the january men
Another home game and another digital programme!
By the end of the month we'll have hosted five matches at the Etihad and, had the FA Cup draw been different, that could have been six.
City welcome Crystal Palace on Sunday evening having edged past Brighton on Wednesday evening.
Roy Hodgson’s side have proved to be somewhat unpredictable this campaign, beating United 3-1 away, West Brom 5-1 at The Hawthorns and losing 7-0 at home to Liverpool.
They can be an exciting, attacking side and in Wilfried Zaha and Eberechi Eze – what a talent – they will come to the Etihad and look to build on their past two visits which ended 3-2 for Palace and 2-2 last season.
We take a close look at their season so far, plus our history against the Eagles over the past 100 years and dig out 10 connections between the clubs.
As usual, we have Pep’s manager notes and Buzzer’s column, plus Marc Riley’s new ‘Mixed Grill’ feature.
Hope you enjoy it – come on, City!
Hello and a warm Etihad Stadium welcome to Roy Hodgson and his Crystal Palace staff.
Roy is one of the most respected managers in English football with a big reputation in many European leagues. We know that playing his team is always complicated.
Incredibly, he has managed more than a thousand games in his career in many countries and on the international stage – there is not much that he has not seen on a football pitch.
Included in that is Palace’s good recent form in Manchester – our job is to ensure that record does not get any better on this visit.
We come into Sunday evening’s game after a win over Brighton in midweek. It was a tough ninety minutes against a clever and hard-working side, and I am expecting more of the same problems for us to solve in this match.
After the fluidity of the wins at Chelsea in the Premier League and United in the Carabao Cup semi-final, Wednesday night’s ninety minutes was a little different, but we found a way to win even though we had to battle hard. That was pleasing.
I warned the players before the Brighton game that we were going to play one of the toughest opponents in terms of personality, courage, and effort.
We played a good last 15 minutes of the first half when we managed to move the ball quickly and complete especially but at times we also struggled especially after we took the lead. We could not find the second goal.
Sometimes it is good to have to work out new complications on the pitch and Wednesday against Brighton was a reminder that every game in the Premier League is a test not just of skill and ability but also personality and character.
We struggled a little, especially at 1-0. But perhaps that was not a bad thing. We need to be at our sharpest in every game we play. We cannot expect to win every match - football is not like that.
Enjoy the game everyone and stay safe.
Our Club Ambassador looks ahead to the visit of Crystal Palace...
It didn’t surprise me that beating Brighton wasn’t easy.
As I said previously, I’m a fan of Graham Potter and the way his team go about their business and they defended really well and caused us a few problems, too.
Cliché or not, it proves that every game in the Premier League has the potential to be difficult, no matter where the opposition are in the table.
I hope Brighton stay up and if they can play like they did against us in the majority of the games that remain, they’ll be fine.
Phil Foden impresses me every time I see him play.
You can’t compare him to someone like David Silva because he’s different – he’s a midfield player who creates chances for others, but he’s also a goal-scoring inside forward.
He’s an exceptional talent, very quick and very dangerous when he gets near to the goal.
Ruben Dias has been a fantastic signing – he has been magnificent since he arrived and he has helped us shore up our defence and settled in so quickly.
Alongside John Stones, they have looked a superb partnership and we look very solid at the back at the moment.
There’s been a lot of talk about players not hugging during games, but it’s such an instinctive reaction.
At this level, there is so much at stake in every game and if someone scores a fantastic goal or last-minute winner, it’s just natural for their team-mates to want to congratulate them.
It’s impossible to explain if you have never played the game at that level, but all we can do is abide by the recommendations and try as best we can.
We all know why this has been highlighted and understand the reasoning, but football as a sport has been playing in empty stadiums for almost a year and it’s difficult to curb your enthusiasm.
We’re all human and those feelings can’t just be switched on and off like a light switch.
Next up are Crystal Palace and I am always wary when we face them. They are a very workmanlike side with one or two really talented and dangerous forwards.
Roy Hodgson knows what he wants his team to do and this will be a very difficult match and we will have to work exceptionally hard to earn three points.
They’ve also had a few good results at the Etihad recently so Pep Guardiola will know what to expect.
I’m hoping Sergio Aguero will return soon as it feels like such a long time since we had him in the team and he remains one of the best in the business.
That’s all from me, take care and see against Villa next week.
The Season So Far
Campaign to date...
Palace made a superb start to the season, starting with Wilfried Zaha’s solitary goal being enough to beat Southampton 1-0 on the opening day.
Though the Eagles exited the Carabao Cup at the first hurdle with an astonishing 11-10 penalty shoot-out defeat at Bournemouth, the second Premier League match was a memorable day for Palace fans.
