Category Archives: The PA Manc

Silva Antics, Mancini Tactics and Platty Schematics all needed Monday

Monday night will see Mancini’s men travel to the DW Stadium for their Premiership match against Wigan. The first time these two sides met in a League match was only back in 1998 when City had fallen to their lowest position of their history. Both teams have made great strides since that time and, although the gap is vast with City currently top of the table and Wigan second from bottom, both teams have struggled in recent weeks. 

City, of course, have back to back home Cup defeats and so a match away from the Etihad may be a welcome break right now. that said, their last two away League games have yielded no goals and just the single point. Wigan, however, have only won the single game in ten at their own ground and so City, even without their Ivorian midfielder and inspirational rock of a captain should have more than the Lactics can handle. 

City have only played Wigan fifteen times in the regular league in their history and are slightly the better off when it comes to victories. City winning seven to Wigans five. That said, the last defeat against Wigan came on September 28th 2008 and, just like Monday it was at their place. City have already played Wigan once this season with the result being a 3-0 victory for City. A similar result for City on Monday night would be just the tonic the doctor ordered. 

Mario Balotelli will be a doubt for the game but signs are promising that David Silva will be back. That will come as some relief to City fans who watched the last outing, against Liverpool in the Carling Cup when it seemed we didn’t know how to penetrate that backline. Had Silva played I am sure he could have unlocked that setting Aguero off with a reverse pass or some such magic. 

Both of City’s title rivals, United and Spurs, play on Saturday and so it could potentially be all three on the same points as City kick off. Hopefully City can get back to resembling the sort of side that would tear defences apart and with a solid win here then that should restart our form in the direction it should be rather than where it had been heading. A defeat however, while not disastrous, would be a serious dent in any title ambitions. But then again, we are City. When have we ever done anything the easy way?

PA Cityboy

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Black Cats to cross Mancinis path. Lucky or not?

After a great start to the season and an all round phenomenal 2011 City now have to start 2012 with the same determination and intensity and that will be no easy task away to a revitalised Sunderland. Since the arrival of Irishman Martin O’Neill the Black Cats have won twice, drawn once and their only loss was away to a high flying Spurs side. 

Martin O’Neill played 13 games for City back in the early 1980’s and Niall Quinn of course will bring back memories for City fans, not least for his heroics in goal when Tony Coton was sent off for bringing down Dean Saunders in the area in a game against Derby County on April 20th 1991. That relegated Derby and helped us maintain our fifth place finish and with that end the season above Manchester United. 

Now City have played Sunderland in the League 120 times with City slightly edging the contest with 56 wins to Sunderlands 44. Our last defeat was early on last season, August 2010 saw City lose the away tie by a single goal, although we did then beat them 5-0 in the return fixture. Before that however you would have to go back to December 23rd 2000 for the last defeat before that. Although the fluctuation between leagues almost season by season makes that statistic seem far better than it is.

Significant times in Manchester City history do involve Sunderland though. The last win at Hyde Road and then 80 years later, the last home win at Maine Road were both against Sunderland. The latter was a 3-0 victory for City which saw Marc Vivien Foe score the last goal for City at Maine Road and as it turned out only a few months later, his last goals ever.

April 14th 1900 saw City lose 3-1 in a game against Sunderland with our goalkeeper scoring our goal that day. With the talent we have in attack today I do not foresee is relying on Joe Hart to step up to get our goals anytime soon! Another interesting game happened on Aug 29th 1953 when City were on the right side of a nine goal thriller, winning 5-4 away from Maine Road. 

Now City have faced Sunderland around the New Years Day time over the years with results spreading from a 5-2 win all the way to a 4-2 loss. Although the last game actually played on January 1st against Sunderland will be exactly 91 years ago. January 1st 1921 witnessed a 3-1 win for Manchester City but this game was at Hyde Road.

The upcoming game however sees City top of the table (although maybe not at kick off on Sunday) but facing a very tough upcoming fixture list. Two days after this game City host Liverpool in the League before the FA Cup tie against Manchester United. In fact the opening sixteen days of 2012 will see City play five games, including the first leg of the Carling Cup Semi Final. As a result Roberto Mancini’s team selection will have to be very shrewd in order to rotate the squad efficiently enough to keep in two cups and in contention for our first League title for 44 years.

