Writer: Johnny Baguette
Date:Friday January 1 2010
The Riverside Stadium
Saturday, 2nd January
Handily placed in the League and gearing up for the League Cup rags revenge mission, The Blue Army trek to Middlesbrough for the start of the FA Cup campaign...
'We must have full attention on the FA Cup and then prepare for the next game as soon as the final whistle goes. We are excited by the FA Cup. I know in England that it is a very important competition.'
'We haven't got a single striker at the club. We'll patch things up and do what we can. We've had a lot of injuries come at the same time and it's stretching us to the limit.'
"Every Italian manager tries to organise the team to be solid in attack and defence and this team has started to learn that."
"We know that Boro have not been having the best of runs in the league but I know they have good players, talented players, and we know too that they will feel they have nothing to lose. One of this club's worst experiences in football in recent years - probably ever - was at Boro when we lost 8-1 and it would be nice for the fans to come away from the Riverside feeling happy!
"I like the freedom of playing full back but I am equally happy at centre half. I feel as if I am coming into the game in a decent patch of form and hopefully that will continue."
VMC City Video Link: Meet Mancini's Staff: Ivan Carminati - Fitness Coach
A far from ideal situation for ex rag Gordon Strachan.
Marcus Bent is likely to be the only available experienced Boro striker having extended his loan from Birmingham. Meawnhile, Dave Kitson has returned to Stoke.
Lita - Suspended
Digard - Back
Bates - Knee ligaments
Osbourne - On loan, ineligible
Aliadiere - Ankle
Wheater - Ankle and Knee
Pogatetz - Hamstring
Riggott is back at the centre of Boro's defence after a lenghty injury absence and his performance will be key here in the combatting of Petrov, Robinho, Bellamy, Tevez and co.
ComeOnBoro.com pinpointed Riggott as the one bright spark in Boro's recent defeat at Barnsley. His organisational skills will be crucial against in form City.
Mancio has increasing selection headaches going into this one. The 25 man senior squad he inherited is stretched across all departments and he will have a wary eye on the rags clash:
Toure - African Nations Cup
Adebayor - African Nations Cup
Ireland - Hamstring
Bridge - Knee ligaments
Onuoha - Calf
Lescott - Knee
Johnson - Knee ligaments
Benjani - Thigh, knee, okey cokey.
Shaun Wright-Phillips - Ankle
Santa Cruz - Calf
City squad: Given, Taylor, Zabaleta, Richards, Sylvinho, Garrido, Trippier, Wright-Phillips, Kompany, De Jong, Barry, Bellamy, Robinho, Petrov, Weiss, Tevez, Santa Cruz, Vidal, Boyata, Nimely, McDermott.
'El Apache' is on absolute fire and is the driving force behind City's latest unbeaten run. His skill, dynamism and commitment have been breathtaking and he will relish having a go at opposition who have been struggling of late.
Head To Head: City v Boro
League: 46 City wins, 25 draws, 43 Boro wins.
FA Cup: 1 City win, 2 draws, 3 Boro wins.
League Cup: 1 City win, 0 draws, 2 Boro wins.
Overall: 48 City wins, 27 draws, 48 Boro wins.
Martin Petrov, Javier Garrido and Stephen Ireland are the only players remaining in City's squad from the Riverside 8-1 humiliation in May 2008.
Boro under Gordon Strachan have won 1 home game since he replaced Gareth Southgate last October.
City have conceded only 2 defeats across 23 competitive games this season and won have won their last 3 league games scoring 9 goals in the process.
Carlos Tevez has scored 12 goals for City in 20 starts across all competitions.
Big Match Links:
ComeOnBoro.com link: Stew Flaherty's Boro v City Preview
VMC City Video Link: Festive City
VMC Forum Link: MATCHDAY THREAD: Middlesborough v Man City FA Cup 3rd Round - Jan 2nd 2010 - KO: 3pm UK Time
S Attwell (Warwickshire) Mr. Attwell takes charge of his 3rd City game of the season after the League Cup boreathon with Fulham and the insane 3-3 draw with Burnley. Not a big red card flourisher by any standard and likes to let a game flow. Current Season Record: Games:14, Yellow Cards:42, Red Cards: 2
There is surely only going to be one result here which will avenge so many rotten results for City on Teeside. This time around Boro welcome The Mancio inspired Citizens who are brimming with confidence and threatening to tear any side apart with their rapid pass and move football. Boro are in disarray and their only hope is to get in amongst City in the hope of grinding something out. Down the years, Blues would have been dreading this fixture, but with the likes of Given, Kompany, Barry and Tevez on board in rich form, reassurance comes by the lorry load. Johnny On The Spot?: Boro 0 CITY 4
A: Middlesbrough, FAC3 Sat 2 Jan 15h00 GMT
H: the rags, LCSF1, Wed 6 Jan 19h45 GMT
H: Blackburn, Mon 11 Jan 20h00 GMT
A: Everton, Sat 16 Jan 17h30 GMT
A: the rags, LCSF2, Tue 19 Jan 20h00 GMT
A: Stoke, Tue 26 Jan 19h45 GMT
H: Portsmouth, Sun 31 Jan 13h30 GMT
Date:Friday January 1 2010
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