Manchester City have been handed a double injury boost ahead of this weekend’s Capital One Cup final against Sunderland. Both the talismanic striker Sergio Aguero and centre back Matija Nastasic have a good chance of being available for the trip to Wembley, as reported by Sky Sports, but Manuel Pellegrini has a big decision to make about whether to play them.
After a stirring performance but a bad result against Barcelona left Manchester City teetering on the brink of a Champions League exit, Stoke City will be hoping to take advantage of any tiredness or mental hangover. But former City boss Mark Hughes has warned his players to expect nothing of the sort.
It was gutting to see things go wrong for Manchester City last night, especially the late Barcelona goal scored by Dani Alves that makes a turnaround at the Nou Camp so much more difficult. But what was just as painful, for me, was to see Manuel Pellegrini blame it all on the Swedish referee Jonas Eriksson.
First of all, I hope and assume that Manchester City will take zero notice of the latest pearl of wisdom to come from Jose Mourinho, suggesting that the current Barcelona team are the worst they have had in years. They may have had a little dip in form in the last few months, but Messi was struggling with injury and they are now back and firing on all cylinders.
This is the big one for Manchester City. Tomorrow evening will see Manuel Pellegrini’s impressive City side face possibly the biggest challenge yet for a place in the quarter-finals of the Champions League. It is certainly the tie of the round, with Barcelona having staked a claim in thew last decade to being the best football team ever.
Jose Mourinho seems to be obsessed with Manchester City at the minute. You would think he had enough to do with the running of his own club Chelsea, but it seems like he is spending a lot of time on City’s affairs, because every time he talks to the media he has something to say about Manchester City.
What has happened to Manchester City? We have gone from the most potent and prolific team in Europe, with 21 goals in the five previous games, to drawing a blank for two games in a row. It is certainly a concern as the club’s season enters a crucial and difficult stage.
It is not an easy thing to do, with Jose Mourinho constantly sniping away at Manchester City and saying things that he knows are hypocritical and stupid in order to get a response, but the best thing for Manuel Pellegrini to do would be to ignore him.
It is not as if the Manchester City squad has been decimated with injuries, but the players who are unavailable are hugely important. Of course, that is one of the reasons we have got such a strong and talented squad. In the really big games, however, you do not want to have to do without the likes of Samir Nasri, Sergio Aguero and Fernandinho.
Manuel Pellegrini, in his post match interview, that Manchester City were a bit unlucky and that the game against Chelsea was a close one. The Chilean boss alluded to a number of missed chances, suggesting that it could really have gone either way. I suppose you could agree, with one superb strike from Ivanovic providing the only goal of the game, but that would be to overlook the main issue.