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Manchester City - Opposition Views


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Sam McEvilly was kind enough to answer a few questions ahead of our match together in the FA cup semifinal on Sunday. Here is what he had to say:

-Let’s start with the win against united on Monday. Do you think that has revived your tittle hopes or are united still too far ahead?
Monday was brilliant and a derby win, especially away, is always good for confidence. However, being realistic I'd say the title is well and truly over. The gap is too big and it would take nothing short of a miracle for us to win the league again this year. Despite this, there is a tiny part of me that wants to believe we can still do it. United have some tough games left, Chelsea and Arsenal, as well as Villa, who are fighting to stay up. Anything could happen, between now and the end of the season. Unfortunately the likely hood of it happening is very very small.
-The season is coming to an end, what have you made of it? And how did your team differ from last season?
This season has been a poor season, in comparison with last. Although it was always going to be hard to repeat the form of last year. City have lacked the ability to finish games off, resulting in far too many draws. Last season we couldn't stop scoring, and if you look at the comparison of statistics between this season and last, they are identical. Possession, passing and shots are all similar to last season. The only difference was the amount of goals. We have not been clinical enough and that for sure has cost us the league. Inconsistency has also been a problem. At the start of the season against Southampton we let two goals in and scrapped a well fought 3-2 victory. From then on, myself and other City fans thought it was only a matter of time before we kicked into form and began to play with some of the flare we had seen the previous season. However, bar a few games City never really found their form and as a result we slowly fell behind United in the title race.
-Would you say the FA cup is your priority now?
Without a doubt. The FA cup after all is our only chance of silverware. Winning the cup would make up for what has been a disappointing season, domestically and in Europe. I think that winning the FA cup is pivotal for Bobby to keep his job. The owners need some sort of positive outcome from this season to allow him to keep his job. I've been a City fan all my life, and seen my club compete for nothing for the majority of that time. Finishing second and getting to a cup semi final are not what I'd have considered a poor season 3 or 4 years ago. But expectations have changed and I think to salvage anything from this season we HAVE to win the FA cup, so yes it most definitely is a priority to all City fans and the team.
-Our games in the league were extremely cagey. Do you expect a similar affair on Sunday and Why?
I think Sunday will be a tough game for both teams. Personally I can't decide on a winner, both teams posses massive amounts of ability, especially in the midfield. The class that both teams have at their disposal makes it a tough game for anyone to call. It will be tight, I can't see either team dominating. Both teams have been less than impressive in the league this season. City got the best of Chelsea in the at the Etihad but I think Chelsea will play with a lot higher tempo on Sunday as the stakes are a lot higher now, for both clubs.
-Chelsea have had a crazy schedule this season. Do you think that will tip the balance in your way?
Honestly, I don't know. If it was a league game then possibly I would agree with that, but since it's a cup semi final I think that the players will all be up for it. I'd like to think that the Chelsea players will be tired after a busy schedule but the fact it's the FA cup and their playing at Wembley I can't see them being anything but up for the game. If you can't get yourself pumped up for a FA cup Semi, you shouldn't be playing football.
-Silva is a doubt for this one. How big a miss would he be?
Silva is missed massively when he doesn't play. Unfortunately for City we do not have another player that can fill his shoes when he doesn't play. He creates everything, and without him City are a lot less flowing when they attack. Silva always plays balls through to Aguero, Tevez or whoever is playing up front. City still do not have a player who can play in that sort of position and have the same affect as Silva does on the game. However, at Wembley on a massive playing surface I'm not as worried as I would be, if perhaps we were playing at Stoke or West Ham.
-Speaking of Silva, do you think he has been your best player this season or would you nominate someone else?
Silva has been brilliant at times, but no where near last seasons form. For me, our player of the season would be Zabaleta and you'll have a hard time finding another City fan who doesn't think the same. He's been a class higher than any other City player this season. His desire, his passion are unmatched by the rest of the team. Fans love a player who tries, and Zabba would die for the cause. He has been getting better and better these last few seasons but he has really come into his own this year. Finally it's not just City fans who know how great of a player he is.
-If you could have one Chelsea player at City, who would it be and why?
Mata. Without a doubt. He would be a perfect replacement for Silva when he was injured and just a brilliant player to have in the squad. The stats for both Silva and Mata are similar, in assists and complete passes. Mata is a quality player, he has vision, he can pass and he can score goals. He's the sort of player any manager would love to have in their team.
-What lineup and formation is Mancini likely to use on Sunday?
I'd like to think he stuck with the formation and team he played on Monday. Possibly with Yaya playing a more attacking role with Silva being injured.
-Finally, please predict the result.

I'm going to have to back my own team and go for a City win. It'll be tight, so I'm going for 2-1 City.

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