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Saturday October 5, 2013 MYT 7:30:00 AM
Saturday October 5, 2013 MYT 9:55:07 AM
by shaun orange
Joe Hart: I wonder where my form has gone. I seem to have lost it. - ANTHONY WALLACE/ AFP
THE wounds of the midweek mauling Manchester City suffered in the Champions League have not yet healed and things may well fester should Manuel Pellegrini’s side fail to overhaul Everton on Saturday.
The Citizens take on Roberto Martinez’s revitalised outfit at the Etihad in a Premiership fixture that they must win if they are to restore any semblance of respectability and get their league campaign back on track.
City have endured two painful defeats, the other at Aston Villa in the Premiership last week, which makes it all the more important for the title contenders to sort things out in a hurry and get back to their winning ways.
Much of the debate in the aftermath of the Bayern Munich loss has been about Joe Hart’s blunders in goal.
Pellegrini has made known how he felt about that, but he has added that the whole team is to shoulder the blame for the terrible experience – and the manager was spot on.
City played well below their full potential and Hart’s errors merely underscored that. Thus, if they right those wrongs then Everton could be in for a rough ride of their own.
However, having said that, it should be mentioned without delay that the Toffees are in good form and actually sit above City in the Premier League standings – two points ahead to be exact.
Still, City should win this one. Pellegrini, one will have to assume, would have told his squad to put the past week and those two poor results behind them and get a move on with resurrecting the title bid.
The Premiership remains the club’s priority this term, but that is not to say the Champions League is secondary. Indeed, it is very much in their plans to get through to at least the quarter-finals and that is why the Bayern defeat hurt so much. But, truth be told, City are second in Group D despite the midweek setback.
Everton of course will pose a different threat when they visit the Etihad. But they are by no means as deadly as Bayern and for that reason Pellegrini will be confident of exacting a measure of redemption.
It would be folly to omit David Silva from the starting line-up. After all, it was the Spaniard who injected a new lease of life into the Citizens when he came off the substitutes’ bench against Bayern.
Pellegrini will also have to decide whether to continue with Hart or bring in 26-year-old Romanian keeper Costel Pantilimon. And, there is also a decision to be made whether to restore Pablo Zabaleta to right-back at the expense of Micah Richards who started only his second game of the season against Bayern.
All in all, this match could be a means to healing their wounds but City will have to vanquish Everton to do that.
Shaun Orange foresees another tough game for City, but reckons they should have enough in them to take all three points.
Tags / Keywords:
Manchester City, Shaun Orange, Etihad, Manuel Pellegrini, Roberto Martinez, Everton, football, David Silva, Pablo Zabaleta
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