Tuesday, August 31, 2010

It's red, It's red, It's red!!!

Legal Dispatch: Balotelli Assigned Minder 
In an unusual development Raging Curfuffle Manchester City have placed ageing walking pace ace midfielder Patrick Vieira in charge of all-guns-blazing rip roaring all hands on deck trouble looming new teen sensation Mario Balotelli. “The first thing I’m going to teach him to do is drive a car”, said Vieira yesterday.
Balotelli's motor before the incient


Watersports & Psychiatry: 
MCFC 3 LIVERPOOL 0     CITY TO WIN LEAGUE “Win Over Scousers heralds Brave New World " by Derek Custard
Football enthusiast and geophysics professor Peter Polvo was just one of many enthusiasts dancing around the Eastlands precincts this morning quite convinced that a new era had been ushered in at COMS, the home of BIG RICH BUGGER MANCHESTER CITY. Their carefully scripted bulldozing of ancient, beleagured, battered, torn and smelling slightly off Liverpool made compelling viewing. Here is a team set for the very top. It’s Sheik Rattle and Roll, as Mr Your Highness Mansour’s trillions are set to win City the game’s greatest prizes and billions of new adoring fans the home counties over. Just watch those Blue devils take off now!
Bigged Up for Season Storm, Moneybgas City Look an Awful Waste of Cash by Derek Custard in the Home Counties
all over for City
This afternoon’s game offered eveidence, IF ANY WAS REALLY NEEDED,  that this Manchester Bugger City side is not going anywhere fast, except into the tunnel daubed “STRAIGHT AHEAD FOR EXPENSIVE LAUGHING STOCK” by the great and good of European mainstream society. Thank God it is only a matter of time before Michel Platini’s wise and good plan comes into effect. Then we will see an end to this vulgar and insensitive race for attention being carried out by the uncouth, brash, devil-may-care, fly-by-night, lost-your-trousers-in-the-morning people who run this odious little team. As i walked to work this morning, I was delighted and relieved to see that all of those sky blue shirts evident in Suckspittle Highstreet last week had been replaced by the comforting and traditional view of dark blue adidas Chelsea. A normal world had returned to the shires after last week’s aberrations and a comfortable smile played across the expansive backsides of the local carbohydrate addicts. We are all safely back in ChelseaLand.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Ruining Football

City's ruination of football continued apace last night with a comprehensive, English-based walkover v. Liverpool, the largest winning margin against them since the Emperor Hadrian stated to his Albion based legionaries, "Building giant walls is not a matter of life and death, it's more important than that"....

Liverpool looked down and out even before Blue Moon had drained from the tannoys last night, with Mascherano doing a star-sulk and Ngog starting with Torres upfront. City too, seemed to have been set up in typical Mancini cautious fashion, but that it not how the formation on paper transferred to grass.

One-way applause

As it transpired, Gerrard sat too deep, Kuyt was lost out wide and City's seemingly defensive line-up strangled the life out of Liverpool's midfield in a blitz of controlled one-touch passing, which completely bypassed the harassed midfield men wearing red. The same old problems exist once again for the Scousers: 1.Lucas, Ngog, Babel are all too lightweight, 2. Carragher is becoming a slow old man and the rest of the defence cannot be trusted (Johnson appeared to be away with the fairies and Skrtel was roasted by Adam Johnson). 3. When Mascherano's not there and Torres is not fit, they are a flimsy proposition. 4. Ditto Gerrard, who seemed either unwilling or unable to carry Liverpool as he has so often in the past.

This is to take nothing away from City, who were magnificent; efficient in their short passing, tigerish in the tackle and, with Milner and Johnson, a complete and persistent menace down the flanks. The first goal typified the spirit and accuracy of the performance as a whole. Yaya Touré's fast feet, witnessed several times to general astonishment, at first failed to find a crack down Liverpool's left, so he turned back, preserving possession and gave it to Johnson, whose measured through ball found Milner breaking to the byline. A rapid and powerful cutback eluded the stretching Carragher and needed only a solid connection from Barry to shoot off his foot and into the corner. Delightful stuff.

Kompany pursues Tevez after the second

When Liverpool did find some momentum, they found Micah Ricards was dominating Jovanovic on the right (two thumping tackles and the Serb was looking to the sidelines asking when the bus was leaving) and that Kompany was continuing his bright start to the season in the middle. With Milner, Barry and the indefatigable De Jong tracking back, tackling hard and setting the Blues in motion once more, Liverpool had no time to find a foothold and were outplayed in every department.  

