A Foden First

On this day (25 September) in 2018 Phil Foden was compared to Andres Iniesta after a thrilling performance in the League Cup at Oxford United. Here’s the story of that game:

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Above photo by Steve Daniels for Oxford United.

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Latest Finish

This day (15 August) in 2020 was the latest date a football season had ended for Manchester City. Sadly, the Blues were defeated 3-1 in the Champions League quarter final v Olympique Lyonnais. There are some highlights here if you want to see them:

https://www.mancity.com/citytv/mens/city-lyon-match-highlights-63733124

A year Ago Today – Pep’s Record breakers

On this day (10th February) in 2021 Manchester City won 3-1 at Swansea in the FA Cup with goals from Kyle Walker (30’), Raheem Sterling (47’) and Gabriel Jesus (50’).

The victory meant that City became the first team to win 15 consecutive games (excluding penalty shootouts). This new record was added to the Blues other win record established in 2017: Most consecutive wins (including penalty shootouts): 20. For more information on these records see:

https://gjfootballarchive.com/2021/02/11/consecutive-win-records-facts-or-fiction/

For more on games between City and Swansea see: https://gjfootballarchive.com/2021/02/10/swansea-and-city/

The win also meant that Pep had managed City to 200 victories during his time as manager. After the win he told the media: “I’m very pleased for the way they performed. All of them.

“Swansea is a strong side. They are a really strong team. You understand how many games they were unbeaten. We are in the next round. We are very pleased. The game takes more than 90 minutes. I would love to win after eight minutes. That’s why you have to be patient, control the strength points. In general we played a really good game.

“It shows how special these players are. And we think of the next one. I know we broke a record of all-time. Now it belongs to us and it will be broken for sure. Sport is like this. It means a lot. This is the toughest period. To do what we have done so far is quite remarkable. The important thing is the way we are playing, consistency and the next ones.

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‘False Number 9s’

Today I’m going to discuss an element of Manchester City’s 1950s period that bears significance to today. In essence a tactical innovation that the Blues – and star player Don Revie – became renowned for: The Revie Plan or, using modern day phraseology, the False 9.

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Different Gravy: A Review of MCFC’s Together Film

last night I was fortunate to attend the premiere of the new Manchester City film Together at the Everyman Cinema, ABC Building on Quay Street, Manchester. Here is my review of the film and the evening.

Guests were welcomed from 6PM with some drinks and nibbles at the cinema. I’d never been to the Everyman before. It’s a fairly new, stylish cinema and a welcome addition to Manchester’s entertainment offering. The bar area encouraged a relaxed mood and it was good to chat with various City staff and guests, most of whom I haven’t seen since before Covid. I spent quite a bit of time with actor John Henshaw who, like me, had worked on The Keeper (the film about Trautmann – he played Bert’s father-in-law and I was a historical consultant to the film).

About 7pm we were invited into the cinema room, passing the Premier League and League Cup trophies. The seats are plush, most are two seater settee style seats and some are single. Popcorn was of course readily available.

Rob Pollard, a member of City’s media team who many Blues will know, did a great introduction. It was great to see a regular member of City staff fronting the premiere like this and Rob represented all those involved well. Great work and much better to me than bringing on a celebrity announcer who hadn’t a direct connection to the film to present it. The name of the film is Together and Rob’s introduction added to that general theme in my opinion.

The film then started. I won’t give away too much in this review but it is worth explaining what the film is and a few key points/memories from it.

The film follows the players through the final stages of the 2020-21 season showing City’s fight in four competitions. Obviously, there are high points and a few lows in the film but this isn’t a typical ‘let’s see City scoring goals from every angle’ film. Instead it’s a fly on the wall style supported with interviews with players looking back at certain points. Goals and match action are often filmed from a camera in the stands or on the sidelines rather than typical broadcast coverage. I think this adds to the view that we’re observing something we don’t normally see.

There’s quite a bit of humour in there and the personalities of some players really come out. De Bruyne displays a deadpan style of humour – at one point he’s asked what would be going through Mahrez’s mind as he’s preparing to take a penalty and he simply says ‘I don’t know’. Scott Carson arrives dressed as a fireman one day and we learn how popular he is with the rest of the squad. Everyone’s delighted when he gets to appear in his first Premier League game for a decade.

Phil Foden features a lot and he talks about Aguero, explaining how he was in awe of him when Foden first made his way into the team. We also see Aguero telling Foden that he’s ‘Different Gravy’ after the League Cup final.

Food features a lot… we see smoothies being made, Walker helping the chefs and we hear how Riyad’s Pasta has become the most popular dish for several players. Oh, and then there’s Pep trying a bacon sandwich!

There was a personal bonus for me when I spotted two of my nephews on screen holding up an Aguero banner in the film.

Overall, the film is a great watch and lasts over 90 minutes. It’s available on City+ from today and I think that all those involved deserve praise for what they’ve achieved. Considering this is an in-house production the quality of the production is impressive. Football clubs traditionally don’t produce film productions of this quality. Nice work City’s media team.

The ending was always going to be tough for a film that chronicles the last weeks of the season but I think they did a great ending… I won’t say how it ends but keep watching after the CL final conclusion.

Oh, and if you do watch Together make sure you look out for the in-depth description of the ‘boot steamer’ when watching!

Here’s a trailer:

Opening Winning Sequences

Pep Guardiola officially became Manchester City manager on July 1 2016 (five years ago today). When he arrived his opening run of competitive games prompted much discussion on the opening achievements of his predecessors. I ended up trawling through the opening months of every City manager to establish whether Pep’s opening results (ten successive wins!) were the best achieved by any Blues’ boss.

Here for subscribers is the result of that trawl…

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Pep Guardiola wins LMA Manager of the Year award

Latest press release from Manchester City…

Pep Guardiola wins LMA Manager of the Year award
• Pep Guardiola has been named LMA Manager of the Year for the second time in four seasons
• Guardiola’s team has already completed a League and Cup double and now have their sights set on Saturday’s Champions League final
• The Catalan manager acknowledged the importance of sharing his award with the players and staff who have guided City to success this season
Pep Guardiola has been named Manager of the Year by the League Manager’s Association.


Adapting to the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, Guardiola guided Manchester City to a third Premier League title in four seasons and a fourth consecutive League Cup.


On Saturday, Guardiola and his players will compete in a first Champions League final in the Club’s history.


Voted for by fellow managers, it is the second time the City boss has been awarded the prize, having previously done so in recognition of the 2017/18 Centurions season.


Pep Guardiola: “I am delighted to win this award for the second time, but an award like this is only possible if a manager is surrounded by top professionals.


“My players have been fantastic – their dedication and professionalism never waver, even in a season that has been the most challenging we have ever faced.


“And my staff are also deserving of the highest praise. I am so lucky to have a team of people who give everything they have every single day to make sure Manchester City are the best we can be.


“This award is dedicated to and shared with them.”


Director of Football Txiki Begiristain added: “Pep deserves this award, absolutely. To win the Premier League and Carabao Cup, as well as reach the final Champions League final, in the most trying season we’ve ever seen, says everything about his quality as a manager.


“He has shown an outstanding ability to constantly innovate. With the challenges presented by COVID-19, he’s had to adapt to a new way of working. He’s done it brilliantly and our results say everything you need to know.