Tag Archives: kevin de bruyne

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?

Thumping Win Shows Man City’s Champions League Credentials

I imagine many City fans were fairly optimistic of a win in Tuesday nights Champions League fixture, Schalke are in freefall, having conceded more than three goals in every game since the 16th of February, and now facing a potential relegation battle. However, I don’t think anyone was expecting the scoreline they ended up with.

After an initially frustrating half an hour, City finally got the breakthrough they needed with a confident and composed penalty from Aguero. The floodgates then opened, with Sane fantastic against his old club, Sterling continuing his fantastic run of form, Jesus benefitting from both a sharp strike and a bit of poor goalkeeping and City darling, Phil Foden showing composure well beyond his years to become one of the youngest ever English players to score in a Champions League game.

Overall putting seven past the West German side, equalling the record for the knockout stages in the Champions League.

Schalke looked like lower league opposition, not a Champions League side at all.

Schalke are probably not the side everyone is worried about at the moment, but this was a real statement from City. Showing that the old guard are good as ever, the younger players are improving at a rapid rate and they are doing this without the likes Kevin De Bruyne, who, I feel City in previous seasons have been slightly overly dependent on. The starting line up with him back in the squad is probably even more a troubling prospect for opposition teams.

A few of the bigger teams have dropped out at an unexpectedly early stage this year, which perhaps means the freight train which is Manchester City in full flow will be harder to stop. This is Manchester City’s best chance in reaching the final, well, ever, they are looking sharp, ruthless and utterly intimidating. If the sort of sharp shooting, robust defending and assured goalkeeping we saw last night can become the norm, City could well be going all the way.

20 Years: How It Feels To Be a Man City Fan Through The Rollercoaster Two Decades

Manchester City of 2019 are barely recognisable from the team of 1999. Twice on the bounce relegations are something fans could barely imagine nowadays.

In 1999 City were in the Football League Second Division, or for those of you young enough to not have a clue what VHS is – League 1. Joe Royle, who had made 99 appearances for City in the 70s was the manager, tasked with getting City into the First Division, or Championship as it is now known.

The ground wasn’t the behemoth that is the Etihad Campus, but instead Maine Road. Tucked away down terraced streets in the much-maligned Moss Side area of the city. Rather than the enormity that stands now in East Manchester, it was mish-mashed, expanded at different times, with four stands that didn’t match at all. The stadium isn’t there anymore, in its stead after a lengthy planning permission battle is some new build housing, with little evidence of what had gone before it, with the exception of road names Blue Moon Way and Citizens Place. However, I’m sure most city fans remember the iconic roof of the Kippax and the temporary stand which was not set up to deal with the west Manchester weather at all.

It may be rose-tinted glasses, but the last few seasons of the Maine Road days were the best days to be a city fan. The season culminating in a Wembley penalty shootout against Gillingham, two promotions on the bounce only to go straight back down, and winning the first Manchester Derby in my lifetime.

Many weekends spent in my dad’s golf, putting up with his bizarre taste in music, to watch city put 6 past Sheffield Wednesday, or indeed lose 4-0 to West Bromwich Albion defined my early teens.

We had inflatable bananas, and away fans didn’t sing “Where were you when you where Sh*t” they sang “City are a Massive Club” which had more versions than I care to remember but the one referencing Curly Watts as a celebrity fan was by far and away the best.

The move from Moss Side to Beswick to Eastlands or the City of Manchester stadium (it wasn’t the Etihad in those days) saw an unremarkable season, despite a strong start and hammering Bolton 6-2, we had tailed off by November and had little to talk about with the exception of another win in the Manchester Derby.

And so entered Stuart Pearce as manager and a long run of wilderness years for Manchester City, finishing a few places out of the relegation zone ever season, players like Samaras, Joey Barton and Sylvain Distin were on the books. It’s hard to see now that a midfielder in the side would moon the home fans while playing at Goodison Park, but that happened.

Eventually, money arrived, out went Mark Hughes and in came Mancini, out went mid-table finishes and into the Champions League spots, the big four of Chelsea, United, Liverpool and Arsenal now all see City as the team to beat. The exciting moments are not winning penalty shootouts for promotion but winning the Premier League in injury time and becoming the first team to pick up 100 points.

Out are the hard Psycho tackles which simply wouldn’t stand in today’s game, and in the remarkable touch of De Bruyne. No more feeding the goat and in with Aguero’s devastating accuracy. Veteran players are no longer the likes of Hamann, and now the likes of Kompany. Keegan’s determination would be no match for Pep’s tactical brilliance.

City have gone from noisy neighbours to one of the best teams in Europe in an incredibly short space of time (via an enormous cash injection). There is no denying that they are an absolute joy to watch, and when the wheels get turning they are incredible, the balls you think have been overhit have someone waiting at the end of it who has it in control and on the floor in one touch, carving up the defences of good teams, (lest we forget we beat Liverpool 5-1 last season) and utterly destroying lesser opposition as some of this season’s scorelines have shown.

I may be alone in this opinion, but I miss the difficult years. With City’s dominance is the expectation that they will win every single game, 15 years ago when you expect to lose everything, winning a game would cause utter delirium, especially if it happened to fall against a certain team based in Stretford. If you lost you weren’t disappointed because you expected to, you’d just sing “MCFC OK” even louder. Now I find myself feeling slightly put out that City might not win the Premier League for a season.

It’s been a remarkable 20 years for English football, let alone for Manchester City. Filled with both agony and ecstasy, and complain though I might about not enjoying their success as much as I should, I look forward to seeing what they do in the next 20 years.

