Liverpool V Manchester City (Match Preview)

Big spending Liverpool host even bigger spenders Manchester City at Anfield on Sunday afternoon in a highly anticipated encounter.

Liverpool still need to prove themselves as genuine title contenders or risk being cut adrift from both Manchester clubs. Under “King” Kenny Dalgliesh, Liverpool have been doing relatively well, most recently, beating Chelsea at stamford bridge thanks to a late Glen Johnson goal. They have however been somewhat under-performing at home, with an opening day draw against Sunderland, and dropping points against both Norwich and Swansea. Liverpool have bought big over the past year. Most notably paying Newcastle United £35m for England youngster Andy Carroll, who is still yet to prove his price tag at the club (i say this now, i bet he’ll score). One of Liverpools better signings was that of Luis Suarez. Paying £23m to secure him from Ajax, and he has certainly made an impact in the premier league, with his amazing speed of thought and feet, and his ability to create a chance from seemingly impossible positions. Liverpool also over the summer managed to secure the 2 English players Stewart Downing from Aston Villa and Jordan Henderson from Sunderland for £20m each, which at the moment seems a hefty price tag for both of them, especially for Henderson, who is still just a beginner in the league. Liverpool are still hanging onto the history of Steven Gerrard, Javier Mascherano and Xabi Alonso, as they still haven’t replaced them. They have tried this season in buying Charlie Adam from Blackpool, but he doesn’t have the same effect as either of those two do.

Now Manchester City head into this game unbeaten in the premier leauge, on the back of a 3-1 win against Newcastle United at the Etihad, but their most recent game was a very disapointing defeat to Napoli in the Champions League, more or less ending their hopes of progression in their debut season in the competition. However, the premiership is more suited to City and their style of play, and they can play more freely on the wide Anfield pitch. I believe that Manchester City will play a slightly changed team from the defeat in Naples. Micah Richards and Gael Clichy will return at both full back positions, and Gareth Barry should return in the centre of the pitch. Also, Sergio Agureo and Mario Balotelli should start upfront. But i’m never sure on what Mancini’s mindset is going into the game, and that will definately effect what team he puts out. If he is going to snatch a win, he will play with just the one striker. But if he is continuing with his current plan, he will go out and attack Liverpool,

Last seasons encounter at Anfield finished in a 3-0 win for Liverpool, with two goals from Andy Carroll and one from Dirk Kuyt, however Man City had an FA cup Semi Final against Manchester United 3 days later, so it is accepted that they had their focus elsewhere.

I see this being a close game, with both teams showing their attacking strength, but with Liverpool being weaker than City at the back, i believe that this game should end in a pretty convincing win for the boys from Manchester.

Napoli 2-1 Manchester City (match report)

This one is going to be a difficult one for me, due to how upset i am at the defeat. But here we go.

I wish i could have been in Naples that night, but due to lack of funds i couldn’t. And it looks like i missed a truly amazing atmosphere, which made me think, why can’t we have atmospheres like that back over in England?

The game started off with both teams just sparing with each other, City keeping the ball just to see what Napoli had about them, and for the first 15 minutes, City kept the ball well, however when they tried to force the ball forward through Yaya Toure, the ball was lost, and the Italian side, Continetally renowned for their counter attacking ability were allowed to break, with Marek Hamsik finding himself free on the penalty spot with a free header that ended up in the hands of Joe Hart. Lavezzi also worried the unbeaten Manchester side after playing a lovely 1-2 with Edinson Cavani, he fired a rocket past Joe Harts left hand post.

And then the breakthrough. Napoli got a corner on 17 minutes, after Joe Hart tipped over a mighty Gokhan Inler shot. And Lavezzi crossed the ball to the near post, and Edinson Cavani, who had managed to get a yard on his closest defender (Zonal marking wins yet again..) and flicked the ball on with his head, Alexander Kolarov attempted to block the ball but just sped it up, and it hit Hart’s knees and creeped into the side of the net. A goal that the England keeper won’t want to see again. 1-0 Napoli.

Now City had a mountain to climb. But for a couple more minutes, Napoli kept the pressure up, untill the solid City side gained the ball, and calmed everything down. The normally superb David Silva was only restricted to pot shots from outside of the box, and only James Milner was shining for Manchester City.

Then the equaliser for City. David silva picked the ball up on the edge of the box, played to ball to Edin Dzeko, who attempted a cross, which was poorly cleared by Cannavaro straight into the path of David Silva, who shot across the Napoli goalkeeper, who palmed it straight into the path of Mario Balotelli who became the 1st player for an english team to score at the Sao paolo arena. Fitting for the young boy from Italy.

Half time 1-1 (Cavani and Balotelli)

The second half and i don’t think Man City bothered coming out. And Napoli broke down the right hand side, played the ball into the path of Edinson Cavani, who tucked the ball into the far corner of the goal. To make it 2-1 to the Itallian side. When Mancini shows his team the replay of that goal, im pretty sure that the defenders will be in for a few hairdryers coming their way after letting Cavani just wander into the box unmarked and easily finish. 2-1 Napoli.

