Tuesday, 29 November 2011

QUARTER FINAL TIME



November 29th 2011 and only 2 days after we played Liverpool at Anfield we travel to the Emirates to play Arsenal in the Quarter final of the League cup. Mancini had already commented in the press that he wasn't surprised that the England National team were never successful because of the way fixtures came thick and fast and left the players tired and he'd hinted at wholesale changes to the team, he hadn't lied. Pantilimon started in goal, as he'd done in every other round of the League cup so far. The back four was Onuoha, Kolo Toure, Savic & Zabaleta. The defencive midfielders were De Jong & Hargreaves with Johnson, Kolarov, Nasri & Dzeko the attacking department. Arsenal also fielded a much changed team. We'd beaten Arsenal at this stage 2 years ago under Mark Hughes, but that was at The Etihad (well, Eastlands then) but at Arsenal we didn't have a great record. As I'd hinted at in my last blog, we'd done ok so far this season at grounds we don't usually do well at and against teams we don't usually beat so lets hope tonight could be another record broken and maybe we could earn ourselves another one of those semi finals we seem to be getting used to.




The early moments were cagey and even and the first effort on goal came in the 9th minute from Adam Johnson when he skinned the Arsenal youngster playing at left back to fire an effort just over the bar. Just a minute later Arsenal hit on the counter and good work from Chamberlain down the right ended with him firing a cross for Park to shoot. bringing a great save from Pantilimon. It was a fairly even and the next chance was a long range effort from Chamberlain that  was flying into the top corner, only stopped by yet another quality save from Pantilimon. The match started to heat up a little, Nasri playing Johnson in but the ball just a little long for him. Then on 31 minutes Mancini pulled Kolarov off and put Aguero on. Tactical ? Not sure, Kolarov wasn't having a bad game on the left wing. Time would tell on that decision. City enjoyed the lions share of the possession but didn't really threaten the Arsenal goal, and Arsenal never realy threatened ours as the rest of the first half played out. Dzeko had looked lively and up for it and Savic and Kolo had looked fairly solid at the back. 2 great saves from Pantilimon, I'd been unsure about him before kick off, but he'd started to win me over with this first half display. 0-0 at Half time.



It was cleared up by sky that Kolarov had tweaked a muscle in the warm up but felt comfortable enough to start but obviously hadn't worked out, hence the substitution. The second half started where the first had left off with both teams trading possession, Chamberlain giving Zabba a hard time early on but Pantilimon dealing with anything goal bound. Nasri was getting booed every time he touched the ball, Hargreaves and Johnson weren't seeing enough of the ball and Aguero's touch seemed to have deserted him but 65 minutes gone and nobody was really threatening. In all honesty the second half was turning out to be quite a dull affair with most efforts on either goal coming from long range and not being very accurate. Mancini didn't look happy with what he was seeing. 78 minutes gone and City made their second change, Razak replacing Hargreaves. 82 minutes and a City attack breaks down and Arsenal break with purpose, the City defence eventually dealing with it  putting it out for a corner. Arsenal's corner is dealt with easily and Dzeko breaks, he plays in Johnson who in turn played in Aguero to score. 1-0 to city with 7 minutes to go. A brilliant counter attack. Could we see it out and finally win a game at the Emirates ?  Yes, the final whistle signalling our progress into the semi final.



Another ground where we'd broke our duck, another record broken i guess and yet another semi final. Carling cup semi final in 2009/10, an FA cup semi final in 2010/11 and now another Carling cup semi final in 2011/12, what's the betting that we get United again (If they get through their REALLY difficult tie tomorrow). Liverpool had beaten Chelsea to go through 2-0 tonight and also Cardiff had beaten Blackburn to progress, which just Left United to play Cystal palace. Our Reserves looked the part tonight, besting Arsenals reserves and the future looks bright. Pantilimon had proved my doubts in him wrong, even if he does look a little gangly and clumsy at times. More fixtures to navigate but that's what you have to deal with when you want to win things i guess, and the passion shown on the bench from Mancini tonight proves he really does want to win this cup. Norwich next for us in the League at home this weekend. Once again I'm a happy blue, thanks for reading.


