It's not all about Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, you know. We're talking about the pressure on Iker Casillas, Luis Suarez debuting in the big one and Isco's big chance...
Those being sniffy about Erik Lamela's rabona are given short shrift in the afternoon mailbox, where criticism of Brendan Rodgers is smashed out of the park...
What do the papers, the TV, and fans of other clubs think about your team? In this series, John Nicholson and Alan Tyers look at the stereotypes, coverage and media agendas for each team in the Premier League. This week, it's the turn of megabucks Manchester City.
Ex-player pundit presence
Big Niall Quinn pops up bigly in many media, and no Goals On Sunday is truly complete without Peter Reid squeezing someone's thigh in manly banter. Rod Marsh's star has fallen terribly; we only ever hear of him when he's done an Accidental Partridge on Twitter these days. That nice Owen Hargreaves is doing a solid if unspectacular job for BT. Blue Peter Schmeichel's crazy Danish-Manc accent always raises a smile. Andrew Cole, not so much. Steve McMannaman wears a decent suit and seems to have possession of a brain most days of the week. Massive Joe Royle puts in a shift and somehow evokes a 70s nightclub comedian when he does. And of course, the surrealist poet Kevin Keegan illuminates any programme. Radio's Gary Richardson has Dennis Tueart's number on speed dial for whenever he wants some after-dinner style guff about today not being like yesterday.
The Gallaghers - the Oasis ones, not the Shameless ones. Although David Threlfall is also a Blue. LS Lowry, DCI Gene Hunt, Dave from the Royle Family. Ian Curtis. Lee Dixon. Badly Drawn Boy. Badly drunk boys Andrew Flintoff and Ricky Hatton. Mark E Smith. Mark Radcliffe. Lard. Nancy Dell'Olio (er, if you say so.) Favourite claim? Face from The A-Team.
Back page leaders?
Handsome and charming Roberto Mancini was a major man crush for the papers ("Oooh! Isn't he dishy? He's got a scarf you know") and was a regular back-page fave. And there's nothing like a bazillion quid investment to catch the newspapers' attention. Before Luis Suarez raised the bar, Carlos Tevez was doing decent business as the nation's most pilloried South American since Pinochet. The sheer amount of money available to City guarantees plenty of stories about the greed of the modern game as it is revealed that they pay the man who delivers pies with bags of crushed diamonds and that Yaya Toure has had some new legs made out of solid platinum.
Gaffer's media skills
Mr P is foreign so that means the papers have one of two ways to go (as they see it). So he's suave and sophisticated or a wacky man who doesn't understand 'our' game. They've gone with the first option so far. He seems to have conducted his early tenure in a fairly neutral manner and hasn't given too many hostages to fortune. He also has the advantage that he looks like an arthouse European movie star from 1972. He also looks like he smells of fags and brandy, which is always likely to endear you to the press pack. His English is decent and he seems set to play attractive football. While he won't get as much leeway as an Englishman does, he doesn't seem the sort to make enemies for fun, unlike his predecessor.
Vox pop cliché fan
Wise-cracker, bit of a wide boy, thinks he's clever. Smokes a fag in a cupped hand. Has developed strong sense of gallows humour as a result of City's City-ness over the years. Loathes Man United and Man United fans. City's self-identity is one of being the messed-up-on-drugs hipster relation to United's solid, boring citizen. That and basically, Paul Calf.
Keyboard warrior ferocity
Tough on United, tough on the causes of United. Outside of that, they seem difficult to rile. Seem to lack the defensiveness that all computer kings have to have in order to waste their time asserting their view on the internet to strangers who couldn't care less what they think about anything. Any complaints about their wealth may get some of the bees buzzing but they rarely sting.
Accident-prone but loveable City turned gleaming global corporation.
Generally quite well-liked. Regarded as the rebel alliance to Man United's evil empire in the 1990s. Enduring hopelessness since 1970s became a national joke. Considerably harder to like now that they're bankrolled by foreign billionaires. Still, the sense pervades that it could all come crashing down in a tragi-comic manner. Massive club thing was funny. Most could do without the Munich stuff.
Archetypal news stories
'City midfielder to earn more per second than Microsoft.'
'City sign someone no-one has heard of for more money than can be counted.'
'Francis Lee says something.'
John Nicholson and Alan Tyers
Read Johnny's book, 'The Meat Fix' here
Alan on The Ashes and more here.