City v Stoke

Another tough game but luckily or is that unluckily we’re at home. Our away form has been so much better than our home this season for some reason, and it’s these games that worry me. Stoke will no doubt find a performance that they haven’t managed away for most of the season, so we can’t afford to show any signs of complacency.  Same team as against Sunderland for me, or do we bring De Bruyne back in for Toure?.

Otamendi might also get a recall in place of Stones, that’s how Pep is working at the minute. If our fitness levels are still good I fancy us to nick it 2-1.

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47 thoughts on “City v Stoke”

  1. Shame West Ham couldn’t peg Chelsea back last night. Unfortunately we are running out of games if we’re going to catch them. As I said a few posts ago, I feel we are in the middle of one of those spells when we look really good and had we not lost Jesus, we’d be nailed on for second. As it is, we look to have too much for most teams with Sterling, Aguero, Sane, Silver and DeBruyne all able to conjure up something, our Achilles heel as we all know is in defence. Stoke are no mugs, but we really should be too good for them, so I’m going for 2-1 as well

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  2. Victory will give us a cushion, which we’ll probably need next month, when we travel to Arsenal and Chelsea.
    I’m fairly confident, but there were some worrying signs of complacency at Sunderland. Let’s just score a few goals, and not give Stoke a sniff.

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  3. Chelsea are the Leicester of this season: another game with under 50% possession and less shots -but they still win. Nobody will catch them, not even the “next best team in the PL” (thanks, Albert Steptoe) Tottingham Cockneytwats. If we resist the temptation to change the side for changing’s sake, we should see them off. My prediction: 3 – 0.

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  4. Two quick points. First, I think Kolarov keeps his place not only because he is comfortable on the ball & can hit the crossfield pass but is actually quite good in the air (his opta stats on contesting headers confirm this) and his positioning defensively is solid. I realize he is not every City fans’ cup o’ tea, but he is a very intelligent player with good technical skill. His weakness is he is not a natural athlete.
    My second point is that I think the players are really starting understand and fully immerse themselves in Pep’s systems. The loose 4-3-3 with Sane & Sterling on
    the flanks is reaping havoc. I also like the system of Silva & KDB playing as dual #8’s. I like KDB playing deep because he’s very assertive in the transition game by looking to move the ball forward quickly whereas Yaya tends to be a little too methodical for me. That said I have to give huge props to #42. I always thought he was under that category of immensely talented but lazy/haughty. There is no doubt about his talent but his commitment has impressed me this season. I can’t remember him chasing 50-50 tackles & lost causes with such vigor. I used to laugh at the media when they used to describe him as a defensive mf during the Mancini era when he was clearly a deep lying play maker. These days he does look more the part of a dmf.

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    1. I also have to give Yaya credit. His work rate has improved 100% since pep brought him back. I wonder if he’s perhaps listening less to his agent and more to his coach these days?

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    2. Just a couple of questions pj. I understand that you are a Kolarov fan and as with Pellegrini nothing I say will change that but by what does “not being a natural athlete” mean (slow as a carthorse?) How do you measure intelligence in footballing terms? (bearing in mind the quote by Barry Humphries who explained the success of the Australian sportsman as being “due to a lack of any intellectual distractions” and the inability to do anything with his right foot but prevent himself toppling over. I avidly await a response.

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      1. Fair play Steve. Not being a natural athlete can indeed imply being slow as a carthorse, as well as having,say, an average vertical jump. And yes being an “intelligent” player doesn’t relate to a player’s intellectual capacity or IQ (but Kolarov actually is quite intelligent in this manner as well) but more to do with a player’s understanding of the game, such as taking the right angle to the ball or reading the flight of the ball so as to time a jump to maximize your leap and hang time in the air. It can also be using the position of your body to shield the ball and draw a foul. It can also be knowing when to slow the tempo down and when to speed it up. I can think of a former City player who fits billing by the name of Gareth Barry, who was not exactly fleet of foot, did not have the greatest vertical leap and rarely used his right foot. I think players like Barry and Kolarov are effective players without being eye catching. I think Kolarov has been quite solid, without being spectacular, at centerback which for me is commendable as it is not his natural position. Not sure if I articulated my concept fully but I hope that provides some clarification.

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  5. Have we a game tonight?, Just scrolled down an online newspaper and found a story about us twenty threads down. And it wasn’t even about tonight’s match. Rubbish!.

