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DAVID MOONEY: City’s win over Bayern Munich like Viagra to their fans

You might remember, a few weeks ago after Manchester City had cocked up against CSKA Moscow, I wrote for Typical City about how I was beginning to get fed up with the excuses coming from the club when they had failed once again in the Champions League. To re-cap briefly, it was about being frustrated with the “we must do better” or “we need to learn this lesson” comments after matches where the Blues had lost or drawn, when they could – and should – have won, especially in the top European competition.

Now, one win against one of the best sides in the world doesn’t change that there are concerns, but it does change a bit of the feeling. Ahead of Tuesday’s win over Bayern Munich, the mood surrounding Europe was fairly apathetic and downbeat; even if the Blues were to win, they were still up against it in trying to qualify from the group. However, I suppose, the manner of the win is what affects that – because there’s been an almost 180-degree turnaround and I feel it too.


See, City’s performance on Tuesday evening wasn’t great. They may have won the game, but there was something a bit fortuitous about it; you always got the impression Bayern could have stepped it up had they not been leading with a few minutes to play. They were wasting time, sure (who wouldn’t, really?), but they were still matching the Blues while down to ten men.

In a whirlwind of contradiction, though, you always felt that City were fairly comfortable. While Bayern could have done more damage, they didn’t carve out any clear-cut chances after taking the lead and were content to sit on that lead. I suppose being group winners and being a man down was part of that line of thinking.

This gives something of a double impression. While feeling that City didn’t play particularly well, you also feel like their performance was pretty good – they saw a lot of the ball in dangerous areas and were getting a few (albeit, long range) shots in. From the hour mark, it always looked like it’d be City that would get it if there were to be another goal. And it was.

And while the win gives the Blues the chance to qualify from the group in the final game, the concerns about the Champions League remain. Despite being a man light, Bayern were able to seize control of the game. City, after dispatching the penalty, were in total control; Bayern were taking chances in defence trying to pass it forward and the home side were causing problems with their pressing.

A soft equaliser changed that (again borne out by avoidable errors – Eliaquim Mangala’s challenge, Joe Hart’s positioning and the position of the man wall). On top of that came a second for the visitors, who surely mustn’t have been able to believe their luck when the goalkeeper was caught in no-man’s land and Bacaray Sagna provided an aerial challenge akin to nothing more than a stiff breeze.

Whoever City are playing – be it the group’s worst team or the group’s best team – these sorts of goals can’t be conceded and defending in this competition has been lax for a while.

Now, all of that said, the win over Bayern Munich has reinvigorated the passion for City in Europe. It’s probably because of the nature of it. On 85 minutes, the Blues were as good as out – save for results going their way and a 3-0 or higher win in Rome. But seven minutes later, City could qualify with a 2-2 draw in their final match.

As the 1998-99 season review VHS said of Paul Dickov’s goal in the Playoff Final: “From despair to delight, the City fans celebrate!” And that, to an extent, was true of Tuesday evening. Had the Blues cocked up against Bayern, there will have been thousands of City fans who threw in the towel with Europe – sick of the same old story, with only the names of the opposition changing.

Yet, by playing that Get Out Of Jail Free card, those fans have come away from the game feeling good. Hell, I’m one of the most pessimistic supporters there is and even I feel like City could actually get the result they need in Rome (though I’ve not decided if they’ll end up going out anyway because of CSKA Moscow’s result in a bout of Typical City).

People talk of the win over Bayern potentially being a turning point, but it could be so much more than that. True, it might get this season off and running properly after weeks of below par displays and results. This could have been the match that City needed to perk up interest in Europe’s top club competition.

Maybe, instead of going home feeling disillusioned with the Champions League, just maybe the supporters left the Etihad feeling a new lease of life for it. There was no awful refereeing decision that hid the team’s inadequacies. They were there for all to see and City went on to beat Bayern Munich with every single one of those European problems on display. They beat the German side with their flies open and c*ck hanging out is what they did.

Perhaps it’s an unerringly positive way to look at things, but Manuel Pellegrini and his side have the chance to qualify from a group they should be dead and buried in given how well they’ve played in it so far. They might still go out, even if they get a win in Rome, but should that happen it’d be very hard to deny that there is an upbeat feeling despite the elimination.

