Guardian: Another 'Group of Death' awaiting City?
- 29 August 2013 08:23
- Posted by @markbooth_mcfc
Most of Thursday’s City-centric paper talk centres on the UEFA Champions League draw in Monaco this evening.
While the Blues wait to learn their fate, journalists are lining up to forecast another so-called “Group of Death” as results in last night’s final play-offs left City in Pot Three for the draw.
It may not be as bad as it sounds for City though as, on the face of it at least - there’s not too much difference between the size of the clubs in Pot Two or Three.
Dominic Fifield of the Guardian believes that Manuel Pellegrini could make all the difference in the club’s third Champions League campaign.
“The worst-case scenario could see Manuel Pellegrini's side confronting the reigning champions Bayern Munich, now coached by Pep Guardiola, and the money-flushed French title holders Paris Saint-Germain, potentially with Rafael Benítez's Napoli as the lowest-ranked team in the section,” Fifield posits.
“The Italian club may have lost Edinson Cavani to PSG but they have spent heavily to replace the Uruguayan, with Gonzalo Higuaín among Benítez's summer recruits.
“Pellegrini has, at least, been here before having excelled while in charge of unfancied Villarreal and, more recently, with Malaga."
...Dominic Fifield - the Guardian...
“The latter club were ranked 24th in Europe when the Chilean steered them into the semi-finals of the competition in 2006 – they lost to Arsenal – while Málaga reached last year's last eight before Dortmund jettisoned them late on at the Westfalen Stadium.”
In other news, a host of footballing greats have been rallying around Joe Hart in the last couple of days.
There are few former keepers in the world held in higher regard than World Cup winner Gordon Banks, who is the latest to give his backing to England’s no.1.
“Joe is one of the best goalkeepers in today’s game,” Banks declared.
“Don’t forget he has done very well for club and country for the past few years.
“He has made a few mistakes just recently but we have all gone through phases like that.
“The important thing is to be fully focused on the next save and have confidence in your ability. I am sure Joe will be just fine.”
They are sure to be timely words of encouragement for Hart as the Blues have been linked with Real Madrid’s out of favour goalkeeper Iker Casillas in this morning's papers.
A transfer story that’s the result of journalists adding two and two to get five, or something of substance? You decide…
“Reports in Spain suggest that Manuel Pellegrini is monitoring the situation after Casillas was once again left on the bench as Real took on Granada on Monday,” the Daily Express reports.
“Pellegrini has long insisted that he will pick his side on form rather than reputation and it was thought that the Chilean could drop Hart in favour of Romania international Costel Pantilimon for the upcoming match against Hull.
“A move for Casillas would escalate the situation significantly, however, with Casillas unwilling to contemplate a move without some reassurances about being first choice and Hart unlikely to accept a long-term role as a substitute.”
Finally, the Manchester Evening News believes that Martin Demichelis is very close to becoming a City player and the Daily Star report that City will snub an approach by Arsenal for Micah Richards.
That’s your lot for today – don’t forget that the only place you can read confirmed transfer stories is here on mcfc.co.uk this summer.
Join us for all of the Champions League draw reaction later on this evening.
The draw kicks off at 4.45pm UK time and may have finished by the time we bring you Friday’s media round-up.