POOR AWAY RUN

Manchester City have been extremely poor away from home this season. They were beaten 3-2 by the likes of Cardiff and Aston Villa in the Premier league, but they managed to find a winning form in the 3-1 win over West Ham last weekend.

This victory was extremely crucial for Manuel Pellegrini because they have to take advantage of Manchester United’s dropped points. Their arch rivals could only manage a 1-1 draw with Southampton at home. After managing to hold out United for long periods of the match, Southampton struck with a late equaliser.

MORE CHANCES

Manchester City defender Micah Richards is expected to get more first-team opportunities after the arrival of new manager Manuel Pellegrini. He was not exactly a favourite of former manager Roberto Mancini.

The club failed to win any major trophy last season, while they have lifted only the Premier league and FA Cup in the last two years. As a result, many see the time of Mancini at Manchester City as a mediocre success because he spent a huge amount of money on players. Pellegrini has also brought in four players in different areas of the pitch for a combined outlay of £ 90 million.

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NEW CONTRACTS

Manchester City are set to offer new contracts to their star defenders Micah Richards and Pablo Zabaleta according to the chairman of the club. The club recently spent a lot of money extending the contracts of stars like David Silva, Sergio Aguero, and Yaya Touré.

They are follow suit with new deals for Zabaleta and Richards, who have been key players in the success they have achieved over the last three years under Roberto Mancini. Even though the Italian recently left the club, City are looking to build on the success by extending the contracts of these players.

Chairman of the club, Khaldoon Al Mubarak has said that they are keen on building on the future. Since Richards and Zabaleta have several years of football left in them, the club do not seem to be worried about offering them a new deal. The Argentine defender, Zabaleta has been very influential for the club not only with his performances on the pitch, but with his leadership qualities off the pitch as well. After failing to win the league last season, it is expected that several key signings in order to strengthen their squad. They are expected to spend well in excess of £ 50 million this summer.

“We want to assure that these two players will continue to be part of City’s future. Just as we must continue to invest in new players, we must also invest in the heart of our team, and that includes these two players,” said the chairman. Manchester City also have to sort out futures of their star players like Vincent Kompany, who have been linked with a move away from the club. Kompany, who has been a star for the club in recent years, is apparently unhappy with the club due to several reasons and is angling for a move.

MANCINI STILL BELIEVES

As City enter into the final stages of the season, they still find themselves a massive 12 points behind the archrivals Manchester United in the table. However, the City manager Roberto Mancini has said that he is feeling extremely confident that the club will be able to overturn this deficit like they did last season.

He has said that the tiring schedule of Manchester United will start to show an effect sooner rather than later. United were almost knocked out of 2 cup competitions in the space of a few days. If they have lost to Chelsea in the FA Cup quarter-final match, then it would have left Sir Alex Ferguson’s men with only the Premier league to fight.

As it is, they still are in the FA Cup in which they will be taking on Chelsea in the quarter-final replay match at Stamford Bridge. City have been playing one game a week for several months. They recently managed to secure a place in the semifinals of the FA Cup following a 5-0 win in the quarter-finals. Aside from the FA Cup, they need to concentrate only on the league. As a result, Mancini claims that his players will be much fresher in the final stages of the season.

“Football is strange for this. Sometimes you lose a game, you don’t know why. Maybe one, two, three games. We took two points from three games against Liverpool, Southampton, QPR [in late January and early February]. Sometimes this can happen. United are playing very well this season, they played fantastic against Real Madrid. But 10 games until the end is a difficult moment because all the teams can be tired after eight months. We hope,” said the City manager, whose team have only a handful of games to close the gap.

RETURNING SOON

The Manchester City defender Michael Richards has said that he is hoping to return to first-team action by the start of February. He has recently undergone a successful operation for the knee injury he sustained a few weeks ago. The 24-year-old has been one of the impressive players for Manchester City over the last few months.

The fact that he will not be available during the month of January will be a major loss to the manager Roberto Mancini, but he will definitely have the defender for the crucial final three months of the season. City are only a few points below the leaders Manchester United and are hoping to retain the title for a first time in their history.

Micah Richards was initially expected to be out for the rest of the season after suffering an injury in the Champions League match against Ajax. However, the injury has not been as severe as initially feared and the defender is expected to be back in the first week of February. This is likely to mean that he will miss the first few rounds of the FA Cup, while also crucial matches in the Premier league. City do not have anything to complete other than the Premier league and the FA Cup this season.

“I am not putting a date on when I will be back because these things are never exact but I am hoping it will be in early February. There is still not too much I can do but I am now on one crutch instead of two so that is progress. Of course it is frustrating and there is nothing more I would like than to be out there playing but I am being well looked after, the injury is responding and the knee getting stronger every day,” said the defender.

RICHARDS BACK IN A MONTH

The Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has said that he expects the defender Micah Richards to be out of first team action for only about four weeks rather than the 16 weeks initially feared.

Micah Richards was injured in a recent 1-0 win for Manchester City against Swansea in the Premier league. This helped the team overcome the disappointment of the defeat at the hands of Ajax. After the Ajax encounter, Richards was extremely critical of the tactics employed by the manager. Roberto Mancini said that the players who were critical of the tactics are not good enough to play in a top team.