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    1. There are more important things for the media to concentrate on than us playing a PL game which could take us second in the table DB. Arsenal’s traditional thrashing at this stage of the CL and Jose Mourinho’s declaration that United are going all out to win the EL as a back door passage into next year’s CL for example.

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      1. Ha ha Arsenal Tony. Has anybody seen their Arsenal fan TV site on you tube?, It really is a good listen , full of Wenger hating but one guy in particular DT I think speaks a lot of sense re wanting him out.

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  6. On the Kolarov debate
    I’ve always been in a small minority, preferring him to Clichy, who I think is the biggest weakness in the team.
    However, this season, I just can’t see an issue. Kolarov has been one of our better defensive players, and apart from Stones, and possibly Sagna, he’s the only one I’d keep.

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    1. Agreed Neil. what baffles me is that Clichy for the at least the last 3 seasons has been extremely error-prone, misplacing passes, being indecisive, being caught ball watching, but because he’s fleet of foot, he doesn’t get slagged off by City fans because fast players always give the impression that they are hustling. In fact, the reason I think it’s starting to get noticed is because he is still quite fast Forza guy i in his 30’s, he’s not as quick as he used to be and can no longer rely on speed and endurance alone. He is an example for me of a guy who is a very good athlete rather than an intelligent footballer.

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      1. I also prefer Kolarov to Clichy, which in a way is a backhanded compliment,I also like his attitude, that eastern European stoicism,but he is slow, a flaw exploited by Liverpool and Spurs and he cannot make the simplest of passes with his right foot Are we supposed to be recruiting technically gifted players and not just players who can”do a job” or is it just one footed technically gifted players, or maybe he is one of those players we hang out to dry when we lose. Will the real Alexis Kolarov please stand up and end my confusion?

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  7. We may laugh at the response of some Arsenal fans to last night defeat, or indeed the degree of the defeat itself but I think we all know what is going to happen when we turn up at the Emirates a few short weeks from now ………..

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  8. Whatever our thoughts on Kolorov, (and he does have some qualities) my belief is there must be better, younger players out there who could fulfil the roles he has been played in. This is what we should be aiming for to move the club forward.

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    1. There must be RB. There are reports today that Pep is interested in signing Isco for £30 million. Good signing though he would be, Pep’s management dealings will be defined in the next transfer window with his defensive signings. We need a new keeper, two new centre backs and two or probably three full backs. Perhaps we will use Toss and Deneyer, Mafeo and one other from the youth set up, but thus far, I’ve seen little that convinces me that Pep will do a Ferguson and promote five at once.

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  9. No Sterling in the starting lineup nor the substitutes bench. Is he injured or suspended (too many yellow card accumulations for getting fouled in the penalty area)?

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  10. Wow, that was bloody appalling, worst performance of the season for me and that includes Everton and Leicester away. You could sense trouble with the starting eleven , wtf was up with Sterling?, If he was only rested then that’s a big bollock dropped by Pep. KDB simply hasn’t got going all season, our full backs pose no threat whatsoever, and Sergio when he’s bad, he’s very bad.
    A bit concerning that performance for me with a lot of big games coming up, our back up Players are simply not good enough when called upon. Very poor City, very poor.

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  11. Just what I’ve been saying for years DB. When we scratch the surface we just don’t have the quality. AS you say, that has got to have been one of the worst games I’ve seen us play this season. If you’d been in a coma for four months, you’d swear that Pellegrini was still in charge. Until Silva came on there was practically nothing forthcoming from anyone. I think it was Neil who said that we are playing these games all wrong. We rest our better players but then risk getting them injured by having to bring them on after 70 minutes. Silva should have been on from the start, but in fairness, apart from Sterling we had pretty much a full strength line up outside of the back four. Looks like that run of games that I felt we were in the middle of where we do well, just ended. Hopefully, we can extend it by one more game against Middlesbrough. After that, our next PL games are Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea. Back to fifth after that lot on today’s showing

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    1. Definitely Tony. I think we’ll beat Middlesbrough on Saturday, go out against Monaco, lose Liverpool, draw against Arsenal, lose Chelsea. Then it’s a major battle for top four again.

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  12. My heart always sinks when I see Navas in the starting 11 as I know chances are going to be at a premium and sadly, once again my fears were well founded. How much better did we look once he was replaced by Silva? No doubt I’m going to be annoyed over the next 24 hours hearing how Hughes out thought Pep, came with a plan etc. etc. when the reality is with better finishing we could have won it by 3 or 4. One shot on target in 95 minutes is woeful.