Sunday, 27 November 2011

EVERYTHING IN PERSPECTIVE



After the disappointment of Napoli its back to the bread and butter of the Premier League and today we go to Anfield to play Liverpool. Yesterday, United had dropped points at home to Newcastle with a 1-1 draw which left us 4 points clear at the top of the table so a win today could see us go 7 points clear at the top. Being a blue you get used to disappointment, wasn't an option, because disappointment were all we'd had for a long time but things had been good  recently, but i couldn't help thinking before the game that today may be the day I was disappointed again. United dropping points had given us a chance to open up a gap, not just over them, but also over the resurgent Spurs who were on a great run that could see them move into second with their game in hand, so is this a chance that we would mess up or was it History clouding my judgement ? Today was also Mancini's birthday, so 3 points would mean a very nice present for him. We'd got our arse handed to us at Anfield last season, I feared the same happening again today. I know we never win at White heart lane and we had. I know we never beat Everton and we had, and I'm not even going to get into our Old Trafford record, but for some reason, today, i just feared the worse.



Four hours before kick off my fears were put into perspective when the news broke that the Welsh Manager and Premier League legend, Gary Speed had died, aged 42. What relevance does football have in the grand scheme of things when two boys have lost their father in such horrific circumstances.  I have no connection to Gary Speed, he never played for my Club or my Country but the news really rattled me, shocked me so much. Left me feeling hollow. I watched as it unfolded on Sky Sports News and all over my Twitter and Facebook feeds. So were we to lose today. Yes we dropped points, yes we fail to capitalize on United mistakes, But maybe Shankly was wrong, it isn't life or death and it is No where near as important as we sometime pretend it to be. Watching the tribute before the Swansea vs Aston Villa game, hearing Howard Wilkinson talk about Speed and watching Shay Given in tear before the game, puts the whole thing in perspective and me shiver.



But the game went a head, and the City team changed again to the team from midweek. Hart of course started in goal, his back four being  Richards, Kompany, Lescott & Clichy, the midfield would be sured up by Yaya &Barry with Milner, Silva, Nasri & Aguero the attacking threat. News was that Craig Bellamy had withdrawn from the Liverpool squad after the news of his International Managers death.  A lot had been made recently about top flight teams with unbeaten runs. Newcastle obviously losing theirs to us last weekend and this weekend Barcelona and Glasgow Rangers lost to. Still had a feeling that today would be the day we lost ours. There was another goose bump inducing minutes silence before our game.



The game started with both teams trying to set a high tempo, City having more possession in the first 10 minutes pressing Liverpool back, or were they planning on hitting us on the break ?  The formation looked more 4-4-2 with Milner and Nasri wide and Silva higher up with Sergio. 12 minutes in and Kompany picks up a yellow for a challenge on Suarez, who seems to spend a lot of the time on the floor, not good to get booked and have to mark him for the rest of the game. 15 minutes gone and we hadn't created anything to threaten the Liverpool goal for our possession, but neither had they to threaten ours. The first half chance came when a short back pass saw Reina come racing from his goal to clear just before Agureo could get to it. 20 minutes Adam's dives onto the floor looking for a free kick, the ref wasn't fooled and Aguero broke into the Liverpool box only to tie himself in knots and fall over. We were playing the better football and putting pressure on the Liverpool back four, but still not creating chances on goal. Liverpool started to come into the game a little but on the half hour Captain Kompany rose at the near post from a David Silva corner to guide the ball home and put us 1-0 up from probably our first effort on target. From the restart Barry picked up a yellow that ruled him out of the Arsenal Carling cup tie (our next game) and then straight away, a nothing shot from Charlie Adam was deflected into his own goal by Lescott to even it up. Back to square one, i still think it's going to be one of those days. 1-1, Ninety seconds between the goals with 33 minutes gone. Suarez was sticking to his usual tactic of falling over every time someone breathed on him but luckily the ref didn't seem to be buying it. The equalizer lifted them and on 37 minutes Joe Hart produced a brilliant save with his feet from a thunderous Charlie Adam effort. 38 minutes and a curling effort from Glenn Johnson sailed just wide. The own goal had us rattled. The game seemed to settle again and we composed ourselves with the next chance coming from City as Aguero brought a save from Reina right on the half time whistle. The half ending 1-1, all set up for an interesting second half.