There are still worries that the lessons haven’t been learnt, even in victory, but at least the problems weren’t so severe that they were fatal. Perhaps this is the game where City got their confidence back for the domestic fight, built on a solid – if, at times, nervy – display against Swansea; and perhaps this was the game where the Champions League comes alive for the fans once again.

City’s win over Bayern Munich is the Viagra medication to the limpness of the supporters’ enthusiasm for the Champions League.

I don’t know about you, but I suddenly feel reborn.

Written by David Mooney

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PLAYER RATINGS: Manchester City 3-2 Bayern Munich

Manchester City finally created a grand Champions League night at The Etihad Stadium on Tuesday night, coming from behind to beat 10-man Bayern Munich 3-2. Sergio Aguero scored a hat-trick, including a stoppage time winner to cap an incredible finale. Despite the result though, City weren’t entirely convincing.

So how did the players fare individually? Find out below with our ratings – each scored out of ten.

Starting 11

Hart – 6 – Given his form recently he’ll have been extremely disappointed to have been left so flat-footed for Xabi Alonso’s free kick that leveled the scores. He had however already made an excellent block at 0-0 and could do little about Lewendowski’s goal. Kicking was atrocious.

Sagna – 6 – Made a decent start and his forward runs were more prominent than usual. Faded as the game progressed and will be annoyed at not having done more to ward off the Lewendowski strike that put Bayern ahead. A reasonable back up to Pablo Zabaleta, but he is no replacement for the Argentine on such a big stage.

Kompany – 7 – He’s been a bit below his best recently but this was a step up. Good without being outstanding, he still lead by example. He never lets his head drop and need stops believing in himself and his team. There is no doubt his focus and drive is an inspiration to his teammates.

Mangala – 7 – He was always the right man for the job on this night – his pace against a team like Bayern was always going to be an asset. Looked confident and comfortable on the front foot. He was clumsy in giving away the set piece that Alonso scored from and so must take some blame for that goal, but this performance was the first since his debut against Chelsea to demonstrate just how good the Frenchman could be.

Clichy – 6 – The extended run in the team afforded to him by Kolarov’s injury is doing him the world of good. He was exceptional in the derby, very good against Swansea and competent again here. Very few players will have a comfortable night against the extraordinary Arjen Robben but Clichy did a good job against him and was more than happy to attack down the left.

Fernando – 5 – There was nothing eye-catching about the Brazilian’s display but he was ok. Can’t find fault with him, but there wasn’t a massive amount to enthuse about either. Still settling back in after his injury.

Milner – 5 – Enjoyed his best night in a City shirt when he scored the winner in Munich last year. He was unable to hit those heights again though. For a player who prefers playing the centrally, he will be disappointed at how little influence he exerted on proceedings.

Lampard – 7 – How easy it is to forget now that pretty much every observer thought he would be a bit part player over his six month stay with City. Now the popular consensus is that his stay must be extended. He continues to defy his years by being a key and active player amongst much younger legs, even against the best in the world. Played the pass that lead to the penalty for City’s opener and nearly scored a memorable goal that just went wide. What a thoroughly impressive player he is.

Navas – 6 – Always wanted the ball and City seemed to see him as their best option for a long time. His end product is massively below par though. In theory, he is fast enough and skilful enough to beat any defender but once opponents double up on him he’s done for. He is perhaps best reserved as an impact player in games of this magnitude.

Nasri – 6 – Not as influential or creative as he would have liked but he certainly wasn’t bad. The technical proficiency of the visitors, even with ten men, starved him of the opportunity to conduct play but he did continue to probe when he had the ball at is feet.

Agüero – 10 – I hate to give full marks because everybody can always do better but this score awards itself. With three shots and three goals, the striker couldn’t really have done much more. He is in such confident mood that he wants to do everything himself and more often than not he can. He stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the current best in the world now – where on Earth would City be without him?


Jovetic – 7 – Earns his mark for impact alone – he had a hand in the equaliser and winner. Not a bad way to mark his night, given that he was sent on when his team was losing.

Zabaleta – 6 – It was a surprise he didn’t start. Shored things up at right-back when he replaced Sagna who had lost his way somewhat.

