Last week couldn’t have got off to a worse start. Shay Given ruled out for the remainder of the season, understudy Stuart Taylor also out injured and Joe Hart on a season long loan with Birmingham.
So we found ourselves with an inexperienced goalkeeper going into three final critical games of a long, hard season, meaning City made a request to the FA for special dispensation to make an emergency signing of a goalkeeper.
Now if we didn’t have anything to aim for, Mancini might not have bothered to sign another keeper and allow Gunnar Neilsen to see out the remainder of the season. But with a place in the Champions League at stake, he really didn’t have an option. Of course, City should have put a clause in Hart’s loan deal to say he could be recalled at any time but at least they will have learnt this for the future.
The FA’s decision to grant the blues permission was not met well by certain parts of the media, who claimed City were bending the rules but how can a club that asks permission be bending the rules? I can understand it if we had just gone out and signed a keeper without permission. I could also understand if we’d signed a top class keeper rather than a third choice but we stayed within the rules and within the spirit and fairness of the game. So where was the problem?
There seems to be a bit of a witch hunt against the blues at the moment and everything we do is scrutinized by the media. I suppose it’s something we will have to get used to.
Villa Down, Spurs To Go
A match against Villa is always difficult and Saturday’s game was a real test of our strength. Villa were sitting above us in fifth and defeat would have made challenging Spurs for fourth even more difficult.
And when John Carew opened the scoring, we could have been forgiven for thinking that was it. Stewart Downing almost made it two before the blues levelled and that’s when we began to show a bit of quality.
Within minutes we took a lead that we wouldn’t throw away and made it 3-1 before the final whistle. Some felt the blues would have felt the pressure on Saturday and cracked, allowing Villa to steal the points but City again proved the doubters wrong to stay in the race.
But the real test comes on Wednesday when Spurs arrive. The Londoners had been tipped at the start of the season to break the top four and this season they would have got away with it if it wasn’t for those pesky City players.
Europe Here We Come, Again
Whatever happens on Wednesday, European football was assured once City beat Villa. Everton still could have caught us but goal difference was in our favour. We made it to the quarter finals last season but we have the players now to go all the way to the final next year. And to make things even better, Chelsea’s win at Liverpool not only puts them within one win of taking the title from United, but also assures City of at least a sixth place finish in the league.
For so many reason’s, this one has definitely been one to remember.
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- Kylian Mbappe on the bench for PSG
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- Guardiola may be the ‘greatest manager of all time’ – Neville