Steven Carroll tells us about Saturday's opponents
Ahead of Saturday's clash at The Etihad, Bluemoon caught up with Steven Carroll from SOS Fanzine to get the lowdown on the opposition...
What are your expectations for this season?
As ever, number one is to stay up but I've thought all along that we were capable of finishing in the top half after the signings that were made in the summer. After the start we've made I certainly believe top ten is something we should be aiming for and hopefully a good run in the FA Cup.
Are you happy with the manager?
Yes he made some great acquisitions in the summer and one of his strengths is he has a plan B if plan A doesnt work. It's been a while since we've had a manager like that. Nearly everyone who has been in charge has done well but we have at times been predictable and Monk has noticed this and adapted in some games to make us harder to play against.
Who are your key players?
There's a few. Gylfi Sigurdsson is undoubtedly one, I was over the moon when he came back in the summer. Ashley Williams is our rock at the back and of course Wilfried Bony up front is a player that would get into a lot of sides in the Premier League in my opinion. If those three play well then we will give anyone a game.
Were you happy with the business conducted during the transfer window?
Very happy. Lukasz Fabianski has made a great start and is an improvement on Michel Vorm who didn't have the best of times last year. Fabianski's main strength is the commanding of his area. He's already claimed more crosses this term than Vorm did in the whole of last season. Elsewhere Federico Fernandez is an upgrade on the erratic Chico Flores, and Jefferson Montero brings real pace out wide. I've already touched on Sigurdsson who's been our best player this term, his arrival has ensured we don't miss Michu one iota. The other main arrival Bafetimbi Gomis has been quiet so far but hopefully his first league goal against Arsenal last time out will give him more confidence.
Are there any rising stars in the squad that we might not have heard of?
Probably not to be honest. There's Jay Fulton and Josh Sheehan who have had the odd League Cup appearance but they're unlikely to break through anytime soon. The club are applying to upgrade the academy to category one for next season so hopefully it won't be too long until we see the next Ben Davies or Joe Allen coming through.
Your Achilles heel?
There's two. One is defending crosses. I know I said Fabianski has improved us in this area but it still isn't great. In October five of the six goals we conceded were from balls into the box so there's still a bit of a weakness there. The other one at the moment is referees. I don't like to blame them too much but we've been very unlucky so far this term. Stoke had that ridiculous penalty five weeks ago, there was the handball at Everton that wasnt given and Fernandez had a red at Liverpool in the cup which was then rescinced all in the space of 2 weeks. If these things even themselves out then it's time that started to happen!
If you could have any City player in your team who would you choose?
Got to be Sergio Aguero. I get really annoyed at seeing words like "world class" thrown about, because very few players are at that level but he is one that genuinely is that good. I hope he isn't in the team on Saturday.
What is your perception of City as a club?
This didn't go down well last time but I stand by my comments of not being a fan of clubs with masses of investment. But I do respect the hardcore City fans. Not many clubs would get 30,000 in what is now League 1. There was a good atmosphere on my only visit to the ground in August 2011 too and I'm hoping for similar when I make my second visit this weekend.
Likely starting XI for the game, and score prediction?
The team will probably be Fabianski, Rangel, Williams, Bartley, Taylor, carroll, Ki, Routledge, Sigurdsson, Montero, Gomis. Think Bony will be on the bench due to a long flight while Britton might replace Carroll if fit enough to start. As for the score I'm more confident that I normally am due to your average form in recent weeks. I'll go with 1-1