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Kickin' It: Sweatin' the City

A mini-preview of the Manchester City fixture by your terrified writer and assorted links from across the soccer internet.

Jamie McDonald

So Aston Villa face Manchester City at Villa Park tomorrow and I am scared as hell. As we saw last weekend, Manchester City are capable of blowing their opponent to pieces if they happen to feel like it. If Villa have a hangover from the League Cup loss to Tottenham, things could get worse before they get better. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy seeing Paul Lambert test himself and his team against the best the league has to offer, but I've also started to prepare myself for the worst. The good news is that Villa are still pretty far from the top of the Premier League CRISISWATCH power rankings, as Sunderland appears to be circling yet another manager that seems incapable of a positive relationship with his players. Anyways, we've got coverage of the big match coming. Until then, some links!

Paul Lambert: 'Villa don't play long-ball football' | Birmingham Mail

This narrative is so weird. "Long-ball" has become code for a value judgment about the quality of football, not a statement of fact. If you want to say that Villa play bad football, you should really just say that. The reality is just that they bypass the midfield a lot, mostly because the midfield is not very good. That said, if the strategy is "give the ball to an attacker as soon as humanly possible," I think that's actually pretty entertaining.

Top Tenners: Player Revolts | ESPN FC

Man, I love this stufff. As long as it's not happening at my club, obviously. Particularly enjoyable is the anecdote about beloved sociopath Roy Keane, in case you haven't heard it already.

The World Cup With Blood On Its Hands | twohundredpercent

When Qatar was initially awarded the 2022 World Cup, I felt like a lot of the criticism was borne either of bitterness from Americans who wanted a World Cup on home soil or of general xenophobia. That said, the Qatari government has hardly covered themselves in glory since then. The Guardian reports of worker abuse have been incredibly upsetting and the completely essential Ian King does a great job of detailing why the tournament must be moved.

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