New Cardiff manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will probably not look this happy at the end of the match against Manchester City on Saturday. His side should be subjected to the usual thrashing that City normally hands out to opponents. – AFP Photo
DESPITE all the flair and competence that they have so dazzlingly exhibited over the past few months, Manchester City are still not top of the standings. But that is not what concerns this team of gifted stars at the moment.
Their priority is to play the best football they can and attempt to win every game in every competition they play.
Thus far, in this campaign, Manuel Pellegrini’s team have done a decent job at it. They remain in the hunt on all four fronts and with some telling performances to go with it. They are second in the English Premiership standings, through to the last 16 of the Champions League, in the semi-finals of the League Cup and in midweek qualified for the fourth round of the FA Cup.
On Saturday, the Citizens welcome Malaysian-back Cardiff City to the Etihad in a fixture that could see the home side register their 100th goal of the season in all competitions. They sit on 99 after the 5-0 thumping of Blackburn at the Eastlands on Wednesday and there is every indication that they will score again on Saturday against Tan Sri Vincent Tan’s Bluebirds.
Indeed, City are averaging more than four goals a game at the Etihad this season and it would not surprise many to see newly-appointed Cardiff manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer crash to a heavy defeat.
If he does, he might draw some consolation from the fact that he will be in some good company, with Newcastle (4-0), Manchester United (4-1), Wigan (5-0), Norwich (7-0), CSKA Moscow (5-2), Tottenham (6-0) and Arsenal (6-1), West Ham (6-0) and Blackburn (5-0) having succumbed to the force and energy of this sleek City outfit.
The return to the side of talisman Sergio Aquero in the midweek Cup game, which he marked with a goal, as well as a brace each from Negredo and Dzeko, was good news for the title contenders.
There is no denying that City’s front six are by far the best in British football, and equally as good as the best in Europe.
With this in mind, one has got to feel for Cardiff who, if they take their eye off the ball for just a moment, could find themselves on the wrong end of thorough thrashing.
City no doubt will be seeking a measure of revenge, following Cardiff’s narrow and surprise win in Wales in August. And if the form book holds true today, then the Bluebirds could get a beating by three to four or more goals.
And as things stand, it is the victory that will interest City the most on Saturday, with getting to the top of the standings a sideline issue – one that they hope to take care of before the season is out.
Shaun Orange believes Man City will win rather big, as a measure of revenge for their early season success over Pellegrini’s team.