Demichelis – No score – Came on in stoppage time – no time to score him.

Written by Richard Burns – you can follow him on Twitter

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Manchester City Are A Ridiculous Football Club

Once again City have done something strange and wonderful, beating Bayern Munich to keep Champion’s League hopes alive despite playing like total frauds for at least 80 minutes of the game. Last night was the latest game in a long tradition which defines City’s recent history.

It must be strange for the club’s owners to look at all the money they’ve spent and their reams of data and statistics and see that the super club they have created still indulges in the same nonsense as the team which was relegated the year after winning the league back in the day, was knocked out of the FA Cup by a balloon, was relegated by that Jamie Pollock own goal or almost bottled the Division 2 Playoff Final.

City have long been a club which holds farce and glory in their hands, both ready to embrace at any opportunity. Previously City have tended to go down the route of farce in Europe  and leave the good stuff behind, but last night the continent saw the other side of City as well.

Lets make no bones about it, City were rubbish last night. Bayern Munich’s ten men deserved to win that game. But they didn’t thanks to the genius of Sergio Aguero and a slice of luck which City have been too often denied in the Champion’s League. And crucially, City didn’t give up.

“We’ll fight to the end” goes the song which could easily be awful and mawkish. Instead it tends to become real at the most important times. Journalists use it. The club and players take it as an article of faith. City don’t always come up trumps, but how people can ever not believe that City might pull something out of the bag after everything we’ve seen, especially over the last few years, is beyond me.

One day people will stop writing City off in October. One day people, including our own fans, will stop writing City off at half time. Over and over again it proves to be a mug’s game.

Now the challenge is to kick on, to use this result as a platform for future success, to go to Rome and win as we know the team are capable of. City are a ridiculous and brilliant club to support, capable of the sublime and of self sabotage, and I wouldn’t have it any other way even if I really don’t understand them at times.

Written by Alex Timperley who is on Twitter

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ANALYSIS: Manchester City 3-2 Bayern Munich

The first four games of this Champions League campaign have been an unmitigated disaster for Manchester City. Sitting bottom of the group with a measly two points and with one of the best teams in the world visiting The Etihad, the only picture you could paint for the Blues was a bleak one. With CSKA Moscow v Roma finishing as a 1-1 draw prior to City’s game against Bayern Munich, the Blues knew exactly what they needed to do to keep themselves in with a chance of qualifying from Group E. Essentially, a win would be very handy but a draw would just about do.

Mehdi Benatia saw red for Bayern in the 20th minute, in the process conceding a penalty that Sergio Agüero placed expertly past Manuel Neuer. Despite having a man less, the visitors still came back to lead 2-1 at the break. Heading into the closing stages, it was looking like a disastrous night leaving City on the brink of elimination, before Agüero popped up with two goals in the last five minutes to seal his hat-trick and provide City with three points that might just save their entire European campaign.

Why did it nearly go wrong?

As usual, I like to get the negatives out of the way early. For large parts of the game this looked like being just another European failure for Pellegrini’s men. Regardless of your opponent, if you surrender a goal advantage at home against a team playing with a man less than you, you have to ask questions.

To give the Bavarian team the credit they deserve, their technical ability really did shine through all game. Despite starting on the back foot and losing a player from the heart of their defence, they never lost focus. Their ability to keep the ball and create space was, at times, truly mesmerising. Every player knew his role, each one gifted in the extreme. Even the goalkeeper is a player you’d fancy to be decent further up the pitch.

City, for all of their toil, looked short of ideas…again. They clearly fancied Jesus Navas as their main threat on the right wing and sought to give him the ball as often as possible. The problem with this is that, despite being blessed with pace and skill and a sometimes-wicked delivery, the Spaniard so rarely proves to be the difference in important games. He worked hard and that effort is priceless and endearing, but I’d challenge anybody to feel confident there’s a goal coming when he has the ball on the wing with two defenders in front of him. His skillset should mean he backs himself to beat his men and get the ball in but his end product is seriously lacking at the moment. I really like the guy but he is out of touch right now – it was optimistic to rely on him so much here.

Enough of that – do the good bits!

