Writer: Andy Leggott
Date:Friday August 25 2006
City of Manchester Stadium
After a predictable poor start to the season Manchester City find themselves faced with Arsenal as they attempt to score a first goal of the season. After the poor 0-0 draw against Portsmouth in midweek it is perhaps just the eternal optimist that can see this fixture kick starting the season.
Arsenal are, quite simply, City's bogey team. We have amassed just one point against them in eighteen previous Premiership attempts and even that came at Highbury rather than in Manchester. The days of the regular 5-0 defeats may have ended but odd goal defeats remain commonplace.
City will be rightly without the suspended Thatcher. Also missing will be Isaksson, who has adapted to typical City immediately by having an operation before even playing for the club, and Cole who remains a few weeks from fitness. Trabelsi is still not deemed fit enough (what a club) although Hamman may get the nod if he passes a late fitness test. Corradi should return to the side, after missing the midweek game through suspension, and should start given the ineffectual efforts of the forwards on Wednesday.
All in all a tough fixture in what has been a tough opening week.
Stuart Pearce shows he is of the glass half full school of management:
'People are bolting on what happened in the bad run at the end of last season but from my point of view it is not all doom and gloom. So far this season we have lost to the champions away and then kept a clean sheet at home against a side we failed to break down. Let's build from there.'
Thatcher, Isaksson and Cole miss out. Hamman takes a late fitness test. Corradi should start after suspension with Dickov probably returning to the bench. I would like to see Vassell out wide on the left (as we have no other options) and Reyna being replaced by Dabo. But what do I know .... Psycho says we have something to build on?
If he stays on the pitch could be something of a nuisance, well certainly more so than Wednesday's trio.
Henry and Lehmann return. Ljunberg misses out with injury.
Not only for the skill levels but also the moaning, diving, bleating and gallic shrug of innocence.
Is the fact that we don't beat Arsenal really worth repeating? For the record, 1991 was the last occassion we beat Arsenal, a David White goal settling things.
Uriah Rennie ..... Enough said.
A draw would probably be reason for celebration, a defeat more likely.
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Date:Friday August 25 2006
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