As supporters, we already have a pretty good idea of who the winners are in the team, players like De Jong and Kompany who will put their bodies on the line for the sake of the City cause. We respect these guys because they give 100% every game and are prepared to be on the receiving end because they know that`s part of the game. We know the players that can make a goal like Silva and Johnson both of whom have vision and trickery up their sleeves.
In my humble opinion, I think the team tomorrow should be as follows. Hart, Richards, Kompany, Lescott, Zabaleta, De Jong, Johnson, Toure, Silva, Milner and Balotelli. I would play Milner wide right and Johnson wide left and tell them to cross as many balls into the box as they can. If we do this, with Silva and Toure supplementing the striker from midfield I think we have a good chance.
On our day, City can be a great team to watch, but I am going to go out on a limb here and say there is one player tomorrow who can make a difference. He is supremely gifted both physically and skilfully. He has only one problem and that is maturity. He appears to expect respect and wants different treatment on the pitch from others. He doesn’t like being tackled and has a petulant side that has already seen too many red and yellow cards. But, and it’s a big but, if he keeps calm, listens to his manager and his team mates, plays to the very best of his ability (and he must know he hasn’t yet) and for his team, Mario Balotelli can become for City what Cantona was for United. He has all the attributes and this is what makes him so frustrating from a supporter’s viewpoint. He has god given talent a tremendous physique and the ability to score great goals, but as fans we remember the petulance the sulks and the bookings that let his team mates down.
Tomorrow could be the start of the new dawn for City after so many false ones. If we beat United and set up a final with Bolton or Stoke, we have the best chance in my 35 years as a City fan to make our neighbours tear down their banner! It’s funny but I feel like this is THE game where we can finally get over that Red hurdle and start to assert our dominance. The team finally going over the wall from the trenches to the battlefield each of them looking out for the other knowing they will all give 100%, fighting for every ball and taking every opportunity. Play as a team and play to win lads.
I also have a message for Mario Balotelli, if he plays as well as we know he can, and if he adds maturity to his game, leaving the sulks in the dressing room and putting in the titanic effort we see players like De Jong and Kompany give, we may see an amazing and era changing result tomorrow. So in the words of Rudyard Kipling I say to you Mr Balotelli: ‘If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, Or walk with kings — nor lose the common touch, If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you, If all men count with you, but none too much; If you can fill the unforgiving minute With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run — Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it, And — which is more — you’ll be a man, my son! Blue Moon rising!