Author Archives: Emmy Louise

Man City fans speak out on their main rivals

Rivalries are part of the fabric of football. Manchester City, I feel perhaps don’t have the strength of rivalries of some other teams. 

They spent a long part of their recent history, until the takeover, bumbling around towards the mid and bottom of the Premier League table, occasionally slipping into the relegation zones. 

Obviously that has changed now, with them now one of the best teams in Europe, however, they found themselves popular with huge numbers of fans for being the team that stopped Liverpool winning the league. 

I’ve heard several other neutrals say they, if nothing else, enjoy watching City under Guardiola play. It’s just such nice football to watch!

However, of course, Man City is not without its rivals.

The most obvious is, of course, Manchester United. Once dismissed as Noisy Neighbours when United was at their peak under Ferguson. Obviously geographically United are the nearest rivals, and this was more the case when City was based at Maine Road. Even with a couple of extra miles between grounds, the rivalry remains strong. The Manchester Derby remains one of the most iconic and anticipated fixtures of each season and has seen some incredible games over the years. 

However, according to a recent article by Rob Swan on Give Me Sport, Manchester City’s fiercest rivals were Liverpool. While last season, where the two went toe to toe for the title all season I would definitely agree. I think the history between the two sides of Manchester makes this a far greater rivalry. 

The main rivals

The other main rivalries listed according to this poll listed Tottenham, Chelsea and Arsenal, which I can only assume has been due to being at a level where these teams have been the competition for Champions League places and cup wins. 

I think for a team like City, what is most interesting is the evolution of these rivalries. I wonder what the profile of this would have been just before the takeover. I’m sure Manchester United would have been right up there as a rival. However, I remember seeing Everton as a team City always struggled against. This I felt came back to haunt me when sat on the front row of the Family Stand at the early part of the 17/18 seasons at the Etihad when Wayne Rooney thumped a first-half goal for the Toffees.

I also remember feeling the rivalry to other more local teams who have drifted out of top-flight football, such as Wigan and Bolton. Due in equal parts to their location close to City and their playing at a similar level to City at the time. 

So perhaps, with Liverpool holding the biggest chance to scuppering Man City’s title hopes, it is perhaps no surprise that they have inched ahead of United in a fan polled survey. However, for this City fan, it will always be United who I see as the biggest rivals.

Fans would have noticed these two things from Curzon Ashton’s fantastic season opener

While legging it past the East Cheshire Harriers athletics track to make it for the whistle, I wasn’t feeling totally confident, of making the start of the game or the result. Memories still strong in my mind of a lacklustre Curzon Ashton performance against Guiseley, and watching Bradford Park Avenue pulling York apart.

On arrival at Tameside Stadium, once I had caught my breath, I was so glad it was back. There was a strong turn out from supporters, Bradford Park Avenue’s strip that seemed to be modelled on a Germany kit from the 1950s and there was a steward nailing a chicken balti pie.

My initial fears were starting to fade watching Curzon in the early stages, they were giving Bradford a lot of bother, and on the odd occasion they were getting it back the defence looked solid.

A fairly early goal for the Nash saw their confidence grow and grow, and the final 5-0 result was nothing less than they deserved, and quite frankly, it could have easily been 7 or 8.

So, what would I say we have learnt?

Curzon have learnt to defend

I have moaned at length about Curzon’s struggles keeping a clean sheet. However they saw no real issues doing so today, and Cam Mason only had to make one proper stop. Some strong, confident defending meant Mason could pop his feet up for much of the game.

There were clean strong tackles that Stuart Pearce would have been proud of, and Isaac Sinclair skinning a Bradford midfielder with a bit of skill not often seen at this level went down very well with fans. Bradford Park Avenue was not able to cause the Nash any real headaches and meant the forward players could spend time causing a real nuisance to the Bradford Park Avenue keeper.

Faith in the young players has paid off

Curzon Ashton does not have the funds of many teams at this level and has long been reliant on very young players. Something that hasn’t gone unnoticed, “we’re getting beaten off a youth team” wailed a Park Avenue fan.

However the young team under some good coaching from Mark Bradshaw looked to have come good. Adding to this the signings of Nicky Wroe (himself an ex Park Avenue Player) and Andrew Halls adding a bit of stability and invaluable experience to the young side. If today taught us anything it is that Curzon is developing and improving young players. There are some young men playing for the Nash at the moment who may have a serious future.

