If there can be a good time to play Man City at the Etihad it would be when the best pound for pound (& £ for £) striker is unavailable. So City sans Aguero is a help and then also without the cover of Dzeko and Jovetic makes things a slightly less uneven playing field. Added to which, Kompany is missing from the back and there is a sliver of light. But it is only a sliver. We are without Chammers who always does a sterling job upfront and we don’t exactly look full of goals.
In a strange way it helps our style when we play away as the counter attacking style developed under Pulis, comes to the fore. It is safe to assume that City will have oodles of possession, as we are the team with the lowest percentage in the whole Premier League this season. Last year we were beaten 1-0 and had some chances with Hart in good form, earning him Man of the Match. He has just signed a long-term contract to keep him at City and looks back to his imperious best so will be a tough nut to crack.
Our last two away games have been respectable draws at Swansea and Tottenham so there is some hope that if we can reproduce this form it will keep us in with a chance. City are unbeaten in seven league matches and will be full of confidence despite their absentees, let’s face it their midfield is not exactly shabby and is full of goals. Since our last win at Man City was secured by Ian Wright you can judge that it was a while ago and cannot really expect to secure a first victory in nearly twenty-five years up there.
As ever our midfield trio will need to be on their game to resist the continuous pressure we can expect to flow towards our goal. The back four will also need to bring their A games with them if we are to resist the blue tide and return home with something. The odd foray down the wing would help and Bolasie, Zaha and Puncheon will have to perform to offer some relief. There is not much expectation but there is always hope.
Richard’s first book, The A-Z of Football Hates is now available in bookshops and online.
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