Friday, 30 November 2018

Rival Lines: Man City watch - "We are sweeping most teams aside"

Rival Lines
Match Preview: Man City v AFCB
Blogger Interview: City Watch
Twitter: @City_Watch

This week I had a talk with Dean at the City Watch website and tried to find out how confident he was of the Cherries getting pushed aside by this strong Man City team. City's players look motivated and keen to extend their gap at the top of the table, but perhaps having played in mid-week AFCB can find a chink in Man City's game. Here is what Dean thought.

CC: Do you feel that wins are coming easier for Man City than last season in the Premier League?

CW: I'd say so – just a little. It's easy to forget that City had a lot of late goals to snatch wins last season (Sterling especially prolific at doing that!) but are just sweeping most teams aside this time.

CC: Should Man City be judged more on what they achieve in Europe this season?

CW: It's high time City did a little better in Europe with semi final a minimum aim, so it has to play a part. Winning it requires talent and a lot of luck – so I don't think winning it is everything but they have to be there near the end. Winning the Premier League twice in a row (not done for 10 years) would surely be a great achievement also!

CC: Has Pep Guardiola done anything that has surprised you this season?

CW: Guardiola is constantly making tactical changes that surprise us – and because they surprise us so much, they're almost unsurprising! I wouldn't say he's done anything very out of character though.

CC: Raheem Sterling has signed a new contract. Is he the most improved player at City this season?

CW: It's between Sterling and Aymeric Laporte – but I'd say Laporte. Sterling was amazing last season – look at his numbers! As an overall player he has improved but Laporte has gone from seriously good to world class so I'd put his improvement at the top of the list.

CC: Do you expect City to buy anymore players in January and if so in which positions?

CW: Guardiola has said NO signings despite a new defensive midfielder being needed. City are close to signing USA goalkeeper Zack Steffen though - so it looks like they will spend but unless Pep was lying then no major signings.

CC: What players are currently injured for City?

CW: De Bruyne, Mendy and Bravo are definitely out. Bernardo Silva, Gundogan and Gabriel Jesus missed Tuesday's draw with Lyon but Guardiola sounded very hopeful they will be back to face Bournemouth.


CC: How well is Mahrez fitting in at City?

CW: He started slow – then really improved and has now settled in but is still having the odd stinker. I'd say he is still a WIP (work in progress) and inconsistent, but overall has improved since his early games.

CC: Leroy Sane has begun to get some starts, do you think his call up for Germany has given him fresh impetus?

CW: Missing out on the World Cup seemed to have an effect on Leroy, then Guardiola didn't use him much in the infancy of the season. Now he's really performing most weeks and absolutely devastated West Ham last weekend! He looks motivated.

CC: Are City fans thinking of only of the Liverpool home match as the game that could pretty much seal the title, or do you see Spurs and Chelsea as still being in the title race?

CW: I don't want to sound too overconfident - but I can only see Liverpool challenging at this point. They are stubbornly persistent in keeping up. Chelsea are good but Morata is an average forward and their results have become inconsistent. Spurs are missing squad depth and should've spent last summer.

CC: Man City played Lyon this week before playing AFCB, so what line up do you think Guardiola will pick to face Bournemouth?

CW: My prediction is, assuming the three injured come back: Ederson, Danilo, Kompany, Laporte, Delph, Gundogan, Bernardo Silva, David Silva, Mahrez, Sterling, Jesus

City play Watford a few days after so Guardiola has to make some changes.

CC: What is your score prediction for the game?

CW:  Looking at the head-to-head, it's hard to look beyond a City win despite Bournemouth's improvement and impressive league position. I'll go 3-0 to City.

CC: There is no doubting that City are strong favourites to beat AFCB at the Etihad. I can see why Dean fancies their chances of a 3-0 win and thank him for his answers. What we don't know is how much a win for AFCB could do for their season? It is pretty unthinkable, but those are the kind of odds that AFCB have always liked. Do take a look at City Watch for the latest news on Man City.

Cherry Chimes' Newsletter - out tomorrow

Cherry Chimes' December Newsletter brings you the best stories on the blog and the thoughts behind them from last month. It's out tomorrow with special story - The Cherries are ripe for picking.

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