I’m wary not to get carried away, one game in, but the Nash was fantastic in their opening game. The support was excellent and I hope there are momentum and confidence that we can carry forward over the next few weeks.

Hopes and fears ahead of Curzon Ashton’s weekend opener today

It’s back, and I’m sure we are all looking forward to standing in freezing fields wondering what life was like when you could feel your feet, fixtures being rained off and googling where on earth Spennymoor is. (I’ll save you 20 seconds, near Durham, that was last season’s discovery).

I imagine like many Curzon fans, I’m slightly nervous about the upcoming season and unsure what to expect, last season was something of a rollercoaster. A steady start, which got a bit rocky and then rockier still after the sacking of a long term and well-liked manager.

Rollercoaster

After the initial appointment of Mark Bradshaw, the club had a run of results that saw them losing to season-long strugglers FC United and Ashton United and that left them staring down the barrel of the relegation gun. Thankfully there was a bit of revival that caused such a remarkable about-turn there was even talk of playoffs. Then Curzon’s difficulty keeping a clean sheet caught up with them, and the run of good form tailed off, and the season ended with less of a bang, more of a whisper.

And so, having just about got blood pressure down to acceptable levels, it’s going to start all over again. Curzon has been busy this transfer window, and the starting line up will see a number of new faces. Including Josh Agnew on loan from a recently promoted Salford City, two players who know the league well in Kallum Mantack from Ashton United and Jack Banister from FC United.

The type of player Curzon needed

They have also signed the sort of player that I have been saying Curzon need in Andy Halls, who is the older player Curzon’s mainly very young team really need. He has had spells with Stockport and Macclesfield, and several other teams in between which will provide the EFL experience and class the Nash craved last season.

So this season opens with a home fixture against Bradford Park Avenue who were a side to be reckoned with last season and finished 7th, a cool 11 places above Curzon in the league. However, Curzon held their own against Bradford both times last season, with a 1-1 draw at home and a 2-2 draw at Horsfall Stadium.

I’m unsure of what I feel Curzon’s realistic chances are in this fixture, but I am hoping for a more solid defensive line as I feel so many of Curzon’s many draws last season should and could have been 3 points for the Nash. They need to put a poor end to the season behind them and focus on the task at hand. Curzon showed, in flashes, that they are a team to contend with at this level, they just need to work on consistently getting those results.

As is often said, you can’t win the season in the first few weeks, but you can blow it. So here’s hoping for a strong start for the Nash.

Forget Chilwell: Man City Should Be Looking At These Two Players Instead

With football, all wrapped up for the season, except the women’s World Cup. The options for fans of the domestic game are the transfer window and love island.

With no football, transfer rumours become more and more sought after. Following on from a conversation between Pep Guardiola and Leicester City’s Ben Chillwell on the pitch, it only right to link the two together in this crazy offseason.

Chillwell however, has been linked with Man City in the past following Mendy’s injury worries and Zinchenko’s inability to fully place his marker as the number one full back.

So assuming if you are here reading this, you are interested in what players Pep is going for this season, here are two players I’d like to see Manchester City go for…

Matthjis De Ligt

De Ligt has been named on every club’s wishlist this season, and while most of the talk has been for him going to the other Manchester club, with Kompany leaving the club, a world-class centre back would be a welcome addition.

Whether Manchester City will get involved in what will be a heated bidding war with a number of European clubs is a different question, but there is no arguing that the Ajax man would be a huge asset to any club.

Takefusa Kubo

There’s been a lot of talk around Joao Felix as a young striker who could make a name for himself at the club. However, I’d look elsewhere here, and suggest Takefusa Kubo, who turned 18 on the day this was written and could be an excellent prospect.

He has been playing for senior sides at the mere age of 17, and is known as the Japanese Messi. Having had an excellent grounding in the Barcelona academy he could fit well into the City set up. Rumours are floating about that he wants to return to Europe and, there is bound to be big interest and big money for this potential future superstar.

EXCITING PROSPECT: Man City’s Patrick Roberts Joins Norwich City on Loan

The star of Man City’s youth development programme is undoubtedly Phil Foden, however, there is a raft of other talented players with the academy with bright futures.

Patrick Roberts has been at Man City for five years. Ever since he was 17 when he made the move up the M6 from Fulham. He’s only made three senior appearances but is well regarded amongst those who know.

