Posts Tagged ‘Man City’

Football

Theo Walcott is on his way to United/Chelsea/City/Juve/nowhere

By Stefano on December 14th, 2012

There’s a lot of news about Arsenal’s speedy winger this morning, though, let’s just say that very little of it falls into ‘from the horse’s mouth’ category and you should take it all with a tankard of salt.

Until a few weeks ago it seemed that Theo Walcott would possibly end up at Liverpool leading the line alongside Suarez. Then Arsenal fans were given a  glimmer of hope with Wenger stating that he wouldn’t let the player go and that he would be with Arsenal til the end of the season at least.

Yesterday it seemed that the new frontrunners for Walcott were United who are hoping to rekindle the Van Persie/Walcott partnership that spawned so many goals last season.

Today the baton has been passed on to Chelsea. The Sun reckons that Benitez will test Arsenal’s resolve with a £15 million bid for Walcott (who remember, can walk away for nothing at the end of the season) and that because he likes living in London he favours the westward move.

But what’s this? It appears that Juve are happy to give Walcott the £95k a week has has asked for and we shouldn’t forget City who have been making noises about Walcott for a while now.

And in all this time neither Arsene Wenger or Theo Walcott has said anything meaningful about his situation. Expect this one to (like its subject) run and run.

Pic PA

 



Football

Secret talks? Is Fergie lining up Pep Guardiola as the next Man United manager?

By Stefano on December 13th, 2012

There’s an intriguing bit of journalism from the Daily Mirror this morning which seeks to add one and one and make seven.

According to the paper Pep Guardiola is now in the hot seat not for a job in London with Chelsea or even Arsenal, both of whom could be looking for managers come the summer, but United.

And how does the Mirror come to this conclusion?

Sir Alex Ferguson will spend next week in New York… raising the intriguing possibility of fresh talks with Pep Guardiola.

Manchester United boss Fergie will fly to the States after Saturday’s game against Sunderland, to conduct business in the Big Apple relating to his role as the club’s ambassador to the Americas.

Ferguson owns an apartment in the city – where his eldest son Mark lives with his young family – which makes him a neighbour of former Barcelona manager Guardiola, who is renting a property overlooking Central Park for a year.

So they will be in same city at the same time. Also one of Fergie’s sons is Guardiola’s neighbour. On that evidence it seems like a dead cert that the ex Barca man will be leading the Reds out next season then.

Seriously though the hot gossip in Spain is that Guardiola will end  up managing a Manchester and not a London club. The thoughtful, and rather stylish Spaniard, is unlikely to want the lack of job security offered by Chelsea and although he has good relations with Arsene Wenger and the Arsenal board, it is unlikely that he would take a job of a team that wasn’t in the Champions league – a very real prospect for Arsenal next season.

Fergie can’t go on forever and as attractive as Jose Mourinho might seem, both the Scot and and his board would probably favour a less controversial figure.

Btw don’t take The Mirror too seriously – it was predicting that Pep would be an Arsenal man yesterday.

Also check out why we think that Pep is the most stylish man in football.

 



Football

Five reasons why the title race is not over – Van Persie, the Champions League, Wesley Sneijder and more

By Stefano on December 10th, 2012

So Manchester United suddenly have a six point gap over their noisy neighbours. Coupled with the psychological advantages of beating their local rivals some pundits are already calling the title for the Reds. But there is still a long way to go this season and here are five reasons why the title race clearly isn’t over.

1 City don’t have to worry about the Champions League - If United progress in the competition it brings an added pressure on the team. During those weeks City will be training and resting. You would expect United to possibly drop points after CL games which should reduce the deficit.

2 City will strengthen during the window – It is pretty clear that Mario Balotelli is on his way out of The Etihad. With the controversial Italian gone City will have room to enhance their squad. A key move would be if they were to sign Wesley Sneijder. City’s financial prowess has put them in prime position to nab the Dutchman

3 The Van Persie factor – Without RVP’s late goals (including another yesterday) United would possibly not even be in the top five this season. In almost every season that he has played in England the Dutchman has been out over an extended period with an injury. He avoided a trip to the treatment table last season, whether he can play another full season remains to be seen.

4 City will improve – They have been a shadow of the team that won the Premiership. Surely they will get better as the season progresses.

5 A lot of teams are getting stronger - After their recent run of form you wouldn’t bet against Liverpool being in the mix for a Champions League place. Arsene Wenger won’t have a job unless Arsenal strengthen significantly in the window. Then there’s Chelsea who, if they put a run together are not out of the title race yet. They could all have an impact on the race.

So this weekend has put United in pole position, but you can bet there will be many twists and turns to come this season.



Football

Mancini’s dilemma – Dzeko, Balotelli, Tevez… Who should he pick to play Man United?