PA Cityboy

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Why Manchester City need Stoke to stay in top flight

After gunning down the Gunners on Sunday City will now look to smash up the potters as Stoke are welcomed to the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday. A win or draw for City will see the Manchester Club go the whole of 2011 without losing at home, something that is certainly different from the start of the Sven era when City hadn’t scored at home for a long period of time! How times have changed. 

City have only played Stoke a total of 84 times in the league but the Potters have always been there when City have enjoyed success. Last year they were in the FA Cup final as City won their first silverware since the 1976 League Cup. However the real interesting stats come with their promotions and relegation in the top flight. In 1933 they were promoted and City won the FA Cup and the League title within four years before being relegated. 

In 1967 we were promoted to Division One and appeared with Stoke in that league until they were relegated in 1977. In that time we won four trophies and a league title before Stoke were relegated the year after our last trophy, that League Cup in 1976. Their last promotion to the top flight? 2008! The same year that our new owners took control. 

Need more evidence? Well guess who was relegated with us in 1998 into the third tier? Stoke City. We even played them on the last day of the season and beat them 5-2 but was too little too late. A year later we beat Gillingham in the play off final and their manager that day? Tony Pulis. 

Well now I am all teary eyed with memories lets get into the cold hard statistics. Last time out we beat Stoke 3-0 only a few days after picking up the FA Cup against them by a single Yaya Toure goal. 

As I said earlier we have met in the league 84 times and City have won 35 of those games and have been on the losing end only 30 times. We have always been very close in games won and lost and our goal difference hasn’t been all that different either. City have scored 112 and conceded 100 but City have always won when they needed it. Last seasons FA Cup, the game after to push us into third and maybe a game that some of you will hold up as a marker (I know I am) December 23rd 1967 (only two days over the 44th year to the day) City hosted and beat Stoke City at home by a score of 4-2. Francis Lee scored a brace while Young and Coleman netted one each, City would go on to win the League. 

PA City boy

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Can City disarm Gunners title charge

If you’d have asked a City fan at the beginning of the season that they wouldn’t get their first league defeat until December I think that few wouldn’t have ripped your arm off at that point for that kind of deal. Now the important thing for City when Arsenal come to Manchester on Sunday is that it is important to get back to winning ways. 

History

The first game between these two teams came way back on November 11th 1893 when Woolwich Arsenal took on and beat Ardwick. The return League fixture was the same and score and Ardwick struggled. That was when both clubs were in Division Two and the first game between the two in the top flight happened eleven years later as again Woolwich Arsenal again beat, the now named City, 1-0.
 
In fact the history between these two in the League shows Arsenal on top winning just over half all the meetings and just under double the total wins that City have enjoyed. That said, Manchester City have knocked Arsenal out of two of the last three Carling Cup competitions at the Quarter Final stage and who can forget that 4-2 win at home in September 2009 when Richards, Bellamy, Adebayor and SWP all got on the scoresheet for City. 
The last League home game against Arsenal was due to be a tribute to the recently departed Malcolm Allison but an early sending off for Boyata meant that City would have a mountain to climb. Despite the final score being a 3-0 win for the visitors City did make a contest of it. After going down 1-0 with twenty minutes on the clock from a now City Nasri strike they held on until just over twenty minutes left when Song doubled the Gunners lead with Bedtner adding the third with seconds remaining. 
Almost 117 years to the day of this game City (Ardwick) demolished their opposition 4-1, Billy Meredith scored twice that day. 
On October 1975 City won 3-2 with Rodney Marsh scoring his last goal in a City shirt and left before City completed the League double over the Londoners, with a 3-1 win following at our ground. 

In our relegation season of 2000/01 we had one of our worst fixtures with Arsenal. We lost both games that season by a total of nine goals and scored none in reply. We had been in the second tier the previous season and found ourselves back there the next. 

Sunday

With Manchester United now only two points behind City and playing earlier in the day it will be important for City to focus on their own game come Sunday afternoon. Two of City’s closest rivals play Sunday with QPR hosting United and Tottenham facing Sunderland. Liverpool are on the outskirts of a title drive this season and being ten points behind the second place team a title is not out of the question but an exceptional run has to start really soon. 

As far as City goes, Micah Richards should be back in the team on Sunday to face Arsenal and that has to be good news for Mancini who spent the last week or two trying to decide between an unfit Zabaletta or a inexperienced Savic to take that right back role. 

