VMC Preview: The Blues v Pompey
The City Of Manchester Stadium
Sunday, 31st January 2010
A bitterly disappointed City squad are ready to welcome beleaguered Pompey after Wednesday night's frustrating League Cup exit at the swamp. Can Pompey expect a City backlash?
'There is so much we can take out of our performances against united and into all the important games we have coming up. We can still get to Wembley in the FA Cup, but we have three league games now where we must learn from what happened against united to improve our position in the table. They are all hard games coming up and we must start well against Portsmouth.'
'I don't intend to quit and although I cannot speak for Avram, from what we have talked about this morning, I don't think he will quit, either. Let's face it, we both have good reason to walk out. I am no longer involved in the finances, I am not involved in the transfer negotiations and Avram doesn't know what players are being sold. The two best players on the pitch in our last game against West Ham, Kaboul and Begovic, have been sold to Tottenham and who knows — it might not stop there.'
We've had just 14 players available in the last month...you need a lot of character in football because sometimes the situation is not what we would have asked it to be. The players attitude was brilliant (against West Ham) and I said after the games on Saturday and Tuesday that I am very proud of them.
'When you're the top team and everything is going well, it's much easier. But doing what they did against West Ham was much more difficult for everybody.'
VMC City Video Link: Mancio Portsmouth Press Conference
Manchester CITY Team News:
The Blues are slowly achieving close to full strength for Mancio.
Wayne Bridge is back in the squad and vying to replace Javier Garrido at left back who has worked hard in his absence but struggled a little against the rags. Mancio confirmed at his Pompey press conference (see video link above) that Bridge and Joleon Lescott will definitely be in the frame for the trip to Hull next week alongside Patrick Vieira.
Emmanuel Adebayor is back, in good spirits and ready to make what would be his 100th Premier League appearance. He is almost certain to start.
Skipper Kolo Toure is also back from the African Nations Cup and ready to take back the armband from Shay Given and Nigel de Jong who have deputised in recent weeks.
Following Vladimir Weiss to Bolton City have loaned out Robinho to Santos. Benjani is in talks with Sunderland.
This means City are currently reliant on Adebayor, Craig Bellamy and Carlos Tevez to carry the City attack for the foreseeable future. A high risk strategy without back up.
OUT: Johnson, Lescott, Vieira and Santa Cruz.
Player to watch: Emmanuel Adebayor
The giant striker is back and by all accounts in good spirits despite the horror he went through in Angola.
Mancio is said to have handled his situation sensitively and from what we saw of the big man's cameo at the swamp in the League Cup, he looks livelier than when we last saw him, seemingly beginning to lose his way somewhat.
Adebayor has the opportunity now to have a big say in City's destiny this season.
Portsmouth Team News:
In a word, desperate. Nobody knows who could yet leave the club before the kick off on Sunday.
Yet the transfer embargo has been lifted and they could still bring in loan signings.
Two players have returned from loan spells at vulture shit stirrer Harry Redknapp's Spurs and Burnley respectively: Jamie O'Hara and David Nugent. Burnley want Nugent to extend the deal but the striker is likely to face City.
Pompey are this weekend trying to urgently secure a work permit for Spartak Moscow striker Quincy Owusu-Abeyie, but this is unlikely to be realised until early next week.
David James is in line to face City after the sale of Asmir Begovic to Spurs alongside Younes Kaboul, both for peanuts.
Player to watch: David James
Wantaway James would have been a Stoke player now but for a calf injury sustained in training this week.
The 39 year old's advisers are alledgedly holding out for a better deal from elsewhere whilst Pompey hold out for more money and Avram Grant has no other option having lost his first choice keeper.
James could be in for a torrid afternoon and it will be interesting to see how he reacts to the situation.
Match Facts & Stats
Pompey have won only 1 of their last 6 league games whereas City have lost one in 6.
The South Coast club have only scored 19 goals this season.
City have 13 points more in the bank than at this stage last season.
Carlos 'El Apache' Tevez has now scored 18 goals from 24 MCFC starts and scored 14 in his last 12 outings. An unprecedented record in modern day Blue history.
City are unbeaten at home since last April, a run of 13 fixtures.
The Blues have suffered only 4 defeats this season in all competitions. 2 of them by the rags.
Get this. Pompey have not won a league game at City since 1963.
Rival Fans Q&A Links:
Vital Portsmouth Interview With VMC's Kevinho
VMC's Desert Island Shinpads: Pompey With Paultsmouth
Share in the action and discuss events live in the VMC Match Day Forum on Sunday:
MATCHDAY THREAD: Man City v Portsmouth - Sun Jan 31st - KO: 13:30 UK Time
Martin Atkinson, West Yorkshire
Mr. Atkinson owes us, big time. He has reffed City only once this season and that ended with his gift to The English Patient and the Old Trafford bin man in the 97th minute. Of course, Taggart then went on to slag the man off a month or so later. A busy ref, he averages four yellows per game, but has only sent one player, Chris Samba off all season. Current Season Record: Games:27, Yellow Cards:109, Red Cards:1
Ruthless. This is where City must get ruthless. Despite the agony that Pompey are going through, The Citizens must not show any mercy to a Pompey side who are almost through the ropes they have been pushed back on for months. In truth, Pompey have strived hard of late but have now lost more important players. Guts and grit will only take you so far in this league as City fans found out in the cash strapped Stuart Pearce era. At the time of going to press, Avram Grant is understood to be considering his future and did not take training on Friday. If that is the case, there can seriously be only one recourse for Mancio and that is to instruct his players to attack. If City score early, there will surely be only one result.Johnny On the Spot: CITY 5 Pompey 0
A: Hull City, Sat 6 Feb 15h00 GMT
H: Bolton Wanderers, Tue 9 Feb 19h45 GMT
H: Stoke City, FAC5 Sat 13 Feb 17h15 GMT
A: Stoke City, Tue 16 Feb 19h45 GMT
H: Liverpool, Sat 21 Feb 15h00 GMT