VMC Preview: Blackpool v CITY
Sunday, 17th October
Coming off the back of a 2-1 win over Newcastle at home, City will be looking to pick up another three points and move within two points of Chelsea, into second position.
'Aleksandar started training with the team this week and I think he`ll be ready to play within the next fortnight. The full-back position has been troublesome this season, but things are looking much better now. We have Wayne Bridge fit again and, as I said, Kolarov will be back very soon, so the situation is improving.
'Jerome Boateng should be at one hundred percent for our next game because he`s had another two weeks training since he last played so, again, this is good news for the team. Micah and Pablo have both recovered and are available for Blackpool, too, so we are not far off having a fully fit squad.
"It is important we have as many players to choose from as possible with three games in a week coming up. It is great news at such a hectic period of the season and I hope we will have Mario Balotelli ready to play within a fortnight - perhaps even in time for the visit of Arsenal. He has recovered well and is not far away from playing now.
"It will be a very tough game. I`ve watched Blackpool three or four times and they play football very well. They don`t sit back and wait because they don`t want to concede a goal, they play football and they want to score goals. This is a good thing. I think the manager [Holloway] is a good manager and they have some good players. I have a lot of respect for them."
"You`ve got fantastically wealthy owners, the biggest spenders of the season by a mile and they`re hoping that they`ll buy all sorts of success and trophies and then there`s us trying to stay in the division and cling onto our new found hype, so to speak.
"To me it`s just one team against another but from an outsiders` point of view it`s probably the biggest mis-match in the history of football and let`s see what we can do. If we don't work hard on Sunday I can tell you what the score's going to be. I can't tell you how many it will be, but Manchester City will win.'
Blackpool Team News:
Ian Holloway has no fresh injury concerns ahead of today`s clash with Manchester City at Bloomfield Road. Craig Cathcart (back) and Neal Eardley (ankle) are hoping to recover from their knocks that forced them to watch from the sidelines at Anfield. Luke Varney is expected to retain his starting place after scoring the winner against Liverpool two weeks ago and should line-up alongside DJ Campbell.
Here`s what I expect Blackpool to line up like:
Possible Blackpool Team:
5) Eardley - 20) Cathcart - 3) Crainey - 6) Evatt
14) Grandin - 26) Adam - 11) Vaughan - 12) Taylor-Fletcher
16) Varney - 39) Campbell
Player to watch: Charlie Adam
The Scottish midfielder is Blackpool`s most important player; he dictates their play, orchestrates attacking surges and makes his team tick. Adam sits in the middle of the park, picks a pass and moves. It`s simple but effective football. One of his best attributes is his dead ball ability. City must be wary not to give away any free kicks in-and-around our eighteen yard box because Adam`s left peg is deadly from that range.
Manchester City Team News:
The normally criticised International break couldn`t have come at a better time for Mancini and his men. It has allowed many injured stars to recover from their respective knocks or complete a considerable amount of rehabilitation. Both Micah Richards and Pablo Zabaleta are back after hamstring injuries but they will have to be content with a place on the bench as Jerome Boateng has recovered from a virus that kept him out of Germany`s midweek international.
The extended break has benefitted Aleksandar Kolarov and Mario Balotelli most. Both players should be available within the next ten days which is fantastic boost for Roberto Mancini as the return of Mario in particular should ease the attacking burden on Carlos Tevez considerably. Whilst the return of Kolarov should end the constant chopping and changing at left back.
Therefore, I expect the team to be the following:
Possible City Team:
17) Boateng - 28) K Toure - 4) Kompany - 3) Bridge
11) A.Johnson - 34) de Jong - 18) Barry - 7) Milner
32) Tevez - 25) Adebayor
Player to watch: Nigel de Jong
This is a huge game for him. All eyes will be on the Dutchman after the mass of press coverage his tackle on Hatem Ben Arfa received. I watch Nigel week in, week out and he is certainly not a dirty player. There is a fine line between passion and intent to hurt but definitely falls under the passionate category. He makes the odd badly timed tackle which is expected from a player that plays in the manner in which de Jong adopts, but the vast majority of his tackles are firm and well timed. In fairness, I don`t know what to expect from him today. Hopefully, he`ll have a brilliant game making some completely fair, crunching tackles in the process.
Match Facts & Stats
Blackpool's last victory over Manchester City came in round one of the 1997/98 League Cup.
Blackpool have the most porous defence in the league (15).
Five of Charlie Adam's last six goals for Blackpool have come from the penalty spot.
Carlos Tevez has scored 26 goals in his last 30 Premier League outings. His five goals this season count for over half of City's nine league goals.
Only Newcastle (80%) have won a higher percentage of their tackles than Manchester City (78%).
This has all the right ingredients for a brilliant game of football and should be a fantastic advertisment for the Premier League. I expect Mancini to play a more attacking side with Emmanuel Adebayor partnering the lone soldier in Carlos Tevez up front. Adam Johnson has surely warranted a starting berth with recent performances and also, expect to see more 'bombing-on' from our full backs. Blackpool are a tough challenge. Full of confidence be sure that Holloway's side will not hold back. However, this tactic leaves gaps at the back which should be exploited by our attacking players. I expect City to emerge victorious from this one, we should have too much in the attacking third. Prediction: Blackpool 1 - 2 MCFC.
Thursday, 21st October v Lech Poznan @ 20:05 (H)
Sunday, 24th October v Arsenal @ 16:00 (H)