Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Rival Lines: Samir Nasri gets a bad rap from the press

Rival Lines
Match Preview: Man City v AFCB
Blogger Interview: Typical City
Twitter: @TypicalCity

I was wondering if I would have to contact a sultan to get some information out of a Man City fan blog, but it appears that the wealth might not yet have trickled down to many of the Sky Blue fans who have followed their team through the good times and the bad. Who better to ask then for a verdict on how Man City are playing than to get in touch with Typical City. Alex Timperley was happy enough to explain that the Etihad is a place where football is a bit special these days.

CC: Tell us about how the Typical City blog got going?

TCB: Typical City was started at the beginning of the 2012/13 season by Rob Pollard and Rob Toole. There weren't really any good City blogs around at the time which seemed a bit strange for the newly minted Premier league champions and so Typical City was started to fill that hole. Even today the number of City blogs - especially ones which are actually good - is a lot lower than that of the other top teams. Since then the blog has expanded a lot and continues to grow.

CC: Pellegrini knows what it takes to win the Premier League, but even if he wins it with Man City this season will it be enough to save his job without success in Europe?

TCB: This is one of those questions where no one could honestly give you a definite answer. My gut says that unless he wins the Champion's League it will probably be the end of the road for him despite the contract extension this summer. It all depends on what Pep Guardiola does next summer. The people in charge at City have made no secret that he is their number one target and if Guardiola indicates he is available they will move heaven and earth to get him to City.

If Pellegrini does leave then he will do so with the good wishes of most of the fans. He has taken City to another level and kept his head (and won trophies) whilst a lot has changed around him. I will miss him when he goes. He's not been perfect, but he has done a fine job at what is surely one of the strangest places to be a manager in the modern game.

CC: When Man City lost to West Ham at home Pellegrini said the team was not aggressive enough and they also had a slow start against Newcastle, so do City need a spark to get going in games?

TCB: I'm wary of taking those two games and creating a larger narrative out of them but it is true that City have started slowly in a few games this season which is obviously not a good thing. There isn't specific cause for this but I would point to our current injury situation which has definitely had an effect on the team. We have only been able to field our first choice front four twice and the injuries to Kompany and Mangala have ensured that once again we have not been able to field a consistent central defensive pair.

On the other hand, those are the ropes in the Premier League and City need to be able to adapt to adverse conditions. Mostly we're fine but there have been one or two very frustrating lapses.

CC: Was the Spurs game a wake up call that came at a good time, if there can be a good time to have a defeat?

TCB: There isn't a good time to have a defeat really, is there! Spurs outplayed us in the second half and deservedly came away with the three points but who knows what would have happened if the linesmen hadn't missed the two offside Spurs goals? I'm hesitant to go into counter factual history but the timing of the two goals was important.

We have since won away at Gladbach and hammered Newcastle at home so the Spurs result is behind us now.

CC: Nasri has been out of the team for a while, but is his creativity something that the team really needs now with the latest batch of injuries?

TCB: Samir Nasri is a very important player in our side. He gets something of a bad rap from the press and football fans in general but in reality he works hard, never hides and is City's best player when it comes to keeping hold of the ball. He doesn't quite dictate things like David Silva does, but then neither does anyone else in football.

The idea that Nasri was set to warm the bench all season has arisen from somewhere but that was never going to be the case. I'd expect him to start this weekend and to give a good account of himself.

CC: We have seen players go to Man City and almost disappear so how important will it be for Wilfred Bony to get games now and to make a good impression?

TCB: Some players have "disappeared" as you put it but there has always been a reason for it. City isn't the graveyard for players it is made out to be. The only player who really was a mistake was Scott Sinclair. Both Sinclair and City made a mistake there. Apart from that there has always been a good reason why a player hasn't played very much beyond these tired old cliches about City not caring about English players/youth players etc etc. Not much is ever made of the players who have come to City and succeeded such as James Milner. If a player is consistently good enough they will always play.

And on that note, Wilfried Bony now has a chance to prove that he is good enough to be a Manchester City striker. Sergio Aguero picked up an injury playing for Argentina in the week and Bony will be getting a lot of playing time over the next few months. His start at City was curtailed by the African Cup of Nations and a few injuries but it's fair to say that he hasn't taken the chances he has had - quite often literally. He needs to to start scoring regularly over the next few weeks as otherwise it is easy to see him playing second fiddle his entire City career. He is not a young developing player like Kelechi Iheanacho. His time is right now and he needs to take it, starting with the game against Bournemouth this weekend.

CC: With Aguero, Silva and Kompany injured how do you see Man City lining up for the match against AFC Bournemouth?

Sagna - Otamendi - Mangala - Clichy
Fernando - Fernandinho - Nasri
De Bruyne - Bony - Sterling

(The midfield might be slightly different depending on Toure's fitness).

CC: Who have you been more impressed by Sterling or De Bruyne and why?

TCB: Can I be impressed with both of them? De Bruyne has made the flashier start to his City career. The Belgian already looks the real deal and you should take any bets above evens you can find for him scoring this weekend. He is in red hot form and looks deadly every time he gets the ball. His passing can go a little awry but that will improve as he gets onto the same wavelength as his new colleagues over time. His shooting is direct and powerful and his creative brain looks to be second to none. We have a real player here.

Raheem Sterling has also made a pretty good start at City. Despite the deeply unpleasant lust in the press to see him fail, Sterling has shown that he will be a part of this team for a long time to come. Not everything has worked out for him yet but he's 20-years-old and has suddenly been catapulted up a few levels and is finding his way. Opposition teams are rightly terrified of his pace and incision, but his most important attribute is that he drags defenders way out of position, freeing up our other forwards. It cannot be understated how much that ruins defensive game plans.

There is a lot more to come from Sterling and I cannot wait to see it.

CC: Do you see games like Bournemouth as a potential banana skin or just a regular Premier league fixture?

TCB: I see every game as a potential banana skin - whether that says more about me or City is open to debate...

Seriously though, I think we should win comfortably. Bournemouth are probably the only team with a worse selection of injuries to key players than City and I think that will be the difference. I expect to see the Bournemouth players to give a good account of themselves, but I feel our strength in depth will tell over 90 minutes. We can absorb important injuries much more than you can. I do not think you will embarrass yourselves like Newcastle did and I look forward to having Bournemouth visit.

CC: What do you think AFCB fans will enjoy most about visiting the Etihad stadium?

TCB: Well if you're like all the other Premier League teams you'll enjoy singing "Where were you when you were s_ _t?" in some abortive attempt at the dreaded Football Banter.

Other than the inevitable musical banter I hope you will like the stadium. Your fans will be in the newly expanded South Stand and it really is lovely. There's also entertainment beforehand in City Square which is normally extremely weird so have a look at that. Also, the football. I hope you enjoy the football and Kevin De Bruyne.

CC: It is great to get such a clear indication of a City fans feelings about their team and while I might have avoided antagonising Alex with a question about the other half of the city it seems that the Sky Blues will be the team to beat this season. For AFCB fans though that makes this game even more exciting as there is no doubt that the Cherries are the underdogs here and it will be fabulous to watch so many great players in front of us. We will be doing everything we can though to put the de Bruyne's of this world off their game though and just perhaps we can give Mr Pellegrini a bad day for once. Make sure you have a good look at A Typical City Blog to read more about the amazing talent at the Etihad and to see what Man City fans have been thinking in the build up to this game. I have also written some return answers for them so you can find out what I was asked about AFCB before the match.

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