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    1. We did create chances, but our usual problem of needing twenty of them to score one was in evidence tonight. GOOD teams, ones that win titles will make five and score one, like Chelsea have been doing all season. Sorry, but our build up tonight at times was so slow, it’s boring. We need five minutes to create a scoring opportunity most times, If United are 1-0 down with five minutes left plus the mandatory five minutes of injury time, they would create five chances at least.

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  13. Just got home from the march
    Not for the first time this season, my heart sank as soon as I saw the line-up, which was almost Pellegriniesque in tempo, attitude, tactics, and laboured movement.
    It was also one of those games where the crowd seemed more interested talking about how they were getting to Boro and Monaco, or the latest score from the Nou Camp. Nobody seemed focussed on our game until it was too late.
    As expected, Stoke slowed the game at every opportunity, so why in God’s name did we help them by playing at walking pace in the first half?
    Stoke targeted the space behind our full backs, and were perfectly content to push tight on Sane and Aguero, whilst deliberately leaving Clichy in particular, unmarked.
    Ironically, it was precisely for games like this that we needed the quick feet of Bravo and the dribbling ability of Stones. Instead, we got square pass, after square pass from a nervous back four and goalkeeper.
    Never mind converting chances. I don’t even recall many chances in the first hour, and only 2 or 3 half chances after that.
    Meanwhile De Bruyne’s going through a poor spell, and needs a couple of goals.
    Not sure whether Sterling was injured or rested, but suddenly, we seem to miss his movement (although I don’t think Navas had a particularly bad game).
    Without Jesus, and Sterling’s pace, the pressure is on Sane and I thought he was quite ineffective tonight. However, Yaya looked keen, and made a couple of surging runs.

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  14. Well all I can say is thank God Bournemouth did us a favour on Saturday! The 1st half in particular was just atrocious with not one chance created.

    Apart from the awful Clichy I can’t really criticise the defence but the midfield and forwards were extremely poor. De Bruyne delivered a superb cross late in the match but otherwise it was just a catalogue of over-hit, under-hit or plain inaccurate passes from him. Fernandinho very erratic, Aguero completely anonymous in the 1st half and in the 2nd he was back to his blind alley runs. Some powerful runs from Toure but what was that 1st time shot all about? Navas was just Navas. If he doesn’t score, Iheanacho has nothing to offer.

    If this is our bubble burst again these 7-days could see us out of all 3 competitions. We need to select our strongest team (though realistically I know Bravo will play) on Saturday as defeat at Boro would mean our best chance of silverware is gone and would make the Monaco trip so much tougher.

    Final thoughts. 1) How is Aguero a captain? 2) WTF is going on with Kompany? 3) Why didn’t I watch Barca v PSG!

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    1. Two days ago, my Facebook page had a photo of Kompany in training with the heading something like “Kompany getting ready for Stoke” By tonight, he was nowhere to be seen. He can’t seem to put one foot in front of the other without injuring himself.

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      1. Apparently he tripped up over a step in Hanley Market while buying some oatie cakes. The oatie cakes survived but did his hammy in. (laughing through the tears.)

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  15. Not seen the game yet and not sure I want to, but the stats seem to tell the story,eight corners eleven fouls against and three yellows for them and an abysmal one shot on target for us with Shawcross man of the match. Looks like we didn’t create much and when we did they fouled us and managed two shots on target themselves. I think for games like this you have get stuck into them from the start to combat the”stop them at all cost” ploy to get them on yellow cards. The scrap is on for a CL spot now.

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    1. To be fair, Steve Stoke weren’t nearly as cynical as in days gone by. They were just far too powerful and seemed more up for it than we did. Although Shawcross would sure be an improvement on some of our defenders they really haven’t a single player who would get in our squad yet we could conjure only one shot on target. 10 points behind Chelsea and 13 sacrificed at home. Just not good enough is it.

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  16. The most disappointing thing about last night was seeing Stoke players regularly being first to the ball, especially in the first half. As many of us have said in recent weeks, the way to approach games like this is to start with a strong eleven, get a goal or two ahead and then make changes, if some rotation is required. I’m afraid we were guilty of a little complacency last night, both in team selection and in thinking our possession game would be enough to win the game.

