Writer: Johnny Baguette
Date:Tuesday January 5 2010
The City of Manchester Stadium
Wednesday 6th January 2010
Manchester City FC go into our first cup semi-final in 29 years in better shape than at any time during those three long decades and we are hungry for success...
'We can talk about other things after the derby - at the moment the most important thing is our match against Manchester United. .. right now, we have two games to focus on and if we play well then we have the chance to play a final at Wembley. This season, if it is possible, we can win a trophy. As for the rest - we will see after the derby.
'It is important we get through this month. If we can do that, the future for us is good because then we will have all the injured players back. Hopefully it will be possible for us to get into the top four. But it all depends on what happens in January.'
'I didn't expect that performance, it was shocking. I've no complaints about the result. We have to get this result out of our system as quickly as possible. We have a semi-final on Wednesday and a lot of these players won't be playing. You have to view this performance in the right light. We'll make sure we're ready for Wednesday now. We had a team in mind but there will maybe be a few changes for that.'
Geoff Boycott on 'Tiny Tim:'
'I wrote to Michael Owen a while back to say, 'look at this Feng Shui and see what you think' have seen him play and he needs that little spark which maybe this can give him. He hasn't replied to my letter yet but if he does I will put him in touch with some experts in feng shui and see where that takes him.'
United Rant Webzine:
'While a knee-jerk reaction in the aftermath of yet another defeat for Manchester United - an eighth this season - benefits nobody, some players have underperformed this season. This much is glaringly clear to the Old Trafford faithful. Defeat to Leeds United serves to highlight the problem, with three players in particular failing to do the shirt justice...Dimitar Berbatov...Darron Gibson...Michael Owen.'
Norfstander Blog Spot
'Whatever Ferguson does, I'm sure we'll give our near-neighbours a fantastic welcome to Manchester; day trippers, happy clappers, men in black, and all. Whatever Burnley, Liverpool, Besiktas, Villa and Fulham can do, etc, etc. I thoroughly anticipate we'll dish out another Eastlands beasting midweek, before letting Benjani finish them off in the return leg before a half-empty Legoland.'
VMC City Video Link: Mancini On The Semi-Final
Defence is where Mancio's issues lie ahead of the Eastlands humdinger.
Wayne Bridge, Nedum Onuoha and Joleon Lescott are all injured while Kolo Toure is away on African international duty with striker Emmanuel Adebayor.
Micah Richards should be able to see off his groin problem and the impressive MCFC Academy graduate Dedryck Boyata is almost certain to start.
Shaun Wright-Phillips and Roque Santa Cruz are both meanwhile rated as doubtful.
Michael Johnson, out for the season completes a long Blues injury list.
Derided as 'a dog chasing a stick' by United We Stand when they realised The Glazers couldn't afford his dynamic services, the on fire striker has scored 12 goals in 20 starts for City. He made things happen at the swamp and his drive and commitment are sure to go up a gear for this encounter.
Much has been made of Taggart's emergency decision to reverse his arrogant plan to field kids against The Blues, but his senior players also let him down badly against Lids.
Expect the likes of the dangerous Evra and a couple of weary old stagers like Scholes, The English Patient and Giggs to return.
Macheda, Nani and Vidic are rated as doubtful while Ferdinand, Van der Sar, Hargreaves and O` Shea are all out injured.
One of the few rags who this season regularly puts in a shift, the jet heeled left back is highly rated and controversially, I'd even consider making a bid for the player next summer who so notably caved in spectacularly in his first Manchester Derby.
Dangerous on the overlap and strong in the tackle.
City are going after a 5th straight victory, and have lost once in 18 league and cup games, twice all season.
City's last major semi-final was in the 1981 FA Cup campaign against Ipswich.
In 1976 City stuffed the rags 4-0 on the way to the League Cup final. The Citizens also beat them 4-3 on aggregate in the 1970 semi-final.
The rags have only beaten City once in the League Cup in 1974.
The rags, the current League Cup holders, have lost 3 of their last 6 fixtures.
VMC Forum Link: MATCHDAY THREAD: Man City v Dirty Rags - Carling Cup Semi-Final - Wed Jan 6th - KO. 19:45 UK Time
M L Dean, Wirral We need Mr Dean to be strong for this game. He must not cave in to Taggart's increasingly desperate intimidation. He's reffed City at Blackburn, Villa and Brum this season and seen City come away from those games with 5 unbeaten points. However, he recently awarded the rags two penalties at Portsmouth. Keeps the red cards pocketed. Current Season record: Games:21, Yellow Cards: 76, Red Cards:2
And now you're gonna believe us? We couldn't ask for City to be in better shape going into this crucial fixture in the context of our club's resurgence. Everything is in place for take off. Critically, City must beat the rags anywhich way we can on Wednesday before proceeding to The Swamp for a second leg where we can all but rule out any sort of refereeing assistance. Above all else, we must NOT concede a goal. Taggart is cornered right now and astonishingly has fickle fans calling for him to 'stand down.' Historically, he is very often never more dangerous and you can expect him to angrily demand a response from his squad despite it's clear weaknesses. But City are threatening to scale higher heights and I am banking on the memory of September's 97th minute defeat firing the Blues into every challenge. Eastlands Expects. Johnny On The Spot?: CITY 3 united 0
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
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Date:Tuesday January 5 2010
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