Sunday, October 11, 2009

Are City legitimate Premier League contenders this year?

It may be premature to start discussing the potential of Manchester City to break into the top four this season, let alone claiming the title, but seven matches in and facing yet another pointless international break, it's definitely not beyond the realms of possibility.

Coming from tenth to first in one season is a mammoth task, there is no doubt about that. I'm trying to look at it as objectively as possible, but I don't think I can knowing that I'll be $1000 better of thanks to Sportingbet if we do.

City are extremely fortunate in the fact that we have a range of circumstances that could put us in a much position than our direct rivals.

The main thing in our favour is the lack of European football. Last season's UEFA Cup journey was probably the highlight of our season, and matches against Hamburg and Schalke will live long in the memory of most Blues. But, the competition was a major distraction and a burden on our small squad.

We have the distinct advantage of playing around twenty games or so less than our Champions League rivals, and this will be more evident in the new year as the Carling Cup, FA Cup, and Champions League all begin to clash with the Premiership. We won't have this luxury next season however, assuming that we are playing European football ourselves (most likely Champions League).

We also have the ability to strengthen the squad in the January transfer window in a much greater capacity than our nearest rivals. Chelsea aren't able to buy anyone either courtesy of a transfer ban. So if we're a player or two short due to injury, fatigue, or the African Cup of Nations, we can buy the odd player as cover.

Also, don't think that we'll be so lucky in the summer with transfers this season. Everyone knew that we were going to buy players — but no-one could have predicted we would purchase to the extent that we did. Don't expect Fergie to settle for just Owen and Valencia next year...

Besides, our squad is too far away from contention as it is. Man-for-man, we have a side capable of pushing the best in the league. Don't get me wrong, we have some players that could do with replacing, but have you seen some of the rubbish the Rags and the Dippers have on their books? Would the likes of Babel, Ngog, Skrtel, O'Shea, Evans, or even little Mickey Owen strengthen our best seventeen? Outside of Gerrard and Torres, Liverpool look remarkably ordinary since the departure of Xabi Alonso. The Rags are solely reliant on fat boy Rooney, grandfather Bryan Riggs, and lazy twat Berbatov. An injury or two would severely test their depth.

We were a dodgy extra minute away from salvaging a draw at Old Scaffold — we can flog them at home.

Last season we finished tenth with 50 points. To win the league, we would have to pick up another 40 points — that is, win at least another thirteen games that we didn't last year. It's a tough task, but we can dare to dream.

Have faith Blues.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Daylight Savings Time

Don't forget to wind the clocks forward an hour (and an extra seven minutes if your name is Sir Alex Ferguson).

3pm England kickoffs now are 1am local time.