615092 - in reply to #615057
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Word is David Silva trained today and is available for tomorrow.
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02 January 2018 01:42 Post ID: #615095 - in reply to #615057
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Well Kun should get plenty of game time now with the Jesus injury. From the man himself he should be OK in a few weeks.

“Today I went through an image exam on my left knee that diagnosed a small medial collateral ligament injury,” Jesus wrote on Instagram on Monday.

“Thank God it is not very bad and I won’t have to go through any surgery procedure. Promise to be back as soon as possible.”
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02 January 2018 04:13 Post ID: #615096 - in reply to #615057
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I think Mason will be keeping an eye open for any of the ridiculous tackles we’ve seen in the last few games.
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02 January 2018 05:13 Post ID: #615099 - in reply to #615096
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You would hope so Bart, but don't hold your breath.

Rumour has it that KDB might be fit enough to play, Silva did indeed train and Aguero knowing that his place is safe will relax and those shots going wide should now go in.
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02 January 2018 05:28 Post ID: #615100 - in reply to #615057
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Stats attack

Hitting the woodwork again this season we head the stats on that one with 13.
We are however bottom of the long ball (hav'it) league


Head to head with Watford - Premier League Played 7 won 5 Drawn 2. GF 18 GA 2

last time out

Sept 2017 won 6-0 away at Vicarage Road

Eddy Moraes
Walker Stones Otamendi Mendy
Fernandinho
Silva Sterling De Bruyne
Aguero Jesus

Aguero 3 Sterling Otamendi Jesus
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02 January 2018 05:40 Post ID: #615102 - in reply to #615057
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This apparently is the Provisional Squad

Provisional squad: Ederson, Bravo, Walker, Kompany, Otamendi, Stones, Mangala, Delph, Danilo, Zinchenko, Toure, Gundogan, Fernandinho, B Silva, Sane, Sterling, Aguero.

which means there could be changes ie additions depending on fitness tests.
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02 January 2018 07:21 Post ID: #615104 - in reply to #615095
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johnkelv - 2/1/2018 01:42

Well Kun should get plenty of game time now with the Jesus injury. From the man himself he should be OK in a few weeks.

“Today I went through an image exam on my left knee that diagnosed a small medial collateral ligament injury,” Jesus wrote on Instagram on Monday.

“Thank God it is not very bad and I won’t have to go through any surgery procedure. Promise to be back as soon as possible.” :001:


Better news than it might have been. I think the lad feared he had done his ACL like Mendy.
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02 January 2018 07:48 Post ID: #615107 - in reply to #615096
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OziMan - 2/1/2018 04:13

I think Mason will be keeping an eye open for any of the ridiculous tackles we’ve seen in the last few games.


I wouldn't count on it Ozi, the last time I remember Mason reffing us was at home to Burnley last season, Guardiola was having a conniption at the end of the game because of some of the stuff Mason let them away with.
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02 January 2018 15:07 Post ID: #615113 - in reply to #615057
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Open season on us right now methinks & Watford were serial offenders in the persistent fouling stakes last time we played them at home in Dec 2016. I have little faith Mason will keep them in check
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02 January 2018 18:27 Post ID: #615117 - in reply to #615057
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News on David Silva. It seems his absences were related to his wife’s pregnancy but all is now ok and El Mago has returned to training and is available for selection.

https://www.mcfcwatch.com/2018/01/02/revealed-why-david-silva-has-be...

Good to hear that all is well
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02 January 2018 18:29 Post ID: #615118 - in reply to #615057
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Man city Provisional squad:

Ederson, Bravo, Walker, Kompany, Otamendi, Stones, Mangala, Delph, Danilo, Zinchenko, Toure, Gundogan, Fernandinho, B Silva, Sane, Sterling, Aguero.
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