Writer: Johnny Baguette
Date:Friday April 9 2010
The City Of Manchester Stadium
Sunday, 11th April 2010
Challenge Number 5 of City's 10 game mini-season arrives at Eastlands in the shape of misfiring Birmingham. Can City make it 3 consecutive must wins won...?
'If we want to be up at the top of the table, we must play with the same concentration, with the same attitude that we showed at Burnley. If we want to beat Birmingham, we must work very hard, because they work very hard. They have a good manager, and they defend very well and play good football.
'We have a good attack but it is important for us that our strikers, when we've lost the ball, work for their team-mates and defend like midfielders. It is important for the team's balance. Of course, scoring goals is the main thing, but one striker must work for the other team-mates, play short with the midfield. Carlos has a good technique, he'll come back to get the ball and it is very difficult to mark him well.'
'Those stories about disharmony are rubbish. There has been no handing in of transfer requests. There has been no one knocking on my door. There is no dressing room disharmony. That is absolute nonsense, absolute rubbish. I want to keep everyone on their toes. Everyone has got to keep impressing the fans, myself and the coaches. They have got to keep playing to the standards they have achieved for the majority of the season right through to the end.'
'We are fourth now, so it's for us to lose rather than hoping other results go in our favour. We have four games at home, obviously hard games, but if we do as well as we know we can do, we have every chance of getting fourth. In terms of finishing fourth, we just need to win as many games as we can, and good form would carry us through.'
'I think that Spurs and Villa at home will be the games that decide what happens, but we don't want Liverpool to get too close so we need to win the Birmingham game. Until we do, the end of the season seems far away. It was important to get the result at Burnley and the one against Wigan last week. It's even more important to get the result against Birmingham.'
VMC City Video Link: Mancio Birmingham Press Conference
Late fitness tests for Ireland and Petrov.
Sylvinho was knacked in the calf at Burnley, so he's out.
Micah Richards is doubtful to make the 18.
Bridge, M Johnson, and Lescott remain sidelined.
Zabaleta is suspended for a second game after racking up 10 bookings.
City, despite hitting 11 goals in 4 games desperately need a playmaker to link up midfield and attack.
We all know Stevie Ireland, if fit, can do it but he hasn't been doing it for some time. If his chance comes on Sunday he must go for it.
There is of course a possibility that the landscape at City could radically change this summer and Stevie needs to stake his claim for a regular place now, rather like Nedum Onuoha has vowed to do before the season ends.
Come on Superman, get in the opposition's faces and stay in Mancio's thoughts.
VMC City Video Link: Stephen Ireland Etihad Q&A
On loan Bues Blue Joe Hart is ineligible for this fixture under the terms of his season long loan contract. In comes veteran goalie Maik Taylor.
Carsley, Murphy and O'Connor are all out. But Carsley might make the bench after a midweek reserves run out.
McFadden, who could easily go on tour disguised as Fran out of Travis is a wily campaigner with a habit of scoring crucial goals throughout his career spanning Motherwell, Everton, Brum and his beloved Scotland.
Still only 26 and can provide a killer pass. Brum have been poor on the road lately, but for me, McFadden is one to shackle.
City's 10 Game Mini Season Results So Far:
P:4, W:3, L:1, F:11, A:4,
Pts:9 out of 12, GD:+7
City Goal Average Last 6 Games:
2.67 per game.
Both Sides Top Scorers (all competitions):
Tévez: 26, Adebayor: 11, Jerome: 9, Bowyer: 6
Brum have not won in 5 games.
In the last 3 Eastlands meetings, the aggregate score is City 8 Birmingham 1 with City winning all 3 games.
Brum's 1 clean sheet in the last 13 games: 1-0 v Wigan in February.
El Apache has scored 7 goals in his last 6 matches. 5 in his last 4.
Brum have drawn 1 and lost 6 of their last 7 away games. During which time, goals For: 1, Against: 13.
Follow the action and debate live on Sunday via the popular VMC Live Match Thread in the re-designed VMC Forums:
City v Birmingham - Match Day Thread - 11th April 2010 KO:4.00pm- Live on SKY.
Bert Trautmann, Sunday's Guest Of Honour Is In Town. A Tribute:
VMC Link: B3ta's Tribute To Birmingham
COMING UP: YELLOW AND GREEN AND THE DEBT'S OBSCENE - Rag Week on VMC starts Monday
P Dowd, Staffordshire Mr. Dowd takes command of his first game at Eastlands this season having overseen our should have been a win at Liverpool and wretched performance at Hull. As for Brum, he's seen them win at Hull last September and lose at Fulham two months ago. His last match saw him book 8 in the demented and not very nice at all fixture that is Cardiff versus Swansea. Mr. Dowd's card flourishing record this season can be best described as that of a fellow booking centurion: 'Wileyesque.' Current season record: Games:33, Yellow Cards:112 Red Cards:4
I'm going to stick my neck out here and predict that City will thump Birmingham. Brum's current away form is shocking. If The Citizens bag an early goal, the heady momentum we now have will be set to keep rolling and with the entire forward line, Adebayor, Tevez, Bellamy and Johnson all in a rich vein of form, they could run riot again. City will not get the same space afforded to them as at Burnley, but the stakes are high and many City players are running into form and fitness at a crucial time. We must take advantage of Villa and Spurs FA Cup commitments and in doing so set us up perfectly for the revenge mission against the rags next week. Won't do us any harm to send a Taggart acolyte packing, either.Johnny On The Spot: CITY 5 Birmingham 1
H: The rags, Sat 17 Apr 12h45 GMT
A: Arsenal, Sat 24 Apr 17h30 GMT
H: Aston Villa, Sat 01 May 15h00 GMT
H: Spurs, Wed 05 May 20h00 GMT
A: West Ham, Sun 09 May 15h00 GMT
Date:Friday April 9 2010
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