The last five home games in all competitions against Arsenal have seen City come out on top three times, scoring eleven goals and conceding eight. A repeat of the Cup game earlier this season would be more than welcomed for Mancini who is unhappy with ‘soft’ goals being conceded and the lack of clean sheets gained so far this season. Another defeat for either club could be devastating, for Arsenal it may mean the end of their title run. For City it could signal a slip in form and not what Mancini would want to see as he heads into what will be a busy January for City.  

Predicted team to face Arsenal: Hart, Richards, Kompany, Toure(K), Lescott, Toure(Y), DeJong, Nasri, Milner, Silva, Dzeko. 

 

PA Cityboy

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Mancini is Boas Constrictor

Roberto ManciniMonday Roberto Mancini and Manchester City travel back to London to play the other multi millionaires Chelsea FC. Formed in 1905, a good twenty five years after the blues, the first League meeting between these two was almost exactly one hundred and four years ago to the day. 

December 7th 1907 was held at Stamford Bridge, just like Mondays game, and ended in a 2-2 draw. With Chelsea on the high of Champions League qualification and Manchester City looking to retake the reigns of the Premiership title race it may very well be that kind of scoreline once again. That day our goals were scored by Buchanan and Jones and we finished that season third in the top flight and Chelsea secured 13th place. 

In June 2003 then Chairman Ken Bates sold the club to Roman Abramovich and that is when their trophy haul (eventually) began. Before that their record was pretty much the same as that of our beloved Manchester City with just one League title (we have two), three FA Cups (we HAD four), Two League cups (ditto) and they had won the Euro Cup Winners Cup twice (we had just the one!) so as you can see pre 2003 we were similar, post 2010 and once more we are similar. 

Over our history of League meetings together we have met 132 times with Manchester City winning only 42 of the games, losing 54 and drawing the rest. When Carlos Tevez scored the winner in our home game last season it was the 100th League goal that City had scored against Chelsea, whereas you only have to go back to the previous season to see when Chelsea notched their one hundredth against us. 

Despite Chelsea having the slight edge with the overall statistics you only have to go back to February 2010 when we last beat them on their own ground. That season we did the double, beating them 2-1 in the home fixture. That said, the last meeting we had away to Chelsea was earlier this year, on 20th March. That was a 2-0 defeat and came only three days after we had been dumped out of the European competition, that despite winning our European game! Sound familiar? 

This time around it will be different. City are out f the Champions League but to be fair that had been on the cards and easier to accept than the Kiev result. Take also into account that Manchester City have added Aguero and Nasri to their attacking ranks and have been free scoring in the League all season. Contrast that with Chelsea, who although now find themselves fifth and a cool ten points behind their opposition, have had positive results recently. That includes a 3-0 win against Valencia and the same result in the League against Newcastle. That said the previous ten matches in all competitions only yielded four wins, including being dumped out of the Carling Cup. Of those four wins, only two came from a game at Stamford Bridge. 

Hope is high for the Mancunians that Chelsea, under the young Andre Villas-Boas, can get a result and reinstate the five point difference between them and rivals Manchester United at the top of the table. 

PA Cityboy

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50 years ago, Dowd stepped forth

On this day in 1961 Manchester City were beaten 4-1 by Blackburn Rovers in their Division One game in the penultimate season of Les McDowalls reign as City boss.

This date, however, also saw the debut of Harry Dowd and although he would only make the one other appearance that season would go on to make 219 appearances in goal for City, and even getting on the scoresheet in the process.

Dowd wasn’t as interested in football as he was in other things and it was just a job for the local boy who, as one story went, had to be told, when they played Arsenal, that ‘they’re the ones in red’.

With Dowd being an understudy to German legend Bert Trautmann Dowd did well to even get a decent run in the team in the 62/63 season. That year he made 27 league appearances and was in all but one of Citys cup games. That season City were relegated and manager McDowell was replaced with George Poyser. 

It was that first season in the Second Division in which Dowd and Trautmann reversed their roles with Dowd making the majority of the starts and Trautmann just a handful before leaving at the end of the season. On February 8th 1964 Harry Dowd broke his finger and was unable to continue his role between the posts and as there were no substitutions at that point he was forced to play the rest of the game up front. From there he scored the equalising goal. 

