So, the final league game of the season and although it feels a bit meaningless it’s far from that.
If City drop points against Bolton and we beat Fulham then we’ll finish third, which as we all know means automatic qualification for next season’s Champions League group stages. That means no qualifying round, no disruption to pre-season plans and no threat of not making the CL. All in all it would be fantastic if City had some dodgy lasagna last night and we managed to secure only our second win from our last seven games.
Beyond that I don’t know that this game deserves, or requires, much of a preview. We know there’ll be some absentees today, significant ones at that, and perhaps some of them won’t be around to miss out through injury next season. It’s down to the players who are available to show some measure of pride and commitment to the shirt and ensure that they give everything to get the three points.
The likelihood of City slipping up at Bolton is slim but you just never know. We can’t go through the motions again because losing the final game to a team managed by Mark Hughes would be the poison coated cherry atop the jism flavoured icing on the rhino poo flavoured cake that is this season. Fingers crossed we can go out on something of a high today and that results elsewhere make it slightly higher.
In other news the manager says he will not allow a ‘Flamini situation’ to develop with Samir Nasri and Gael Clichy. He says:
We will sort that situation out quickly after the end of the season. We need to know very quickly. We do not want to do that [allow them to leave on a free like Flamini]. We won’t allow that to happen.
It has to be resolved before the season starts again.
In fact it needs to be sorted long before that. As I told you some months ago Clichy pulled out of contract talks and from that you can make up your own mind about his intentions. The Nasri situation is clearly a big issue too. From talking very positively about a new deal the manager is now saying ‘we need to know’, which again tells you something about the state of play.
I’m told that unless Nasri signs a new deal fairly quickly at the season’s end then the club will make moves to ensure that they don’t lose a valuable asset for free next summer. The manager talks about being sensible in the transfer market and unfortunately part of that is maximising the value of our players should we need to move them on. You can question why new contracts were handed out willy-nilly to players who had done little to merit them and Nasri’s was allowed to get to this point – and I think that would be a very legitimate question – but it doesn’t alter the reality of the situation.
If he won’t sign then we’ve got to sell him. I like him as a player, I think he’s going to get better, and with another possible high profile departure this summer it would be a huge blow to lose him as well, but we’re in a position where we have no choice. If that’s a failure of the manager or the administration side of the club, or perhaps Nasri himself (it doesn’t make much sense that he wouldn’t be offered one at least), it doesn’t matter. What matters is how we deal with it.
The Sunday Mirror suggests we’re looking at Mario Gotze again (heh) as a possible replacement so we shall see how it all pans out.
Lots of stuff in the Mirror this morning, actually. First they say in an ‘exclusive’ that we’ll sell Cesc to Barcelona for £50m, and there is a feeling that if the right money is offered then we’d consider a sale. Every player has his price after all. But not to Man City even if they’re offering £58m and I don’t believe Cesc would go there anyway.
Meanwhile The People links us with Senagalese striker Moussa Sow who made a pig of himself with 22 goals in France this season. I’ve heard of rasher moves than that, in fairness.
And some good news this morning, The Mirror also reveals that Jack Wilshere (and Andy Carroll, but I don’t care about him) will not be included in the England U21 squad this summer. Common sense seems to have prevailed at long last, it’s a rare occurrence in the football world so let’s enjoy it while we can. It means Jack can get the rest he needs this summer after what has been a long and trying campaign.
Finally, congratulations to the Arsenal Ladies who beat Bristol Academy 2-0 in the FA Cup final yesterday. Silverware! Let us live vicariously through the ladies. In the nicest way possible, of course.
And that’s about that. Assuming I can find a stream later there’ll be live blog coverage of the game, so check back later for more info on that.
For now, coffee, bacon, and some mild *boilk*ing before the game begins.