…WAY too close for comfort!
(Delayed report – not very well…)
Okay, we got the 3 points on Saturday evening and with West Ham United drawing with Arsenal in an exciting 3-3 at Upton Park, our weekend victory at the Etihad was worth 4 points in a way; pulling 2 points away from The Hammers (to 5) and gaining 2 on The Gunners (to 2 points) and, therefore, now having a 3rd-place finish in our own hands.
All good stuff…and with Manyoo then-crashing in a 3-goal, 6-minute spell at Tottenham Hotspur yesterday we’ve created a bit of a gap from the chasing wolves.
But…flippin’ ‘eck! Going behind in our game and, at times, struggling against a lively West Bromwich Albion side clearly still ‘up for it’ after reaching ‘the 40-point mark’ last weekend; we lived very dangerously considering how vital it was for us to win at the weekend!
Having pulled ourselves level with a penalty that some referees might not have given and, of course, got the winner after a good attacking move involving several players, finished by a rejuvenated Samir Nasri; Albion should definitely have had a penalty of their own when Mangala stupidly chest-lunged at the Albion player in our area. He does that far too often.
And then if that wasn’t enough to put hearts-in-City-mouths, they came just 2 or 3 inches of scoring from a corner right at the very end of the game!
As I say…phew!
I never believe Manual Pellegrini in a pre-match press conference of a Premier League game just before a Champions League fixture when he says he’s only focusing on the ‘next game’. But I can, of course, understand him-wanting to rest / protect some players ahead of such an important match for our football club. But he just does it a little TOO much sometimes.
My first rant is about the central-two midfield-pairing he chose in Fernando & Delph. I’ve nothing against those two players at all and, in fact, I’ve been impressed by both for their defensive and energetic qualities throughout the season; qualities that have allowed our more attacking players ‘do their stuff’. But at home, needing 3 points and choosing to play 1.25 strikers up front in a 4-4-1.25 left us with no creative spark whatsoever for most of the game; regardless of having Nasri & Navas on the wings.
When Toure & De Bruyne were introduced…BOOM! We looked threatening again without compromising the defensive needs of the team.
My second rant is about the 0.25 striker that made up the numbers in the starting "11". What the HELL does Kelechi Iheanacho have to do to get a start?! How flippin’ frustrated and insulted must he be sitting on the bench watching Bony looking lost in a team that CLEARLY doesn’t suit his style?!
Mr Pellegrini, when you leave us in May I will have mostly nice words to say about you and heap praise-aplenty on you for your achievements and ‘cups won’ in the 3 seasons you’ve graced us with your charm and tranquil approach. But JEEEZE man! You don’t ‘alf make some whacky and dangerous decisions at times!
Anyway, job done…just, and it’s back to the Champions League tomorrow night in a potentially history-making (again) night against Paris Saint-Germain.
Press conference to come - hopefully Aguero’s knock wasn’t bad / won’t keep him out; hopefully Kelechi will be chosen first if Sergio is absent, hopefully David’s ankle has recovered enough and that both the fully & mostly rested players in Clichy, Sagna, Fernandinho, De Bruyne and Toure can fire us to victory and into the semi-final of the prestigious European competition!
Despite my heavy cold / virus I still hope to put out a pre-match blog and now eagerly await our manager’s pre-match press conference this afternoon; where I hope to learn that Otamendi is okay (I’ve heard there’s a doubt) and an update on Vinny too, who I’ve heard might be “risked” tomorrow night (yikes!)