After a bright few minutes at the beginning of the second half it was Liverpool who had the first chance on 48 minutes when confusion in the defence looked like it might cost us, but it cost us nothing more than a corner in the end. It looked like Mancini had pushed Yaya further forward to. The first 10 minutes of the second half were a pretty even affair, again with no team managing to muster any clear cut chances on goal. Aguero wasn't offering much to the game but i think it was more down to service and support rather than his form. It was crying out for Balotelli to come and either replace him or for him to play off. 64 minutes gone and that's exactly what happened, Baloteli on for  Nasri. A clever corner from Liverpool on 66 minutes and Downing Brings a great save from Joe Hart. It was turning into a good contest between 2 good teams but it was all happening in the congested Midfield. Both teams were just looking for that bit of magic or that killer pass to open up the opposition defence, and on 73 minutes suarez nearly found it, beating Richards to play the ball across goal, Lescott cleared it but it bounced of Kuyt and so nearly crept in. a minute later Milner was played in by a lose header back by Adam, but again Reina raced off his line to stop us. As we approached the 80th minute Liverpool were growing more and more confident and creating chances and that feeling i'd had about this being the day for disappointment was rising again. Balotelli hadn't really offered much, apart from his swanky blonde hair doo, and we looked rocky as wave after wave of Liverpool attack bombarded our goal. 82 minutes and Dzeko replaced Aguero, probably for holding the ball up better than we had been. But then it all went pear shaped as Balotelli earned himself a second yellow card to get himself sent off. He went into a challenge wit Skertel and because he led with his arm, the ref brandished the yellow. Balotelli never looked in the direction of the player he was looking at the ball at all time so to me a little harsh, but as soon as the challenge was made you knew what was going to happen. 88th minute and were hanging on, Suarez bringing another save from Hart. 89th minute and good work from Dzeko to out run the defence and pay in Silva, but he delayed and delayed until his weak shot was cleared off the line. Silva made way for Kolo on 90 minutes and this was going to be the longest 3 minutes of injury time ever. We were obviously now playing for our point. Minute to go and another outstanding save from Hart denied Carroll. The whistle saved us and our unbeaten record but this had been a proper battle, our five point lead was restored.





At the beginning of the day I'd feared the worst, so i was more than happy with a point at Anfield. Silva hadn't been able to influence the game as he usually does, Agureo and Nasri hadn't really contributed and City's Man of the Match, without doubt was Joe Hart. Without him this could have been embarrassing but i guess that's why he is England's number 1. It was a highly entertaining draw for a neutral, but as a City fan it was heart wrenching. At the end of the season i hope that we can look back at a well earned important point in a game that in the past we probably would have thrown away. Without doubt teams will come to Anfield this season and lose so i personally was more than happy with a point. Next up now on Tuesday Is Arsenal in the Carling Cup at the Emirate stadium, obviously without Barry and Balotelli. The season was begining to get very interesting. Overall from today though, my heart goes out to the family of Gary Speed, and had we crumbled under Liverpool's pressure and lost, it would have been insignificant compared to that. Thanks for reading. R.I.P Gary Speed.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

LEARNING CURVE

November 22nd 2011 and City were to play their most important match since.....well....since the last match ? Seems they are all pretty important for one reason or another these days. Guess that's what happens when you are playing at the high level we are playing at now and are actually contenders for trophies to. Takes some getting used to after some of the crap I've seen over the years i can tell you. Anyway, tonight's match was away to Napoli in the champions league. A win tonight would see us qualify for the knockout stages.

Group as it stood before kick off

 1 Bayern Munich    10pts
2 Manchester city     7pts
3 Napoli                   5pts
4 Villarreal                0pts

Hart started in Goal, the Champions league back four of Zabba, Kompany, Lescott & Kolarov returned. Silva, Yaya, De Jong & Milner was the midfield four and Dzeko and Mario were the front two, not as attacking as usual but i think Mancini is learning how to play away in Europe now. Having said that, the first 10 minutes, Napoli played like the away team, letting us have all the possession and hitting us on the counter, Most dangerous occasion when Lavezzi went close after a nice attacking move.  A long range effort from Inler bought a smart save from Hart in the 16th minute and from the resulting corner Napoli were a head. Corner swung in by Lavezzi and Cavani got a touch to sneak in at the near post. It was going to be an uphill battle now.



Napoli sat back again and soaked us up, and for all the possession we had we were kept to long distance shots at the Napoli goal. It seemed like the pace wasn't in the team like usual and with Baoltelli and Dzeko up front in my opinion it was crying out for Aguero. But on 32 minutes, a ball into the box from Dzeko was poorly cleared and a David Silva shot was only parried into the path of Balotelli to tap us level. 41 minutes and a great ball from Balotelli to Silva saw him play in Kolarov for a good shot from a tight angle which the goal keeper dealt with better this time. The half came to an end with us level and overall we hadn't played to bad. Balotelli had been a bit wasteful with Possession at times, trying to dribble when he could have passed but overall not to bad, although i still felt the team was lacking pace.



