Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Chelsea preview

Wednesday March 14th 2007, City of Manchester Stadium. Live on Sky Sports.

Probably the last thing Stuart Pearce needed this week following a disastrous FA Cup exit was a re-arranged midweek game. Not only that but it sees a visit by the current Champions who are desperately clinging onto their title and need all the points they can get.

Added to this mix is the Sky cameras are present at the match along with the media hordes, sharpening their pencils and ready to read the last rites in anticipation of the axe falling on Pearce after another defeat.

The fall-out from Sunday has not been pretty, with Pearce (again) forced to defend himself amidst reports he has two games (Chelsea and Middlesbrough) to save his job - although other reports suggest it is irrelevant how the rest of the season pans out.

The comments from Richard Dunne ahead of the Blackburn have now been seized upon, with reports suggesting cracks in the camp, and that Pearce has 'lost' the dressing room. One suggestion was that an unnamed player called training at City a 'joke', and I know that one summer signing was dismayed at the training set-up in comparison to his previous club.

The players who did attempt to applaud the fans at the end of the game were given short shrift - with Chris Bailey pointing out this could have a detrimental long-term effect.

Pearce has likened the current situation to the Alamo, but perhaps a more fitting comparison would be to portray Pearce as King Canute, desperately trying to turn back the tide that is closing in on him.

The board have remained steadfastly silent thus far, offering neither support nor the poisoned 'vote of confidence', but it may well be that they are a little tied by the current takeover situation and could just be hoping to scrape through the rest of the season before bolting out of town, with at least Premiership status secured.

The worry for Pearce is that it appears he has lost the support of the crowd (who incidentally played a large part in him being appointed), and history shows that whilst fans do not run the club, once they turn against a manager it is inevitable that they will be shown the door.

The problem is excasperated for Pearce by the fact that the very problem with the side - goalscoring, is firmly laid at Pearce's door. The current striking options - Samaras, Corradi, Vassell and Dickov (the jury is still out on Mpenza) were all brought into the club by Pearce at a cost of around £10 million and have failed to deliver.

The defence has been strong on the whole (although more error prone than last year), the 'keepers have not really put a foot wrong and the midfield have been effective enough without the support of forward line.

It is the strikers who are the problem, and Pearce must be held accountable.

Corradi - who I described as a 'poor mans Luca Toni' when he signed, has proved anything but. Vassell is a confidence player who has failed to show any apart from short spurts. Dickov has been a wash-out and Samaras - the brunt of fans derision, has gone from a 'prospect' (albeit an expensive one) to a young player who is hiding from the ball.

bbcsport ran a lengthy feature today looking at the City career of Pearce thus far, and had the following graph to look at his season by season comparison - which does not appear to favourable:

Lest we forget there is actually a game taking place tomorrow then, and it is difficult to see anything but a Chelsea victory. I am interested to see what side Pearce selects, as he may roll the dice and gamble on a Mpenza-Sturridge partnership to shake things up. More likely though I expect Pearce to try and keep it tight for as long as possible against a Chelsea side who are suffering through injuries, but still grinding out results.

Pearce will be delighted to somehow come away with a point from this game to stretch the cushion to the bottom three just that bit further, and a 0-0 would suit just fine but Chelsea should have too much for a side whose confidence and morale are badly damaged.

City 0 Chelsea 2

vote it up!


Anonymous said...

the samaras thing is interesting, wenger looked at him and was sniffing around which probably put the price up a bit . but the saddest part is that in 2 years at the club he has gone backwards ! he was a better player when he first arrived which says a lot about our coaching staff.

Wigan Blue said...

Samaras looked absolutely terrified as SP brought him on (on the wing) at Blackburn. The Mafia have to have SP's wife and family at gunpoint somewhere. How else could Corradi possibly be in the team?

Daniel Sturridge "isn't ready" for for first team football. Micah Richards 'would have been rested except for the current situation'.
What is going on?

I swear to God SP - if you let the Rags send us down I'll never, ever forgive you for it.

Anonymous said...

It's always the case with players who come to City - they go on a steady decline! We've bought loads of good and promising players in the past and somehow turned them into shit. Sam Alladrdyce will probably pick Samaras up for a million and turn him into a world beater. He'll also get the support from his home crowd. Don't get me wrong Samaras has been awful but giving him stick doesn't help - it's a catch 22 situation. I really hope that the fans get behind the team tomorrow - for the full 90 minutes. They're low on confidence, probably shitting it playing in front of us and playing a brilliant team, one that odds on, would beat us in normal circumstances. If the fans start getting on their backs after one misplaced pass then it'll be curtains. I don't know why those fans were screaming at Barton when he gave them his shirt - does anyone know what was said? It's something I've always been concerned about, the fans getting on the players backs. Let's face it, there's plenty of impatient idiots at City matches who just ruin it for the rest. We're the Why do they do it?! Why do they have this sulky, self-pitying attitude and a willingness to boo their own players? Being a supporter means actually being supportive. Players don't deliberately play shit and it achieves fuck all.

Wigan Blue said...

Anonymous - you're right. Who is crazy lady?? I was disappointed that our fans didn't differentiate between the lads who actually put some effort in (and Joey was actually one of those) and the wage-takers. But at the end of the day - not one shot on target? It's just the total lack of any sort of tactical awareness that is upsetting me.

Anonymous said...

Yep, I agree, it's unbelievably frustrating watching Pearce persist with a losing formula and not do anything to change it. Putting Mpenza on for 9 minutes was an insult, playing Corradi again another. Poor Corradi was never going to score in that game, just like most of the others he's played in. No other club would persist with a striker who's only scored 3 (two of those in one game remember) goals all season after being a team regular. I think Corradi puts in the effort though - well runs about a lot - but we don't suit him and he doesn't suit us. It doesn't work so he shouldn't play. Going back to the fans barracking the lads who did play okay on Sunday, I heard Richards was kissing his badge and went off in tears after the abuse he got. Driving out Richards is going to improve us no end isn't it?!

Anonymous said...

5-2 is 750/1 tonight. I'm gonna be rich i tells yer.

By the way that Bailey idiot that writes about City in the MEN is a tit. Do you think he has info that Richards has already gone / going but now when it happens in the summer he can blame his departure on the fans for getting on the teams back last week? That seemed to be the gist of his article yesterday and will make a nice exclusive for him. Everything is as always our fault. He gets paid to go and watch City, we pay. Thats why we have a right to vent our feelings. When did he last get behind the team?

Wigan Blue said...

Working away - so's my son. True blues in our seats.

Hopefully Joey or Stevie can ignore whatever crazy game plan they've been told to play and go for it.

Only other hope is for an own goal.

Good luck all you blues

Wigan Blue said...

Well - it happemed. Mpenza turned out to be another wet squib, but other than that the lads put in 100%

Proud of the fans

Proud (for a change) of the team. Feel bad about the sad commentary which was designed to highlight differences between the fans and the team. Stuff em. Well done lads!

Kartik said...

I think we played much more inspired and spirited today led by Dunne, Barton and Richards. Barton however makes bad decisions with the ball at times and needs to look for his teammates. Maybe he's tired of the others not doing their part but he's trying to do too much in the final third.

Stephen said...

The better team were robbed of a victory.