Bluemoon-MCFC Article Feeds Why do Manchester City struggle so much at Anfield? Sat, 13 Jan 2018 13:33:28 GMT 2 David Mooney looks into the Blues' abysmal record away at Liverpool Manchester City simply do not win at Anfield. It seems to be one of the laws of football, set in stone that Pep Guardiola's team will not take maximum points from a trip to Liverpool. It's a game the fans strike off from the moment the fixture list is announced; it's been an age since the team even played well in the red half of Merseyside, let alone got a good result.

The last City team to beat Liverpool on their own patch was managed by Kevin Keegan and featured an attack spearheaded by two of Anfield's alumni. Robbie Fowler had a more illustrious career there than Nicolas Anelka had done, but it was the Frenchman who netted twice late on to give the visitors a 2-1 win. It came less than a season after then Reds boss Gerard Houllier opted not to sign the forward after having had him on loan.

Since then, it's been 15 successive trips to Anfield without victory -- with nine defeats. Roberto Mancini is the last City boss to take anything in this fixture, drawing 2-2 in August 2012. Manuel Pellegrini then went on to lose all three of his trips, before Guardiola failed to get anything on New Year's Eve 2016.

As if to emphasise how woeful City's record there is, they have won just six of their 55 visits since the end of the Second World War (four of which came in 1956 or earlier) and the last City goalkeeper to keep a clean sheet at Liverpool is Perry Suckling in 1986.

It's fair to say that history is not on Guardiola's side when he tries to turn around City's fortunes on Merseyside on Sunday.

While pundits are beginning to talk like an unbeaten Premier League season is a real possibility for City, the fans are holding back from such thoughts. There's a very simple reason: Liverpool, along with Arsenal, Everton and Tottenham, have ruined many an away day for the supporters. And they're all to come, starting with a trip to Anfield on Sunday.

No City fan wants to tempt fate by suggesting that matching the Arsenal
2003-04 invincibles campaign is even a remote possibility, knowing the trouble City have had at some of the grounds they're still to visit, with Liverpool perhaps the biggest hurdle to cross.

City have picked up recent (ish) victories at Goodison Park, White Hart Lane or the Emirates, while Anfield remains a stadium where the current league leaders appear to be cursed. It's the only ground they've played regularly at in the top flight and never managed to win at in the Sheikh Mansour era.

Many outsiders will find it odd that City's fans are not more confident heading into the match on Sunday. With a lead at the top of the Premier League that's stretched to 15 points and an unbeaten run of 20 wins and two draws this season, the City supporters should be fearing nobody and should be expecting Guardiola's men to break their duck at Anfield.

But they're not -- thanks to a lifetime of being scarred by daring to dream and getting stung for it, in the various forms that "Typical City"
has taken down the years. It's why few City fans can bring themselves to be arrogant even when their team has spent four-and-a-half months ripping up the rulebook for how to play in the Premier League; they know that if there's any side that can fall from grace spectacularly then it's theirs.

Everyone except City fans will say the title race is over. City fans will tell you that it's not won until Guardiola's team mathematically can't be caught, even if they're 15 points clear heading into the fifth-last game of the season.

Nevertheless, if City are going to improve their record at Anfield, then there's not going to be a better opportunity than this term. This is arguably the best team the top flight has seen in the Premier League era, consistently performing to a level that nobody else has ever achieved, and they're scoring goals for fun. Why couldn't they win at Anfield?

Because they're City.

In the build up to their past meetings, City's offensive players have always been praised, especially in the context of Liverpool's shaky defence -- but the Reds have always managed to keep players like Sergio Aguero, Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva fairly quiet at Anfield.

Having stepped it up a gear this season, though, it should be a new challenge for Jurgen Klopp. Questions over whether Simon Mignolet or Loris Karius are up to task should asked once more -- though the addition of Virgil Van Dijk will no doubt help shore up their rickety back line.

With both teams intent on scoring goals and committed to open matches, Sunday's fixture has the potential to be one of the highlights of the season. If City can't win at Liverpool with the way this campaign has gone so far, then they're probably doomed to a lifetime of draws and defeats at Anfield.

