Fulham v MAN CITY – Time to Show Support for MANCINI

18 Nov

The fixture list at its very best. An under-pressure foreign manager, supposedly lacking the support of the players and the fans who have started to turn on him, faces his predecessor, someone whose popularity has never waned, at least according to the media.

If Roberto Mancini could have chosen any fixture to play this weekend, the first time his team will take to the pitch after a minority of fans called for his sacking, the last side he would elect to face would be Fulham, a club managed by the eternally popular Mark Hughes, the erstwhile incumbent of the manager’s seat at City.

But that is the intriguing battle that will ensue this Sunday, a match which will be played out in front of the Sky cameras, no doubt baying for the blood of our manager. In the face of such vitriolic criticism, both from sections of the spoken and written press, and more worryingly, a small number of our own fans, true City supporters must come to their senses and give their backing to Mancini.

I was stood in the away end at the Hawthorns and witnessed a passionate backing of the manager from the thousands of other die-hard Blues who attended the game. Five times in the first half did we sing in support of the boss, but within the space of a couple of weeks, courtesy of a pair of soporific 0-0 draws, which still leave us comfortably in fourth place, the tide, I sense, is starting to turn.

And it is now that Mancini must face Hughes, a manager who entertained for a short period, but ultimately failed in his duty to provide a solid foundation. Fans point out that ‘at least under Sparky, we wanted to score goals’ and ‘at least it was exciting to watch’. But think realistically for a moment. Which would you rather; a side which enthralls and entertains, yet loses 4-3 in the Manchester derby, or a side which is less aesthetically pleasing, but grinds out a 0-0 in the same fixture? Do you want to watch a side push forward at all costs and score three goals at home to Burnley, yet are so poor defensively that they end up drawing the game, or would you rather observe a battling, containing performance away at West Brom which leads us to a comfortable victory? At the risk of attracting the wrath of irate City fans, I know which I’d rather have.

Fulham are a notoriously difficult side to defeat on their home patch, with Hughes replicating the sort of ‘trajectory of results’ which saw him relieved of his duties nearly a year ago. The Cottagers are the Premier League’s draw specialists and City will have to produce their best form if they hope to return to Manchester having accrued three points. England international Bobby Zamora is sidelined with injury, though Andy Johnson has just returned to the fold and often causes the Blues problems.

With regards to his team selection, my good friend Roberto Mancini is devoid of the services of the volatile Mario Balotelli, who serves the final game of the three match suspension, whilst Gareth Barry picked up an injury on international duty and is doubtful. His fellow England teammate, Joe Hart, had to withdraw from the friendly with France after a back spasm but he is expected to be fit for this game, although Shay Given is on standby. Inspirational captain Carlos Tévez should also start, despite missing Argentina’s midweek clash with Brazil.

This is the side which Mancini is expected to select:

                                                              Hart

Boateng                     K. Touré                      Kompany                        Kolarov

                    Y. Touré                     de Jong                         Zabaleta

Milner                                                                                                              Silva

                                                             Tévez

Subs: Given, Richards, Lescott, Vieira, SWP, A. Johnson, Adebayor

Key Battle

Brede Hangeland v Carlos Tévez

The Leviathan Norwegian is a vastly underrated, no-nonsense centre-back who will relish the opportunity to face Tévez. Notwithstanding his indubitable defensive prowess, Hangeland is a serious threat at set-pieces and must be given close attention by the City defenders. Tévez had a poor game against Birmingham last weekend and sat out his country’s midweek clash with Brazil, but he needs to bounce back with a bang against Fulham if City are to have any chance of returning victorious. He carried the goalscoring burden of the side on his shoulders and must be at his most clinical on Sunday.

Prediction: Fulham 1 – 1 MAN CITY – It will be a tough match, a fiercely contested battle in the middle of the park. Goals to be scored by Clint Dempsey and Carlos Tévez.

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17 Responses to “Fulham v MAN CITY – Time to Show Support for MANCINI”

  1. Neil Swindells 18/11/2010 at 6:13 pm #

    I would play Milner at right midfield (in your formation, and sit Zaba) and put Johnson out on the right wing, with him and Silva switching around as needed. Milner has been played for a goat out on the right wing, and has toiled there without any fanfare. This is a very good opportunity to play him ahead of De Jong and Yaya in a 4-2-3-1 formation. At least, with Milner, you know that if things break down, he will get back and tuck in. If the game starts to get past Yaya (which it has in the last few (Man U and Brum), then bring on Zaba next to De Jong.

    Game will be won or lost in the gaps between the CHs and full backs. Let’s see if we can feed our front men in those spaces. If not, consigned to yet another grind out. I think Silva, Milner and Johnson have the ability to put the ball in there, but they are just not clear on where the run is going….that takes time to learn and understand from your team mates.

    • elliot 18/11/2010 at 6:16 pm #

      that would be my team as well

      has all the necessary defenders in midfield and is more creative than the standard 433 we usually play

      i hope he goes with your team!

  2. elliot 18/11/2010 at 6:14 pm #

    zaba in midfield ahead of vieira?

  3. longsightcity 18/11/2010 at 6:14 pm #

    3 holding midfielders again with a right back on the left of a midfield 3 doesn’t look right balance wise…and as for milner..the guy is garbage and should be sub at best..johnson left wing..swp right wing..ya ya and de jong central with silva just off tevez for me until ballotelli is back next week..

