Blue horse race

by Matt Quinn

Thursday, September 3rd, 2009

After confidently predicting that Man City will win the league this year, it is with great delight and a degree of smugness that I’ve watched Mark Hughes’ men confidently open their campaign with a 100% record and zero goals conceded. That’s right all you naysayers…. Zero goals conceded! Oh, how the so called experts carped on about City’s vulnerabilities at the back, about how they will win or lose each game 4-3. Yet nothing could be further from the truth. City have looked solid, polished and more than a little like their city neighbours in the way they’ve conducted themselves on the pitch so far. Adebayor has been a revelation and is showing all those fickle Arsenal fans what a quality centre forward he really is. When on form, I would go as far as saying that he is the best centre forward in the league. He offers more power and all round attributes than Torres, while being ahead of Drogba in the skill department.

However, that’s not to say that trouble isn’t ahead for City. I think Hughes may have some fine tuning to do with his squad; and the release of Richard Dunne to Aston Villa may well haunt him in the coming months. Firstly, while Gareth Barry has been every bit as impressive as Adebayor in his opening few matches, he is not and never will be a defensive midfielder. He simply does not have the pace for it. He is a Xabi Alonso playmaker. So far, Hughes has played him deep in midfield alongside Stephen Ireland. Against superior teams, I fear this midfield may get overrun too easily unless Nigel De Jong or Vincent Kompany is drafted in alongside the former Villa man.

Indeed, talking about the mighty Claret and Blues, I’m surprised Hughes has let his captain, Dunne, leave for the midlands. To my mind, Dunne is a better centre half than either Kolo Toure or Joleon Lescott, and when you consider that Toure will be in Africa for a month or so in the New Year, this decision may assume even greater importance. Also, Hughes is still persisting with Micah Richards at right back. I won’t go into a rant here, but, suffice to say, I think Richards is a useless lump of a footballer.

Despite these fallibilities, I still feel City are well placed for a top two finish which, in reality, is a damning indictment of the state of the other main pretenders. Arsenal still have much to prove for me, despite an impressive start, while Man Utd look very poor. People always caution against writing off United and Fergie, but this year I think I will do just that. I honestly can’t see United even being in the top 3. On paper and in reality their squad is poor in comparison with their rivals, including the likes of Spurs. Liverpool appear to have gone backwards in the absence of their one creative force, Xabi Alonso… although Glen Johnson looks a world beater.

Chelsea, however, look rejuvenated with Ancelotti carrying on Hiddink’s good work from last season. For me it will turn into a 2 horse race between the Blues of London and the Blues of Manchester. Behind them, I honestly think Spurs could sneak in the top 3 or 4. I also think Everton will come good again, and I have been impressed with their summer dealings. For the first time in years, the premiership seems truly open with anyone capable of beating anyone…. I know I won’t be looking forward to Villa playing the likes of Stoke or Sunderland this year.

However, this season is all about Man City and their rags to riches story. A story that will end in silverware. Indeed, it is thanks to City that I feel proud of my pre-season prediction. What a great feeling to have been proved right just 3 weeks into a new season. There is no chance of getting egg on my face this time. No way. (*cough*)

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  • Iain

    Matt. They have played Blackburn, Wolves and Portsmouth.

    IF and when they beat United and Arsenal, then I think you have a right to gloat. give it a couple of weeks, hey?

  • Stevie

    Very good point iain, Chelsea haven’t played anyone yet either. Lets wait until until Christmas!

  • dexylongshot

    Adebayour better than Drogba and Torres?? He ain’t as good as Carlton Cruyff!

    I love it that the papers are already deciding the title winners after a handful of games.

    If we go by thta, Everton are in a relegation battle, Tottenham will romp it with Man City, Liverpool will be fighting for a Europa birth??. Do me a favour. Manc city have looked good……good, not mustard. They won’t break the top 4, not this year, maybe next. Liverpool have indeed lost alonso and 2 games with a makeshift defence and lucas. With half their team to come back in the next month, they will soon be firing on al cylinders. Remember they only just missed out last term with Torres injured for half the season. Chelsea are looking the business as well but haven’t been tested. I think they will concentrate on the Champions league this season and let a few points go astray next spring. Gooners looking sublime but fear for the strength in depth.

    England V Slovenia SAt, Go on the Cruyff!!!

  • Matt Quinn

    It was a kind of tongue in cheek article- as the season is only 3 weeks in… but i still stand by my prediction.

  • dexylongshot

    No chance, Quinn what has happened UKFF’s favourite bard, you been on the mushrooms again???

  • dexylongshot

    Hot of the press, I can’t see Chelsea winning much next year!!!

    They have just been banned from buying in the next 2 windows!!!

    FIFA statement:

    “Chelsea is banned from registering any new players for the two next registration periods,”

    “The French club had lodged a claim with Fifa seeking compensation for breach of contract from the player and requesting also sporting sanctions to be imposed on the player and the English club for breach of contract and inducement to breach of contract.
    “The DRC found that the player had indeed breached a contract signed with the French club. Equally, the DRC deemed it to be established that the English club induced the player to such breach.”


  • dexylongshot

    PS: The player was French winger Gael Kakuta, 18, breaching his contract with Lens when he joined in 2007.


  • mickeymarbles

    Bloody nora, what a kick in the goolies!!! It looks like they are investigating the mighty Red Devils as well, at this rate, Burnley will be world beaters in 18 months time.

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