Liverpool vs Manchester City preview: Guardiola aims to bury Anfield hoodoo Fri, 12 Jan 2018 17:23:30 GMT 4 City have only won away at Liverpool once in the last 36 years Liverpool vs Manchester City

Competition: F.A. Premier League

Date: 4.00pm, Sunday 14th January 2018

Venue: Anfield, Liverpool

Referee: Andre Marriner Assistants: S Ledger, R West Fourth Official: M Dean

Odds: Liverpool 11/5, Draw 14/5, City 13/10

Tickets: Sold out

TV: Sky Sports


Manager: Jurgen Klopp

Squad (from): Karius, Mignolet, Ward, Gomez, Lovren, Klavan, Matip, Van Dijk, Alexander-Arnold, Robertson, Moreno, Milner, Wijnaldum, Can, Henderson, Lallana, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Mane, Sturridge, Firmino, Salah, Solanke, Ings

Injured: Clyne

Doubtful: Sturridge, Henderson, Moreno

Suspended: None

Form guide: WDWWWW

Manchester City

Manager: Pep Guardiola

Squad (from): Bravo, Ederson, Muric, Adarabioyo, Danilo, Mangala, Otamendi, Stones, Walker, Delph, De Bruyne, Diaz, Fernandinho, Sane, B Silva, D Silva, Sterling, Toure, Aguero

Injured: Kompany, Mendy, Jesus, Foden

Doubtful: None

Suspended: None

Form guide: WWDWWW

Vincent Kompany has not yet recovered from the calf injury he sustained at Newcastle a fortnight ago, whilst Benjamin Mendy and Phil Foden remain long term absentees. There was, however, brighter news on the injury front as Pep Guardiola revealed that Gabriel Jesus could return in as little as two weeks time after damaging knee ligaments against Crystal Palace on New Year's Eve.

Guardiola said: "He was (this week) in Barcelona and the news is quite good. I think two or three weeks, against Basel in the Champions League, he could be ready."

City go into the game unbeaten in the league this season, but have a dire record at Anfield with just one win in the previous 36 years. Guardiola, however, is relishing the challenge:

"Of course if you want to achieve something that’s good and win titles you have to win these kind of games.

"This season we were able to do that but we still have to go to Anfield, to Tottenham - there are still lots of games to play.

"But Liverpool is such an important game, to realise again if we are able to do big things in this season, in important stages, in the Champions League.

"To see ourselves, when we arrive in Basel, knockout games - how is our behaviour? We did it in Stamford Bridge, Old Trafford, and we'll see on Sunday how we do."

City's last away game at Anfield ended in a 1-0 defeat, with Georginio Wijnaldum scoring the only goal of the game. Overall City have won 46 of the 177 games played against Liverpool, with 45 draws and 86 defeats.

Predicted line-up: Ederson, Walker, Stones, Otamendi, Delph, Fernandinho, D Silva, De Bruyne, Sterling, Sane, Aguero

Score prediction: Liverpool 2 City 2

Guardiola named as Premier League Manager of the Month for December Fri, 12 Jan 2018 12:09:57 GMT 1 Blues' boss wins award for record fourth consecutive time Pep Guardiola has been named as the Premier League Manager of the Month for December 2017, with Harry Kane winning the player award.

It is the fourth consecutive month in which Guardiola has scooped the award, and sets a new record, eclipsing the three awards in a row won by Chelsea boss Antonio Conte in 2016.

City won six and drew one of their seven league fixtures in a congested December schedule, extending their lead at the top of the Premier League to 15 points. The Blues remain unbeaten in all domestic competitions this season.

'Squeezing Orange Peel' - new Bluemoon Podcast online now Fri, 12 Jan 2018 11:38:20 GMT 1 Cup turnarounds, woeful Anfield record, and are ticket prices too high? This week:
- Analysis of the wins over Burnley and Bristol City
- Looking into the performances of John Stones, Eliaquim Mangala and Claudio Bravo in defence
- Sergio Aguero's lethal instincts that have turned the two cup ties around
- Are ticket prices too high? We look at Vincent Kompany's comments on ticket prices and atmosphere.
- City's woeful record at Anfield and how they can overcome it

Episode 9.23 - Squeezing Orange Peel
Subscribe on iTunes
Download the mp3 (right click - save as)

Episode 9.23 Extra - Best and Worst FA Cup Memories
For $2/m sponsors who back the show by through Patreon, you can listen to the supplement show. It works on desktop and on mobile. There are also extra rewards for those who choose to back a little bit more. All the details are here:

We hope you like it - let us know what you think!

