Writer: Johnny Baguette
Date:Tuesday February 9 2010
The City of Manchester Stadium
Tuesday 9th February 2010
City failed to deliver a backlash against Pompey after League Cup heartbreak. Can they do so tonight against Bolton after the chastening defeat to relegation threatened Hull?
'We need to beat to beat Bolton, and we need to keep close to the group around the top four in the table. Arsenal losing and Spurs drawing were better results for us after what happened at Hull, and also now I have Joleon and Vincent to come back for selection. We have the players here, it's a good squad but we need to keep working hard to improve as a team, whatever eleven players are chosen. If we do that we'll get better and reach our targets.'
'I don't scrutinise the table, I scrutinise what we have at the football club. I look at what we can do to win the next game, knowing that will put us in a good position and if you don't, you'll stay where you are at best. If you'd asked me if I had any points targets at the start of the season at Burnley, my answer would have been the same. I don't set points targets. I just want to make sure at the end of this season that there are three teams below us.'
'I don't think City will be challenging for the top four. The top six to eight sides are all great teams spending good money. But I think City might miss out on the Champions League this year. City have some great players but sometimes when you have all those superstars it is hard to get that team spirit. When their new manager came in, you expected a reaction from the players and they won their first three or four games. But obviously it has settled down a bit now and maybe they are not as keen to impress.'
Nigel De Jong:
'Bolton need points to survive like Hull and we must beat them because the battle for fourth place will be won by taking points off such sides. To maintain our spot in the race we now have to beat Bolton and then go to Stoke and do the same.'
VMC City Link: Mancio Pre Bolton Press Conference
Patrick Vieira and Adam Johnson are almost sure to start after steady substitute performances during City's no show at the KC Stadium.
The Eastlands faithful will be hoping that Vincent Kompany can get back into central defence and calm down all the flapping we saw at Hull.
The biggest injury worry this week has been Craig Bellamy, one of only four senior City strikers available for the remainder of this season.
However, his specialist in London has given Bellaminho the all clear to return to action against Stoke next weekend following slight right knee damage.
Crocky Santa Cruz might make the bench on the way back from his latest injury.
DOUBTFUL: Santa Cruz, Lescott, Kompany, Richards
INJURED: Michael Johnson
Tonight's match represents the type of combat that Vieira relished at Arsenal.
Mancio has placed great faith in the World Cup winning veteran and this is where he must start to repay that faith by steadying a midfield which was looking more and more powder puff at Hull with every misplaced pass or half arsed challenge.
Gary Cahill is out, possibly for the rest of the season with a blood clot in his arm.
Thankfully, on loan from Eastlands Vladimir Weiss cannot face us!
DOUBTFUL: O'Brien, Muamba.
Needs no introduction. If he was a northern rapper he'd be known as 'Ol' Dirty Get.'
But one things for sure, he's the type of player you need on board when the chips are down. A number of clubs have found a means of scrapping their way out of trouble to secure their top flight status this term, hence the scattergun results of the top 6 or 7 sides.
Davies will play a big part tonight and City need a central defender who is both mentally and physically up to containing him to man mark him.
The Trotters have won once against City in the last 7 attempts.
The Blues have not lost at Eastlands since defeat to Fulham in April last year.
Mancio has lost three of his 10 games as City boss. Mark Hughes had lost two out of 21 in this campaign before he was axed.
Bolton have only 1 clean sheet from their last 23 league fixtures on the road.
The Trotters have 2 wins only from their last 14 fixtures. Not unlike Hull before they faced City last weekend.
Follow The Game And The Debate Live Tonight In The VMC Match Day Forum:
MATCHDAY THREAD: Man City vs Bolton - Tuesday Feb 9th - KO: 19:45 UK Time
M J Jones (Chester) The Citizens played some of their finest football of the season at Wolves at the end of December and Mr. J was in charge. Otherwise, he is an up and coming ref who has worked across League One, The Championship and the Premier League this season. Has a sensible enough track record in this campaign. Current Season Record:Games: 21, Yellow Cards: 76, Red Cards:3
Having blown a big opportunity at the weekend to begin cementing a place in the top five, City must now collect themselves and take on another combative side who will be eager 'to topple the millionaires' (copyright all newspapers). The Blues have taken a justifiable panning from many quarters for that wretched performance at Hull and it was clear in Mancio's eyes in his post match pitchside interview that he was feeling extremely let down. So it's down to the players to raise all aspects of their game for Bolton. We can surely expect a raft of droppings while SWP, Vieira, Johnson and possibly Richards and Kompany return to the side. I expect City to wise up and win this comfortably. Anything less will give cause for great concern. Johnny On The Spot: City 3, Bolton 0
H: Stoke City, FAC5 Sat 13 Feb 17h15 GMT
A: Stoke City, Tue 16 Feb 19h45 GMT
H: Liverpool, Sat 21 Feb 15h00 GMT
A: Chelsea, Sat 27Feb 12h45 GMT
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Date:Tuesday February 9 2010
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