Manchester City, today’s opponents, illustrate up just how things can change in football.
Years ago when we were winning trophies for fun City seemed to be everyone’s favorite second team partly because of the Mancs and because they were a big club who had fallen on hard times, which culminated in a spell in the old third division. They also had a set of fans who mixed loyalty with resigned cynicism and humour.
Now City, like Chelsea when Roman Abramovich started throwing his financial weight around, are one of the teams the people like to hate. Too much money, too many arrogant pre-madonnas such as Mario Balotelli, too many shop window signings? How vulgar! Yet in the same breath some fans who criticise City and, for that matter Chelsea, will also, criticize their own team’s board or the owners for lack of investment in the team. You just can’t win it seems!
How do City fans feel now? No doubt they remember with perverse fondness the days when their team was a team with all the problems that most teams in the league have? However, after all the frustration and heartache, they must be like pigs in sh*t now? OK the team isn’t playing a brand of football which has neutrals rooted to their seats but who would begrudge them their current situation?
City’s relation with Liverpool has always been good, in my eyes anyway. They were the club, along with Aston Villa, that most of our ex players us to go to. We used to beat them often. Then of the course there is the mutual hatred of the Mancs! Yet it’s different now. Even though they haven’t won on the road since around Christmas, Manchester City come to Anfield today with a demonstrable upper hand, for first time since I can remember. They have more money, a better squad and more modern stadium and of course a better position on the league. I doubt we will be lining up together in next years Europa League? They also visit us on the back of the comprehensive 3-0 victory against us in August. Perhaps it is going to be their turn now?
Us? Well what do we do? Europe, with Spurs’ win against Stoke appears so be nothing more than a distance ship smoke of the horizon. Is there a danger of thinking there is nothing to play for and letting the season dribble away? Injuries don’t help, Gerrard and Agger out for the season and no Johnson, or Kelly however, surely there is too much at stake to be complacent? Many players will be mindful of the fact that changes will be made in the summer and Kenny will want to finesse his end game vis a vis a permanent position game by ensuring we finish strongly? However, that is the view of a fan and not necessarily that of a player?
Prediction? I guess there is a chance that City will be thinking about the next weekends FA Cup semi final which of course has extra significance due to the opponents. Said Kenny
“We don’t know what team they’ll put out, we don’t know if they’ll be focused on the semi-final or not. I’m sure the place equal importance on their position in the league but when you see a trophy at the end of it sometimes our concentration wanes a wee bit. We hope that will be the case. I’m sure they’ll have half an eye on the Cup tie because it’s a massive game for them and a chance for them to get a bit of silverware.”
Hopefully this will play into our hands as we will be somewhat threadbare especially in defence? I take us to exploit this, City’s poor away form and fixation with the FA Cup glory. 2-0 to us and above all I hope we keep on going to the end of the season?
Finally, happy birthday Sam