Ok ok, I was getting there! It’s been nearly a year since we celebrated a Manchester City Champions League victory (the last being a 3-2 win over Bayern Munich, no less) so it would be churlish to dwell on bad vibes here.

I’m loathe to ever question the effort and desire of a football team but City’s miserable efforts in this competition so far have it made it difficult to believe that they have been fully applying themselves. If lack of hunger has been an issue up to this point, that was never one of the problems tonight. If Bayern were the better side (and they were), it was purely on ability and never on effort.

Manuel Pellegrini started with just one striker instead of two. I’m not even going to analyse how that went in detail – it was just nice to see him change from a system he has stubbornly stuck to despite stark evidence it just doesn’t work. His team were subsequently less exposed at the back and less susceptible to counter-attacks. That he made the change and City won will hopefully teach him that it’s ok to try other ideas when your Plan A isn’t working. Principles are admirable – stubbornness is not.

With three shots, all of which he scored from, one must single out Sergio Agüero for special praise. City are undoubtedly too reliant on the Argentine genius at present, but it is understandable that one of the world’s best footballers will stand out above the rest in any team. He has earned the right to be named amongst the very best players on the planet now. The man is, frankly, ridiculous.

The result means that if City win in Rome on December 10th and CSKA Moscow fail to beat Bayern Munich, the Blues will pull off a minor miracle and progress to the last 16. There’s still a lot to do, but it all looks a lot brighter than it did in the 84th minute of this game.

Written by Richard Burns – you can follow him on Twitter

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Tomorrow’s Champion’s League clash with Bayern Munich is very much a make or break game for City. Less so for Bayern Munich, however. The German giants are on course to qualify top of the group with ease and can be expected to put up firm opposition at the Etihad. Both teams are depleted through injury/suspension and this game may well come down to who can hold out the longest.

We spoke to Michel Munger of Bayern Central for the low down on our opponents. Bayern Central is a new member of the Football Collective (signup for the newsletter here) just like Typical City so hopefully we will be seeing more from Michel in the future.

Hello Michel, thanks a lot for coming on. City and Bayern have a lot of recent history in the Champion’s League; What is the perception of City like amongst the Bayern fanbase both on and off the pitch?

On the pitch, Manchester City earned our respect. Although we “had” them in the first Champions League fixture in 2013, our favourite team had its hands full in the second fixture. Man City played free-flowing, attractive football to take the game to Bayern. Not many opponents do that.

Off the pitch is another matter. You may be aware that Bayern is one of the best managed clubs, fan-owned, that earned all its money through its footballing activities. Just as most Bundesliga fans, Bayern fans openly dislike foreign owners who pump money into a team for transfers.

You have one of the best managers in world football – the best in my opinion – in Guardiola but it looked like he had a rocky start to life in Germany. Is this the case? And how do you think he’s doing after having had a season to bed in?

The fans’ relationship with Pep Guardiola is by no means simple. There are two camps. The first greatly admires Pep for his achievements at Barcelona and his tactical genius. Without a doubt, everybody likes having a fine tactician on board. However, the second camp could be nicknamed the “doubters”. While many love the character and how Guardiola is a “revolutionary” coach, many doubt that he is the right fit at Bayern.

The rocky start can be explained by the change in philosophy, right after Bayern won a treble with former coach Jupp Heynckes. Pep brought Thiago Alcantara and other short players, marking a major change in the team’s strengths. He rarely used Javi Martinez in central midfield, although he was hugely successful there. He favoured short lateral passes, less direct play. Many of the elements that made Bayern unbeatable in 2013 were seemingly discarded.

Expectations were super high while many thought, unfairly, “anything but a treble is unacceptable”. Combine this with a tactical mistake – using 4-2-4 – in the disastrous 0:4 defeat in the second leg against Real Madrid and many fans were unhappy.

To be fair, Guardiola is a great football coach. The timing of his arrival probably was the worst

What do you think Bayern’s chances of winning the Champion’s League this season are?

I am very confident about reaching the semi-finals. I think that Bayern can beat almost anyone but Chelsea worries me. I think that Mourinho’s team is more complete and much more physical. Very similar to Bayern in 2013. If anyone can take us out, it’s the Blues. If we beat them and avoid predictable mistakes against Madrid, we can go all the way.