He’s heading to newly promoted Norwich City, who announced his arrival as if he was a love island contestant, seriously, check out their Twitter it’s marvellously cheesy. At Carrow Road, he will be getting the game time he needs, and at 22 this will be make or break for his Man City and personal career.

He’s hugely well regarded by the coaches at both clubs and, already seems to have a good relationship with the Norwich team, having reportedly taken this job over a number of other offers made available to him.

Having cut his teeth under a brilliant coaching programme. He has an excellent chance to practice what he has learnt, with some more time on the pitch in one of the best leagues in the world.

Hopefully, after a year on loan at Norwich, the experience he will have had to play against the likes of the Manchester clubs, Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham to name but a few. He will come back to City a valuable and more rounded asset and hopefully get a bit of game time at the Etihad for the home side.

Man City fans, what do you make of Roberts?

Record Bid Planned For Man City’s Sane, What Will Bayern Be Getting For Their Money?

Bayern Munich have stated their interest in German national, and international, Leroy Sane.

After spending much of last season on the bench, trying to compete with one of the most imperious forward lines in football in the world. Sane often found himself lower in the pecking order than Sterling or Silva, rumours are that Sane is looking for an exit.

Bayern has fielded an older squad of late and has been successful in doing so, winning the Bundesliga with only Dortmund giving them a run for their money and the two teams pulling well clear. However, with fielding, an older squad sees retirements, and that includes waving goodbye to the remarkable Arjen Robben. They now need world class replacements.

Sane is a world class player, his pace and vision are excellent, but his competition for a starting line up is Sterling. Guardiola has morphed Sterling for being a player who was almost seen as a one trick pony, in that he offered pace but little else, to one of the best forward players in the Premier League, if not the world. On virtually every other side Sane would be starting week on week.

Sane has impressed at Man City winning PFA young player of the year and perhaps my most memorable moment was THAT free kick against his previous club, Schalke.

Sane arrived from Schalke a talented player, he enters this transfer market after time under the best coach in modern football, and experience training with, on their day, the best team in the world. Sane has never been out of place or not good enough for City, there’s just so much competition on the bench.

His pace might not be quite up to Sterling’s but the Bundesliga isn’t quite as fast as the Premier League, and he could prove a real asset against slower defences than he’s maybe come across in recent times.

German football is also technical, which a grounding under Guardiola will help hugely. Bayern Munich plays an often aggressively attacking game and Sane could be a great fit for this style of play, which would see him getting the game time he’s desperate for.

An interesting summer surely awaits!

Mr Man City Is The Clubs Best Bit of Business – Agreed

This article started its lifespan as describing what we learnt about Manchester City in the FA Cup last weekend. The answer was not a lot.

Manchester City are a terrifyingly superior side and, don’t defend high up the pitch if it means trying to outpace Raheem Sterling. You won’t do it.

The news that was more shocking came the next day and it was that Vincent Kompany would be leaving the Citizens after 11 years at the Etihad Stadium.

The definition of being in the right place at the right time, Kompany joined the week before the takeover and, has been a major part in the clubs remarkable success over the years. He’s started a charity, he had a (pretty decent) racehorse named after him, Kool Kompany. And became a true fan favourite at the Etihad.

Huge names came and went for transfer fees you couldn’t imagine Man City spending in 2008, but Kompany was there for the long haul. His modest transfer fee was an irrelevance as he made himself an indispensable part of the team, and eventually the obvious choice for the Captain’s armband. His passion for the club and his role there remained immensely obvious throughout his City career, occasionally bubbling over to losing his cool.

However fans were always happy to overlook this, and were often rewarded, no more so than with his last Manchester City goal, his only this season and his only from outside the box.

Kompany is one of the most loyal and passionate players to have been on City’s books. A true Man City legend who I’m sure people will be talking about in decades to come.

Joel Senior’s Future Looks Very Bright After Joining Burnley From Curzon Ashton

Curzon Ashton, like many teams at the Non-League level, has a squad with a number of players who haven’t quite made the cut in the academy system in other clubs.

However, for the likes of Ollie Crankshaw and Joel Senior, the opposite is true, and they have been spotted by other clubs.

