Writer: Johnny Baguette
Date:Saturday August 8 2009
City Of Manchester Stadium
Saturday 8th August 2009
A steadily strengthened City squad go into their final pre season friendly of the summer aiming for a win booster to take us into next weekend's Blackburn Premier League Opener
'Celtic's confidence will be on a high because they had a fantastic win in midweek. Our game at Rangers was at a better level than we had before, and that is what you want. You need a gradual increase in the intensity.'
We should get a clearer idea today of what Sparky's line up will be for the clash at Blackburn.
Injury wise, Roque Santa Cruz and Vinny Kompany certainly won't feature and the City gaffer revealed after the Blues 3-2 defeat at Ibrox that Gareth Barry has not been in full training.
Carlos Tevez featured in the Eastlands 'Open House' Training session on Thursday but his shower slip knacked heel problem could see him play a reserved role.
Craig Bellamy, whose trip to Rangers saw him in a generally bad mood was clattered that night but should feature.
The Eastlands faithful should also see the return of Vital MC favourite Shaun Wright-Phillips to the right side and Nedum Onuoha play in some capacity.
Rigsby is a class act and looks to be increasingly firing on all cylinders at just the right time after being brought back cautiously from last season's serious injury. He absolutely terrifies defences. How we missed him last season!
Tony Mowbray's side will have a feel good factor about them after their stunning European win in Moscow this week, knowing that they face Arsenal in the Champions League next up. We can expect them to field a more settled side as they gear up for their Aberdeen opener and The Arsenal.
The former Heerenveen hotshot and erstwhile stumbling City basketball player has found a new lease of life at Celtic Park and is starting to look the part. His 91st minute winner at Dinamo Moscow on Wednesday night showed just how far the lad has come with backing and confidence.
Friendly: 6th August 2008, Celtic Park
Celtic 1 CITY 1
Scorers: Petrov 53, McGowan 79
CITY: Hart (Schmeichel 46), Corluka (Onuoha 46), Richards, Dunne (Ben Haim 46), Garrido, Etuhu (Ireland 74), Fernandes, Johnson, Petrov, Bojinov (Sturridge 46), Vassell (Evans 76). Not used: Ball
Celtic: Boruc, Hinkel, Naylor, O`Dea, Cuthbert, Hartley (Millar 62), Gravesen (Caddis 46), Donati, Riordan (McCourt 62), Vennegoor of Hesselink (Samaras 46), McGowan. Not used: Brown, Conroy and McDonald.
We saw last season just how much the likes of Robinho revel playing in Eastlands' open spaces and after 5 games on the road, I'm expecting City to come out swashbuckling. I am hoping that Mark Hughes will play a 442 or 443 shoot-on-sight formation and that The Blues' defence have sorted themselves out post Ibrox. Celtic may well have something of the European hangover's that City suffered throughout last season and will have to be on their guard against City's rapid pass and move. The Bhoys vociferous following are sure to be on top form so the stage is set for a cracking contest. Johnny On The Spot: CITY 3 Celtic 1
Sat 15 Aug 15:00 GMT+1 Blackburn Rovers v CITY - FA Premier League
Wed 19 Aug 21:00 GMT+1 FC Barcelona v CITY - Friendly; Joan Gamper Trophy
Sat 22 Aug 15:00 GMT+1 CITY v Wolves - FA Premier League
Date:Saturday August 8 2009
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