City to face either Mansfield or Cardiff in FA Cup Fourth Round Fri, 12 Jan 2018 11:37:05 GMT 1 Game will be shown live on BBC One City will face either Mansfield Town or Cardiff City in the fourth round of the FA Cup, following the draw on Monday evening. The game will be screened live on the BBC at 4pm on Sunday 28th January, regardless of the opposition.

The two sides drew 0-0 at the Cardiff City Stadium on Saturday, and will replay at the One Call Stadium on Tuesday 16th January.

Pep Guardiola's side progressed to the fourth round after defeating Burnley 4-1 at The Etihad. Sean Dyche's men had taken a surprise lead through Ashley Barnes, before a Sergio Aguero brace and goals from Leroy Sane and Bernardo Silva wrapped up a comfortable victory.

Fourth-round draw in full:

Liverpool v West Brom

Peterborough v Fleetwood/Leicester

Huddersfield v Birmingham

Notts County v Wolves/Swansea

Yeovil v Manchester United

Carlisle/Sheffield Wednesday v Stevenage/Reading

Cardiff/Mansfield v Manchester City

MK Dons v Coventry

Millwall v Rochdale

Southampton v Watford

Middlesbrough v Brighton

Bournemouth/Wigan v Shrewsbury/West Ham

Hull v Nottingham Forest

Newport County v Tottenham

Norwich/Chelsea v Newcastle

Sheffield United v Preston

Manchester City vs Burnley: quartet miss out through injury Fri, 05 Jan 2018 14:56:21 GMT 4 Guardiola vows to play strong side in Third Round tie Manchester City vs Burnley

Competition: F.A. Cup Third Round

Date: 3.00pm, Saturday 6th January 2018

Venue: Etihad Stadium, Manchester

Referee: Graham Scott Assistants: S Bennett, S Hudson Fourth Official: A Haines

Odds: City 2/11, Draw 6/1, Burnley 16/1

Tickets: Sold out

TV: Match of the Day

Manchester City

Manager: Pep Guardiola

Squad (from): Bravo, Ederson, Muric, Adarabioyo, Danilo, Mangala, Otamendi, Stones, Walker, De Bruyne, Delph, Fernandinho, Gundogan, Sane, B Silva, D Silva, Sterling, Toure, Aguero, Diaz

Injured: Mendy, Jesus, Foden, Kompany


Suspended: None

Form guide: WDWWDW


Manager: Sean Dyche

Squad (from): Pope, Legzdins, Lindegaard, Lowton, Mee, Tarkowski, Taylor, Bardsley, Long, Marney, Cork, Hendrick, Defour, Westwood, Marney, Ulvestad, Gudmundsson, Vokes, Barnes, Wells, Walters

Injured: Heaton, Brady

Doubtful: Ward, Wood, Arfield

Suspended: None

Form guide: WDLDDL

Vincent Kompany, Benjamin Mendy, Phil Foden and Gabriel Jesus all miss out through injury, but Pep Guardiola has vowed to field a strong side against Burnley on Saturday:

“Vincent is not available,” he said. “Gabriel is not available, Mendy is not available, Phil Foden is not.

“I don’t know if David will be. We have a training session at 4pm. We will see.

“It is not easy for me to explain what he [Silva] feels. He made a statement, explaining what happened. I prefer not to talk about that. He shows in the pitch he is able to forget everything. He decides if he wants to stay of go back home.

“We are going to try to play the best team as possible.”

City's last home game against the Clarets ended in a 3-0 win, with Sergio Aguero, Nicolas Otamendi, and Leroy Sane netting for the Blues. Overall City have won 43 of the 97 games played against Burnley, with 24 draws and 30 defeats.

