The City View
A second trip of the season to the Etihad for Palace so we had a chat with our friend from the blue half of Manchester Craig Perry to find out his view ahead of the match.
Q. Has the season so far gone as you expected?
Not at all. Not only from a Manchester City perspective, but as a whole. I do not think anyone could have predicted the season that Chelsea are currently having. With each season, the lower placed teams become more capable of taking points off the top teams, and this season has been a perfect example of that. Now we are post Christmas, I see this settling down and the top six should become more recognisable as the bigger teams with larger squads finish strong.
Q. Will the club do much business in the in the transfer window? If so, what areas need to be addressed?
We have lots of areas that need addressing, but if rumours of Pep Guardiola are to be believed, I do not see us doing a lot of business in the January window. Instead, I see us using what we have allowing Pep to come in and rebuild from scratch. I would love to see us sign a centre back if nothing else. Mangala has all the attributes to be top level, but his positioning is substandard. Certainly not good enough to warrant the price paid. Demichelis is just old now (we share a birthday with him being one year my junior!), his legs can no longer do what his head wants them to. For those reasons, I would like to see us stick a large bid in for John Stones.
Q. There are plenty of rumours about a change of manager in the summer but is that what the fans want?
I would say so. I do not think many, myself included, dislike Pellegrini. He is a very likeable manager, who never gets on the wrong side of the media. However, he has at times been found to be tactically naïve, and his reluctance to play youth players has slowly resulted in the fans becoming frustrated with him. That said, he is in an untenable position. He could win it all still this season and still be sacked, but when Pep Guardiola is available you take that opportunity, especially with Pellegrini being no spring chicken. We have an opportunity to build a legacy with a manager of Pep Guardiola’s stature.
Q. Is it a concern that when Sergio Aguero is missing through injury, City just do not look the same side?
Yes, mainly because our replacement is Wilfried Bony. He has not reached the same heights he did at Swansea City. I know he needs regular game time, but his movement between the channels does not suit or style of play. He also lacks that cutting edge with his finishing. Where Aguero needs one chance for one goal, Bony needs four or five. I do think we will see a lot more of Iheanacho from now on. He has looked far sharper than Bony, and looked great against Norwich City at the weekend, when partnered with Sergio.
Q. If you could choose one player to leave the club tomorrow and one player to join the club, who would they be?
My answer here will be controversial I expect, but my choice of player to leave is Yaya Toure. He is a magnificent footballer on his day, with all sorts of goals in his locker, however I personally feel he hinders the team more than he helps it. He does not track back with midfield runners, leaving our fragile, and ever changing centre back pairing consistently exposed. It is more than likely just his age. At thirty two he is no spring chicken, but he has the look of a player disinterested. Casually jogging around expecting everything to come through him. The one player I would love us sign is Paul Pogba. I see him as the perfect replacement for Yaya. He is young, hungry and at the peak of his game now. He would bring dynamism to our midfield and get us back to where we should be.
Q. What is your view on the recent news that video technology could be trialled in FA Cup competition?
I am an advocate of using technology, so long as it does not interrupt play. If a goal has been scored which is questionable, the time tracking back to the centre circle could be used to review simple decisions such as offsides, or players interfering with play. I would like to see two opportunities each half to question a decision where play has been stopped.
Q. Is there a fear that the gap between the Premier League and the Championship is growing more than ever before?
Financially it may be increasing, but you only have to look at this year’s newly promoted teams, and the likes of Leicester City, to see how teams can come up and compete.
Q. Name a player from each side that you think will be a threat to the opposition?
Sergio Aguero. We can be playing awful and he can single handedly win us the game. For Palace, Yohan Cabaye. Give him time and space in midfield and he can dictate the game.
Q. Your prediction?
I like to think we have recently turned a corner and are about to put some results together. It will be a tight game, but I am confident with us being at home. 2-0 to City.