Osaze chases goals to Manchester

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has said his players need to be at their sharpest when they host West Bromwich Albion tomorrow. After a shock 2-2 draw against Birmingham on Wednesday, City are nine behind their neighbours and league leaders, Manchester United who have a game in hand. 

A day earlier, West Brom had also played out a 2-2 draw against Wigan; a game coach Roberto Di Matteo believes his side should have won. The Baggies sit uncomfortably in 16th place, two points above the relegation places, but will be boosted by the fact that striker, Osaze Odemwingie has rediscovered his scoring touch. And if West Brom are to avoid the drop, they will need goals from the Nigerian. 

The former Locomotiv Moscow player already has nine goals in his first ever Premiership season and is excited about the trip to the City Of Manchester Stadium. But first he has to get over a minor ankle complaint. 

“The goals give me quite a bit of pride. That is what I am here for. They bought me to go up front and get the goals. They are assisting me all the time. On Tuesday I had an assist from Jerome and I just had to touch it in,” Odemwingie said on his club website. 

Odemwingie, who arrived West Brom this season, has scored the same number as Fernando Torres, Chelsea’s new £50 million buy and he is feeling good about his performances. “At the moment some of the top strikers in the Premier League have about eight or nine goals, the same as me. It gives me a lot of confidence that I have the same number of goals as the top strikers of good teams in England.” 

Despite his excitement, Odemwingie knows it won’t be an easy game. “It is always interesting to play against a big team. I know it is a big stadium. “I haven’t played there so I am hoping there will be no difficulties with my ankle that prevent me. They are a big club.” 

Mancini out for victory  

Obviously disappointed with his team’s performance mid-week, Mancini is rallying his team for victory against West Brom. 

“I don’t like it. It is better that we wake up. Probably we don’t work well in training and we sleep in the game and it is better we wake up quickly,” Mancini said after the game. “We played well for the first 50 minutes and then we forgot to play. I should change something. We must think about improving – we should try to play football again, because in the last few weeks we’ve forgotten this. 

“We didn’t play well. Sometimes it’s impossible, in January and February the team are tired, but a team like us should be able to defend strongly and win 1-0.” 

City beat West Brom 2-0 in their first meeting in November at the Hawthorns — with goals from Mario Balotelli, who was subsequently sent off for violent conduct. 

Though he wants all three points at stake, Odemwingie is willing to settle for a draw. 

“It will be nice to play against them and we’ll remember the last game against them that we lost here, hoping now at least we can get a point from them.” 

His team mates will be hoping he rises up to the ‘occasion’ as he did in matches against Arsenal and Manchester United this season. 

“I enjoy big occasions and big games – and this one fits into that bracket. It is easy to prepare for a big game because the pressure is there. You have to really prepare for it and go all out – it is a good pressure.” 

The pressure will be more pressure on title-chasing City, who will be hoping to stem a bad run that has seen them fail to win their last three matches. 

Other games  

Manchester United travel to the Moulineaux hoping to maintain the momentum and protect their unbeaten run, while Arsenal will be concentrating on gaining revenge for the 1-0 loss suffered to Newcastle earlier in the season.

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