Manchester City vs Nottingham Forest
Venue: City of Manchester Stadium
Date: 3rd January 2009
K.O. Time: 15:00 GMT
Manchester City and Nottingham Forest are two clubs with vast similarities. Once a heavyweight of the English game, under the guidance of legendary manager Brian Clough, the east Midlands side managed to win two European cups, an English league title and two league cups in the space of three years. Under the famous partnership of Mercer and Allison, and roughly ten years previous to Forest’s domination, City enjoyed a similarly terrific spell.
In recent years, their respective downfalls are equally as comparable. Financial difficulties and many unsuccessful managers have seen Forest fall to English football’s third tier, winning promotion at the third time of asking last summer under Colin Calderwood. Only ten years ago City’s fall from grace brought them all the way to the same lows, albeit making an escape after only one season.
Now, with Calderwood replaced and Billy Davies installed as manager, the reds find themselves in an unsatisfactory 21st place in the Championship, though numerous draws, as opposed to defeats, and a manager now installed with a track record of success in the division, there should be new optimism.
With the transfer window now officially open, excitement is gathering around Eastlands with the financial muscle of Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan ensuring Mark Hughes has no barriers in his bid to strengthen an underperforming side.
Last Sunday, with Calderwood having been sacked following a 4-2 home defeat to Doncaster, it was up to Chadderton born reserve coach John Pemberton to lead the side out against Norwich at Carrow Road, and they recorded an impressive 3-2 win there, to lift them out of the relegation zone.
Up in Lancashire meanwhile, City came from behind to earn a point in a 2-2 draw at Blackburn. Galvanised by the appointment of Sam Allardyce and four points from their two previous games, Blackburn took advantage of a disappointing City but late heroics from youngster Daniel Sturridge and Robinho meant a share of the spoils. Following on from the 5-1 home demolition of Hull, City now find themselves 13th in the table.
LAST SEASON’S FA CUP:
Last season, Forest started their FA Cup campaign with a draw away at Lincoln City, however they won the replay convincingly by three goals to one. The second round was a huge disappointment though, losing 1-0 to Luton Town.
City, meanwhile, didn’t fare much better- a third round draw at Upton Park with West Ham led to an Eastlands replay, where an unlikely header from Elano earned the blues a place in the last 32. However, a dismal display (aided and abetted by balloons- only at City!) saw Sheffield United earn a 2-1 win at Bramall Lane.
Nathan Tyson is remarkably quick and the striker, formerly of Reading and Wycombe, where he enjoyed a phenomenal scoring record, will cause City’s defenders problems if they perform as they have been doing this season. With 30 goals conceded, this is obviously a weak point in the side and Tyson, should be play, will look to take advantage.
I expect Daniel Sturridge to start tomorrow’s game, and to bag a couple of goals. His chances have been limited this season but the 19 year old has undoubted class, as evidenced last Sunday at Blackburn. A natural finisher but also one who is quick and composed on the ball, he’ll be keen to impress Mark Hughes tomorrow.
Of course, ‘Typical City’ would dictate that City should lose this fixture, but with better players and home advantage I’m predicting a 3-1 win for us. Forest will not come here to lay down and die, and could pose problems, but I think such is the quality of our forward players, we will create numerous chances and take them.
A big thanks to Colin The King from www.mancityfans.net for this Fa Cup 3rd round match preview