We stand on the cusp of something very special at the moment. My head tells me that the quadruple is impossible, but my heart keeps telling me we can do it. Surely, quadruples are for other teams and not us. Aren’t we more likely to be the 21st century version of the early 1970’s Leeds United? Regularly chasing three trophies and winning none or one at best. Let’s be honest, so far this has been a very gentle FA Cup run for us this term. Rotherham, Burnley, Newport and now Swansea. All lower league or lower PL clubs and the type of draw that United used to often get on their way to another double. It’s hard to review games like this without sounding big headed and that’s something we Blues just aren’t, but we’d beat Swansea nineteen times out of twenty, so let’s hope that this isn’t the twentieth. I’ll leave the speculation on team selection to you guys, but baring a situation where we create twenty chances and fail to take any, I think we’ll win this one 3-0. If we do get to the final, I hope we meet Wolves, as there’s a score that’s been needing settling since 1974. Does Bony still play for Swansea?
Well, there isn’t much new to say about this fixture other than that we don’t want the kind of drama that occurred in the first leg. We want a straightforward professional performance that takes us through to the quarter finals.
In the first leg Schalke were happy to defend until they got lucky with a penalty and for a while City looked shaky. Schalke will now have to come out and attack and they could cause problems if we are slow starters. I expect a whole lot of possession football by City inviting Schalke to come and get the ball which should lead to opportunities for some incisive play through their lines. I can see a game similar to Saturday’s which gradually opens up. As always we need to take our chances (two gilt-edged ones were spurned by Sergio and Leroy against Watford).
Schalke lost 4-2 at Werder Bremen on Friday and lie 14th of 18 in the Bundesliga
We have the comfort of a one goal lead and three away goals. As long as complacency and stupidity (silly yellow/red cards ) are avoided it looks like we should run out aggregate winners with something to spare.
Come on City do the business.
I don’t think may of us would have thought we would be back in control of our PL destiny after the defeat at Newcastle. Nine games to go and if we win them all, we are PL champions again. I can’t see that happening, but equally, I can’t see Liverpool winning every one of their games either, but it would cheer us all up a bit if we had a tad more breathing space sooner rather than later. At Vicarage Road, for 85 minutes we were totally in control and 2-0 up. Then we conceded a silly goal to give them hope and for the next nine minutes of normal and injury time, it was a backs to the wall display, the likes of which I hadn’t witnessed before from a Pep side. If we hoofed the ball out of defence once, we did it a dozen times, only for it to return very quickly. This should be another City win but I’d rather they didn’t treat us to another tense 1-0 win. In the title run in, I think whoever blinks first (in that they drop silly points,) will be the team to blow it. We still have that advantage of playing before the scousers, so we must make it count by winning and heaping the pressure on Liverpool. I’m going for my favourite predicted score line of 3-1 to City.
A very mixed bag results wise whenever we play at Bournemouth, we usually stuff them at home but these away games are far tighter affairs. I expect no different on Saturday even though Arsenal have just knocked five past them, we seem to have lost our scoring mojo so I’m not expecting anything like that.
Better news on the injury front with Stones and Jesus returning to training, so both should be on the bench if not in the starting eleven. 50mph winds accompanying this game could make it interesting and I’m going for a 2-1 City win. I’d like to see this side:
Ederson, Danilo, Zinchenko, Otamendi, Kompany, Gundogan, B.Silva, Foden, De Bruyne, Sterling, Aguero.
Subs: Muric, Walker, Mendy, Stones, Sane, Jesus, D.Silva.
Congratulations to the Carabao Cup and Confederation Cup winners. If Carlsberg did weekends then surely, they couldn’t have supplied a better one that this. We have no time to celebrate too much as we face yet another game in quick succession. Whatever happened to the days when 95% of matches were played on a Saturday and a mid week game was usually a re-arranged fixture? It really doesn’t seem like five minutes since we started the new season commenting on the opening league game against Arsenal, yet here we are with just eleven league games left. Today’s Daily Express included the latest prediction from their “super computer” on how the league table would look at the end of the season. Liverpool were still top, on 99 points whist we were still second on 98. A couple of weeks ago, the “super computer” predicted that Liverpool would finish top with 101 points and we’d finish second with 96. No doubt they expected us to draw against Chelsea and that Liverpool would have beaten United. I may be wrong but I can sense that the scousers are visibly wilting. Now is the time to go for the throat, starting with a win over West Ham. And win we will, buoyed by the cup final momentum, we will run out 3-1 winners.
City enter this game knowing that winning back to back cup competitions starts to breed a serial winner mentality. We should prevail as we have multiple match winners and are generally solid enough at the back. Predicting the team is near impossible but I expect Sergio to be up top with Sane and Sterling. As King of the Kippax proclaimed “it’s becoming a habit” and a nice one at that. I will go with 2-1 to City in a tense game. Our Serge to grab the winner and twirl the shirt.
We have played Schalke three times in all, twice in that never to be forgotten (at least never to be forgotten by those of us around at that time) European Cup Winners Cup semi final of 1970, when we lost 1-0 in Germany but thrashed them 5-1 at Maine Road. My first European tie, aged 13. We played them again in the Europa League in November 2008 and won 2-0 in the group stage in Germany. They are currently 14th in the Bundesliga, whilst Dortmund and Bayern are 1st and 2nd, so Spurs and Liverpool got the tougher games. On paper, this should be fairly straight forward, but with European games being over two legs with away goals counting double etc, unless we win by three or four, the tie is never over till it’s over. We will have one eye on Chelsea at the weekend too. 2-1 to City, leaving it still in the air.