Bring the Noise! Can an increase in crowd numbers help Curzon’s unbeaten run?

The games I remember well are the ones with an electric atmosphere.
An FC United game where the home fans mocked each other depending on what stand they were in for a full 90 minutes, a more recent trip to Doncaster v Sunderland; they may have cried on Netflix but the travelling band of Sunderland away fans are incredible. And of course, every City fan from the bad old days remembers Helen Turner and her bell.

People bemoaning the lack of atmosphere in modern football definitely have a point, at the top level neutrals want to go and see the likes of De Brunye, Sane and Hazard play, and ticket prices have seen off some fans.

However in the National League and National League North, with the exception of a few groundhoppers, most people there are fans, or at least have a passing interest in the team.

There was a post in the Curzon Ashton fan group about getting home games like they used to be, scarves, flags and a lot of noise.

The Nash have had a difficult 12 months, which does put people off going to games. However, with the momentum behind them and remaining unbeaten in 2019 so far, a glimmer of hope of reaching the playoffs, hopefully, we will see a few more locals heading to the ground and getting behind their team. There is no denying that an atmosphere makes a ground a more intimidating place to go for opposition fans, and can give players themselves a bit of a lift, there’s a reason the term, “12th man” exists in the first place.

Curzon have an excellent stadium for a ground at this level, it’s a short hop from Ashton Train station (and Ikea, cheer on the Nash, buy a Sjalland chair on your way out, everyone’s a winner), it has the infrastructure to host bigger crowds than it currently pulls. When you get to the ground the shop near the entrance sells a host of old programmes, as well as various Curzon scarves, badges and shirts.

We are well and truly in the business end of the season now, and Curzon’s miraculous recovery from staring down the barrel of Northern Premiership football to potentially making the playoffs is an achievement in itself.

Curzon still have some tough games home games ahead, against the likes of Altrincham, Spennymoor and Stockport, who are all sitting pretty, higher up the league and will be trying to make sure they aren’t dropping points at this late stage in the competition.

Curzon have a real chance of the highest league position finish in their history this season, and not only that but a real chance of a playoff place, so jump on the bandwagon, grab a scarf and come and cheer on the best team in Tameside.

My Greatest Season in Sky Blue? It’s a No-Brainer!

There was a seven day period where I felt a mixture of anger and disappointment. It began against Liverpool in the Champions League and was promptly ended less than a fortnight later at Tottenham.

All this was ended by the weekend when City won the league, their third in just seven seasons. As a fan, I hadn’t felt sad about the Blues for near enough a year. That’s how good we were.

From a defeat to Arsenal in the FA Cup Final in April 2017 to April twelve months later, City played near enough the perfect match every game. One week it was 5 against Liverpool, six against Watford then battering Chelsea in every department on their own turf.

Kevin De Bruyne was the star as was the timeless David Silva alongside him. The best moment? A 2-1 win against Southampton with a last minute winner by Raheem Sterling on a rare night when we didn’t play well at all. At that point, I just knew we would win the Premier League.

It took another six months or so to be confirmed, but the procession began as soon as 2018 dawned.

When United lost to West Brom on Sunday the 15th of April, it was all done and dusted. Probably the weirdest yet most wonderful way to see a Premier League title won. West Brom was relegated a month later, the Red Devils lost the FA Cup final to Chelsea.

The season ended on 93:20 day, Gabriel Jesus scoring a last-gasp winner to seal a perfect season and a perfect points total of 100. In the sun at Southampton again, it really was the best way to end the season.

I was told it couldn’t get better, yet after watching the blues recently it might just get better.

But let’s only think about last year for now. The memories of Pep singing ‘We’ve got Guardiola’ at Leicester may just do the trick.

Pep needs to pick these two players in order to ease past Fulham

If you’ve been wondering why City haven’t been firing on cylinders over the last few games, the absence of a certain Belgian may tell you the answer.

Kevin De Bruyne’s injury sustained during pre-season training has meant the champions have lacked their usual creativity over the first few games, this was highlighted at it’s greatest, in games against Wolves and Newcastle before we broke up for the International break.

With KDB out till November, it means that another of Guardiola’s mega bucks players will have to do the damage.

With a squad as good as City’s, there really is no excuse.

The question is: Which of City’s stars will help fill the void that De Bruyne’s left to defeat Fulham?

Bernardo Silva

At this moment in the time, Bernardo is arguably City’s best player on form. The impression he has made from the word go has been impressive. In a more central role, Bernardo has the quality to replicate De Bruyne, certainly going forward.

He can pick a pass, play a great through ball and as City will enjoy nearly all the ball against Fulham, it’s vital Bernardo can unlock the door and break down the inevitable Fulham wall.

Getting The Portuguese in the central areas could be hugely important for City.

Out wide we didn’t see Silva at his best.

He can flourish as much as anybody in the middle of the park.

Phil Foden

Another international break has just passed where the media have moaned at our lack of attacking talent – Foden can buck the trend in this department. The task of the eighteen-year-old is very straightforward, he needs to impress when given game time.

This could be a problem for the young Englishman however.

At the moment Foden just can’t get a game for this City side. One hopes Foden won’t just become a squad player who competes in the Carabao and The FA Cups, it’s the aim of all associated with Manchester City that Foden makes it through to the first team.

With De Bruyne on the sideline, why not take a risk and give Foden a go.

Look what happened to Marcus Rashford!