Opposite View – Blackpool

October 16, 2010 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: All Posts, Opposite View 

For this week’s opposite view, MCB has visited the seaside to ask BFC Blog John a few questions. It was a wasted trip as John now lives in Didsbury. So we tracked him down in a local pub to ask him a few questions about Blackpool and Sunday’s game.

Hi John and welcome to Man City Blog’s Opposite View. I’ve got to say that I wanted Blackpool more than Cardiff to make it to the Premier League and it’s good that you’re back, although I might not be saying that at six o’clock on Sunday.

But after spending so many years in the lower divisions, did you ever think you’d see your team playing in the Premiership?

No, Championship at best. Even when we go into the league you could see the massive difference in the clubs, teams had a couple of players that cost a couple of million while we had players on frees or 100k here and that.

Blackpool were branded the ‘whipping boys’ before a ball had been kicked. Did you think that before the season began or was there an inkling you could spring a surprise or two?

I think that there are going to be times when we get whipped, Arsenal and Chelsea but we were always going to win a few. We beat Everton and Wigan last year so we knew that we had it in us to get results. I also knew that we would surprise a few people with our style of play, it’s expected for us to stick 10 men behind the ball, but we don’t play that way.

Wigan 4-0, Newcastle 2-0 and Liverpool 2-1 means Blackpool have the best away form in the league. Can they maintain it?

I think so, but with picking up the odd thrashing here and there. The problem is if we continue to do that teams will start to take us a little more seriously and raise there game.

Wigan and Stoke are two unfancied teams that have established themselves in the Premier League. Will Blackpool make it a hat-trick?

Could be a possible but would be a major achievement considering that Wigan did it with the deep pockets of Mr Whelan and Stoke did it with a bit of money and kicking people about.

If you haven’t played them already, which match this season are you most looking forward to?

Both Manchester teams as I live in Didsbury so it’s a local match for me. I’ll be very proud to get the 42 bus up to the city and walk about Piccadilly Gardens to a pub in my colours.

Turning to Sunday’s game, Blackpool are yet to win at home this season. Do you have high hopes for Sunday?

Nope, we should lose. But that’s the greatest part of the season so far. We should lose every single match considering the difference in calibre. That lake of expectation means our players and fans can go into every match with no fear of losing. When you play football with no fear you can get results when you’re not meant to get results.

Who in the Blackpool squad will pose the biggest threat to City?

I think that Luke Varyney and Gary Taylor-Fletcher can be a threat. Then fancy a run at players and don’t really have a fixed position which is great as they can be hard to pick up. Both of them were involved with the goals at Liverpool.

And who from the City team will Blackpool not relish playing against?

Nobody, I think our players with be looking forward to testing themselves again players that cost more than our entire team. They’ll want to know if they can handle Tevez and keep Johnson quiet.

What do you think the score will be?

Head says 1-3 to City, heart wants a 2-1 win for Pool.

Where do you think Blackpool will finish this season?

Fourth from bottom will do.

Hope you finish higher. And what about City?

4th, which should give your manager another year in the job.

Finally, who is your tip for the title?

Chelsea, Ashley Cole and Drogba really do put that team on another level from the rest.

Thanks John. Good luck for the rest of the season (after Sunday) and I really hope you stay up for a long time although if you beat us, I might just change my mind.

Opposite View – Newcastle

October 2, 2010 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: All Posts, Opposite View 

This week’s Opposite View comes from Paul from the fantastic nufc.blog.org.  I asked Paul a few questions on Sunday’s big match, Newcastle and the waving of shoes in 2007. Here’s what Paul had to say

Greetings Paul and welcome to Man City Blog’s Opposite View. We’ll start with a few questions about Newcastle United.

How do you rate Newcastle’s start to the season?

Erratic to say the least. Beating Aston Villa 6-0, beating Chelsea away in the League Cup yet losing to Blackpool and Stoke at home. I think that this can be normal though for a team which is developing. Manchester City may be similar for a while too, albeit with much higher expectations bearing in mind the huge sums being invested in your club.

Alan Shearer briefly took charge but failed to keep Newcastle up. Would you have liked him to have taken the job full time?