Second half started with the same 11 players even though Mario Balotelli hadn't looked to good on the half time whistle but Napoli started the better side knocking it about well and scoring early on again with Cavani. Platt had been talking about losing possession in the middle of the field and that's exactly what we had started off by doing, again, a mountain to climb. Napoli had their tails up now and were putting us under a lot of pressure and we just couldn't seem to get out and we offered nothing for the first 15 minutes. On 60 minutes a clever free kick saw a ball floated into the Napoli box but Balotelli and Yaya were unable to apply a finish, our first chance of the second half. It all still looked a little slow and sluggish to me and we needed an injection of pace, the flowing football that had put us top of the premier league was missing.   68 minutes and a slip from Kompany saw a Hamsik shot smartly saved by Hart to keep us in the game. It wasn't looking good. We were not putting any pressure on our opponents and creating nothing at all. 69th minute and De Jong made way for Nasri.



75th minute and City rode their luck again, a great break from Napoli and Hamsik was in with Hart to beat but hits the post. That would have been the end of us had that gone in so with 15 minutes to go our champions league dream was still alive, faltering, but alive. 77 minutes, a brilliant ball over the top from Yaya and Balotelli brings a smart save from Napoli's keeper. Hope ? Straight from that chance Napoli was in behind us and Maggio was one on one with Hart but Hart saved us again. 80th minute and the change that I'd wanted to see earlier finally happened, Dzeko off, Aguero on. 81st minute and we should have been level, a great run into the box from Nasri, found by Silva and the cross was met by Mario's head, but he put it over the bar. Creating a little more now, but time running out. Balotelli came close again from a corner in the 84th minute, unconvincing save from the keeper but a save all the same. 85th minute and the last throw of the dice, AJ on for Zabba. 3 minutes to go and City finally start to pile on the pressure, throwing ball after ball into the Napoli box, but Napoli were standing strong.



It was all to little to late as Napoli see the game out and win 2-1. Aguero did more in the 10 minutes he was on the pitch than Dzecko did in 80 and the free flowing attacking football from the premier league just wasn't there. It all means that if Napoli beat the whipping boys of the group in the last game we are out of the Champions league. We face a tough test against Bayern at home so it looks like its all over. Am i disappointed ? Yes i am, but I never for a second thought that we would win the Champions league in our first time of asking so it isn't a great shock. On the night, we didn't do enough to win the game and didn't deserve to so i guess you have to say the better team won. Did Mancini get this wrong ? In my opinion he did. Why is Richards not used tonight after the display he put on to earn him man of the match at the weekend vs Newcastle ? He wasn't even on the bench, i find that strange. Why does Aguero only get 10 minutes ? He should have been on a lot earlier than that, if not from the start. But Mancini has done a lot more right for City than he has got wrong so I'm not going to turn on the manager. It just doesn't like it's meant to be this year.

Group with 1 game to go

1 Bayern Munich (Q)      13pt
2 Napoli                               8pts
3 Manchester City           7pts
4 Villarreal                         0pts
Manchester city vs Bayern Munich
Villarreal vs Napoli

Really don't see Napoli losing to Villarreal so it looks like Europa league football in the new year for us, But then again, You never know, a guy can dream right ? Thanks for reading

Sunday, 20 November 2011

ANOTHER TEST ?

So be honest, did anyone really think that we would be going into a premier league game, on the 19th of November 2011, still Unbeaten in the league ? What's more, did anyone think that Newcastle would be going into a game on November 19th still unbeaten ? I didn't, but that's what was happening today, Man City vs Newcastle, the only two Premier lague teams that were still unbeaten. After a 2 week international it was good to be back at the Etihad. City's starting line up was Hart in Goal, Richards, Kompany, Lescott and Clichy in the back four. De Jong and Yaya were the holding Midfielders with Milner, Nasri, Aguero & Balotelli the attacking four. David Silva was rested on the bench after a long trip to Costa rica with Spain and of course Losing to England at Wembley.



