Club Focus – Manchester City – City looking to spoil David May’s party

David May is best remembered for being that vaguely familiar bloke who kept on intruding Manchester United’s end of season celebrations wearing the official team gear. One presumed that he had bought the stuff from the Manchester United Megastore specially and sneaked onto the pitch when nobody was looking (like a more prolific Karl Power, famous for his on-pitch intrusion as Manchester United faced Bayern Munich in the 2000/01 Champions League quarter-final). Fielded so irregularly as a Manchester United player, it was May’s temerity to celebrate harder than most that earned him attention.

The part-time centre-back, it seems, is up to his old tricks again. With perhaps the biggest game of the season so far coming up, May is preceding the City – United clash with a city-centre party to celebrate the blue half of Manchester’s 35 barren years (which May, presumably by cheering extra hard and quaffing lots of beer on the lap of honour, of course contributed to). Of course City are no angels themselves – remember the ‘Welcome to Manchester’ banner which greeted Carlos Tevez’s arrival at Eastlands? – but with an improving, expensively-assembled squad, the party is surely tempting fate.

As and when Manchester City do break their trophy hoodoo – the odds are that it will be sooner rather than later – Joe Hart will justifiably claim to have played a profound part in the Citizens success. Naturally, the level-headed goalkeeper was irked by news of David May’s party. He does not expect it to be repeated many times in the future.

“It’s not false because we haven’t won anything for 35 years,” he admitted. “But I assume that they are doing it because they won’t be many more of them.” This is not the hollow promise of intent which has made Manchester City a figure of fun over the years. Indeed, City go into the game in buoyant mood. Their rivals lost for the first time this season on Saturday – a miracle considering the mediocrity of so many of the Red Devils’ displays this season – allowing City to move within five points. Make no mistake, City scent blood. Victory will take them to two points off the summit. Suddenly David May’s celebration seems a little premature, or the closure of an era of red domination.

Before this weekend’s pivotal derby, Hart will take goal for England in the absence of Ben Foster, hoping to re-establish his international credentials following an uncertain period in the Manchester City net. Wednesday’s friendly with Denmark provides the perfect opportunity for Hart to benefit from a change of scenery and to prove to Fabio Capello, who has been critical of the custodian in recent weeks, he remains the top goalkeeper in the country.

City look likely to be well represented in the Three Lions’ starting line-up. Joining Hart are Joleon Lescott, who competes with Gary Cahill and Michael Dawson for the right to partner John Terry in central-defence, Gareth Barry and James Milner. That they return fit, fresh and energised for the weekend’s Old Trafford clash is of paramount importance. Manchester City have David May’s party to poop.

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