  4. Browny 18/11/2010 at 6:44 pm #

    Due to the fact Barry cannot play, I hope Mancini comes to his senses and plays De Jong and Touré holding, with an attacking 3 of A. Johnson, Milner and Silva. Lets see a bit more adventure! Also, not sure you second paragraph makes sense, it is a very long sentence with a plethera of commas. I see a Fulham win in total honesty, they seem to play better against the big teams.

    • View From A Blue 18/11/2010 at 7:01 pm #

      That is what he played against Birmingham and look where that got us! Johnson shouldn’t be starting, never produces enough whenever he starts, always better coming off the bench. My team would be different from the one up there – I’d be tempted to play Micah Richards in midfield – but then again, I’m the only person ever to think that he would be good there!!

  5. Blue Rinse 18/11/2010 at 6:58 pm #

    Another defeat and Mancini is going to be well under pressure.
    I hate the way we are always sacking managers at City, but why can’t people accept this fella is plainly just not the right man for the job instead of clinging on to the hope that he’s the messiah.

    Ok we are fourth, but we won’t stay there for much longer the way things are going, we’ve been awful generally and we’ve won once in six games recently and we won’t get any better.

    We made a mistake appointing him. We have to face it.
    Sort it out now rather than later while there’s still some of the season left to save.

  6. JOHN GUIDETTI IS MY HERO!!! 18/11/2010 at 7:31 pm #

    DAMN I WANTED TO BE THE 6th COMMENT!

    Steven you know my thoughts on the following >>>

    ” Which would you rather; a side which enthralls and entertains, yet loses 4-3 in the Manchester derby, or a side which is less aesthetically pleasing, but grinds out a 0-0 in the same fixture?”…….need I say any more?

    Right, I think your blog has one flaw and that is with regards to a certain Aaron Hughes. Nobody actually ever mentions him, but MoTD did a special on him and it was fantastic. They showed what a rock he is and how he gets no credit for the work he did. I told you this earlier and am slightly myffed as to why you still didnt mention him. Vastly underrated was a term you used for Hangeland but I feel it would have been much more appropriate for Hughes himself.

    I also feel you should do another midfield key battle because Fulhams midfield is actually very strong, and will push and push and push unlike our defence minded quartet. The likes of Gera (whom I once really wanted to sign) and Dempsey and Davies are all quality players who can do some damage and we must be on our best behaviour.

    MY prediction is a 1-1 too, with Gera and Tevez with the goals.

    Overall rating for the blog, 8/10 with two knocked off for failing to mention Aaron Hughes! Harsh, maybe….but i’d prefer to be honest.

  7. l0ngwayfr0mh0me 18/11/2010 at 7:32 pm #

    Makes me laugh how our supporters can be so quickly swayed by a baying gutter press; who’s only goal is to undermine the club because it sells papers.
    Its proven to work well changing the manager over the last 34 years, has it? Has it sh1t3!
    Mancini has a proven record which we’d be hard pressed to find elsewhere, had less than 12 months in charge, and has been successful in unpicking a lot of (although not all) of Hughes’s mistakes. Sforza Mancini!

    …………Hart
    Boateng..K. Touré..Kompany..Kolarov
    ..Y.Toure..De Jong..Milner..
    ….Johnson….Silva
    …………Tévez

    • Blue Rinse 18/11/2010 at 8:32 pm #

      The idea that the press are out to get us is nothing but paranoia.
      Anyway, we are all capable of making our own minds up. I’ve made my mind up about Mancini, not because of what the press say, but because I see the problems on and off the pitch with my own eyes.

      This man is just so wrong for this job it’s unbelievable.

      But if some people want to bury their heads in the sand then that’s their affair.

      Sacking managers HAS got us nowhere in the past. But hanging on to a manager is only the right thing to do if you’ve got the right man in charge.

      Blindly clinging hold of managers that can’t do the job is worse than knee jerk sacking them.

      Mancini is Alan Ball with money. Get rid now!

      • l0ngwayfr0mh0me 18/11/2010 at 11:38 pm #

        “off the pitch with my own eyes” … hmmm see what you did there? You actually get your insight from the media. The shame is even you don’t realise it.

      • Av 22/11/2010 at 11:45 am #

        Still feeling quite as sure of your anti Mancini diatribe?

  8. Melon Man 19/11/2010 at 7:48 am #

    Fine article,
    Mancini needs time, I believe he has what it takes based on his tactics, purchases and general demenour.
    However, I understand why others have no faith in him also.
    What is certain, is that actively undermining him and the team by booing and cat-calling will not help City as a club, so please those guilty of it, stop it.
    If Mancini is to be sacked, let it be because the owner’s decide to do so based on results, rather than opinions.
    I’m a big fan of Micah Richards, good to see him getting a run out for Engerland, he’s another player we should be proud of, instead of criticizing his every move.
    I liked Mark Hughes, but was frustrated by the defensive frailties. Won’t be shedding any tears ‘tho when we stuff them tomorrow, and we’re favourites for the Premiership (again!).

    • Melon Man 19/11/2010 at 12:23 pm #

      Oops, meant to say when we stuff them on Sunday!

  9. TheTruth 19/11/2010 at 8:24 am #

    It’s the biggest fallacy in football that Mark Hughes City played attractive football.

  10. Matt 20/11/2010 at 9:22 pm #

    As a Man United fan, I don’t often read other team’s blogs but this is indubitably one of the best City blogs out there. Hope City do well this season, it’s good for Manchester to have two top class clubs.

  11. Matt 20/11/2010 at 9:38 pm #

    One more thing. I had a good friend at that City game and he also mentioned how good the City support was. ‘I was stood in the away end at the Hawthorns and witnessed a passionate backing of the manager from the thousands of other die-hard Blues who attended the game’.

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