Earlier today OT Faithful caught up with lifelong City fan Jack Marshall. We had a chat about a certain game on Monday night and how he reckons it will go. Jack writes in the sports section for Sport Pulse, and he loves his football and Cricket.
OT Faithful: Did you expect City to be where they are now at the start of the season?
Jack Marshall: Well, after the injection of cash in the summer, which saw us bring in the likes of Sergio Agüero, Samir Nasri and Gaël Clichy, I firmly expected us to be at very least title contenders; a view that was supported and fuelled by City’s excellent start to the season, but for the title race to be so tantalizing is a little too close for comfort for many City fans, including myself. To be honest, after the first 10 games, I was expecting us to have the Premier League all tied up by now but that United have come back is testament to them, although I hate to admit it!
OT Faithful: If you don’t win the league do you think Mancini will be sacked?
Jack Marshall: I really hope he isn’t either way. For all the jokes aimed at City for being ‘just another Chelsea’ looking to buy success, I can’t help but feel that City deserved their good fortune after the decades the club and its most loyal and dedicated fans have endured, and to sack Mancini after he has taken us from being outside title contenders to where we are now would just be ludicrous. I have always been a very strong proponent of giving managers time to bed in and have a more profound impact. Mancini can only improve, his English will get better and I can’t really see anyone else taking the title ahead of us next season if he stays, so for the owner to suddenly upset the apple cart now would just draw too many parallels between City and Chelsea for my liking- no one at this club wants another Abramovich.
OT Faithful: Who would you like to see come in, and go out of the team in the summer?
Jack Marshall: City need to get shot of Carlos Tevez as soon as possible: the guy may go on to win the title for us, but he can never be forgiven for his well-documented antics. Balotelli should be giving his marching orders as well as his attitude stinks and he is an embarrassment to the club. I also think that Džeko needs to go because he simply doesn’t contribute enough to the team, and scores sporadically at best. We also need to trim the fat and finally sell the likes of Adebayor and Roque Santa Cruz (yes, he actually still belongs to City). Lots of people say that De Jong is going, but I think this would be a big mistake. Who else can do the donkey work in midfield when Barry isn’t playing, especially with Hargreaves being made of glass? With regard to who I would like to see us buy, I think that the defense this season has looked abysmal when Vinnie Kompany and Lescott have been out. Kolo looks to be over the hill if I’m honest, and Savic looks naïve: in need of a loan move to get more playing time in my view. I would love us to sign the Borussia Dortmund centre-back Mats Hummels, and possibly even take a look at his partner Neven Subotic as both have been immense for Dortmund in their title defense this year. I also think we need a large, strong striker to compensate for those leaving, and Fernando Llorente would be brilliant. I would love us to sign Eden Hazard as well, and Mancini has recently come out and said how much he admires the young Belgian. Finally, I think that we need another striker as back up for Agüero, and I would love to see Edinson Cavani, or even Radamel Falcao, come in. With these signings, along with the return of John Guidetti from Feyenoord (20 goals in 23 games), I think that we would put some of the mistakes we’ve made this year right.
OT Faithful: Balotelli, classy or clown?
Jack Marshall: Complete and utter clown. To win a Premier League title it take huge amounts of graft and teamwork: two virtues Balotelli seems to be lacking. The lad has talent, I’ll give him that, and if he were banging in the goals then he may warrant a bit of leniency, but for me he is wasting his natural ability and simply causes more trouble than he’s worth and therefore needs to be offloaded to Italy on the first possible flight. This, alas, I fear is a pipe dream as Mancini seems to want to persist with him (don’t even get me started on the talk of the guy playing against you guys on Monday).
OT Faithful:What has been your best and worst performance of the season?
Jack Marshall: Well, contenders for the best performances are numerous, but the ones that stand out are the 6-1 (he said, trying not to sound smug), the 5-1 away win at Spurs and the 6-1 drubbing we gave Norwich (who I really rate as a side) at the Etihad. If you twisted my arm to pick, I’d have to say the win at Old Trafford: Silva was unplayable in that game. As for the worst performances of the season, I think the 1-0 loss to Arsenal a few weeks back stands out. We were awful in that game and didn’t deserve to win at all, not to mention Balotelli’s brainless and, frankly, savage tackle on Alex Song.
OT Faithful: I knew that’d get brought up ha! Which United player are you most fearful of for Monday night, and why?
Jack Marshall: Well, to United’s credit there are a few. Firstly, I think that Paul Scholes (who lives near my Dad by the way) has been sublime since his return. City really need to keep him under wraps to ensure victory. Antonio Valencia has been fantastic on the wing this season and Clichy will have his work cut out if he is going to stop him on Monday. And, of course, there is the perpetual threat of Wayne Rooney. The man is simply better than most others, but I reckon that if Kompany and Lescott play well then we will manage to keep him quiet on the night!
OT Faithful: If you could pick one United player for your squad, who would you take, and why?
Jack Marshall: That’s easy: Wayne Rooney hands down. He is just a natural finisher, he has pace and has an acute football brain to match and has the power and aggression to frighten 6’4” defenders. Rooney is also fantastic at providing the link-up play sometimes required to get the ball from low-laying midfielders to the out-and-out attackers: almost in the Messi mould. I would definitely have him playing for City if at all possible.
OT Faithful: And finally, what score do you think the game will be? and scorers?
Jack Marshall: I think that it will be a tight affair and my heart says that City will come out on top 2-1, but my head fears a draw. Our home form this season has been imposing and with the recent revival that we have seen I think the lads will be up for the game 110%. Ideally, I can see Agüero opening the scoring, then Rooney pulling one back only for Tevez to win it for us late on to add insult to injury!
OT Faithful: I’ll go for 2-1 United, Rooney and Welbeck, then a late consolation from Aguero, cheers Jack!