Friday, 16 September 2016

AFCB are okay: City are only playing at 70%, says Typical City

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Match Preview: Man City v AFCB
Blogger Interview: Typical City
Facebook: Typical City

CC: Oh well, if Man City still have another 30 per cent to go before they really start playing at their very best, perhaps it is good that the Cherries can get this first game of two out of the way? That's how the half full glass Cherries fan might feel, but talking to Typical City's Dan Burke you get a real insight into how City fans can see the season perhaps panning out and they may not yet think that they have much of an advantage over their neighbours so AFCB had better get their defence sorted out as City look formidable even without Sergio Aguero.

CC: How well has the new Man City crest gone down with the fans?

TC: Very well, actually. The fans were consulted during every stage of the design process and we’ve ended up with a modern nod to our classic crest which the vast majority of people are really pleased with. The circular shape, golden ship and red rose are more synonymous with Manchester City than that stupid griffin and those embarrassing “decorative” stars ever were and I feel a sense of pride every time I look at it.

The only minor complaint I have is that the words “Football Club” have been removed from the new badge but it’s not something that keeps me awake at night.

CC: Man City already sit top of the table, but how much better do you think they can play?

TC: As great as City have been so far this season, I feel like this team has only fulfilled around 70% of its potential and, hopefully, the best is yet to come. City absolutely played Manchester United off the park for 40 minutes last weekend, but it was only 40 minutes and Pep Guardiola will be aiming to get his team exerting that level of dominance more often and for longer in future.

We still have players like İlkay Gündoğan and Vincent Kompany to come into the team, while Claudio Bravo and Leroy Sané have only just made their debuts, not to mention Brazilian wonderkid Gabriel Jesus who will join up with the squad in January. Exciting stuff.

CC: The Manchester derby was a well-hyped game and an important game to win, but do you expect Utd to be the biggest threat for the title this season?

TC: Yes, I think so. The likes of Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham will undoubtedly
 be challengers but I can’t help but feel that City and United will be the ones battling it out for top spot come the end of the season.

The way City played in the win at Old Trafford gives us plenty of encouragement going forward, but there’s a long way to go yet.

CC: Is the goal keeper position the weakest one in your team?

TC: After Claudio Bravo’s hairy debut at Old Trafford I can see why you’d think that, but I don’t agree. Bravo has Champions League, La Liga and Copa America winners medals and has captained his country for a decade so one dropped catch doesn’t make him a mug and I think, in time, he’ll prove to be a very good signing.

It’s a shame his debut is being remembered for that error because those first 40 minutes of City domination would not have been possible had he not been the master of his third of the field and his ability with the ball at his feet makes him integral to the way Guardiola wants his team to play.

I think our full-back positions are probably our weakest but even those players (particularly Aleksandar Kolarov) have come on leaps and bounds this season.

CC: Has Pep Guardiola's arrival filled you with more confidence that City can be a real power in the Champions League this season?

TC: As Pep proved during his time at Bayern Munich, the Champions League is a really tough nut to crack (even the great Sir Alex Ferguson only won it twice in all his years of management) but his main target during the three years he’s expected to be at City will be to win it and I think that’s more realistic than it ever has been.

I’m not convinced it will happen this season but us being a bit more streetwise and possibly even getting a result against a team like Barcelona will represent progress. Manuel Pellegrini took us to the semi-final last season but we were punching above our weight and if we can make it to the last four and look like we belong there this season, I’ll be very happy with that.

CC: With Sergio Aguero out for few games, it has been Kevin de Bruyne that has stepped up his performance. But has Guadiola's presence already made you feel that you are watching more of a team than a group of great individuals?

TC: Very much so, and I made that point to a Manchester United-supporting friend of mine who was convinced City had no chance of winning the derby without Sergio Aguero. Of course, any team would miss a player of Aguero’s quality but it feels more than ever like City are a unit rather than a bunch of names this season and the system is designed to create chances for everyone rather than everything being funnelled towards one main striker.

What’s more, with players like De Bruyne, David Silva, Nolito, Raheem Sterling, Leroy Sane and Kelechi Iheanacho, we have so much attacking talent and creativity that we’re still going cause teams a lot of problems with or without Aguero.

If our chances of achieving anything this season lived or died based on one player, I very much doubt Pep would be pinning his hopes on one who is so injury prone.

CC: Do you see John Stones as a future captain of Man City and if he is to be one of England's main centre-backs who should he be partnered with in Sam Allardyce's team?

TC: I’ve been so impressed with Stones so far and he certainly looks like he has what it takes to be a future captain for club and country. He’s great on the ball, so intelligent and a very un-typically English central defender who could be the cornerstone of the national side’s changing football philosophy in the coming years.

I think Gary Cahill, Chris Smalling and Eric Dier are the best other English centre halves at the moment but I don’t rate any of them particularly highly if the truth be told. We have a young lad in our academy – Tosin Adarabioyo – who is one to keep an eye on.

CC: Why was Sunderland at home a tough game for Man City?

TC: I think it was a combination of the team lacking in a bit of match sharpness (our pre-season was very poorly planned this summer), the match coming very early in Pep’s tenure and the fact that Sunderland, to be fair to them, defended very well and hung in there.

We’ve improved incrementally in each game since then and if we were playing Sunderland this weekend, I’d expect us to win a bit more comfortably.

CC: How do you see AFC Bournemouth now - plucky underdogs, relegation candidates, a high-energy/youthful team or southern softies?

TC: I think you had a great season last year and thoroughly earned your place in the Premier League. This will undoubtedly be a difficult second season for you but although you haven’t made the best of starts, I expect you to turn it around and stay up again.

Eddie Howe is an excellent manager who’s done an amazing job and I hope Callum Wilson fulfils his potential after that nightmare injury he sustained last season. I think you’re a high-energy/youthful team and I’m expecting a tough game on Saturday.

CC: Can you remember how has Jack Wilshire done in the past against Man City and is he a player you rate?

TC: He’s generally done well against us in the past and there’s actually been a bit of beef between him and our fans in the past which could be reignited if he plays at the weekend.

He is a player I rate and it’s a shame his career has stalled, through little fault of his own. Fair play to him for trying to give himself a jump-start by joining Bournemouth on loan and good luck to the lad, I say.

CC: How will Man City set up against AFCB?

TC: I’d expect it will be: Bravo, Sagna, Stones, Otamendi, Kolarov, Fernandinho, Silva, De Bruyne, Nolito, Sterling, Iheanacho but Pep may take the opportunity to give Gündoğan and Sané their first starts if they’re ready.

CC: I really liked Dan's answers. It is good to know that Jack Wilshire is likely to be fired up if he gets to play against City even if it sounds a bit ominous that City might only be playing to around 70 per cent of what they might be capable of!! I'll do a quick prayer for AFCB that City don't find an extra 10 per cent somewhere. Maybe with Siva struggling to be fit they might even drop a few per cent from the high standards they have set. Do have a read of the Typical City blog - they have some great ideas that I might pinch like their debate section and historical Halycon Digest - great stuff!

The Football Blog Awards are asking for votes up to 26th September 2016 - Cherry Chimes is asking followers of the blog to vote for it in the Best Football Club Blog category

You may also see some of my answers in reply to Typical City on AFCB questions if you visit the Typical City site this weekend.

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