If you’d have said a few years back that, by the new decade, City will be challenging for a top four place in the Premiership and in the semi-final of the League Cup, they would have whisked you off to the loony bin so quickly, there wouldn’t have been time for a rendition of Blue Moon.
However, that is where we find ourselves today; in fifth place in the league, a game in hand and 90 minutes away from Wembley.
But after the debacle at Everton blues fans must have wondered what was in store for the upcoming cup games.
We start against United on Tuesday night in the League Cup and for the first ten minutes or so, you would have struggled to realise that this was a Manchester derby in a cup semi-final, such was the tempo of the game.
Then Ryan Giggs scored from close range and City went up a gear, eventually. For a while United were the better side but then enter Carlos Tevez.
The Argentine striker seemed fired up after that goal and set off on his own personal mission top destroy United. And that he did. Gary Neville was made to eat his words after the United defender claimed Tevez ‘was not worth £25m and Ferguson was right to get rid of him.’ Tevez chased every ball and was involved in the build up to City’s equaliser, releasing Craig Bellamy who won the penalty to give Carlos his moment.
In truth, there wasn’t much in the penalty but how many times have United players gone down in the box after the slightest of touches? Now they know how that feels and Carlos stepped up and hammered the penalty home with such force, it could have broke the net and took out a few of the visiting supporters. Maybe that was his intention.
His celebration aimed at Neville was amusing, which is the opposite of Neville’s not so grown up response.
A second half goal gave the blues the advantage and the opportunity to make their first Wembley appearance since 1981.
An away tie in the FA Cup is always tricky. Play that tie against a struggling Championship outfit and the chances of a cup shock are greatly increased. League status doesn’t matter in the cup. And on Sunday, Scunthorpe belied their league position to put a battle against the blues.
In the past, it would have been a game that City would have lost. After taking an early lead, we conceded an equaliser from an offside position. Many a blues team would have let their heads drop and succumbed to defeat. But not this team.
City took everything The Iron threw at them before going to the other end of the field and scoring on the stroke of half-time. The blues eventually ran out 4-2 winners to set up a home tie with Stoke City and that Wembley feeling is coming around again.
I’ve heard many comments this week regarding our financial status. “That’s what money can do,” moan the observers. No, money can buy you the players but they still have to perform. Sunday’s game showed a completely different side with people like Abdisalam Ibrahim and Dedryk Boyata getting a start ahead of Richards, Bellamy, Wright-Phillips, Barry and Zabaleta. Shay Given, Carlos and Adebayor were not even named in the squad and on Wednesday, we were missing, Ade, Kolo Toure, Joleon Lescott, Martin Petrov, Stephen Ireland and Roque Santa Cruz while Robinho couldn’t even get on the pitch and we still won!
No, money is not the main factor of the club now. We have a team spirit which is something we have been lacking over the years. Yes money helps but you can’t buy team spirit. We also now have the players that can score, something else we have been lacking in recent years.
And so to Wednesday and Old Trafford. It’s not a foregone conclusion that we will win the tie yet but I am convinced our name is on that trophy this year. We only need a draw to set up a final date with Richard Dunne and Aston Villa.
But a win would do nicely.
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