Fox Hunting in the City
Date: Friday 3rd December 2010
So, after a great spell of non-losses and some media attention that grudgingly admits we are playing some attractive football, tomorrow, the Super Whites trot across to visit the team of a manager with a name like an ice-cream seller, at a ground that sounds like something from Lord of The Rings. The jokes probably end at that, because I doubt any Whites fans are treating this one lightly with a possible chance of reversing positions up at the top end. Possible is the word rather than probable.
Mancini is the man, Eastlands the ground and the big-spending money boys of Manchester City, the opposition. Teams are still a somewhat speculative with City riding high after a mid-week cup win ,but it’s pretty certain that three players will command the attention of the Whites fans: the in-form Balotelli, the box fox- dumpy dynamo, Tevez and (particularly if Stuart Holden is declared fit to play) the Dutch thugmaster and leg-breaker, Nigel de Jong. Potentially the sky-blues will be a daunting challenge on their home midden and three points there will be a massive boost to the good folk of little Bolton. It’s also likely that last week’s end-to end ding-dong affair with the “ Kiss-me-quick” boys won’t be repeated in favour of a more tactical approach. It might just be that old Red-Nose is secretly hoping for a Whites win whilst preparing his next “dirty-player” dossier on Super Kev for the referee of our next encounter. City have a wealth of talent to throw at us with Adebayor, Silva, Johnson and Milner up front with Tevez being the real danger man if we don’t shackle him.
Granted, speculation is very much the word for this one, much depending on our own approach to it all. City are effectively a very good side, but then again we’re playing a different game then in previous seasons and no doubt a few videos of our recent games will have been on the Mancini viewing menu this week. He apparently lost his cool big-time in the dressing room at half-time midweek with some good effect. We’ve scored three goals of real quality of late and no doubt Elmander is causing some focus on his form. Patrick Vierra is reported as complaining about not enough playing time whilst urging Balloteli to work harder for his team mates. Hart is likely to be back in place of Given with a likely line up quoted by BN as:
Hart, Richards, Kompany, K toure, Kolarov, De Jong, Y Toure, Barry, Silva, Balotelli and Tevez.
On the Whites scene, the ex-City refugee, Martin Petrov, is claiming Mancini treated him like a thirteen-year-old and may just have a grudge edge that could result in a bonus for us. Whether he’ll start is yet another speculation as Taylor is playing with much more determination and work ethic right now. Holden will get a last-minute fitness test to partner Muamba in mid-field with Mark Davies the obvious option. The right back spot might also be in question, Rickets or a return for Steinson ? The rest of the side pretty much picks itself as OC is unlikely to change our current formula. The bench will almost certainly be warmed by Ivan Klasnic, Taylor/Petrov and our young Spanish acquisition, who showed a few nice touches as a sub last week.
Ref is Andre Marriner.
Prediction a bit hard as I don’t know which City will turn up for this one, their form not being consistent.
I won’t cry at a draw but I’ll take a wild chance on an odd-goal win for us.