Again, City had shot themselves in the foot, after a calm 1st half display, which silenced the horrifically loud Neopolitans, they had managed to get the home crowd fired up again, making the task even more difficult. City in the end never really looked like scoring, other than a chance from Mario Balotelli, they never really worried the Itallian side, and in the end they grabbed a deserved win.

City throughout weren’t dominant enough, i believe that they should have gone straight for Napolis throat and killed them off early. And i still do not understand what Roberto Mancini sees in the Serbian Alexander Kolarov, he was the cause of most of the break down in City’s play, and was lazy when retreating and spent most of his time, chasing the man who had the ball. In my opinion Gael Clichy is 1st choice left back at the club in every competition.

Also, i believe that in the January transfer window, Manchester City should make Napoli centre forward Edinson Cavani top target, and if he isn’t willing to come, then chase Itallian midfielder Maggio, as his powerful forward runs and containment of Citys midfield made him really stand out in the game.

 

Manchester City V Napoli (Match Preview)

The 1st game between these two sides at the Etihad, was also both teams debuts in the Uefa Champions League and was a nervy encounter for both teams which ended in a 1-1 draw. However, now that both teams have settled into the competition i expect a different result over in Naples. If Manchester City were to come out of the game with 3 points, they would qualify for the knockout stages of the competition with one game against Bayern Munich at the Etihad left.
However Napoli are fighting to avoid the dreadded Europa league, so they will definately put up a stern test for the unbeaten leaders of the premiership.
Manchester City have a fully fit squad to pick from, and i expect that David Silva will play supporting Sergio Aguero.
However Napoli also have the renowned danger of their attacking triad of Edinson Cavani, Marek Hamsik and Eziquiell Lavezzi who are frighteningly dangerous, their central midfielder Maggio is also a big threat to the City back line.
Manchester City come into this game on the back of a 3-1 win against Newcastle in the premiership and a convincing 3-0 win against Villareal last time out.
Napoli come into this game off the back of a 0-0 draw with Lazio in the league, and a close 3-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in Munich 4 weeks ago.
It should be a close game. but i see Manchester City being too strong attacking wise for Napoli and coming out of this with a 2-1 win.

Manchester city 3-1 Newcastle United (Match report)

This was a reasonably high anticipation level for this game, the two unbeaten sides in the premiership came head to head at the Etihad stadium in Manchester. Now many would expect Manchester City to easily win this game, but Newcastle would have come into this game, preparing possibly by watching how QPR managed to contain the likes of David Silva and Sergio Aguero and following suit.

The first half was everything everybody expected really, Man city doing most of the attacking, with Newcastle just soaking up the pressure and attempting to hit on the break, which they did do a few times, Demba ba worrying England’s number 1 goalkeeper Joe hart with a shot from 8 yards out after a nice ball from Newcastle’s best player of the game Hatem Ben Arfa.

After a couple of attempts for the on fire Mario Balotelli and some fine saves from Tim Krul, Manchester City finally got a penalty on 40 minutes, thanks to a ferocious shot from Yaya Toure, that struck the hand of the unfortunate Ryan Taylor and Chris Foy pointed immediately to the spot.

Mario Balotelli stepped up calmy and arrogently, just as he does, and cooly slotted the penalty into the far right corner of the goal, kind of like his 1st goal at old trafford. And as per usual he didn’t celebrate “Because i see scoring goals as being a natural as breathing, and you dont’ celebrate every time you breathe” Mario was quoted as saying. He did however calmly fold his arms, and glared down the throat of Tim Krul. 1-0 City

On 44 minutes, city were attacking again, and a nice one two between Yaya Toure and Sergio Aguero found the argentine in a fair bit of space on the edge of the box, he attempted a through ball to the on-coming monster that is Micah Richards but the previously on form Ryan Taylor cut the ball out, but it got caught in his feet and he couldn’t clear, and thats when Micah Richards pounced and stole the ball from him, and finished a left footed effort from 10 yards out into the right hand side of Tim Kruls goal.

Half time 2-0

The second half City were in exhibition mode, but Newcastle didn’t give up, and a mistake from club captain Vincent Kompany allowed Hatem Ben Arfa to pick the ball up, and run about 20 yards towards Joe Harts goal and fire a shot across the goalkeeper only to hit the post and it bounce out.

This woke the City players up, as did the inclusion of David Silva onto the pitch, and he made an immediate impact, recieving a throw in from Micah RIchards, who lost Hatem Ben Arfa, and Silva played another delightful ball into the path of Richards, who stormed into the box, and the chasing Ben Arfa pulled Richards down. Another penalty. This time, it was the well behaved Argentine Sergio Aguero who took the penalty, and cooly slotted the ball away to Tim Kruls left hand side, making the score 3-0.
However Newcastle showed some fight, and in the closing minutes of normal time, a long ball not cut out by the normally superb Joleon Lescott fell to Demba ba, who ran though, but his shot was tipped away by Joe Hart into the path of Dan Gosling who passed the ball into an empty net, despite the pressure from Micah Richards and Joe Hart. Im sure mancini let them know that that wasn’t the way he wanted to end the game.

Final score Manchester City 3-1 Newcastle United
(Balotelli, Richards, Aguero)      (Gosling)