Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Much better from still-jaded City. Crowd improvement too...

We wobbled slightly after a bizarre, failed set piece that dramatically back-fired but for the most part we were in control. 3 points gained; job done.


It’s quite a startling fact at this stage of the season - and after such an amazing, high-scoring first half of 2013 / 2014 - but that was only our 2nd league win in 5 games. But it was a very welcome one and, in some small way, it keeps some pressure on Liverpool.

Following the debacle of the Sunderland game, where everything was wrong from energy levels & attitude right through to formation / personnel; most of those failings weren’t, thankfully, on show last night. There were a few hiccups and scary moments but, for the most part, we were in control and looked far more fluid than our Black Cats’ encounter 5 days earlier. 69% overall possession, 19 shots (10 on target) and 3 goals does tell its own story on this occasion.

Hart, Clichy & Kompany were all about 7s [out of 10] but it was Demichelis who had a superb game and gets 8.5 from me as he appeared to erase several years from his birth certificate. In fact when some of the other players look to be feeling the rigours of the long, hard season Martin looked quite fresh and rejuvenated! He capped off a fine defensive display with his second Manchester City goal too; one, which, wasn’t too dissimilar from his first a few weeks earlier.

Argentinean goal number 1
Zaba looked off-pace and continues to look like a player who has played more games than anyone else at the Club this season. The heart is still there but the power has (temporarily) gone - the summer shopping list must include a competing right-back. Despite his goal, his tiredness resulted in a few wayward passes last night in a 6/10 performance.

Silva was his usual, superb self and with the Spanish maestro back on the pitch, that seemed to make Nasri far more comfortable [than the Sunderland game] and had a good game too. Fernandinho was back in his deeper role and looked more settled also…and Garcia did ‘okay’ too it has to be noted.

Argentinean goal number 2
Dzeko was largely frustrating for me. He tried…but, and not for the first time, most things just didn’t come off for a player who seems to struggle with the basics of the game far too often. In fact in a match that we dominated I don’t recall him having a shot in anger. Fortunately Aguero looked much more himself and compensated for his strike partners’ lack of ability. Certainly not 100% but most definitely 85 to 90...

Argentinean goal number 3

Two concerns…

Of course the main one has to be David – we’re all holding our breath for reports. But rather than a serious injury [as it looked with him being stretchered off and all ‘strapped up’] I think he simply aggravated an already dodgy ankle. However, with only 4 games and 3 weeks remaining – and if my own, non-expert diagnosis is indeed correct – that still doesn’t bode too well for us and we may now have seen the last of him before the World Cup begins.

Update 2:10pm: Early indications are that David will be out for 2 weeks, meaning that he'll miss the next two games but should be available for the final two. Could have been worse...

Aguero too ‘pulled up’ during the second half and although he appeared to have run it off; it definitely took the edge of his game and, thankfully, he was withdrawn as a precaution I’m sure. Hopefully it was nothing serious and that 5-day’s-worth of TLC will see him at 90%+ for the Palace encounter on Sunday 27th April.

Jovetic looked lively again when he came on. When will he get a starting place? If Negredo continues to fall off the radar then surely Stevan is better than Edin.

Milner must be frustrated that Garcia gets a game ahead of him and will be even more concerned that Pellegrini is, I’m sure, in the market for an additional defensive midfielder and, possibly, a creative one too in the summer.


A few days prior to last night’s game – and following a Library-like atmosphere at the Etihad against Sunderland – the crowd ‘reacted’ for the most part.

A few dozen responded to the Club’s invite to bring inflatables to ‘lighten the mood’ and most areas of the ground were far more vocal. Very much so for parts of the game and that’s why I was both surprised and disappointed to hear from my wife that the commentator on Sky Sports made special mention of the POOR atmosphere last night. I rather think those comments were delayed ‘band-wagon jumping’ after the Sunderland game and after a week, where, the Stamford Bridge fans were also slated for being quiet…

What is worth noting is the attendance. Not that I can find it anywhere on the WEB at the moment; something, which, is consistent with the notable lack of attendance announcement at the ground last night. It was pretty low - empty seats everywhere! In fact just beyond the 3 people to my right was a whole row of about 10 'empties'.

Putting a spin on it; even more credit to those who did create an atmosphere by putting the effort in to sing last night...

Hydro tanks, oxygen tents, lots of pasta & lean-chicken, vitamins, energy drinks…

Despite a mostly-decent performance from most of the lads last night, you could just sense – especially towards the last 20 minutes of the game – that they were ‘running on empty’ last night. That concerns me a little as we head to Selhurst Park on Sunday.

Not only is Selhurst Park a caldron these days but the fans and players are on an adrenalin-fuelled high at the moment. Tony Pulis has got his team FIRING at the moment with 5 wins from 5; 4 clean sheets and 2 of those victories being very impressive ones against Chelsea and EvertonAT Everton. I don’t overstate our task when I say that, a tough trip to Goodison Park included, this game is the most difficult of our remaining 4 matches.

Indeed, though, we’re now facing 2nd and 3rd-placed teams, respectively, in the ‘league form’ table…

Our players need to be fully rejuvenated this week. What-EVER it takes to nurse our players’ aching limbs then just do it all City! If we can go into this game ‘fresh’ and reasonably strong personnel-wise (I’m hoping Navas & Toure MIGHT have a chance this Sunday) then with Aguero ‘back’ too; we’ll stand a fighting chance for sure.

We then have a full 6-recovery days before the next (very) stern test so we can afford to chuck ourselves into the Palace game 100% - anything less won’t be good enough anyway…

A quick word on Moyes / ‘them’…

So, the axe has fallen just 9-½ months after being ‘chosen’ by Sir Bacon Face. Like most Blues, I’m sure, I’m quite sad and disappointed; I was genuinely hoping he’d stay there for a few more seasons, doing as much damage as is humanly possible.

They’ll now go out at get a top Manager, I’m sure; spend lots of money in the summer and, playing ‘catch up’ as they will be [on ourselves, Chelsea and Liverpool], they might scrape 3rd or 4th next season...and may even win the League Cup - a piece of silverware a lot of their fans have ‘skitted’ about this season (for some strange reason).

Football can be a crazy game and, therefore…is it so crazy for me to suggest that Mourinho might 'kick up a fuss' and orchestrate a ‘split’ from Chelsea in the next few weeks; with a view to putting himself in the frame for a job that he has openly SCREAMED his desire for? God I hope so.


Well Mourinho is clearly a winner – jumping from job to job about every 4 years after he has…‘worked his magic’ - but he is also an ego-maniac who has no interest in building the youth structure or for the long-term in any way wherever he goes; an awful sour-face with no class whatsoever.


Perfect marriage made in heaven hell...

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