Before the game i managed to get a photo taken with the Gorgeous Natalie Pike so it was already shaping up to be a good day. The first half was a cagey midfield scrap with City edging it and creating More then Newcastle did, in fact Newcastle only managed to muster 2 real shots on our goal, one that Hart saved with ease and the other bringing a brilliant save from Englands number 1. City enjoyed the lions share of possession and Balotelli brought a great save from a headed chance and you sensed that the break through was coming. I had been keeping my self entertained with my own little song, directed at the Newcastle Goal keeper Tim Krul "You're just a shit 80's film !" Made me giggle to myself. Little D either didn't get it or wasn't impressed but i enjoyed it. Get it ? Krul ? Shit 80'2 film ? No ? Look it up    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0085811/



Anyway, back to the action, and the break through finally came in the 41st minute when Yaya broke into the box and his shot was blocked by Ryan Taylors hand and ref Chris Foy didn't hesitate to point for the penalty. The Ultra cool Balotelli stepped up to take it and Cooly slotted it home despite the efforts of Krul to put him off, His arms folded glaring at Krul celebration is why we love Mario so much.  3 minutes later and Ryan Taylor must have wanted the ground to swallow him up, after giving away the penalty, it was his mistake that allowed Richards to steal the ball from him and fire home to make it 2-0 just before half time.

video


In the second half we had to soak up a lot of Newcastle pressure as they came looking for a goal to get them back into the game and we seemed to sit back and let them play. We still created a few chances, best of which when Nasri and Aguero combined to flick the ball over the keeper only to have Taylor redeem himself a little by clearing it off the line. On 60 minutes, we got lucky, Kompany mad the mistake and Ben Arfa skipped ito the box to beat Hart, only to see his effort come back off the post. Balotelli made way for Silva to join the game and with his first touch he played Richards into the box, only to be Bundled over by Ben Arfa to conceded the second penalty of the game. Aguero stepped up to take this one and Cooley make it 3-0 with a text book penalty. Newcastle did manage to bag a consolation goal in the 89th minute from Goslin, but the match was already gone and so was Newcastles unbeaten record while ours remained in tact.

video


Pleasing things today, apart from my "You're just a shit 80's film" song was Nasri's performance was a lot better today, probably the best I've seen from him so far. Milner again was brilliant as he grows more and more into the player we bought from Villa. Clichy played really well and it was great to see De Jong back in the engine room running things. Also of course the fact that we are still unbeaten in the league after passing what was billed as another test. Next on the agenda is a massive game away to Napoli in the champions league that if we win see's us qualify for the knockout stages. That's a big IF though because this isn't going to be an easy ask. For now, still 5 points clear, still the best team in the land (an all the world), and for anyone who actually does read my blogs, Thanks for your time.


Saturday, 5 November 2011

CHARACTER



Remember remember the 5th of November because tonight City may have shown something different to show the world that we may just have what it takes to see this through and possibly be champions elect. Tonight we went to loftus road to face QPR and old boys Shaun Wright Phillips and Joey Barton. Talk from some fans of a walk over were far from my mind because i know we have to drop points somewhere, and in QPR i could see a potential banana skin. The team to play at loftus road were Joe in goal (as ever). Richards started at right back and as captain in the absence of Kompany (which was nice to see). Savic Filled in for the absent Vinny along side Lescott with Kolarov completed the back four. Yaya and Barry were the holding midfield, with Silva, Milner, Aguero and Dzeko as the front four.




As expected the home team really stepped up and came after us as it is becoming more and more apparent that we are the big scalp this season up to now, and QPR had lots of early chances as City seemed to struggle. The shape we were playing in just didn't look or feel right and the passing and movement that has served us so well up to now just wasn't there and it wasn't really a surprise that QPR took a deserved lead. On 28 minutes, a great cross form a free kick (that never should have been a free kick) saw Bothroyd head QPR ahead. The city defenders didn't seem to know who they were supposed to be marking and that uncertainty saw the home team 1-0 up. Could have been worse but for some quality goal keeping from England's number 1. City weren't really creating and nothing seemed to be falling for us until the 43rd minute. A ball down the wing saw Dzeko race free. He cut inside into the box and had players crying out for a lay off, but Dzeko had other ideas, and as the QPR defender dived in, Dzeko breezed past him to fire a great goal into the bottom left corner to make it 1-1. Edins 10th goal of the season brought us in at half time level.