Senior, in particular, has landed himself a five-tier leap up to Premier League club Burnley. For a player still in his teens, this is an incredible opportunity. We had a brief chat with Mark Bradshaw, the manager of Curzon Ashton who is delighted for the young player who he described this as being the “opportunity of a lifetime” for this “strong dynamic full back” and mentioned that many clubs were interested in him.

This will be a big leap and a learning curve for such a young player, who spent most of his career at Curzon playing for youth teams. He will go from playing with semi-pros to being in what is regarded, as one of the best and most competitive teams in the league. Potentially marking the likes of Lingard, Sterling and Salah next year, which sounds daunting.

However, I imagine for this young player this would be the stuff of dreams, as he will playing with players who would have been England regulars when he was very young, such as Joe Hart and Peter Crouch.

There is still a way to go I’m sure before he is a first team regular, and some time in the u23 ranks awaits. Nevertheless, it would be wonderful for a club with so many young players to produce a true Premier League regular, both for Joel and the club.

I’m sure all Curzon fans will join me in wishing him good luck, as will manager Mark Bradshaw.

Two Heavyweights Go The Distance and Man City Find One More KO Punch Over Liverpool

It’s been an incredible battle at the top of the table this season in the Premier League, with Manchester City and Liverpool going toe to toe for most of 2019.

Liverpool looked to put some distance between them and Peps men over Christmas, but the relentlessness of Manchester City meant that a hares breath separated the two teams on the final day.

I imagine several fans were nervous, and this was not helped by Liverpool getting an early goal or Brighton going ahead. Had we blown it…Had we heck.

If there is one man you want to get a ball to in front of goal it’s Sergio Aguero, and he scored a cool goal to get City level. Some shocking defending from Brighton helped Laporte pop with an excellent header, followed by a strike from Mahrez that was arguably his best moment of the season. A free kick Beckham would have been proud of saw City win, not only a game against a struggling side as expected but the League title.

The game as a whole was something of a metaphor for their whole season, going behind and leaving it nerve-wrackingly late to land the win.

All season city have been fantastic, less a few odd results losing to Crystal Palace and Newcastle. When they have got going they have been like a freight train, frankly unstoppable. Embodied again in the game against Brighton when they scored four in a show of strength and quality.

Perhaps the most incredible thing about a team winning the league with 98 points, and winning 14 games in a row is the manager doesn’t believe this team is “done.” Guardiola is a relentless perfectionist and thinks there is room for improvement in this side, which arguably on their day are the best in Europe. Perhaps fielding the best players in the world, in the likes of De Bruyne, Arguero and the player he improved beyond recognition, Sterling.

With this in mind City’s domination looks set to continue indefinitely, and it’s hard to see how the likes of Liverpool, Chelsea and Man United can catch up.

A thrilling end to a thrilling season, and the excitement keeps building for what’s to come.

Man City fans, is this season and back-to-back titles your best yet?

Two of Man City’s Ageing Players Pep Has To Look For Long Term Replacements This Summer

Manchester City’s squad contains some of the most exciting young talents in football, however, it also has plenty of players who have been with the club since their first taste of success.

There is no escaping the fact that some of these old fan favourites will at some point need to leave the club. City are always evolving and looking for the best players out there, and no doubt the players below have provided more than enough value for their money, and they’ll be sure to try to find similar long term investments.

With the old guard soon to be outgoing, Pep Guardiola’s team will be looking to seamlessly integrate any new signings possibly this season with City looking to tie up their summer deals as quick as possible with the club on the verge of back-to-back titles.

We have a look at the two players below…

Sergio Aguero

I hope Aguero is with the club until he retires. However, part of what has made City so imperious is their incredible front line. There are some seriously talented players but none quite as sharp footed. Sterling looks a potential heir to that throne, but then who replaces Sterling? With Mahrez maybe not to the standard, it’s maybe time to start looking for another star striker.

Vincent Kompany

Another one that might not be well received! I don’t want to see Vinny out and again hope he stays with City until he retires. But the captain is an important role to fill and fill correctly. While occasionally hot-headed he is a loyal, passionate player who will wear his heart in his sleeve and be very unselfish in many ways as well as an excellent leader to the many young player’s City has.

A huge act to follow and it would be a hard man to replace. It is more likely that the likes of John Stones will fill this role, but then it’s making sure that there is another young player waiting in the wings as a deputy.

This looks set to be a fascinating transfer window across the whole league, but I imagine several neutral eyes will be on City, and a lot of summer talk will be about what Pep does.

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