Writer: Andy Leggott
Date:Friday December 16 2005
City of Manchester Stadium
Sat 17th Dec 2005
City go in search of a Premiership double over a struggling Birmingham City side.
Trevor Sinclair states the obvious after last week's dire display.
'We are not in great form and it is something we need to address against Birmingham, there will be nearly 50,000 people in the stadium, all in a festive mood, and we have to produce the goods.'
I may beg to differ with Trev's crowd prediction given Birmingham's usual poor away following and with the game kicking off at 5.15, live on telly. 40,000 would be a better estimate.
City have Distin and Thatcher needing late fitness tests before their participation is ensured. Dunne and Cole are both suspended. Expect Onuoha to come in to central defence for Dunne. There may also be the slightest chance of the reappearance of the invisible man, Robbie Fowler, to replace Cole. Given Robbie's lack of any type of football this season it is more likely Wright-Phillips will get a start.
Let's hope Darius is on form against old foes Birmingham. City have yet to lose a game in which he scores.
Izzet and Melchiot are out with injuries, Forsell is looking to come back into the side after recovering from his injury.
You know their coming for a point .... break the defence down early and they should have little to offer.
Despite this being our second game in a row against a decidedly average West Midlands side managed by a whinging ex rag, Birmingham are welcomed to Eastlands with open arms. One of City's preferred opponents over the years, we have already came from behind to beat them 2-1 at St. Andrews this season with goals from Barton and Cole. Last season saw us stroll to an easy 3-0 home victory with much whinging being done by the elephant man over a disallowed, offside goal. One day you'll realise your not still at OT Stevie.
City go into the game in relatively poor form with just one win in their last five games. Birmingham's confidence should be on the up after they finally managed to win a home game last week.
Steve Bennett .... Not one of the three worst but still a Premiership referee with the cameras on him.
Last week's debacle at West Brom should be the kick up the backside City need to get their season back on track. Birmingham are struggling for a reason so should provide just the opposition needed. Birmingham will very likely sit back and play for the point but I see goals against what it is potentially a weak defence. I'll stick my neck out and predict our hold over Birmingham to continue, 3-0 to City.
26/12/05 Wigan (a)
28/12/05 Chelsea (h)
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Date:Friday December 16 2005
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