Mancini must have rollocked them because after an early left footed scare from Barton and a change of shape to a 4-4-2, city seemed to settle better into the game, and in the 52nd minute City were ahead through the magician Silva.  Milner broke on the counter attack, Gave the ball wide to Dzeko and his ball into the box was taken by Silva, 1 touch and bang, low into the near post to put us 2-1 up. Would QPR crumble now after being in front and now being behind ? Would they hell. I'm not sure if City sat back or if QPR stepped up but they came at us again, applying more and more pressure until that pressure finally told. Helguson heading home from close range to make it 2-2.




Now i fully believe that the city of old, Typical city if you like, would have crumbled and ended up losing this game, but City are a different animal these days and again, weather QPR sat back or we stepped up i'm unsure, but we fought back and grabbed the lead again. An absolutely brilliant left footed cross from Kolarov saw Yaya rise in the box to power home a powerful header to make it 3-2 and win us the game. We hadn't played well here tonight but we had managed to grind out a result and show the character to come from behind also for the first time in the league this season. For years I've watched United play badly and win and for years I've listened to United fans tell me that's the mark of champions but tonight I'm hearing from United fans that we were lucky. Lucky ? Or molding into a team of champions ? Still way to early to tell with so long to go in the season, but we go into the international break still top and still 5 points clear. Happy. Thanks for reading.



Wednesday, 2 November 2011

MOVING ON UP

November 2nd and it's back to must win Champions League action again, away to Villarreal. 2 Weeks ago, literally the last kick of the game had seen Sergio Aguero score a winner at home vs Villarreal to earn us our first Champions league win, so I'm sure that the opposition would be more than up for this one in front of their own fans. Mancini's team news again held some surprises. Hart started in net but Zabba and Savic joined Kompany and Clichy in the back 4. De Jong came into the midfield with Yaya, and Milner, Nasri and Silva backed up Mario Balotelli, returning from suspension to start his first Champions League game for Manchester City. Pantilimon, Lescott, Kolarov, AJ, Barry, Dzeko, & Aguero made up the very strong bench. The fact that Villarreal were missing a lot of their more experienced players through injury meant that this could be easier than expected.




The first half started and Villarreal, a team with no points and playing at home parked the bus and sat in waiting for us to break them down. City obviously saw a lot of the ball and were patient with the opposition rarely bothering the City defence. It took 30 minutes for the break through to come, Silva running at the defence plays the ball into Yaya just inside the box and as Silva ran through for the return ball, the defender guessed that would happen and stepped across to pick up Silva, but the return ball never came. The guess work from the defender opened up a big hole for Yaya to stroll into and curl a brilliant ball into the bottom corner, His first goal since he won us the FA cup.




The rest of the half played out as it started, City being patient in front of the Villarreal bus and it wasn't until the last minute of the half when Mario megged the defender to burst into the box. 2 defenders came across to cover and Mario went down. Penalty given, not sure why, and in all honestly it was a little soft, but penalty all the same. Mario stepped up, and in his usual care free, ultra cool way, he slotted it home to put us 2-0 up. Half time score from the other group game was Bayern 3 Napoli 1, a good score line for us if it stayed that way.




Second half started and to be honest it was a bit of a stroll, City just doing what they had to do, keeping the ball and limiting the Villarreal threat to the point that it was actually quite boring. David Silva went off on 65 minutes, holding his back in some pain (lets hope he is ok for Saturday) and he was replaced by Adam Johnson, 6 minutes later we were 3-0 up. A good team move, finished when Mario played the ball into the area for Yaya and he provided a nice bit of foot work before finishing Cooley for his second goal. Aguero came on for Yaya and Kolarov came on for Mario as we professionally saw the match out to pick up a vital win and a vital 3 points that moves us up into second place in our group with Bayern beating Napoli 3-2. This means that if we go to Napoli in 3 weeks time and win, we are through to the knock out stages.



Are we good enough to go through in Napoli ? I don't see why not. We seem to be growing into the competition now, and we have been playing better away from home than we have at home. The Napoli fans won't allow their team to sit in and counter like they did at the Etihad and if a team comes at us, United will tell you what we are capable of doing to them, so yes, i think we can qualify. Can we win the whole thing ? That's a different matter. With the likes of Barca and Real and even Bayern still in, it won't be easy, but with the quality we posses now, and on our best day, i think we can stand shoulder to shoulder with anyone. It won;t be easy, but when have City ever done anything easy ? Thanks for reading