As the final whistle is blown on Saturday, Monsieur Salut may well prove to have been absurdly optimistic with the headline that drew you here.
Of course we could be blown away as sharply as the ref blows his whistle. Player for player, the expensively assembled Manchester City have a distinct edge on the useful squad available to Martin O’Neill.
But MON’s most recent record against the Premier League champions and Champions League stutterers gives us reason for hope.
It matters not a jot that Ji Dong-won’s goal at the Stadium of Light on New Year’s Day was offside. It finished a move as aesthetic as you’ll see in football and should therefore have stood on artistic grounds alone. And it brought us three points, so all debate ceases.
Any sense of injustice felt by City was more than adequately answered by the undeserved Great Escape they pulled off at Eastlands to prevent a 3-1 or at least 3-2 victory for Sunderland in the return match in March.
The two points dropped by City that day were, of course, the only ones they conceded at home all season. After being dominated by Dortmund last night and, again, scraping a draw, they must be paralysed with fear at the prospect of having to face us again.
Sunderland should go into the game thinking it winnable. Having taken four points and missed out on two more last season, we can do it again. That isn’t to say we should treat it as just another game against just another team; last season’s heroics came from an ability to see City as special and rise to the two occasions.
My own prediction, based on a belief that carries less logical force than would be required to go for a thumping defeat, is 2-2 with Fletcher scoring at least once.
* See Monsieur Salut on Speedy Steven Fletcher’s recall to the Scottish squad …http://soccernet.espn.go.com/blog/_/name/sunderland/id/369?cc=5739
In honour of the challenge we face, Guess the Score restores a prize, possibly for this week only, possibly as a precursor to future policy. We’ll see.
Be the first to forecast the correct score and do so before kickoff on Saturday and if you buy one of our famous if lesser spotted MON mugs, a second will be yours for free. The design will be amended accordingly if a City fan is the winner. My decision is final.
See an outstanding edition of ‘Who are You?’ with Simon Curtis from Down the Kippax Steps, here: https://safc.blog/2012/10/manchester-city-v-safc-who-are-you-yearnings-for-liddle-old-citeh/