Predicted line-up: Bravo, Danilo, Stones, Mangala, Delph, Fernandinho, Gundogan, B Silva, Sterling, Sane, Aguero

Score prediction: City 2 Burnley 1

'Disaster of All Disasters' - new Bluemoon Podcast online now Fri, 05 Jan 2018 10:57:42 GMT 1 Mark Halsey on red card challenges, Aguero and Guardiola relationship, and cups preview This week:
- Analysis of Manchester City's 0-0 draw at Crystal Palace and 3-1 win over Watford
- Former Premier League referee Mark Halsey looks at the recent red card challenges missed by the officials
- A look at the relationship between Guardiola and Aguero
- Howard Hockin on 2017 and how 2018 could be one to remember
- Previews of the FA Cup and League Cup ties - including a link up with a Bristol City podcast

Episode 9.22 - Disaster of All Disasters
Subscribe on iTunes
Download the mp3 (right click - save as)

Episode 9.22 Extra - The Mancini Years
For $2/m sponsors who back the show by through Patreon, you can listen to the supplement show. It works on desktop and on mobile. There are also extra rewards for those who choose to back a little bit more. All the details are here:

We hope you like it - let us know what you think!

Nicolas Otamendi named as Bluemoon Player of the Month for December 2017 Fri, 05 Jan 2018 10:56:04 GMT 1 Argentine centre-half enjoying best form of his career under Guardiola Nicolas Otamendi has been named as the Bluemoon Player of the Month for December 2017. The Argentinian international polled 65% of the vote ahead of Kevin De Bruyne (14%) and Raheem Sterling and Ederson (both 7%).

December was yet another successful month for the Blues, with Pep Guardiola's side extending their lead at the top of the Premier League, whilst also progressing to the semi-finals of the Carabou Cup and the knock out stages of the Champions League.

Otamendi netted twice, against West Ham and Manchester United, to take his total to five goals in what is proving to be a productive season for the centre-half.

City manager Guardiola said: "We have a 'Superman' in the team, as Nico Otamendi helped us absolutely. Without Nico, it would not be possible, what we have done.

"Everyone speaks about players such as Raheem (Sterling), like David (Silva), like Kevin (De Bruyne), like Sergio (Aguero) - and they deserve it - but if I would like to point to a player who deserves full respect, for what they have done until now, it's Nico. Nico has been amazing.

"He is a guy who, even with pain in the ankle, in the knee, in the back, always fights. He's one the hugest competitors I've ever seen in my life. He was so important."

See the full poll results here.

Manchester City vs AFC Bournemouth preview: Foden injured, but Stones & Kompany close to returns Sat, 23 Dec 2017 08:49:05 GMT 4 Guardiola's side look to extend winning run to 17 league games Manchester City vs AFC Bournemouth

Competition: F.A. Premier League

Date: 3.00pm, Saturday 23rd December 2017

Venue: Etihad Stadium, Manchester

Referee: Mike Jones Assistants: D Eaton, I Hussin Fourth Official: M Dean

Odds: City 1/8, Draw 10/1, Bournemouth 22/1

Tickets: Sold out

TV: Match of the Day

Manchester City

Manager: Pep Guardiola

Squad (from): Bravo, Ederson, Muric, Adarabioyo, Danilo, Delph, Kompany, Mangala, Otamendi, Walker, De Bruyne, Diaz, Fernandinho, Gundogan, Sane, B Silva, D Silva, Sterling, Toure, Aguero, Jesus

Injured: Mendy, Foden, Stones

Doubtful: Kompany, D Silva

Suspended: None

Form guide: WLWWWD

AFC Bournemouth

Manager: Eddie Howe

Squad (from): Begovic, Boruc, Federici, Cook, Daniels, A Smith, Wilson, Gosling, Surman, Mahoney, Pugh, Cook, Hyndman, Fraser, Ibe, Afobe, King, Mousset

Injured: Arter, Defoe, B Smith, Federici, Mings

Doubtful: King, Daniels

Suspended: None

Form guide: LDDLLL

Pep Guardiola has confirmed that Phil Foden will be sidelined for some time after suffering a ligament injury in the midweek Carabou Cup tie with Leicester City.

“He’s [Foden] injured,” revealed Guardiola. “It’s not good. He will not be able to play [against Bournemouth]. We were lucky with Kevin De Bruyne against Spurs, with Phil we were not lucky. It’s a ligament. He’ll be out for a time.”

Club captain Vincent Kompany, however, is close to a return although he is unlikely to be risked tomorrow.

“He’s much better. I think in the next days he will be ready," said Guardiola. “I don’t know if he will be ready for tomorrow. We will speak after the final training session and we will have to see.”