Goals from Andros Townsend and a brace from Zaha saw Palace win 3-1 against Manchester United at Old Trafford, sending Roy Hodgson’s men third in the table.
But September ended with a disappointing 2-1 loss at Selhurst Park to Everton, setting the tone for a series of highs and lows so far this campaign.
October started with a 4-0 thrashing by Chelsea and was followed by a 1-1 derby draw with Brighton on home soil – where a 90th-minute levelled from Mac Allister stole a couple of points away from Palace.
The Eagles' unpredictability was on show in the following game, with a 2-1 win over Fulham at Craven Cottage sending Hodgson’s side back up to fifth in the table.
Yet again, and much to Hodgson's frustration, they failed to build on a good result with a 2-0 loss away to Wolves.
November would begin in predictably unpredictable fashion, too!
Palace blew Leeds United away with a 4-1 victory at Selhurst Park, but then followed that with a 1-0 loss at Burnley and a 2-0 reverse at home to Newcastle United – it was becoming impossible to predict which Palace was going to turn up from game to game.
But if the first three months had left everyone guessing, December would exacerbate things even more.
A 5-1 win away to West Brom – with Zaha and Christian Benteke bagging a brace each at The Hawthorns, followed by decent 1-1 draws at home to Spurs and away to West Ham suggested the consistency Hodgson craved might finally have arrived.
The next game – at home to Liverpool – saw Palace give as good as they got for the first half-hour or so, but the final score of 0-7 to the current champions was the heaviest home loss the Eagles have ever suffered.
And there was little sign of the reaction the manager demanded in the 3-0 defeat to Aston Villa, though a 1-1 draw with Leicester City restored some pride.
The New Year began with a win and a loss – a 2-0 success over Sheffield United and a 1-0 FA Cup defeat to Wolves – and Thursday's solid 0-0 draw at Arsenal means it is impossible to second-guess how Sunday's game will pan out.
CITY V palace:
Almost 100 years ago to the day, Manchester City and Crystal Palace first met...
January 8, 1921 was the date of the first of 63 meetings, with Third Division Palace causing a FA Cup shock as they beat City 2-0 at The Crystal Palace Exhibition centre.
Two years later, City gained revenge - and how - beating Palace 11-4 in an incredible FA Cup tie at Maine Road.
There wouldn't be a league meeting until 1965, with Palace beating a poor City side 2-0 at Maine Road and then claiming a point at Selhurst Park three days later in a 1-1 draw.
Joe Mercer's City would complete a double over the Eagles on the way to promotion from Division Two a year later, but there was never been a dominant force as such in the fixture - at least not until more recent times - but more of that later.
Palace completed a league double over City in 1969/70, winning both games 1-0 in the space of month.
And the tit-for-tat nature of the meetings continued in 1970/71 as City won both league games - also by a scoreline of 1-0!
And it went on...
In 1971/72, City won 4-0 at Maine Road and 2-1 at Selhurst Park, while the 1972/73 campaign went the Eagles' way with a 1-0 and 3-2 victories meaning each side had completed two league doubles each over four seasons.
There would be no more meetings until August 1979, when Palace ground out a 0-0 draw at Maine Road, winning the return 2-0.
Between 1980 and 1985, City would win six and draw one of the meetings - the best run yet for either side in 66 years.
Of course, that sparked Palace's best run!
Over the next decade between 1987 and 1997, this was rarely a happy fixture for City fans.
Indeed, just three City wins in 17 meetings (six victories for Palace and eight draws) were uninspiring stats for the Blues.
Back came City - and in style!
From 2002 to 2017, City took control of these matchups, winning 15 and drawing one of the next 17 matches and swinging the overall dominance very firmly in City's favour.
Despite this, a word of caution - Palace's most recent visits to the Etihad are a 3-2 win in 2018 and a 2-2 draw in 2020.
They are capable of surprising any team on their day and Pep Guardiola is well aware of the Eagles' threat.
Premier League Stats
Squad number: 11
Hit woodwork: 7
Headed goals: 1
Right-foot goals: 35
Left-foot goals: 8
Penalties scored: 2
On target: 129
Shooting accuracy: 35%
Yellow cards: 36
Red cards: 1
Clubs: Crystal Palace, Manchester United,
Palace (loan), Cardiff (loan), Palace
International caps (Ivory Coast): 18
International goals: 5
Club career appearances (all comps): 395
Club career goals (all comps): 65
You can’t begin a Crystal Palace connections feature with anyone else but Malcolm Allison.
