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Man City view: Superb Irons our hardest two fixtures

National newspaperman SCOTT LONEY has been a Manchester City season ticket holder for years and years and could barely believe what he was watching from the Hammers last weekend. Here he explains that our brilliant boys made believers of thousands of City fans and declares: “Champions League qualification is not beyond your orbit.” 

By Scott Loney

Pep Guardiola was gushing in his praise and it seems Manchester City fans are equally convinced a top-four finish is realistic for Irons.

Post-match message boards and Twitter handles were strewn with genuine compliments for the part David Moyes’ men played in the unlucky weekend 2-1 reverse to the runaway Premier League leaders.
City acknowledged they were fortunate  to extend their incredible winning sequence to 20 games in all competitions, without the slightest hint of condescension in victory.
And perhaps, as a City supporter myself of 40 years standing, Hammers fans will allow me to blow a little more smoke your way, so long as it doesn’t blind you to what should now be the obvious – Champions League football is there for the taking this season.
I can tell you this current Pep team is truly something else, asking questions of opponents that has failed to illicit any decent response for the last three months.
A team that has conceded just 16 Premier League goals this season – five of them in one game at home to Leicester City at the very start of the campaign – which included three penalties.
Another two penalties home and away against Liverpool – the ‘defending’ Champions were limited to just four shots on target across the two games.
Chuck in an unfortunate own goal by Ruben Dias against West Brom back in December, and you start to find some degree of context for how impressive City found in the Hammers’ showing.
You had more shots on target in the opening 45 minutes than City had encountered in two months, with Ederson picking the ball out of his net for the first time at home since Dias deflected past him for the Baggies.
Added to the selfless running of Antonio and Lingard, City struggled to force their own press until the fresher legs of Phil Foden and Gabriel Jesus entered the fray in the second half.
We haven’t given Liverpool, Chelsea, United, Everton or Spurs a kick during our perfect run, so it was refreshing to see Moyes send a team out to try and cross the halfway line.
City have conceded just once in the Champions League this season and even my own pessimistic outlook is being sidelined by a genuine belief we could do something very special with this team.
And Moyes can do likewise, forget expectation management, much as it is understandable.
Aim for the moon and these superb Irons could yet land amongst the stars, Champions League qualification is not beyond your orbit.
We’ve seen the best of the rest and, for someone privileged enough to have seen my team make light work of pretty much everyone who has tried to stand in their way, Irons have been our hardest two fixtures, without fear of contradiction.
The best advice I can offer is this. As a previous long-suffering Blue, with the supposed elite expecting your own team to ‘know its place’, don’t be cowed, don’t be intimidated, don’t be talked out of believing.
You made believers out of plenty of City fans at the weekend – that bloke Pep Guardiola knows a good team when he sees one.

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About Hugh5outhon1895

Hugh Southon is a lifelong Iron and the founding editor of ClaretandHugh. He is a national newspaper journalist of many years experience and was Bobby Moore's 'ghost' writer during the great man's lifetime. He describes ClaretandHugh as "the Hammers daily newspaper!" Follow on Twitter @hughsouthon

6 comments on “Man City view: Superb Irons our hardest two fixtures

  1. But Danny Murphy said it was an easy city win ! Laughable.

  2. Do you recall our last foray into Europe.
    Season started early and affected our showing in PL due to a lack of depth in the squad. I am bothered this could happen again in less we recruit well in summer.

  3. Yep, I remember it well Jimbo, we were totally underprepared for both Europa qualifying games in consecutive seasons for different reasons, 14/15 Bilic’s appointment was only a couple of weeks before the first game, players had only 18 days off season. 15/16 we move to LS, yet another squad overhaul resulting in too many loan players and sub standard signings that were so underwhelming that it undone all the good work of the previous campaign at the Boleyn.
    If, big if, we have the opportunity to play European football next season, unless we are going straight into the group stages it could be another disaster, as all of our better players will be most likely involved in the European Championship games over the summer, we have all witnessed slow starts to a domestic season even for elite club’s when they’re marquee players returning from summer tournaments take it’s toll on fitness levels as they are so behind the other players. We simply don’t have any depth to our squad in key area’s, a very decent first 14 or fifteen at a push, yes. Take out the two Czech players, Rice and possibly Fabianski from club European football qualifying rounds and we would be threadbare.

  4. We support a team and we want that team to do well, which in my opinion means winning something or, if that’s beyond us, getting into Europe. Let’s say we get into Europe but don’t do so well in the League. so what? We’re in the league every year, we’re not in Europe every year. Surely winning things and European football are what players want the most. So why all the negativity? Let’s get into Europe, have a great time and if we finish 14th in league so be it

  5. Just accept with grace the praise from the City, not least because they are hard core genuine fans who stood firm in the dark days – just like West Ham – no plastic supporters there, no pot hunters, just real supporters. That is why I admire the success of City, they withstood the tough times like old fashioned proper clubs. So – cheers!.

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