The Blues laboured to victory in the return fixture at the beginning of the season, only securing all three points after Raheem Sterling netted an injury time winner. Guardiola was quick to point out the significance of that victory.

“It was important after the draw against Everton,” he said. “Nobody expected then that we would win 16 games in a row. It was so important and after that we won against Liverpool. You are not always able to win games by a big margin so in that moment it was important.”

City's last home game against Bournemouth ended in a 4-0 victory, with goals from Kevin De Bruyne, Kelechi Iheanacho, Raheem Sterling and Ilkay Gundogan. Overall City have won 9 of the 11 games played against the Cherries, with 2 draws and no defeats.

Predicted line-up: Ederson, Walker, Mangala, Otamendi, Delph, Fernandinho, Gundoagn, De Bruyne, Sane, Sterling, Aguero

Score prediction: City 4 Bournemouth 0

Manchester City 4 Tottenham Hotspur 1: De Bruyne masterclass sees Blues extend winning run Mon, 18 Dec 2017 17:03:06 GMT 3 Pep Guardiola's side have now won an incredible 16 Premier League games in a row FA Premier League
Saturday 16 December 2017, 17.30 KO

City: Ederson, Walker, Delph, Otamendi, Mangala, Fernandinho, Gundogan (Foden 83), De Bruyne, Sterling, Sane (B Silva, 85), Aguero (Jesus, 58)
 Bravo, Danilo, Zinchenko, Toure
Goals: Gundogan (14), De Bruyne (70), Sterling (80 & 90)
Booked: Otamendi, Delph

Referee: Craig Pawson

Man of the match: De Bruyne

City extended their winning run in the Premier League to a staggering 16 games, following the 4-1 victory against Spurs at The Etihad. The Blues have now amassed a scarcely believable 52 points out of a possible 54, and will surely go on to clinch their third Premier League title in the last six years.

Prior to the game, there was a sense that Spurs made provide the stiffest test yet of City's title credentials, but Mauricio Pochettino's side were unable to cope with City's incessant pressing and attacking intent. With David Silva absent for personal reasons, Kevin De Bruyne put in a man of the match performance, scoring City's second and winning a penalty that Gabriel Jesus failed to convert.

It mattered little in the end, as a brace from Raheem Sterling gave a fairer reflection to the scoreline before Christian Eriksen netted a late consolation for the visitors.

City started impressively, and took the lead after 14 minutes when an unmarked Ilkay Gundogan headed in Leroy Sane's corner. Sergio Aguero nearly extended City's lead, but saw his shot saved by Hugo Lloris before Sterling blasted over. Harry Kane curled a shot just wide before the break, but City were very much the dominant force. Spurs' petulance grew in the face of a superior opponent, and both Kane and Dele Alli were fortunate not to receive red cards for shocking challenges on Sterling and De Bruyne respectively.

Alli's lunge on De Bruyne seemed to fire up the Belgian midfielder, and moments after the challenge he burst through to send a powerful shot past Lloris to double City's advantage. He was then tripped in the area by international team mate Jan Vertonghen, only to see substitute Jesus strike the post with his spot kick.

Sane and Sterling combined ten minutes from time to give the Blues a three gaol advantage, before some calamitous defending from first Eric Dier and then Lloris presented Sterling with the simplest of tasks to make it 4-0. Eriksen pulled one back in the final minute but Pocettno's side had been comprehensively beaten.

City are now a best price 1/33 to win the league with most bookmakers. For more bets on Manchester City we recommend free bets.

After the game, Pep Guardiola eulogised about De Bruyne's performance:

"I can just say thank you to all my players, especially Kevin. He is one of the most talented players and you see how he runs without the ball.

"He's a good example for the young players, for our Academy, for Phil Foden, for Brahim Diaz, for the young players. They know how good De Bruyne is, and when they see how he runs and fights without the ball, that is the best example.

"He helps us to be a better Club for the future. His performance today - I have no words to describe. With the ball so many assists, shift plays, all the time he was playing with his head, and overall without the ball he was able to pressurise the goalkeeper.

"When that happens the people who are behind him feel they have to run like him. And after that a team like Tottenham, who are able to play so well, we minimised their situations."