Tuesday, 26 January 2010

United preview

Tomorrow evening hosts our biggest game since Gillingham. All we have to do is win or draw at Old Trafford, against what will presumably be a full-strength United side, and we've made the final against Aston Villa on February 28th. Lose 3-2 or 4-3 and we make it through after 120 minutes.

It's going to be difficult. United were very good in patches of the first leg. Tomorrow they can only be excellent. Wayne Rooney is in the form of his life, Luis Antonio Valencia is improving and even Nani had a good game on Saturday. Feeding off the tension and emotion of the anti-Glazer protests and the whole Tévez/Neville feud they will take some stopping. And if the first leg is anything to go by the game will be played almost entirely in our half. Mancini is clearly quite comfortable sitting back, trusting our defence and taking our opportunities when they occur.

But I worry. I just can't see us keeping a clean sheet. Rooney has twelve in twelve in all competitions. We have some of our first choice defenders out. We can be as well organised as we want but I fear at a crucial moment Rooney will produce and we will concede. I'm not sure that we can do this without scoring. We will be effective on the break - Tévez and Craig Bellamy will play, plus one of Shaun Wright-Phillips and Martin Petrov. There will be a chance or two, which we can't afford to miss.

There is evidence, though, that attacking at Old Trafford is the best policy. They are no longer infallible there. So far this season they have lost at home to Leeds United, to Aston Villa and to Beşiktaş. They've drawn against CSKA Moscow and Sunderland, relying on two stoppage time equalisers to do so. And these games suggest that if you come out and play, 4-4-2, you can push them back and succeed. I don't know whether Mancini will play that way tomorrow night. With a fully focussed Adebayor we certainly could, but without I think we'll go 4-5-1 again: with the third central midfield spot just going to Pablo Zabaleta over Stephen Ireland. Great for shutting most teams down, but United at Old Trafford, with Rooney on form is different.

Will it be enough? Not quite, I think. We'll give it a good shot, we'll play well but I don't think we'll make it to Wembley. Not this time. 2-0 to United.


jackblue said...

Today (Wednesday) id my 65th birthday and my retirement present is City going to Wembley. It's ordered!

mrsneilblin said...

Don't be daft, the rags will be going full tilt and apart from Arsenal CITY are the most devastating team on the break, worry not as we will score at least once and secure that Wembley place deliciously at the expense of them lot across the City limits. Be nervous but enjoy !!

phil said...

I have noticed the results from the trends and strategy of your negative predictions. Now I feel good about tomorrow's match! Keep it up.

Duane Rollins said...

There is something different about this team (you know, other than the riches). I think you're thinking like a City fan circa, well, anytime up to 2009. I believe in this team.

2-1. An outright win. Tevez (54), Bellamy (89) after Rooney puts them ahead early. Blue Moon echoing through a three-quarters empty theatre of fucking dreams as stoppage time ticks down. Fergie whining about something or another. Rags reminding us that they don’t really care (not that they can stop talking about us, but...). It will be beautiful. I’ve been daydreaming about this day since I was blessed/cursed with this team 20 years ago. I’m not going to let negativity get me down.

Happy birthday Jackblue. May all your birthday wishes come true! ;)

(Surely they’ll beat Villa if they make Wembley, right? It would be far too cruel to get there only to lose. Nah, not gonna go there today...)


Jarrad Liam said...

Duane, your a fucking star. Im getting up at 4am to watch the game in Perth West Australia, and thats just the lift I needed.

Great comment. Hopefully Ill log back onto tldorc to grand reviews and bbc.co.uk will be full of bellers after celebrating another cracker at the SWAMP.

trinder said...

Nice one Duane. Other things to look forward to:

Robinho nutmegging Our Gary for a farewell cameo

Rusty Rio huffing and puffing after Bellers

Wrighty reprising his 4-1 exocet while Wes does the twist

StanMCFC said...

Jack, two things:

1. We can go 2-0 down, claw one back and the psychological momentum will be with us for extra time. (United will put doubtless us under severe pressure during spells in the game, but equally, I think we are capable of hitting them with a sucker punch).

2. Mancini has declared his intention to attack and not just sit back and invite pressure. He's acknowledged that City didn't play well in the first 20 mins of the first game, which suggests was the team showing signs of nerves, rather than a tactical dictum to be cautious.

StanMCFC said...

Inspired by Gary Neville's plans for an underground house, I composed the following ditty (anything to put off doing my tax returns):

[To the tune of Teletubbies]