Due to the growing frustration between the two, Roberto Mancini apparently claimed that the defender will be out for the next 16 weeks due to the serious injury suffered against Swansea. However, it has now been revealed that the injury will not be as serious as initially feared because the defender will miss only about four weeks. Mancini has come out and clarified the situation by saying that he does not remember saying 16 weeks as the approximate time for recovery. He has said that the player should be back in full training within the next four weeks.

“I read three months but I don’t know why. One month, maximum. It is not bad. He put only two stitches in his knee. For this reason, maybe four weeks,” said the Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini. It has been a difficult few weeks for Mancini after his side has been unable to keep clean sheets. They have also suffered a lot of bad results in the European competitions, which means that there are on the brink of elimination from the Champions League. This would be disastrous to the aspirations of the team to not only dominate England, but also Europe as well.

NO RETURN ANYTIME SOON

The coach of Manchester City, Roberto Mancini, has said that Micah Richards is recovering well, but, there is no chance of him making a comeback soon.

It would take him at least a couple of months more to regain 100% fitness. Richards had injured his ankle while playing for team GB in the Olympics. Initially, it was said that Richards’ injury was not that serious and he would get fit in 3 or 4 weeks. But, it seems that Richards’ injury is much severe than it was speculated before.

Richards has been with Manchester City since the last 7 years. He played his first match for Manchester City in October 2005 against Arsenal. In that match, he came to play as a substitute. He made his first start for City in February 2006 against Charlton Athletic. Richards impressed one and all with his versatile game in his very first season for City. After that, he never looked back. He kept on giving brilliant performances for City and emerged as a key player of the club.

Due to his consistent performances, Manchester City had extended his contract till 2015 at the start of the last season. He proved the club’s decision correct by playing a major role in Manchester City’s premier League victory in the last season. He set up a number of goals in the previous season. He was also the skipper of the team when Vincent Kompany was suspended.

Mancini said that Richards is an experienced player and he had performed quite well in the last season. He wants Richards to make a comeback soon. But, according to the current status of his injury, he would have to wait a bit more. As per Mancini, the team needs Richards and whenever he makes a comeback, the team’s defense would be strengthened.

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RICHARDS SORRY FOR TEAM GB

Manchester city defender Micah Richards has said that he is extremely desperate for the Olympic glory with Team GB. The defender was not selected for the Euro 2012 by the manager Roy Hodgson, which left him in great disappointment.

However, he has been selected for the London Olympics 2012 by the manager Stuart Pearce. He will be representing the Team GB as one of the high-profile defenders is within the squad. Even though the Team GB are definitely not the favourite to win the Olympic gold medal in the football tournament, Micah Richards is hoping that he has the chance to finally get glory at the international level.

Micah Richards was recently crowned as the Premier league champions with his club Manchester city after having lifted the title last season. He was instrumental in helping Manchester City win the title last season, but he was overlooked by the England manager Roy Hodgson for the Euro 2012. It is a decision that has been criticised by many, but Richards is not looking to dwell on the disappointment of having missed out on the Euro 2012 and is focusing on the Olympics. Team GB will be taking on UAE at the new Wembley on Sunday.

“I saw the UAE team against Uruguay on Thursday night, before our match against Senegal. In the first half they were the better team. They looked a good side. I have been to Abu Dhabi and the game has taken off over there. We’ve done a lot of stuff on the iPad and studied a lot of videos over the last two-and-a-half weeks – watching teams like Senegal and the UAE,” said Micah Richards ahead of the match against the United Arab Emirates. Brazil and Uruguay are the favourites to lift the trophy after the elimination of Spain in the group stages.

ANDERSON RUES RICHARDS CALL

Former England international Viv Anderson has said that he feels that Manchester city defender Micah Richards made a major decision that has proven to be faithful at the international level for his career.

The Manchester city defender was chosen as the backup player for the England national team that will be playing at the Euro 2012 by England manager Roy Hodgson. However, the 24-year-old declined the opportunity to be part of the backup squad, according to the Man City news website.

As luck would have it, England lost the Chelsea defender Gary Cahill to injury just prior to the start of the tournament. Due to the fact that Micah Richards was not on the back of squad, England manager Roy Hodgson decided to call up Liverpool defender Martin Kelly, who is vastly inexperienced in comparison with Richards. Jack Wilshere was also forced to pull out.

Viv Anderson has said that he feels that Micah Richards could have been training with the England team at the Euro 2012 had he been more humble. If Micah Richards had accepted the offer of being in the backup squad, then he would have been training with the England players at the Euro 2012 according to Viv Anderson. Despite having a good season with Manchester City, during which he won the Premier league title for the first time in his career, Roy Hodgson decided not to select Richards for the first-team.

“I would have taken Micah Richards but he refused to go on the standby list so we had no option really. We had to go with Kelly. I was surprised when he wasn’t in the original squad because he can play several positions. He played centre-half for Man City at one stage and he can play as a holding midfield player so he can cover a few positions there. He had a really good season with Man City but didn’t play the latter part,” Anderson told talkSPORT.