City have won twice against Bayern in recent years, almost pipping you to top spot in the group last season. What’s your prediction for the game this time around? Will Bayern be relying on a Jerome Boateng fluke again?

We could also say that about other English clubs. Bayern has a pattern of winning (rather easily) on English soil, to lose the second game at the Allianz Arena. I reckon that teams adapt well to the Bavarian style of play during the second game, while FCB gets a little complacent.

And finally, which (if any) City players would you have at Bayern and why?

Yaya Touré, obviously. He is huge, powerful, smart, a good passer with a powerful long shot. Our midfield is croweded, but if we were to lose anyone in the next transfer window, Touré would be very useful.

Thanks again, Michel.

Our return interview with Bayern Central putting across the Typical City view on the game can be found here.

Written by Alex Timperley who is on Twitter

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FEATURE: Lionel Messi Is Wrong For Manchester City

During the international break a few storied institutions (Goal and the Star) reported that City have been putting together a huge deal for Lionel Messi over the last 18 months. Obviously this is nonsense, but if we were to take it at face value would this be a good move for City?

Messi is clearly one of the greatest players of all time, perhaps the very best. He is La Liga’s top goalscorer of all time at the age of 27 and has won everything many times (I’m not so bothered about the World Cup).

If the Argentine joined up with his compatriots at City he would obviously be a roaring success on the pitch. All the talk of “can he do it on a wet Tuesday night at Stoke?” would be exposed for the nonsense it is. Indeed, Stoke has never seen anyone like Messi. He would be as a god descending on Staffordshire, come to destroy.

Messi would score a phenomenal amount of goals for City and probably guarantee City at least a title and a few cups. He would also be a gold standard example for the young Academy players who would have a man to look up to who has become a mythical figure in the world of football.

He is a proven winner and record breaker who is best friends with Aguero and could dominate any league or team in the world, so what’s the problem? What are the potential issues with City (hypothetically) signing Lionel Messi?

To get the boring stuff out of the way first, let’s talk about money.

The figure of a £200m deal has been thrown about. Presumably this is an exaggeration and includes wages as well, but it speaks to a wider point. If City were to sign Messi the cost would be outrageous. All the hard work of getting to a point where the club is scheduled to break even would be undone in one fell swoop.

Maybe UEFA are so bad that they’d find some loophole to allow their favoured son to play in the Champion’s League regardless, but they are definitely going to have to make a big time example out of a team one day and we don’t want that particular bomb to land in East Manchester.

In addition, Messi would absolutely shake up the balance of the squad and the club as it stands. I am not convinced this is a good thing.

The powers that be at City have put a lot of time and effort into creating a dressing room which is full of stable, productive players who get on with each other and pull together for the benefit of the team. There don’t seem to be any power struggles and there is no indication of a fifth column inside City.

Messi is a mostly selfless player on the pitch but it’s easy to be selfless when everyone knows you’re the top dog. That wouldn’t be the case at City. Vincent Kompany rules that dressing room. Sergio Aguero is the breadwinner up front. David Silva and Yaya Toure influence the midfield to an incredible degree. Joe Hart bows to no one, for better or worse. City don’t have the tradition of deferring to Messi which has been built into every level of the Barcelona hierarchy over two decades.

Furthermore, Messi seems to be constantly in court or being investigated for tax evasion these days. Does this not sound like exactly the sort of off-the-pitch nonsense that City’s famously private owners so clearly wish to avoid. A Manchester City which included Messi would be all about Messi and not Manchester City, and that is something which does not appeal.

Lionel Messi would be incredible for City on the pitch. Off it he would be the gigantic star whose gravity disrupts everything around it.

The men in charge at City have been emphasising the long term at City right from the very beginning. The intelligent squad building, the youth academy, the much longed for continuity – all of these would be compromised by signing Messi. It would be a signing that does not fit anything we have been told these past years. Instead it would be a confirmation of every negative stereotype about this new City. A victory for a big spending, short term, nouveau-riche team.

Now don’t get me wrong, if he runs down his contract and comes for free or City can get him on a cut price bargain then let’s give it a shot, but sometimes the price is too high to pay. Money isn’t everything. Lionel Messi is not the right man for City. The club has to write its own history, not be a footnote in someone else’s.