By Stefano on December 7th, 2012

Every other manager in the Premier League would envy Roberto Mancini’s selection dilemma ahead of the Manchester derby: he must select two from Edin Dzeko, Mario Balotelli, Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero. That’s over £00m worth of talent.

Crucially, each player offers something different, meaning Mancini can alter the balance of the side subtly. Dzeko is a penalty box presence and a reliable target for crosses, but has proved more effective in the supersub role he dislikes; not only does he regularly score after coming off the bench, he’s been very quiet when handed a rare start.

Aguero is an interesting player, able to play two separate roles; either as a ‘number ten’ floating between the lines, or as the primary forward, using his incredible acceleration to burst in behind the defence. He’s a sure-fire starter, and his role will depend upon Mancini’s other forward.

Essentially, Mancini’s decision is this: does he play Balotelli upfront to get in behind the United defence, with Aguero behind, or use Tevez as the number ten and Aguero upfront? Both combinations were used against United last season, with Balotelli playing a key role in the astonishing 6- win at Old Trafford, scoring the opener and getting Jonny Evans sent off. Tevez was quieter in the -0 victory at the Etihad.

I think Mancini will be reluctant to field Balotelli because of disciplinary concerns, and Tevez has often been influential against United since leaving the club in 2009. His relationship with his compatriot Aguero works excellently, and with United lacking a proper defensive midfielder, Tevez’s work between the lines could be crucial.

This post courtesy of Pick Our Team is by Michael Cox. PickOurTeam is a new type of football community giving fans an opportunity to have a meaningful say on the formation and selection of their team. PickOurTeam is the voice of the fans – collecting views on who should play where and ratings on how the players, manager, and referee perform each week. Every match the findings are compiled and presented back to the fans.



Football

City will never overtake United – says Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Is he right?

By Stefano on December 7th, 2012

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been turning up the heat on the eve of the Manchester derby. The former United striker has told the BBC that Manchester City are like a “little brother” who will never take their “big brother’s” place.

In a statement sure to wind up City fans even further Solskjaer said,: “It’s always this thing about being the big brother and the little brother coming to try to overtake the big brother. “That always happens in families and in clubs – the young player hoping to take the old player’s position – and City are hoping to overtake United. I don’t think they’ll ever be able to.”

Solskjaer, who scored 126 goals in 366 appearances for United is currently of Norwegian champions Molde, yet has been consistently linked with managerial positions in the Premiership.

The former player argues that United have a resilience about them which will see them continue to improve as the season develops.

Although both Manchester teams are at the top of the Premiership, neither has been especially impressive this season. United have conceded a lot of goals and have been forced to rely on Robin Van Perise’ amazing form to keep them on track in a similar way he rescued Arsenal’s season last year.

Meanwhile City remain unbeaten at home but have been inconsistent on their travels. They also now don’t have the distraction of the Champions League. Yet most bookies have United has favourites.

So what do you think? Is Solskjaer right?



Football

Why Manchester City need the Europa League like a hole in the head

By Stefano on December 4th, 2012

So Champions League Group D, aka The group of Death, has turned out to be a bit of a mare for City. With no chance of qualification Mancini’s men will clearly be glad to see the back of it tonight too as they head off to Germany to face group leaders Borussia Dortmund.

Even if it was a game that City needed to win, it would still be a very tough call. Dortmund have been hugely impressive in the CL this year including drawing 1-1 with the Blues at the Etihad Stadium in October.

Bizarrely though City could still continue their European adventure this year as they have an outside chance of qualifying for the Europa League. With Dortmund and Real Madrid having already qualified from the group, City need to beat the German champions and hope third-placed Ajax fail to win at the home of the Spanish title-holders.

Roberto Mancini is certainly playing lip service to the possibility of winning. He said: “We will try, but we need to win in Dortmund and it will not be easy because Dortmund are in a good condition.”There is the Premier League, and the Europa League if we can go in it, and also the FA Cup. The season is long and it is important.”

There is also the chance of a good win sparking off some self-belief in the team, something that seems to be sorely missing this season in spite of the Blue’s impressive home record.

And true to his word Mancini has sent a decent squad over to Germany, unlike Arsene Wenger whose Arsenal squad who play Olympiakos in a fairly meaningless game tonight, features a group of players several of whom are not even regular in the Gunners’ reserve team.

If Mancini has any sense though he will try and play for a face-saving draw or 1-0 defeat. City need the Europa League like a hole in the head. The Premiership is quite possibly still their’s to lose. Their only real rival at the moment are the quieter neighbours and their form has been inconsistent too. Sure the Europa League is still a trophy and it would continue to give City that European experience they so sorely lack. But at the moment it would be a distraction that Mancini really doesn’t need.




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