The key was surely the side's ability to hold possession for sustained periods allover the pitch. Each player was comfortable on the ball, someone else was always available to help hold on to it and Liverpool spent energy and time chasing shadows. Johnson was a complete nightmare for Agger and Skrtel down the right and Milner and Barry combined effectively in midfield to harness a below par Gerrard and not-good-enough Lucas. Add to that the physical presence of Yaya Touré, the persistent tracking back of Tevez and the usual exemplary bulldog performance from De Jong and up to nine City players could rightfully have claimed the man of the match award last night. Only Kolo Touré and Lescott could have been described as adequate rather than outstanding.

For the Blue half of Manchester, thoughts of Steve Coppell, Phil Neal, Alan ball, Jason van Blerk, Tony Cunningham, Mike Walsh, Barry Siddall, Gordon Dalziel and the Whitely brothers need no longer lead to sleepless nights. The new dawn has arrived with a top 4 already taking ominous shape and a bottom four that, frighteningly for them, already includes Liverpool.

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Chelsea 2 12 6
2 Arsenal 2 6 4
3 Man Utd 2 3 4
4 Man City 2 3 4
5 Bolton 2 2 4
6 Birmingham 2 1 4

Friday, August 6, 2010

Continental Shift

City are in Europe again this season, a time of latent embarrassment for all of us. I think of humiliating experiences struggling past Lokeren and falling to the mighty Groclin Discobolia, never mind earlier, murkier goings-on under the comforting shadow of Big Mal's fedora ("we'll frighten the life out of Europe", he bellowed. More like they'll die laughing...). So this is not virgin territory for City, but it feels damn close to it when we embark on a campaign that sees many in continental Europe considering the Blues as genuine pacemakers. Not often was the cloth cut thus, let us be honest.
street lamps unnecessary

FC Politehnica Timisoara, as the city's earlier representatives were called, actually have no link to the current inhabitants of the city's stadium. The team City will play came out of the ashes of a MKDons-type franchise house move from Bucharest and was shifted west at the behest of their owner to take up the league status removed from their predecessors, a team I can still remember Trevor Brooking's West Ham beating on their way to defeat by Anderlecht in the 1976 Cup Winners Cup Final. As in any civilised modern society, however, teams of besuited lawyers are still going at it hammer and tongues to decide who gets what from this unwholesome tangle. The Viola that City meet, therefore, will have only thin links back to the epic Politehnica side that gained national popularity and international kudos in the 70s and 80s.

With Mancini still manfully struggling to spend enough money to persuade Abu Dhabi that he's serious, City hit the pointy end of the season without knowing what the final squad make-up will be. Lop-sided with unwanted high earners, Mancini will have a tough job getting the balance right, meaning that several players will go cheaply, others will be drawn away on loan deals that City will have to part-fund and one or two may even be left in limbo by the new 25-man ruling.

Timisoara Stadium: room for everyone

With the fog that still surrounds the forward line (Adebayor, Crocky Santa Cruz and Bellamy all supposedly on the verge of exiting, Dzeko, Milner and Balotelli arrival rumours persisting, Tevez still not having played a single minute (nor Silva for that matter) and supposedly searching for motivation (hot tip: look in your wallet), and Robinho juggling with what must be the serious mental anguish of swapping the samba rhythms, caipiroskas and tanga-girls of Brazil for wet evenings watching Corrie with Lucas Leiva and the de Silva twins), it is alarming how little time there is to bed any new faces in. Some are yet to play pre-season, others have watched as supposed deadweights like Jô get gametime that a first choice player would be gagging for. Yes, pre-season allows everyone to start marching towards being match fit, it gives the coach a chance to put others in the shop window, but the most important aspect has to be to get the embryonic team shape formed. That has clearly not been the case this summer for City, as they have schlopped across the States getting beaten hither and thither.

Whilst it appears City may get away with this harum scarum approach to the Big Kick-off in Europe, they could soon be found out by a tricky early set of Premier league fixtures. What Timisoara appears to offer is a reasonably soft introduction to Europa League combat. New coach Vladimir Petrovic has sworn himself to attacking football, but does not appear to have the staff to wholly pull this off. Reading between the lines - see the excellent insight below from Scouting Romania -  City will come up against a side staffed by agricultural defenders, veterans and youngsters who may already think they've made it. It might begin to feel a bit like playing Hull City in a grassy meadow.

Whilst Romania represents a lengthy trip, City will be unlucky to find anything but moderately skilled, prepared and organised opposition when they touch down in the west of the country. Timisoara may have been the first ever European city to have electric street lamps (one or two of them may have found their way into the old scoreboard at Maine Road, thanks to the deft business skills of Peter Swales), but the football light shining on this picturesque city - and indeed the whole of the footballing environment of Romania - these days is strictly low wattage.


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