In the Second tier Manchester City struggled for a few seasons until promotion under Mercer in 1966. The arrival of Mercer and Allison revitalised everyone at City and in particular the local boys. Dowd started the first season in the Division One return as first choice but then lost his place due to injury and Alan Ogley replaced him.

The next season played out with almost the same script, this time Dowds replacement was Mulhearn and so missed out on a Championship medal as City stormed to the top of the Division.

The following season Dowd did manage to reclaim his starting place, not least for the heavy criticism received by Mulhearn after the European cup defeat by Fenerbache in the European Cup first round. Dowd made almost all the starts in goal in the League and Cup from October 1968 including the FA Cup winning side and so eventually Dowd had his medal.

At this time a young goalkeeper by the name of Corrigan was making his way and the rest as they say is history. Dowd failed to hold down his first team place and went on loan with Stoke before moving to Oldham although he was given two last games at the end of the 1969/70 season. 

Despite his short stature in comparison to other goalkeepers his reflexes more than made up for that and he would go on to be a good servant for Oldham before retiring in 1974.

PA Cityboy

 

City fan keeping the faith

edin dzeko‘We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight on the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender’.

Winston Churchill gave this most famous of speeches before England had a previous almighty battle with the Germans.

That was on the fourth of June 1940 and on the 7th December 2011 Roberto Mancini will have to deliver a similarly rousing call to arms as Manchester City face Bayern Munich in a game which will partly determine which European competition they will partake in next year.

On a positive note, we are also looking for the Italians to surrender to the Spanish as part of the deal, but City can only control what happens in Manchester and that is the battle to focus on. Although Manchester City haven’t had the best of times in the inaugural voyage into the Champions League they do still boast an unbeaten home record in European matches. Although Bayern are not exactly slouches when it comes to away fixtures, with six wins from eight in Champions League play. 

The last time City faced German competition was back in 2009 when City were eliminated by Hamburg over the two legs of the UEFA Cup. Interestingly enough, earlier on in the season, City faced and beat Schalke 2-0. Although the game was on German soil it does link to Wednesday’s game as Manuel Neuer and Rafinha were in that side that night and may well face City now they are at Bayern. 

Back in our European Cup Winners triumph in 1970 we faced our first German opposition, again Schalke and again a positive result saw us progress. However, unlike those matches the destiny of City doesn’t rest firmly in Mancunian hands and one wary eye will constantly be looking across the water to Villarreal. 

But lets not forget that Bayern will still not be looking to lose on the night and in fact their last few visits to these shores resulted in an English side going out. Their stats in England in the fourteen games played they have only lost 5. City will have to make it 6 if their Champions League adventure is to continue.

PA Cityboy

 

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The Brazlian legend

February 1954, in the Capital and largest City of the state of Para, Brazil, the world welcomed a footballing legend. On December 4th 2011, in Brazil’s largest City, Sao Paulo we said goodbye.

Socrates was a great midfielder, great with through passes. His ability to read the game as well as his physical strength all led him to being one of the best players to grace the field. His career ranged for 30 years and through that time he played mostly in Brasil for Botafogo, Flamengo, Santos and Corinthians but also came to Europe with a brief spell at Fiorentina and he even made it to West Yorkshire, where he appeared one time for Garforth Town back in 2004.

Internationally he was capped by Brazil 60 times and scored 22 goals in a seven year spell from 1979 to 1986 in which he appeared in the two World Cups (1982 & 1986). Despite not being part of a Brazil World Cup winning side Socrates did enough to be inducted in the Brazilian Football Hall of Fame in 2008 as well as being named by Pele in the FIFA 100 in 2004. This was selected by Pele of the greatest living footballers and represented the 100th anniversary of the FIFA organisation rather than having the 100 top players (it actually lists 125).

He was a genius on the football pitch and pretty smart off it also. Socrates became a doctor of medicine while still playing and then after his football career was over he began to practise medicine. He was certainly an intelligent person but had his demons also and drank and smoked to excess. Recently Socrates had even said that he considered alcohol his companion.

Ironically he was actually working on a book with the World Cup returning to Brazil in 2014 and dies just two years short of another footballing genius who drank too much, George Best. Best died in November 2005 aged 59, Socrates in December 2011 aged 57. Whetheer you consider Best the Northern Irish Socrates, or Socrates the South American George Best, one thing is for sure, Heaven has one great midfield now! 

PA City boy