No, especially not with Iain Dowie playing “Igor” to Shearer’s Dr. Frankenstein.

In 2007, Newcastle had signed Joey Barton, much to the delight of both sets of fans. Has City’s former chief trouble maker now settled down?

Seemingly, but there’s a long way to go yet. He has shown shown some admirable restraint recently after being targeted by some rival clubs and this is to his credit.

During our game in 2007 at Eastlands, Newcastle fans inexplicably waved their shoes in the air. I can’t remember if an explanation was given so for those who don’t know, can you tell us why this happened?

There’s a chant:

“Stand up if you love the Toon!

Shoes off  if you love the Toon!” etc

I seem to recall that someone, somewhere on the Internet once offered an explanation involving public executions at Newcastle’s Gallowgate (as in the Gallowgate end at St James’s Park) in the good old days, the state of the leaky old lavatories there, again back in the good old days, and one or two other things for good measure, but I have doubts about that one!

Would you welcome back Shay Given to St James’s Park?

That’s OK, you can have him! 😉

City and Newcastle have something in common in the way we have both inflicted defeats on Chelsea this season. Did you expect that Newcastle to win that game?

Bearing in mind that it was fairly predictable that a few of the more peripheral players were going to get a run out on both sides in the League Cup, it was hard to say until the teamsheets were announced. I wouldn’t say that I “expected” a win, but it didn’t shock me. I genuinely thought that the match could have gone either way in the Cup, even before the game.

Okay, turning to Sunday, who do you feel will be Newcastle’s main threat to City on Saturday?

One of our latest signings, Hatem Ben Arfa, is a VERY talented player and could be a threat. He is still settling in though so it’s hard to tell.

And who in City’s line up will The Toon not relish playing against?

Carlos Tevez. I have been a big fan of his since the 2004 Olympics when I saw him score a hat-trick and he looked like a young Maradona. Despite all the fancy players heading towards Eastlands at the moment, he is still one of the very best in my opinion.

City played Juventus on Thursday. Do you think Newcastle have an advantage for the game?

A bit of an advantage perhaps, but this will be outweighed by Manchester City’s large squad.

What do you think the score will be?

I used to be not bad at predictions, but that has gone out of the window this year!

The optimistic me says a draw, 1-1 or 2-2, but of course with a squad like Man City’s and home advantage, you should win it convincingly really!

Where do you think Newcastle will finish this season?

They are so erratic at the moment, it could be anywhere between above the relegation zone and Europe!

And what about City?

Fourth.

Who, apart from Sunderland, would you like to see go down and who do you think will go down?

It gives me no pleasure to see teams go down, unless perhaps they are the really thuggish ones who set out to target players, like Wolves did against Joey Barton.

And which non Man United team will win the league?

Chelsea. Man City’s time will probably come, but it shouldn’t be forgotten that it took a few years before the Chelsea revolutiuon came to fruition in terms of winning the League, and even they best players need time to settle when a whole new team is being built.

Cheers Paul. Enjoy the game (but not too much) and best of luck for the season (apart from Sunday and the return at St James). Have a few bottles of brown ale ready for our visit.

Opposite View – Wigan Athletic

September 18, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: All Posts, Opposite View 

Opposite View this week comes in the form of Alan from the Wigan Athletic blog Thas not a patch on Harry Lyon. We asked him his views on the upcoming game and Wigan in general. Here is Alan’s response.

Hi Alan. Thanks for the interview. Wigan got off to a terrible start. What happened against Blackpool?

Basically they caught us cold.  I really don’t think our team were properly prepared for how ‘up for it’ their players would be.  I’m not say that was necessarily down to the manager and staff, I suspect that a few of our lads had taken it for granted that they’d stroll to three points.  They didn’t and we’re still feeling the repercussions.

I don’t think anyone expected the Chelsea result but Wigan are now three games unbeaten. Can you see the Latics staying clear of the relegation zone?

The Chelsea result was always on the cards, when they get into their groove then their like a machine.  That said we made it easy for them with some individual errors.  The unbeaten run should be taken with a large pinch of salt but it’s much more reflective of how I think the season will go with a few good results against teams in the top echelon of the division and hopefully a better shift against teams around us than last season.

