Date:Thursday March 12 2009
City Of Manchester Stadium
Thursday 12th March 2009
Manchester City have a third Danish to fatten up our European portfolio.
Aalborg BK have been beaten by our last two Danish opponents in the Danish league, however, the UEFA Cup demolition of Deportivo La Coruna (6-1 aggregate), the Champions League group stage win against Celtic, as well as a two 2-2 draws against Manchester United and Villarreal respectively mean that this match is anything but predictable.
Manchester City manager Mark Hughes stated City's ambitions in the UEFA Cup saying: 'If you look at the quality of the teams that have been competing in the competition it is high quality and I think anyone would want to win.
'Different clubs have different circumstances and different priorities and our priority this year is to progress as far we can in the competition, which is why invariably we have gone with the strongest team we can.'
Richard Dunne talked of his desire to progress stating: 'The longer we stay in Europe, the more our name is lingering around, and the more people will think that City are actually quite a decent side.'
'We want this UEFA Cup run to continue. It's in our hands, and we feel with the draw that we've got a chance of progressing.'
Aalborg manager Magnus Pehrsson acknowledged Manchester City's status commenting: 'Of course Manchester City are the favourites on Thursday, but I truly believe that we can give them a match.
'I have a vision that City will start hard, they have a lot of fast feet in the team.
'It might sound like a cliché, but it will take a lot of hard work to stop them. But of course it's not only the defence tactics that will be enough to win the game.'
Midfielder Vincent Kompany is doubtful for the Uefa Cup tie with a toe injury and fellow midfielder Nigel de Jong is ineligible.
Outspoken striker Craig Bellamy remains injured and will play no part in the clash, meaning that either Felipe Caicedo or Ched Evans will start.
Brilliant Brazilian Robinho, who was absent for last week's emphatic league win over Aston Villa with an ankle injury has been cleared to play after treatment in his home country.
The diminutive winger was outstanding against Aston Villa and we will need his tenacity and skills to overcome a resolute and organised AaB side.
He is beginning to show the type of form he showed at the beginning of the season and his smile is enough to light up Eastlands.
Steve Olfers and Emil Hauck are both out injured for the Danish UEFA Cup hopefulls.
The 22-man squad brought to Manchester include the following:
1 Karim Zaza, Michael Jakobsen 2, 4 Michael Beauchamp, 5 Kjetil Wæhler, 7 Anders Due, Andreas Johansson 8, 9 Thomas Augustinus, 11 Luton Shelton, 14 Jeppe Curth, 15 Siyabonga Nomvethe, 16 Bøgelund Kasper, 18 caça, 19 Marcus Tracy , 20 Henrik Dalsgaard, 21 Kasper Risgård, 23 Thomas Enevoldsen, 24 Jens-Kristian Sorensen, 27 Patrick Kristensen, 30 Kenneth Stenild, 31 Lasse Nielsen, Ronnie Schwartz 32 and 36 Daniel Christensen.
Aab have a few players to watch, most notably Tomas Enevoldsen, Marek Saganowski, Anders Due and Thomas Augustinussen.
My pick of the bunch is Thomas Augustinussen as his height in midfield will be vital for winning balls. Manchester City struggle for height at the best of times and with Kompany potentially out, our midfield lacks physical presence.
Augustinussen is AaB's captain and is renound not only for his ability of winning balls, but also of distributing them with his diverse range of passing and neat through balls.
This is Manchester City's third Danish opponent in the UEFA Cup, having previously seen off Midtylland in the early stages and FC Copenhagen in our last European clash.
Aalborg have lost to both of Manchester City's previous opponents this season and sit in 5th position in the Danish league.
luxemburg referee Alain Hamer is in charge for this crucial home game against Aab. Alain Hamer has been noted for his exceptionally high card average. Expect whistles.
Regardless of some impressive results, Aalborg also lost 3-0 against Manchester United and 6-3 agaist Villareal in the reverse fixtures. Magnus Pehrsson's side firmly remain the underdogs as City have notched up some impressive wins of their own- notably a 3-0 victory against Champions League quarter-finalists Arsenal. I think Aalborg have enough in them to get a precious away goal, but I think Manchester City will turn up to win in style. MCFC 3-1 AaB
Away at Chelsea at 1.30pm on Sunday 15th March 2009
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Date:Thursday March 12 2009
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