Messi, Barca, Dzeko and Jose in headlines
- 09 March 2014 01:28
- Posted by @dclayton_mcfc
There’s an interesting and mixed bag of stories concerning City today and our selection steers clear of today’s FA Cup tie with Wigan Athletic.
There are snippets on Lionel Messi, Barcelona, Edin Dzeko and Jose Mourinho for your perusal, and all of them are worthy of mention and scrutiny.
We’ll begin with Messi and the latest link to the Blues – you may recall there were one or two ahead of last month’s Champions League tie.
The Transfer Tavern’s Rebecca Knight takes up the slack: “Metro have claimed that Manchester City have played down links with Barcelona star Lionel Messi, and that has made our punters here in the Football Transfer Tavern a little bit disappointed.
“The club, of course, has the money to buy just about anyone they want, and now it seems that one of the very best players of a generation will not be joining the club.
“City spoke out about the links, and claimed that Messi is not on their radar – for now.
Manager Manuel Pellegrini noted the speculation linking the forward with a record breaking move, and claimed it was 'just rumours'
There are bound to more of the same in the coming days – not that it’s a story City fans will tire of!
Keeping the Catalan theme, the Blues will no doubt have been lifted by Barcelona suffering yet another shock defeat.
After losing to Real Sociedad a few weeks ago, Barca have again lost to a struggling La Liga rival.
Give Me Sport's Alex Brown reports: “Barcelona suffered a shock 1-0 defeat at the hands of relegation threatened Real Vallodolid this afternoon, a result which will provide Manchester City with renewed optimism ahead of their Champions League clash on Wednesday.
“Fausto Rossi scored the game’s only goal, as the hosts picked up a crucial win to help them move out of the bottom three, with the result denting Barcelona's title hopes.
“Despite dominating possession, Barca were unable to respond after falling behind after 17 minutes, and were largely disappointing throughout as they stumbled to a second successive away defeat in La Liga.”
Meanwhile, the simmering row between Bosnian idol Dzeko and national team coach Safet Susic looks set to rumble on, despite the World Cup being just three months away.
The National carry Susic’s response to Edin’s claims that he was forced to play a full friendly international despite not feeling fully fit.
The story reads: “Edin Dzeko will play for Bosnia when he is told to and will not be allowed to pick personal friends for the Balkan country’s national team, coach Safet Susic said on Saturday.
“The normally soft-spoken Susic let rip following Bosnia’s 2-0 friendly defeat by Egypt on Wednesday, which unveiled a rift in the dressing room between the 58-year-old coach and Manchester City striker Dzeko, who criticised him for playing the full 90 minutes.
“Dzeko, who was denied a substitution request in the second half, said immediately after the game he had agreed with Susic to be replaced at half time but the coach denied any such accord and also defended his decision to leave midfielder Senijad Ibricic out of the squad.
‘There was no such agreement with Dzeko,’ Susic told the online edition of the daily Dnevni Avaz.
‘He wanted to come off in the second half but I left him on because despite his claim that he was suffering from a niggling knee injury, the team doctor said he was match fit with a proper warm-up.’”
You’d guess a rift between the boss and the man who can do no wrong in the eyes of his nation is not the ideal preparation for Brazil this summer – we’ll keep a close eye on events.
Finally, though he has undoubtedly played something of a psychological game with City in recent months, Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has been quieter of late.
However, Mourinho still insists City are title favourites, despite Chelsea’s nine-point advantage. His argument is true, though – the lead is false, if the Blues win the three games in hand they have.
BT Sport write: “Jose Mourinho is adamant Manchester City, and not Chelsea, are in pole position to win the Premier League title despite guiding his side seven points clear at the summit with a 4-0 defeat of Tottenham.
“Chelsea were the only top four team in Premier League action this weekend and moved seven points clear of Liverpool and Arsenal and nine ahead of City, who have three matches in hand.
“Rather than having the points in the bag, Mourinho stated his preference for being in Manuel Pellegrini's position, with a superior goal difference which means City will be champions if they win their final 12 games, even if Chelsea win all nine of theirs.
‘I would like to be in their position, because if they win the matches they are top of the league,’ Mourinho said.
‘If we win the next nine matches, we may not be champions. If Manchester City win the 12 matches they have, they are champions. They have their destiny in their hands and we don't have ours.
‘I would prefer to have my destiny in my hands. It doesn't depend on us. It depends on them.’”
Hopefully, Jose’s prediction and sombre thinking will prove correct in the coming weeks.
CITY v WIGAN: Tickets still remain for today's FA Cup quarter-final with Wigan Athletic – can the Blues return to Wembley by beating former City idol Uwe Rosler's side and press on towards a third FA Cup final in four years? Don’t miss the chance to welcome back the 2014 League Cup winners and cheer on Manuel Pellegrini’s side in the battle between England’s two current domestic cup holders.