Date: 13th January 2018 at 2:23pm
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In a week when, once again, City`s matches have arrived thick and fast, it has been practically impossible for the Pedmachine to keep up with it all. Add to that the continuing saga of Alexis Sanchez and it`s never a dull moment at the Etihad.

With Burnley safely packed off to concentrate on the league, City`s focus moved from the FA Cup to the Carabao Cup where visitors Bristol City, fresh from their disposal of the FC United of Stretford in the quarter-final were drawn to pit their wits against football`s most prolific team at present.

How laughable was it that United agreed to play their FA Cup tie against Derby on Friday and off TV on the basis that they would be playing a Carabao Cup semi-final this week? It just shows the sheer arrogance of Mourinho and his underperforming dolphins.

Bristol City were the second team from the top of the Championship to present themselves at the Etihad. They were exceptionally well-organised and sure gave City a fright. In essence their press was as good as City`s early on but it was a typical City defensive error that set the scoreboard in favour of the West Country men just ahead of the break. Mangala was the culprit, robbed by Paterson who set Reid off towards the penalty area. Panic set in and Stones, hitherto exceptional, slid in unnecessarily, missed the ball and gave the referee an easy decision. With Reid heading away from goal, Stones should have shepherded him towards the by-line and forced him into a snapshot.

As it happened, Reid was simply invited to give his team the lead from the spot and although Bravo was close to it to feel the draught, the Championship team lead at the break. The 8000 away fans went mental and the pundits were getting set.

City hadn`t played poorly. True they were not as fluid as they look with David Silva in situ, but the chances had arrived but none of them were taken.

Ten minutes into the second half City equalised. The goal was fashioned first from the feet of Bravo who played a decent pass to De Bruyne who played a long distance one-two with Sterling ahead of driving the ball home.

It was time to fire up the afterburners, but this opponent was not for bending over. They stuck to their game plan and although another City goal looked inevitable and soon, Bristol re-grouped and tried hard to get back on the front foot.

With twenty minutes left it was Aguero time. Bernardo had tried his luck in three different positions, but didn`t shine as a number nine not a false one. Yaya, unable to stamp any authority and a yard behind the pace was removed. The team was re-shuffled a bit. Sterling brought closer to the action and Bernardo moved wider. And, finally it paid off. Bernardo puts in great crosses which Edin Dzeko would bury. But he`s no longer with us and our forwards of smaller stature are generally unable to get headers in. That was until deep into stoppage time when he produced a peach of a cross, whipped up and over the Bristol defence. Aguero, this time got in front of the keeper to head home much to the delight and relief of the Blue Mooners. It was probably the first cross Flint had missed all night, but Sergigol was in no mood to be generous.

This gave the Blues a narrow advantage to take the Ashton Gate against a team who played some of the best opposition football against City, home or away this season. Indeed, I would say City`s biggest challenges this season at the Etihad have been against Wolves and Bristol City. Shame on the Premier League teams who shut up shop, or try to. That said, once again, the Blues found a way to get a win.

Both of these teams have played home to esteemed City legend Shaun Goater, who was reporting on Sky. I`m pleased to say, like nearly 500 City fans, I was present at Southend United when Shaun played his last match helping them to win their divisional title by beating?.Bristol City. The fortunes of his former colleagues now stand on the verge of Premier League qualification.

So, this weekend sees the much-awaited clash between the best two footballing teams in the Premier League when Liverpool host City. Anfield is not a happy hunting ground for City and was it not Peter Schmeichel guarding the pipes last time City won there?

The world`s pundits and scribes are forecasting a home win in which Liverpool would inflict City`s first defeat of the Premier League season. I don`t know what to expect. No team has the same potent strike force that the Scousers enjoy, so it will all be on for Stones and Otamendi to keep tabs on Salah, Firmino and Mane. I have to say that if City were to win this one, I`ll start to believe that City can go the whole season unbeaten, such is the magnitude of this test.

I`m equally sure that if City were to stumble it will only de-rail the title push in the minds of Maureen and the media. When you look at the table you can see that if City were to draw their next ten matches, they would still be ahead of the field, so in reality it is only a six-match season now.

So, will he or won`t he? Is Sanchez heading to City or is he is staying with City`s London Elite Development Squad? Only, Arsenal don`t seem to be developing anything right now as careers go backwards in tandem with their manager and their Club.

With Sky Italia suggesting a bid from Stretford offering more money than City plus Mkhitaryan, the puerile bandwagoners on Talk Rubbish were off. The broadcaster with the South American name was quite pitiful and woeful in his bid to sell the idea that Sanchez would be guaranteed a weekly start in Stretford and would be the big fish in the pond. Trying to advocate that at City he would be a squad player competing with Sane, Sterling, Aguero and de Jesus for a shirt. On twitter they even suggested he would get the “iconic” number 11 shirt should he decide to ply his trade at Sold Trafford.

Maybe the broadcaster should look at the true facts. Sanchez is a winner. He has seen himself slide at the Emirates and there is no evidence to suggest Mourinho is improving anyone in Stretford. If Sanchez wants medals, he`s got a chance of three at the Etihad, where in the knowledge that under the stewardship of Guardiola, he will be a world-beater by this time next season.

At Old Trafford he would be lucky to win a throw-in.

I can see his agent trying to steer him towards remaining in London until the end of the season when both of them can cash up at the expense of Arsenal, but do Arsenal really want to earn nothing? It is not one of the world`s best business models to keep your main playing asset and allow him to walk away on a free, when you can secure at least £20-25 million. Which leads me to another contribution on twitter yesterday where one wag said – City have offered £20m. United have offered £25m plus Mkhitaryan. Isn`t that the same?


One Reply to “Pedmachine – Review, Preview and Sanchez”

  • Another excellent read Ped. Just a bit of food for thought… i’ve added this article to our forums (JB normally does it) but please feel free to do it yourself (thumbs up).

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