    Whilst always frustrated to see us play below our best, I’m not going to get too downhearted about this – realistically, we were never going to catch Chelsea, so as long as we finish in the top 3 it will be job done. If we now go on to beat Boro and qualify for the next round of the CL we can look back on this as a bit of a blip.

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  17. I don’t think this lot have ever believed they can catch Chelsea, and that performance last night was one of downing tools I’m afraid. Big selection dilemma against Boro now, do we go full strength and risk burnout for Monaco or go near reserve team and risk going out against Boro. This next few weeks could be great or a complete disaster, and I know which way I’m leaning to after last night.

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  18. Just read that the prem league have been given rights to go to town on Kodi pirates and shut them all down and fine them massively.
    How they think they’ll manage it is anyone’s guess.

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    1. Ten years ago, music downloading was in its infancy via sites such as Linewire and Kazza. The record companies and some artists were constantly bleating about putting an end to this practice, indeed on one occasion I recall seeing a newspaper report that the worst ten culprits had been fined a total of tens of thousands of pounds, strangely the report didn’t name them. Since then, music downloading has become second nature with some people prepared to go on iTunes and such sites to download a track for .99p, whereas I just go on YouTube, download the clip and convert it to mp3 format. Two years ago, my daughter wanted the new Taylor Swift album which hadn’t yet been released in the UK. I went on Proxy Bay and downloaded it in its entirety in high quality and stuck in on a CD for her. If I want to watch a film, I go on Putlocker or any of the other available sites and watch recently released films for free. Now, most artists recognise that downloading may lose them a few quid in sales (after all how much can they make on their cut of .99p?) but increase their profile to an audience that may never have considered buying their music or watching their films. The biggest losers are big business such as record labels and film studios. I suspect the authorities will find it as hard to clamp down on football streaming as they did music piracy and in ten years down the line everyone will be watching football in that way. Don’t tell anyone that I download though.

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      1. Yeah! It’s idiots like me who actually pay for streaming,cd’s,DVD’s etc that finance a service so others can get it for free!

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      2. Yeah, virtually impossible to get everyone responsible for live streaming. Keep going lads and lasses you’re doing a great job.

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  19. I have just watched the first half RB,they were getting to the ball first and at times with ease. I am losing faith in Navas,that little dance he does when he gets the ball, even when he knows there is a couple of blue shirts in the box he will not put in a quick cross and ends up crossing the ball to no one or passing it sideways or backwards. Very impressed with Toure. Who got the only shot on target?It’s that man again A.K who so far has had a very solid game. Silva should have come on for De Bruyne after half time. I am a big fan of Kevin but don’t think this was his kind of game. We should have been running at them drawing the fouls. This was one of those games when possession meant nothing and a more direct approach would have served us better.

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  20. It wasn’t Navas’s fault last night, but the fact that we started without the best passer of the ball in the PL. Until Silva came on, we never got going: after he arrived, we looked dangerous all the time. KDB cannot pass water at the moment – third game on the trot where he constantly found opponents or passed out of play. Twice, he had simple passes to release Sane for one-on-ones with their keeper, and each time he was miles off-target. Very frustrating all round, but you cannot blame Aguero if you don’t give him any service. Pep got it wrong last night and we also missed the injured Sterling. Must start with strongest XI v Boro to have the best chance of seeing them off. No replay, so it will be settled on the day.

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    1. Not a chance with Monaco on Tuesday Blueboy. It will be a real mix and match eleven against Boro I feel with the likes of Nolito, Delph, Navas, Fernando all starting. Pep will sacrifice the FA cup in the non hope of winning the champs league, and that’s why I feel a horrible week awaits us. Boro will beat our reserves and Monaco are more than capable of doing a real job on us at their gaff.

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  21. The problem with rotating and resting is that after the Liverpool game, the players will be flying all over the world for an International Break.
    I’m not sure which countries have important games, but we certainly can’t afford to lose the pace of Sterling and Sane. Without them, we look slow and laboured.

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  22. It seems you all watched the same game as myself. Too slow in the first half. Someone somewhere at the club is taking teams far too lightly. By the time we picked up our game, with changes just missing the post, Stoke had themselves settled and playing with a purpose. A spurs mate of mine said that if Spurs score in the first 30 mins they tend to win and heavily, if they don’t it’s a struggle, so why don’t we batter teams straight away? Very poor effort, one of those night….at least it took until the 67 min for that other team to be mentioned, so not bad from the commentators

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