We’ve got Wolves and Birmingham up in the next few weeks, games that for different reasons we should perhaps have won last season and didn’t.  How well we do in those this time around will give a clear indication of how we will manage.

That said, it might surprise you to know we kept out of the bottom three all the way through last season, October will be a key month for us this time, but if we can manage to get up to around 12 or so points by the time we play Liverpool on 12th November then I reckon we’ll be safe.

Preston at home in the League Cup after the City game. Do you think Wigan can make it to Wembley?

No, I just don’t think we’ve got a large enough squad, or a strong enough set of kids to carry us far enough without causing problems in the league.  Unfortunately that’s the reality of the early stages of both cups these days.

To put a more positive spin on things, if the draw is kind and we can get to the quarter-finals quite cheaply then why not.  We’ve already shown that we can beat almost anyone given a fair wind.

Turning to the City game, Wigan seem to hold the Indian sign over the blues at the DW Stadium and are yet to be beaten by us. Can you see that run continuing on Sunday?

I feel like a right gloomy bugger today, but no again.  That’s partly because of the attacking quality available to City and partly from a reluctance to predict anything good for Latics in case I put some kind of curse on them.  I’m looking for a competitive performance tomorrow and for us not to collapse if we end up under extreme pressure.  To some extent we need to get back to that “small club with its back to the wall” attitude and Sunday is the perfect sort of game to do that, City’s start hasn’t been the greatest, given that they beat Liverpool so well and I think they’ll feel the need to come at us all guns blazing.

Who in the Wigan line up will pose the biggest threat to City?

It’s anyone’s guess, all of our lot are capable of great stuff on their day, but in general Latics will be hoping for performances across the team.  Our errant left winger Charles N’Zogbia is high on any team’s ‘one to watch’ list and he’ll be looking to get back in the good books but Franco Di Santo who we signed from Chelsea on deadline day had a good debut last week and looks as if he’s got enough about him to unlock most defences, what the hell he was doing playing for Big Sam at Blackburn last season is anyone’s guess.

And who in the City line up will Wigan not want to face?

We hold grudges long and hard in Wigan and the fans will no doubt focus on Carlos Tevez which basically goes back to the season he kept West Ham in the division despite his signing being against the rules.  The player will do well to keep an eye on Adam Johnson though, we’ve looked vulnerable in wide areas this term and no doubt he’ll still be buzzing from his last spell with England.

What do you think the score will be?

I usually try to avoid making predictions like the plague, but seeing as you asked nicely my head says 2-1 City my heart a 1-1 draw.

Where will Wigan finish the season?

Not pulling any punches and at the risk of ridicule from my fellow fans I reckon between 11th and 14th, still bottom half but comfortably so.

And what about City?

I think that football teams take a while to settle down from the sort of investment that you’ve seen over the last couple of years.  City exceeded my expectations a little last season, but I guess only because of the way Liverpool’s season went.  This year I expect them to be competing for 3rd and 4th probably with Arsenal, Spurs and Liverpool, which I think should keep people happy.  Next year will be the big one the team have matured together more and I think that you really need to make it a three way race at the top from then on in. 

I am still waiting for City’s knack of making the worst out of the best of any given situation to kick in though, as I suspect are a few of your fans.

Thanks Alan. Hope you enjoy the game and best wishes for the rest of the season (minus the City games of course)

Thanks for letting me spout off, and the same to you (but the other way around, obviously).

View From The Opposite Side – Spurs

August 13, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: All Posts, Opposite View 

A new feature of OTBM’s will be the views from opposing blogs. This week sees Dan from The Tottenham blog giving us his views on Spurs summer and their hopes for the season.

Dan, it seems like only five minutes ago that I was congratulating Spurs on claiming fourth. What’s the feeling among Spurs fans for the new season?

I think that most of us are pretty confident, if a little frustrated that the squad hasn’t been improved that much during the summer.

Still, one of the major problems for Spurs in recent seasons has been our best players being poached (Berbatov, Keane, Carrick). We’ve kept hold of everyone this summer and we can only hope that our young squad will continue to grow in stature this season.

To be honest, I’ve not kept up to date on anyone’s signings but ours. Who’ve you signed this summer?