Big Mal – City’s legendary coach during the sixties and early 1970s can claim a unique stat of having managed both clubs, not once but twice.
Coach at City from 1965 to 1972, then manager for a year up to 1973, when he then left City for Palace where he stayed for three years.
He was back at City from 1979 to 1980 before again returning to Selhurst Park for a couple of months that didn’t pan out well for him.
Utility player Derek Jeffries spent five years at Maine Road from 1968-73 and then had a further four seasons with Palace.
A defender or defensive midfielder, Jeffries made more appearances over a shorter period with the Eagles.
Steve Mackenzie was just 17 when City paid £250,000 - a record for a teenager - and he went on to spend a couple of seasons at Maine Road, scoring a superb volley in the 1981 FA Cup final replay with Spurs.
Northern Ireland winger Michael Hughes was a talented teenager who was hugely popular with City fans between 1988 and 1992 – but limited first team opportunities saw him move to French side Strasbourg.
He had spells with several clubs, but arguably his four years with Palace between 2003 and 2007 were the best of his career.
Eddie McGoldrick was a former Palace Player of the Year and enjoyed five good years at the club.
He joined City from Arsenal, initially on loan, before signing permanently and staying at Maine Road for three seasons.
He has since returned to Palace as the head of their Academy.
Nomadic goalkeeper John Burridge had spells with both clubs, though more prominently with the Eagles where he stayed from 1977 to 1980, making 88 league appearances.
He played for City in 1994/95, becoming the Premier League’s oldest player at 43 in the process!
Stuart Taylor was another keeper who spent time with both clubs - Palace on loan in 2000 and three years with City from 2009 to 2012 - though he never made a first team appearance for the Blues.
Emmanuel Adebayor was at City 18 months before being loaned to Real Madrid and then Spurs.
He would eventually join Spurs on a permanent deal and then Palace in 2015/16, playing just 15 games.
Full-back Danny Granville was at City between 1999 and 2001, before being loaned out to Norwich.
He joined Palace in 2001 and enjoyed six seasons with the Eagles.
Finally, popular City winger Mark Kennedy spent two years with the Blues, playing an integral part in our 1999-2000 campaign.
He left for Wolves in 2001, staying five years at Molineux before joining Palace for a couple of seasons.
HERE’S TO BRIGHT BLUE SKIES …
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City guaranteed a place in our ninth League Cup final - and a fourth consecutive trip to Wembley - with a comfortable win at Old Trafford in the semi-final last week...
Coincidentally, while I was looking for something to feature in this evening’s programme, I came across a dusty box of negatives. I was hoping to find some long lost Joy Division negs (I didn’t), however, I found a sheet of negatives for these photos instead.
They were taken in Albert Square when City won the League Cup in 1976, our second final victory in the competition.
Mike Doyle was still insisting on holding the trophy with one hand - whereas I think the traditional two hand holding aloft should be made compulsory for all victorious skippers.
I’m a fan of Big Joe Corrigan’s fedora though. Hey Joe: where did you get that hat?
I also like how the Mayor has got into the spirit completely and turned it into her show. She wasn’t going to let go of that cup too easily.
Finally, Colin Bell’s waving it out of the Town Hall window isn’t to be recommended. I kept waiting for it to fall from his hand and onto his adoring fans below. Let’s hope that by the time April comes around we’ll be able to see our beloved Blues take on Tottenham at Wembley, and, fingers crossed, bring the League Cup back for our eighth win in nine finals.
Name: Julia Streczen
Favourite player: Sergio Aguero
Hobbies: "Dancing and gymnastics. I attend the Bodyrockers Dance Studio which is located in Thorne."
Best memory: "My best memories of Manchester City was when we beat PSG 1-0 12.04 2016, with Kevin De Bruyne scoring the winner. Some of the pics here were taken that day!"
Some of our favourite terrace songs - what, when and how they came to be...
(To tune of Three Little Birds)
“City don’t worry,
About a thing,
’Cause every little thing,
Is gonna be alright.
City don’t worry,
About a thing,
’Cause every little thing,
Is gonna be alright.”
(repeat to fade)
A creation of the supporters group ‘Blue Alliance’, the Bob Marley and The Wailers classic ‘Three Little Birds' became a popular chant in the latter half of the 2010/11 campaign.
Tuneful, happy and positive, it can last for a few minutes and is sung whether City are winning, losing, or drawing. Has been adopted by a few other clubs but originated from our fans.
On this occasion the subject of my mixed grilling is Jo Lake...
If (like me) you follow Jo on social media, you’ll be well aware of the fact that she eats, sleeps and breathes City. Her passion for the game and the Blues has drifted from the within her leisure time into her creative workspace.
