The Premier League is back!
- 30 March 2013 08:39
- Posted by @markbooth_mcfc
The Premier League is back – international football is great and all but it’s again time to dine from the domestic menu.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past couple of weeks – or living in a state of blissful unawareness – you’ll know that City are currently 15 points behind Manchester United at the table summit.
There's nothing worse than an international break after a soul-sapping defeat and, by the time the Blues take to the field on Saturday afternoon, the afore-mentioned points gap could be at an eye-watering 18, but, all is not lost as Javi Garcia pointed out yesterday.
On top of this, Jamie Jackson of the Guardian reckons that competition for FA Cup semi-final places will provide ample motivation for Roberto Mancini’s men when Newcastle come to town.
“The home game against Newcastle United can be viewed as a final try-out for places for the champions' two biggest games of the campaign,” Jackson posits in the paper's list of 10 things to look out for this weekend.
“The thinking is that whoever impresses Roberto Mancini when Newcastle United visit should be difficult to dislodge."
...Jamie Jackson - The Guardian...
“So those with the prime concerns are Samir Nasri, Carlos Tevez, Edin Dzeko, Kolo Touré, James Milner, Aleksandar Kolarov, Javi García, Gareth Barry and Joleon Lescott who, in varying degrees, are all unsure of selection against Alan Pardew's side.”
The midfield duel between Yaya Toure and Moussa Sissoko is likely to be one of the most fascinating aspects of this afternoon's game, but it will be a contest played out with plenty of professional respect from the Newcastle man - as revealed in today's Express.
“Yaya Toure is definitely a player I admire a lot. He has had a fantastic career at all the clubs he has been with and he is a huge player for Manchester City," Sissoko said.
“I do think we have similar styles as we are both powerful players and both like to get forward and try to score goals. He is definitely someone I look up to and if I could reach his level consistently, that would be great."
...Moussa Sissoko - Newcastle United...
“It’s something to aim for and obviously I hope I can, but I don’t think I’m there yet, not at all."
As always we’ll be bringing you live text and audio commentary from the Etihad Stadium this afternoon, as well as Twitter updates if you’re out and about - Easter egg shopping, or the like...
Our major announcement yesterday concerned the post-season friendly against Chelsea that will take place at the Busch Arena in St Louis, Missouri.
Social networks were abuzz with passionate North American City supporters planning epic road trips and weekends away in a rare opportunity to show their support for the team first-hand.
Meanwhile, cold water has been poured on rumours that Mancini could take over the hot-seat at Monaco by the man currently enthroned at the Stade Louis II, Claudio Ranieri.
"It's always that way in football," ESPNSoccernet quotes him as saying. "In Italy, it's also always the same thing.
"But there's nothing in it. I have two years left on my contract. Whatever happens, Monaco are improving. And improving with me. That's the most important thing."
It’s worth noting that Monaco are currently four points clear at the top of Ligue II and are firm favourites to win promotion back to French football’s top tier under the former Chelsea boss.
That’s all for today – here’s hoping for three morale-boosting points this afternoon!