Vital Network legend of legends, Vital Chelsea supremo Merlin waves his wand, er, and mouse and answers this week’s deadly sins…
1. It’s Big Four time again and here comes arguably the finest side in Europe on their day. Chelsea have been mesmeric at times this season and City face their toughest challenge of the campaign without a doubt. How do your rate your progress under Mr. Ancelotti and what do you think you will achieve this season?
‘We’re doing okay! Last night’s blip at Blackburn isn’t something I’m going to lose sleep over as we’ve bigger fish to fry and I think Carlo Ancelotti knows that. As for progress, Ancelotti has simply picked up where Guus Hiddink left off but with a slight change in formation. We still have all the players we had last season, unlike our rivals, and we’re confident that we can go on to great things this season.
‘Naturally we’ll suffer when Drogba, Essien, Kalou and Mikel are away for the African Nations Cup but our games during the period away are not that difficult. I’d be very disappointed if we didn’t win one of the major trophies this season.’
2. You’ve rattled through managers and backroom staff at a fair old rate this decade. A nightmare if you were a Panini footy card swapper. We have been through similar phases albeit many times at the arse end of football in previous years. Do you think that the City hierarchy’s continued faith in Mark Hughes is the way forward?
‘I love Sparky! I never believed he’d come to us after being a United legend but he did and he did some wonderful things for us. The secret to success is buying wisely and you’ll need to get that Champions League place before the best in the world start to look towards Manchester City as a club they’d like to play for.
‘It takes time and Sparky needs to be given that time. If you do sack him, a new boss will come in with his own ideas, possibly Jose Mourinho! There again that guy didn’t do to bad when he inherited the side Claudio Ranieri had built. He made a couple of signings and hey presto we were champions. People forget that it was Claudio who had set up the signings of Petr Cech and Arjen Robben.
‘So the answer to your question, I’m stuffed if I really know, football is a complicated game despite what some people say!’
3. Nicolas Anelka had a fabulous scoring record for Manchester City yet left in a disappointing strop. Yet now he is maturing into potentially one of the game’s great players. What’s your take on Nico’s continued resurgence?
‘I think he’s found a club where he can be totally happy. He’s matured, he even smiles and his comments suggest he wants to stay until the end of his career. The ‘Golden Boot’ he won last year was the icing on the cake for Nico after making the move from Bolton, his haul included some fantastic goals and we look forward to a couple, possibly, on Saturday!’
4 ‘Shot by both sides:’ The Dangermen. Who should Chelsea and in turn City, be paying close attention to at Eastlands on Saturday?
‘I remember you lot singing ‘Feed the Goat and he will score’ well, ‘Feed the Drog and he will score’ is the modern day equivalent. Give ‘The Drogster’ an inch and he’ll punish you. He is having the season of his life and we hope it’ll continue. As for your lot, I guess Shaun Wright-Phillips has a point to prove and will be keen to get one over his former team mates, as will Wayne Bridge. Is there anyone else you’ve raided us for I may have missed?’
5. Everyone at Manchester City from pitch to state of the art turnstile are very publicly aiming to take on and destabilise the seemingly endless, increasingly boring procession of ‘The Big Four’ – Can it be done? For example, City ‘s record against the Big Four to date this season is a scandalous odd goal defeat at the swamp, a draw at Liverpool and the stuffing of Arsenal.
‘It can be done. Arsenal and Liverpool are slipping. It’d really shake up the status quo if either of them were to miss out on Champions League qualification and like I mentioned earlier, Champions League qualification is what you need as the next step of your development.’
6. You might be well able to speak from experience on this weekly question which has yet to meet with a resounding yes from all the rivals we’ve met! Are The Citizens guilty of ‘ruining football,’ one of the more hysterical charges levelled at the club throughout 2009?
‘Absolutely, guilty as charged! Like when did we ever spend outrageously on players like you?’
7. And so to battle. Your match prediction?
‘This will be a tough one for both sides, we’ll have our big guns back and Ancelotti will be keen to not let us suffer a second defeat on the trot. If we can win, it’ll set us up nicely for Christmas, if not the gap closes and as you say – THE RAGS – will close in on us!
A prediction – 2-1 to Chelsea with Drogba netting (again)!’
Many thanks to Merlin for a cracker of an interview worthy of a big, big game!
VMC Forum Link:Manchester City vs Chelsea: Saturday December 5th KO. 17:30 UK Time – Match Day Thread
Deadly Sinners so far this season:
Blackburn Rovers: Mikey D
Wolverhampton Wanderers: Akela
Arsenal: Paul Mustchin
Manchester united: Nobby Allcock
West Ham: Rossy
Aston Villa: The Fear
Wigan Athetic: Worbo
Fulham: Andrew Joyce
Scunthorpe: Luke Thornhill
Liverpool: Chubby Alonso
Hull City: Matt Wilson
VMC Link: VMC’s Eddie Bell Answers Chelsea Questions!
TWO THOUSAND AND BEYOND – JOIN VITAL MANCHESTER CITY:
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