Written by Alex Timperley who is on Twitter

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COMPETITION: Win A Ticket To Southampton Away

Welcome to the very first Typical City ticket giveaway!

We have one ticket for City’s trip to Southampton on Sunday 30th November up for grabs for a lucky winner! Southampton are flying higher than anyone could have predicted following a transfer window in which their team was decimated and almost everybody wrote them off. Smart signings and a shrewd manager are giving their fans a lot of joy.

Combine this with City’s lacklustre start to the year and this game has suddenly turned into a must win for City if they are to have any hope of retaining the title. This has not been a happy hunting ground for the blues in recent years and nothing less than the absolute best is required to come away with the three points

Simply respond to this post with a comment or retweet the original tweet for your chance to win. Whoever is pulled out of the (entirely randomised) draw will be contacted to arrange details etc etc

The competition closes on Wednesday so make sure to get back to us before then if you want to be in with a chance of winning the ticket. Good luck!

Written by Alex Timperley who is on Twitter

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City 2 - 1 Swansea

ANALYSIS: Manchester City 2 vs 1 Swansea City

Well then! That was just what the doctor ordered. City fought back to win against a Swansea side who are no slouches. Much like the pivotal game away at Hull last season, an early setback threatened to ruin City’s day, but our boys in blue fought back, took control of the game and left the Etihad with three points. Here are a few things which caught my eye…

Samir Nasri

Man of the match and deservedly so. City have missed Nasri a lot more than we could have expected (a situation exacerbated by David Silva’s injury) and today he significantly strengthened the team. The little two-step thing he does with the ball at his feet to con a defender is always a pleasure to see. In the lead up to the first goal his smart movement caused chaos down Swansea’s flank, confusing a defence which had been looking solid up to that point.

He will need to be at his very best against Bayern Munich in the midweek Champion’s League clash.


You can always tell from a player’s celebration how much they needed to score a goal. The look on Jovetic’s face after he expertly guided a Jesus Navas cross past the helpless Fabianski told you everything you needed to know. This is a man who’s career at City has been, to say the least, devastated by injury so far. Muscle problem after muscle problem has stopped him from proving himself on the biggest stage of his career so far. Suffering so many injuries must play on the mind. It must be awful wondering if you can trust your own body, not being able to rely on that most basic assumption we all make from day to day – that no matter what else goes wrong we can rely on our own bodies to carry us through each day.

Seeing Jovetic score, and have a good game all round, will never get old. Just like every time he does something good, I hope that this is the light at the end of the tunnel and that he can finally kick on – for his sake as well as ours.

Defensive worries?

The ease with which Bony escaped the City defence for the first goal was worrying, especially with Muller, Lewandowski, and all their friends hoving ominously over the horizon. Towards the end Bafetimbi Gomis split the City defence open in a similar fashion and only Joe Hart (who had another good game) making himself massive prevented a late equaliser.

On the other hand,for long periods City not only had the majority of the ball but actively dictated the play and forced Swansea back. This control, as always, originates from defence. City cannot imprint their will on games without dictation from the defence and that is what happened today. Even the recently error prone Gael Clichy imposed himself on proceedings (not to mention that frankly outrageous shot).

There are myriad reasons to be scared of what Bayern might do to City in the weak, but I am convinced the defence is improving.

In fact…

I am convinced the whole team is improving. City looked good for most of that game. We are often told that wining games like this is the mark of Champions which lets not forget, is what this City team are. Another mark of Champions? Luck. Shelvey’s free kick which deflected inches past the post gave me hope. It’s the sort of moment that a league winning story will be built around. It’s the sort of thing you can look back on as a turning point at the end of the season. Strokes of luck like that are the basis for great things. Lets hope City can stop the messing around and put together a long run of wins.

Honourable mentions

Despite not scoring Aguero was good. Toure scored the winner, once again sticking it to the haters. It was a vintage Toure effort. He charged through the defenders and, in that moment, he was perfect. Joe Hart had another good game. This is beginning to look ominously like an authoritative run of form for the big guy.

Bayern at home, Southampton away. Two big games and we have to win them both. Onwards.

Written by Alex Timperley who is on Twitter

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