Jo is an accomplished writer and has written or co-written with the likes of City legends David White and a certain Paul Lake.
To be fair the latter of these two would hardly have posed much of a negotiation due in no small part to the fact that Jo Lake is Jo Lake’s married name… as yes that’s right - she is married to one of the greatest players I’ve ever seen in action. Sadly the answer to one of the questions below brings back the same memory to Jo as it does to me. Paul’s last game for MCFC.
Anyway- no spoilers here… read on for a thoroughly engaging Q+A with Joanne Lake.
WHAT IS YOUR EARLIEST MEMORY OF GOING TO A FOOTBALL MATCH?
"Boxing Day 1977 v Newcastle United, which happened to be Colin Bell’s comeback match. I was entranced by the whole Maine Road experience and within a few weeks I had jacked in my Saturday afternoon ballet classes in favour of a season ticket in D Block."
WHAT IS THE MOST PECULIAR OR MEMORABLE THING THAT HAS EVER HAPPENED TO YOU AT A MATCH
"In November 2016 my daughter Hannah was a player escort for City v Barcelona in the Champions League, and watching the referee hand her the match ball as both teams emerged from the tunnel made me squeal with delight. A proper Proud Mum moment."
IF YOU COULD GO BACK IN TIME AND PREVENT ONE MATCH FROM BEING PLAYED, WHAT MATCH WOULD THAT BE - AND WHY?
"This goes without saying: City v Aston Villa in September 1990, the game in which Paul sustained a knee injury that ultimately cut short his football career. A framed picture in an Etihad hospitality suite describes him as ‘The Greatest Player You Never Saw,’ which always bring a tear to my eye."
WHICH TEAM ARE YOUR LEAST FAVOURITE OPPONENTS - AND WHY?
"I’ve got a problem with Stoke City. I think it may have something to do with a very intimidating away-day experience in the late 1980s, when I realised that it was in my best interests to conceal both my scarf and my accent."
WHAT IS YOUR MOST FAVOURITE MAN CITY TERRACE SONG OR CHANT - AND WHY?
"Pardoe, Pardoe, it’s off to work we go, with Bell and Lee and Summerbee, Pardoe, Pardoe... I have fond memories of my dad singing it to me by my bedside when I was a kid, among other City songs. I think I grew up knowing more football chants than nursery rhymes."
WHAT IS THE MOST MEMORABLE CITY GOAL YOU HAVE WITNESSED?
"Vincent Kompany’s header in the April 2012 Manchester derby. A marvellous goal in a momentous season. My brother Andy lifted me aloft in celebration and his back has never recovered."
IF YOU COULD INVITE ANY MAN CITY PLAYER - PRESENT OR PAST - TO YOURS FOR TEA AND BISCUITS - WHO WOULD IT BE - AND WHY?
"Bert Trautmann. His backstory fascinates me, both on and off the pitch, and I’d love to have chatted to him about his life in England and Germany over a brew and a biscuit. I’m told that he was a total gent."
HAVE YOU EVER SHED A TEAR - OF JOY - OR PAIN - AT A CITY MATCH?
"Both. Tears of pain when we were relegated in 1996 – those touchline shenanigans still make me wince – and tears of joy following the famous victory over QPR in May 2012, although I have no memory of Sergio’s 93:20 beauty going in. I genuinely think I had some kind of blackout."
WHAT DO YOU MISS MOST ABOUT MAINE ROAD?
The City Social Club has a special place in my heart. In the early 1980s I won a Junior Blues competition to have lunch there with the players (steak pie, chips and peas) and, a good few years later, I remember this iconic venue hosting a fantastic Manchester music night for Paul’s testimonial."
WHO DO YOU THINK WOULD WIN IN AN ARM WRESTLING MATCH…YAYA TOURE - OR KYLE WALKER?
"Team Yaya. I’d bake him a special winner’s cake."
IF YOU COULD PICK ONE CURRENT CITY PLAYER TO BE ON YOUR PUB QUIZ TEAM - WHO WOULD IT BE - AND WHY?
"Ilkay Gundogan strikes me as a pretty switched-on fella and I think he’d be really good company, too. He’ll be assured of a very warm welcome at the Jolly Sailor quiz night when it resumes, hopefully sooner rather than later…"
Joanne Lake kicked off her writing career by ghosting her husband Paul’s memoir, ‘I’m Not Really Here’. Her subsequent collaborations have included ex-City winger David White, World Cup referee Howard Webb and ex-Labour Party MP Tom Watson. Her current project is still under wraps but will be published in autumn 2021. Jo lives in Stockport with Paul and their two children, Edward and Hannah.