Writer: J P Fear
Date:Saturday December 22 2007
1) So you have been flying high in the league this season, are you surprised at the progress made?
In a word, absolutely. The unprecedented whirlwind that swept through the club after two long months of summer limbo was exhilarating and the momentum Frank Shinawatra and Svennis's arrival gave us continues to run and run outside of the Chelskigate 6 niller and disappointing League Cup defeat to Spurs last week.
Andy Leggott: Very surprised that were still 4th with half the season gone. However that surprise is built on pre season expectations. Now I know what the team is capable of, let's say I'm less surprised. I'd still be happy with a top ten finish but really do think Europe is now a realistic target. Problem is the away form; but Villa is next and whereas Spurs spells defeat for us Villa is usually a banker.
2) What is your opinion on Sven now and what was it before he joined the Citeh?
Sven has shown tremendous enthusiasm for City since his arrival and comes across as a man on a mission. He appears to be a calm, shrewd and astute manager. Also a thoroughly nice bloke according to feedback from the many community and supporters based events he has attended.
Before City, he seemed to never be out of the firing line as 'Street of Shame' hacks and craparrazi relentlessly pursued him. My genuine opinion was that he was unlucky as England gaffer and just could not get his team of multi-millionaires through those big tournament games. His international record never seemed that bad to be honest.
Andy Leggott: Sven is top class. His club record speaks for itself and his eye for a player is top notch. I think he had to go from Ingerland when he did as his tenure had run its course. I do think however that the press needs to take on board the role it played in his fall from grace and ensure they don't replay it with Capello.
3) Are you expecting more signings in January, if so what areas do you need to strengthen?
I'm pretty sure Frank will sanction more signings. I've recently suggested that we look a little lightweight and could do with being a bit more streetwise but the latter will come as the new players continue to gel with the existing ones. Manchester City also have a young team with a host of MCFC Academy players blending in which is often overlooked.
I certainly think we need experienced proven cover for Didi Hamman and of course a striker. The freshly signed Nery 'El Diablo' Castillo could well fit the bill and we have the barnstorming Valeri Bojinov on the way back.
Andy Leggott: The Mexican striker, Nery Castillo has already signed and I would certainly expect a couple more. Sven may splash the cash on another striker, a right winger and a keeper. Don't watch the press for hints though, they were 100% wrong in the summer.
It's also worth mentioning that City spent less than Sunderland did last summer. I'd rather Sven was careful with the wedge than end up being held to ransom.
4) Are you all settling into the soulless Stadium of Manchester now or still longing for Maine Road?
Maine Road will always be in our hearts, end of. Eastlands is starting to take off and results prove it with the crowd often providing that extra man. It's a superb stadium and playing surface all told.
5) If you could have one of our players, who would it be and why?
I have always liked the powerful John Carew and would have liked to see him join City but Stuart Pearce went for The Greek Tragedy, Georgios Samaras. Gareth Barry needs no introduction of course, but as Svennis rightly points out, decent English players are like gold dust.
6) Who do Villa need to look out for in your team?
On their day, and if clicking correctly, new signings Martin Petrov, Elano and Geovanni are all threats. Bianchi can finish, too but a unique aspect of this season has been reflected in our MCFC Vital MOTM polls with a wide range of players chipping in for different games. Watch out for Vedran Corluka. He will get hold of one of his ambitious shots soon.
7) If you could have one player from anywhere, price no object, who would it be?
Ronaldinho. If only just to p*ss off the rags and Chelski.
8) I thought you were there for the taking when we came to your gaff and but for one moment of brilliance for your goal, I thought we had the better of the game. I'm not so sure this time around though. What is your prediction for the game?
Well, we are coming into this on the back of a bad result where we let a golden opportunity to reach the League Cup semi final slip through our hands. How that affects this young team will be interesting. They came back admirably after that thrashing at Chelsea and Sven will be looking for that same show of character again. We've been unlucky on the road, certainly deserving something at Arsenal and Fulham and need to lose the away failure tag rapidly.
I'm going to stick my neck out and go with a 0-2 win to City. Villa have wobbled recently and if this City team get into gear, then anything's possible.
May the best team win and not another crap refereeing performance....(that's another story..)
With thanks to Johnny Baguette and Andy Leggott from Vital Man City
Date:Saturday December 22 2007
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