Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Quality and value.

That was sublimed last night. Real quality football. And with Negredo only coming on late and no Jovetic or Nastasic – along with powerful players like Richards & Milner also to come in when required – we can only get stronger.

Closing down

Along with many other qualities he brings to a team, Pellegrini, it has been said of; the word ‘possession’ is right up there near the top. It was so very clear to see this last night; I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Manchester City side chase down every ball so vigorously every (short) time the opposition had hold of it. We just didn’t let Newcastle rest for a moment; we looked super sharp and fit and they just had no answer whatsoever. The scoreline should have been more…

Dzeko looked a different player – he looked mobile and far more agile that I ever believed possible. The Man of the Match award was well deserved.

Jesus! Jesus is fast. Not just when flat-out but he has a fabulous turn / short-burst of speed too that almost never failed to beat his man last night; enabling him to get in a cross. No wonder he got the most assists in Europe last season. If he stays free from injury I’ve heard too that he has an engine like Milner – he’ll play all year if he’s free of niggles.

And although Fernandinho may have had a slightly quieter game of the 3 new guys who got a run-out last night; it’s clear he has quality and worked very well indeed with a very trim-looking Yaya. When one bombed forward the other sat back and covered quite naturally.

Fighting fit

I don’t know if Mancini's ‘Hill of Hell' is still at City’s Carrington Training Ground (I suspect not); I know a lot of players have come out and said that it has been the toughest pre-season training session they’ve ever had. But it was clear last night that it’s all been well worth it.

Those City fans who ‘wobbled’ a little when they saw the performance against Arsenal in pre-season should indeed listen to those City fans who pay little attention to pre-season games (and to Vincent Kompany; who said that it had been a gruelling week’s training in the build-up to the Helsinki game). Just look at the sharp contrast in the results and performances of both teams in the Premier League over the last 3 days…

Great value

Whatever the cost of your ticket last night it must surely go down in your book as great value for money. For those who pay for their TV Sports packages likewise.

What was also great value last night was the match-day program. For the same as last season's price of £3, not only did you get 82 pages, there was a fabulous tribute to Bert Trautmann! Seriously, if you only buy one programme this season and get the chance, then try to get yourself a copy.

What a wonderful tribute City paid to the great man both in the programme and in other ways too – the video footage, the players warming up in goalkeepers tops with his name on (to be auctioned off for one of his charities), the mascots wearing goalie tops and the minutes applause just before kick off. Well done City!


Not-so great value

As previously posted, I was right about the price of the Jamie Oliver Fayre. I got speaking very early on to a nice chap and lady at the bar in BT City Square and they had purchased a Jamie burger and chips. £4.80p for a very small (I’m sure nice) burger and £2.70p for a very small carton-cup of chips! Absolutely disgusting price (£7.50p!) for the amount of food you get and, quite rightly, the chap said it would be the last time; adding that it was just curiosity. I don’t blame you fella…

I was somewhat curious about the “Rainbow (vegetarian) Pie” and, like him, was going to try one (one day soon AFTER pay day) at some point. Not sure I’ll even bother given the size of the burger – I’ll stick to my Holland's pie cooked at home and wrapped in foil thank you very much…

Back on the pitch

Worrying to see Kompany strain his groin last night. His frustration and determination to walk off the pitch as normal as his fresh injury would allow was there for all to see. But, I have heard, he’s since tweeted and is confident he won’t be out for long.

I can’t see him being ready for Cardiff City though and with doubts about Nastasic for that game too, it leaves a bit of a hole!

Having said that, I’ve not been a fan of Garcia since he joined us - as a 3rd Mancini-choice defensive midfielder/central defender newcomer - but he performed really well last night when coming on for our injured Captain (despite being called James Milner by the tannoy announcer).

I think Newcastle sought to take advantage of Vincent’s absence and, subsequently, Garcia saw plenty of the ball in the short time he was on. But he cleared everything and looked very composed it has to be said.

Aguero. What can I say? I think I’ll simply leave it at, we’ve got one of the best strikers in Europe in Sergio and I love him to bits.

Silva was brilliant too and typified more than most the desire to charge down everything last night. Fantastic performance from our little maestro.

Looking ahead

If we go into the tough, tricky game away at Cardiff City on Sunday afternoon with the very same attitude and desire - and don’t presume the newly promoted team is beaten before we’ve kicked the ball - then that should see us though to another 3 points at the weekend.

Let’s hope Villa get at least a point at Stamford Bridge tomorrow night. That’ll help us in two ways; it’ll also irritate Mourinho just enough before the Manyoo clash on Monday evening…

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