MEN: It's crunch time!
- 11 February 2014 07:43
- Posted by @NieldyMCFC
With four consecutive home games to come this month, the Manchester Evening News believes the next few weeks are the most important in a season that has promised so much for the Blues.
After a week of set-backs, following the Chelsea home defeat and Carrow Road stalemate, Stuart Brennan writes that the most critical stage of City’s four-fronted campaign is just around the corner:
“The next seven days will be a real test of Pellegrini’s leadership and tactical skills, especially as top goalscorer Sergio Aguero is still missing with a hamstring problem, and key men Fernandinho and Samir Nasri have only an outside chance of returning for the Barca clash.
“That injury to Aguero, along with the fact that Alvaro Negredo, Stevan Jovetic and Edin Dzeko are less than 100 per cent, has blunted the rapier-like attack with which the Blues had been slashing their way through opponents in league, cups and the Champions League.
“Negredo has looked a shadow of the man who blitzed defences with 23 goals, with Pellegrini laying the blame on the shoulder injury he picked up in the 3-0 Capital One Cup semi-final win at West Ham three weeks ago.
“But the Beast, as he has been affectionately christened by City fans, has reserved his finest performances for home games, scoring 17 of his goals at the Etihad Stadium, and tomorrow night would be the ideal moment for him to click back into gear.”
Let’s hope so, Stu!
Elsewhere, it’s another day, another Mourinho-ism as the out-spoken Chelsea boss continues his war or words with the Blues. Be it metaphorical horses, or high-performance vehicles, Jose is certainly taking more than a passing interest with the goings on at the Etihad this term.
Of course, it’s all building up to this Saturday’s FA Cup showdown as City seek a place in the quarter-finals of the competition, and revenge for the recent league defeat, at the expense of Mourinho’s men.
And finally, Sky Sports are reporting that City have had talks with highly-rated IFK Gothenburg starlet Kevin Ackermann with a view to signing the 12 year-old:
“The highly-rated youngster would become the latest hot prospect hand-picked by City from across Europe as they look to build for the future.
“Reports in Sweden suggest that Ackermann and his family would be prepared to move to England as they feel that City's esteemed academy would aid his development as a player.
“IFK academy director Roger Gustafsson says City are keen on landing Ackermann.
“"We've been in contact with City and these guys have gone over with our approval and we had a coach who was with them in England," he told the Gothenburg Post.
“"I have not heard of clubs looking for 12-year-olds in Sweden before. But the work is going in an entirely different way abroad, especially in the Premier League."
“Ackermann himself added: "I would like to move there. It is better there and everyone is fighting very hard. It would be the best for my development."”
Of course, a transfer rumour is only that until you’ve seen it confirmed right here on mcfc.co.uk.
We’ll be back tomorrow morning with the all the headlines ahead of City’s crucial Premier League game against Sunderland on Wednesday night.
City take on Sunderland in the Premier League on Wednesday 12 February in what will be a dress rehearsal for the Capital One Cup Final in March.
Can the Blues avenge the Stadium of Light defeat earlier this season? A night match under the lights at the Etihad and a preview of the forthcoming final - demand is expected to be high as Manuel Pellegrini's side attempt to continue their incredible run.
Don't miss out - ticket details can be found here...