Reasons to be cheerful – and fearful

Consecutive debacles at West Ham and Everton no doubt led every City fan to ponder whether we’re going to stay up this season. I believe we will, or at least we should.

Let’s compare the attacking options we have compared to those from 12 months ago. Now we have Jozy Altidore, Amr Zaki, Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink and Kamel Ghilas. Last time round we had Daniel Cousin and Manucho. For both seasons Geovanni, Nicky Barmby, Craig Fagan and Caleb Folan remain the same.

Now who is more likely to bang in enough goals to keep us up – a combination of Altidore, Zaki, Vennegoor of Hesselink, Ghilas, Geovanni, Barmby, Fagan and Folan, or Cousin, Manucho, Geovanni, Barmby, Fagan and Folan?

In midfield, we’ve put Stephen Hunt, Tom Cairney and Seyi Olofinjana into the mix, Jimmy Bullard looks set to play a greater role than last season, and lost only Ian Ashbee through injury. So we’re clearly a stronger proposition in the centre of the park too.

At the back, the loss of Michael Turner and to a lesser extent Sam Ricketts undoubtedly weakened us. However, Paul McShane and Stephen Mouyokolo have by no means been disastrous additions, while Kamil Zayatte has improved and we teased more of a contribution from Antony Gardner this season than last. Meanwhile our goalkeeping options of Boaz Myhill and Matt Duke remain constant.

Overall, who could deny we have a stronger squad than last season? And with many more players who have survived the intense pressure of scrapping for our lives than our main two challengers, Wolves and Burnley, too.

We may not be great, but we have more than enough quality in the squad to stay up. If we’re relegated, it will largely be down to our manager not prising enough out of a superior squad than he did last time, and being outsmarted by Mick McCarthy, Brian Laws and Avram Grant.

In other words, success or failure is down to how well Phil Brown fares over the next 10 games. Yikes.


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