Writer: J P Fear
Date:Saturday October 3 2009
Kevinho at Vital Man City has answered our questions ahead of monday night's big game.
1) So, Man City fans are walking around in a dream after many years just walking around in a slumber, how you all getting on with having money and realistic prospects of the sleeping giant waking?
We seem to be coping very well at the moment with the intense media pressure that surrounds the club these days and Mark Hughes seems to be building a decent squad -We now have the best squad of players in my 19 years as a supporter. I couldn't believe it when Sheikh Mansour bought the club last August as there were plenty of malicious rumours of a fire sale last summer when Dr Thaksin Shinawatra's money was drying up, but in came the Sheikh and then that very day we signed Robinho - And look what has happened since with all of the other class players who have arrived at the club. I think that Hughes can achieve great things at the club with the squad and resources that he now has at his disposal.
2) Out of the other sleeping giants who are trying to push to break into the top four, who do you fear most? I'm thinking Villa, Spurs, Everton... can't see anyone else realistically especially since Newcastle United went down!
I think that Spurs are the biggest threat to us outside of the current top 4 and I picked them to finish 6th this season before a ball was kicked. They have plenty of attacking options although their defence is still worse than ours and that may be their undoing. I think that Villa will do better than Everton though as the men from Goodison Park may begin to level out soon after more often than not being the closest challengers to the big 4. I can't help but think that you guys may have blown your chance of a top 4 finish last season as I thought for a long part of the season that you were a better team than Arsenal but then Martin O'Neill and his March hoodoo struck yet again!
3) Are you sure you have the right manager and more importantly, do you think your new owners will be patient and allow Hughes to build? I can't stand the chap personally... sorry!
I was initially happy when Mark Hughes was named as our manager, his United connections didn't bother me but I was having serious doubts when we spent last Christmas Day in the relegation zone after an embarrassing 2-1 defeat at WBA but he really won me round in the 2nd half of last season. He has also made sensible moves in the transfer market which will hopefully get us to where we want to be as quickly as possible.
I think that our owners have already shown that they will give him time as he wasn't their appointment and they could have sacked him during last season or in the close season if they wanted to but they chose to back him and give him the finances to build his own team to challenge the elite. I now personally think that he is the right man for the job and we are already starting to see evidence of this on the pitch.
4) How many minutes injury time do you expect on Monday night?
Probably the token 1 minute for the 1st half and the usual 3 minutes in the 2nd half as Manchester United aren't involved in this match!
5) So we see the return of Gareth Barry and you the first sighting of Richard Dunne in the claret and blue. What sort of reception will Dunne get and how has Barry been playing for you?
Richard Dunne should get a good reception from the vast majority of travelling City fans, if not all of them despite some of his recent comments as he was our 4 time supporters player of the season, I think that he had run his course at City which in a way was a shame as he had been at the club for such a long time and we finally look to be heading in the right direction but the deal looked best for all parties in all honesty. Hopefully we'll receive his customary favour from him such as an own goal, penalty, red card or more than one of these options!
Gareth Barry has started off very well for us and looks to be our best value signing of the summer at £12 million for a regular England international. Hopefully he'll start scoring a few more goals from midfield and who knows this may start on Monday night as we all know about returning players scoring against their former clubs - He is certainly a cool head and a leader in our midfield and we desperately needed more of these qualities in the team. I'm not so sure that he will get such a warm round of applause from most of your supporters though!
6) So what would be success for you folks this year and what do you think the owners would view as failure?
Hopefully we will do no worse than 5th as in all honesty we should finish in front of everybody else outside of the usual top 4, though hopefully the promised land of the Champions League may prove to be within our grasp. A couple of good cup runs wouldn't go amiss either after our disasters against Brighton and Nottingham Forest last season and we have already got through the first couple of rounds in the League Cup and have a nice home tie in the next round.
Our Chairman said during the off season that Mark Hughes had been set a target of the top 6, but during a later interview he said that he would not make our target public which may be an indication that our owner hopes to finish a place or 2 higher than 6th.
7) If you could have one of our players (you ******* already have my favourite!!!) who would it be and why?
I suppose that Ashley Young would be the most obvious choice that most of our supporters would go for even though we already have Robinho, Martin Petrov and the on-fire Craig Bellamy who can play in his position. Young is already very good and looks like he will develop into a top class player so I wouldn't be surprised if the Vultures began circling Villa Park for his services sooner rather than later.
Gabriel Agbonlahor looks in top form at the moment with 5 goals in 5 games and rates as the main dangerman though as he also scored a hat-trick against us in this fixture last season.
8) Prediction time
a) Where will you finish this season? Somewhere in the top 5 - 5th would have been my selection before the season started but if you put a gun to my head now I'll take a chance on a 3rd place finish for City.
b) where will Villa finish? 7th - I think that the usual top 4, City and Spurs will finish above you but you'll have more than enough to see off the rest including Everton.
c) what result do you reckon on Monday night? Aston Villa 2 Manchester City 3 with Gareth Barry to get amongst the goals!
For my answers to Vital Man City legend Johnny Baguette: Click Here First time in a very long time, I've said I think we'll not win... :o(
With thanks to Kevinho
Date:Saturday October 3 2009
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