The only player we’ve signed so far is the Brazilian midfielder Sandro. The deal was actually done back in March, with the agreement that he would join us once Internacional were knocked out of the Copa Libertadores.

Typically, Internacional have reached the final. So Sandro still hasn’t joined us yet and won’t do until the second leg of the final is played on the 18th. He’s a defensive midfielder and we needed cover in that position. I’m not expecting too much from a young Brazilian in his first season in England, but he’s meant to be a real talent.

I heard something about Peter Crouch may be leaving. What would it mean to Spurs if he did leave?

Not a lot really. I’d prefer that he stayed, but we can’t find anyone to take Keane or Pavlyuchenko off our hands, so it looks like we’re offering Crouch around.

Like England, Spurs resort to playing long balls when Crouch is in the team (which isn’t his fault). Despite this, I’d still like to keep Crouch, purely for his super-sub abilities and threat against European opposition, but I won’t be shedding any tears if we were to flog him and bring in someone better.

Craig Bellamy has been linked to Spurs again. Would you like to see him at White Hart Lane?

When Bellamy left West Ham a couple of years ago, Spurs were challenging City for his signature and I was dead against it.

I have to say that I’ve since softened my stance on the possibility of Bellamy playing for Tottenham, as I’ve been so impressed with his form for City. So I’d have him at White Hart Lane, but to be honest I see him ending up at Fulham.

Has anyone left that Spurs may miss next season?

As mentioned earlier, we haven’t sold anyone. That’s a double-edged sword of course, because it would have been quite good to get rid of the deadwood in the squad, such as Jenas, Keane, Pavlyuchenko and Bentley.

Who will be your key player this time around?

Modric. He was playing really well last season until he broke his leg early on and then took a while to regain fitness. By the end of the season though, he was pulling the strings in our home wins against Arsenal and Chelsea.

He’s brilliant and reminds me of Ardiles. From a Spurs fan, praise doesn’t get much higher.

The other player who might surprise is Dos Santos. He had a good World Cup and has impressed in pre-season. If, to quote Harry, “he continues to pass nightclubs as well as he passes the ball” we might have a player on our hands.

If you could have signed anyone during the summer, who would it have been to best compliment your squad?

Edin Dzeko. What we really lack is a striker who can play on his own up front. Most teams are playing 4-3-3 and it’s often difficult for Tottenham to compete, against the extra man in midfield (especially away from home).

Dzeko looked perfect for that role, but because of your interest, Wolfsburg have been able to keep his value at a premium. We simply can’t afford him.

How do you think Spurs will do this time around?

We will challenge for the top four again, but unless we recruit a couple of really good new players, I can’t see us doing any better than that.

I think it will again be very tight for fourth. City, Liverpool and Everton all look stronger. As for the Champions League, my only expectations are for us to reach the group stage and hopefully pull a big name out of the hat like Barcelona.

Spurs fans don’t seem to be worried about City. Do you think other teams like Arsenal or Liverpool are worried about both teams?

If we seem flippant about City, it’s only because we nearly always beat you, which is just one of those strange anomalies. We don’t generally hold a hoodoo over anyone.

I think that Arsenal and Liverpool will be more worried about you than us, which suits me fine.

And what about City? Do you think we’ll make it to the top four?

It’s very hard to say. Nothing that could happen at City this season would surprise me. You could win the league, or your signings could struggle to gel and Mancini could be out by November.

I suppose that I would expect you to amass more points than last season, which at the very least will see you very near to fourth place.

What’s your prediction for Saturday’s game?

I think we’ll win 1-0. I’m hoping that your team will be out of sorts and still getting used to each other.

Who’s your tip for the league?

You won’t like it, but it’s United. That’s not really based on much though, other than the fact that I couldn’t possibly tip Chelsea or Arsenal at this stage, due to my prejudices against them.

As I said though, if everything works out for City, you could win it. We’re not going to.

And the drop?

Blackpool are surely doomed, although that’s a shame as it will be a brilliant away day. I think that Newcastle will also go down and maybe Wigan.

It won’t be City anyway, which a few years ago would have been music to your ears. Have a good season and don’t forget to beat Arsenal home and away.