Created in 1994, MCIVTA is the longest running unofficial Manchester City related web site and e-newsletter in existence.
ISSUE DATE: 2 December 2014
NEXT GAME: Sunderland, Stadium of Light, Wednesday 3 December (19:45 BST)
———- MCIVTA NEWSLETTER RETURNS
Welcome to the latest edition of the MCIVTA newsletter. It’s been a while in coming and our apologies for that, but here we are at last.
Not that we went away totally. As many of you know, the MCIVTA site has continued to be updated regularly with match reports and articles and we are also on Facebook and Twitter:
I love MCIVTA and reading other people’s articles in it as well as being a part of it, and it’s clear from your emails that this missive has been missed by many people. I am honoured to be the latest editor of the newsletter (for the next few months at least). MCIVTA was literally the first thing that I saw on the internet back in the mid 1990s. I was in one of Sheffield Hallam University’s dingy computer rooms, and naturally my first action was to type in “Manchester City” in the search engine (or whatever the mechanism was called back in those days) and “Manchester City Internet Via The Alps” and our founder/site owner Svenn Hansen’s name came up! I read it and liked what I saw. It never occurred to me back then that I might be involved one day, let alone editing. Special thanks to Svenn Hansen and Paul Howarth for all their help thus far. Thanks to Phil Alcock who passes on the baton and indeed all my predecessors and I’ll do my very best to match their high standards.
The newsletter is only as good as its contributors and we need you to fill it with your thoughts on any City matters. What formation should we play, or is too much made of formations? Why do you think we’ve had a slow start this season? As ever, we’d love to know why you’re a Blue. I heard one City fan recently tell us that he was a Blue partly as a reaction to his step-father being a red, so with the pantomime season almost upon us, it would be interesting to read about your “evil” red stepmothers/stepfathers. Tell us about your memorable matches and indeed any City memories, good or bad. Even the bad times show how far we have come. Please remember to include your email address at the foot of your piece.
With three straight wins, City are making a charge towards, hopefully, catching Chelsea in the League and qualifying for the Champions League knockout phase. There was a better rhythm and tempo to our play at Southampton, and at home to Swansea, but we had to rely on the individual brilliance of Sergio Aguero against Bayern on that unforgettable night. Heaven knows where we’d be without him.
Tonight, we have match reports from Peter and myself and a nice welcome back and rallying cry from across the pond. Hope you enjoy this issue.
Come on City!
———- MATCH VIEW: MANCHESTER CITY 3 BAYERN MUNICH 2
The approach to the The Etihad seemed distinctly subdued to me. My car park was nowhere near full quite close to kick off and there was no raucous singing coming from inside Mary D’s. Inside the stadium with fifteen minutes to go only the German seats were anything like full. We talked about our very limited options and that fact that by selecting Sagna and Mangala, Pellegrini seemed to have chosen a weaker team than he could. Bayern were hit by injuries but Ribery, Robben, Lewandowski, Alonso and Neuer were all playing. Bayern had selected a strong side although the game was meaningless in terms of qualification for them.
As usual we discussed how our front men (man) would operate; Aguero was alone up front again and hasn’t always succeeded in that role. I reminded those around me that how we might play was a bit theoretical because usually we don’t see much of the ball when playing Bayern. All rather gloomy really.
City started with a much higher pace and sense of urgency than has been seen anywhere this season. Even Frank Lampard was running (lumbering) frantically trying to impress his experience on the mid field. To an extent it worked and we had more of the ball in the opening minutes than we usually see playing this annual European fixture. The truth though was that their passing was so much more accurate than ours. They received good and poor balls well and everyone knew how to make space for the next pass. Skill and intuition of the highest order. The portents were just not good as we had hoped.
Then Lampard lobbed a beautiful pass over everyone’s head to Aguero who had up to this minute received no sensible service from anyone. Instant control and acceleration took him towards goal where the defender Benatia tried to dispossess Aguero with a tackle from behind. Big mistake. Aguero went down in the penalty area, Benatia was dismissed and Aguero scored from the penalty. Now Bayern were down to ten men they surely wouldn’t be able to dominate the game as they had with eleven.
Wrong. A neutral would have guessed that City had the ten men as Bayern continued as though nothing had happened. Then a free kick for Bayern on the edge of our penalty area, awarded after an injudicious tackle by Mangala went round the wall and was watched into the net by an immobile Joe Hart. It was a training ground routine of course but we bought it and the score was 1-1. Within minutes Lewandowski beat Sagna to the ball after a long pass and shouldered the ball into the far corner again with Joe Hart looking hapless and wrongly positioned for 1-2 and Bayern were back in charge
Half time came and it remained 2-1 without City threatening their goal again. Perhaps, we hoped, they would tire in the second half. But as the second half went on it looked more like City who needed the fresh legs so late on Pellegrini sent on Jovetic and Zabaleta. This turned out to be a master stroke because a flick, I think by by Jovetic to Aguero, saw him though and score the equaliser. The significance was because the early kick off between CSKA and Roma had resulted in a 1-1 draw which meant that no decision about qualification was possible for Roma, CSKA or City until the final game. Now the crowd had hope so much more noise and encouragement could be heard above the orchestrated military din always provided by Bayern supporters.
Then in the dying minutes we remembered that famous QPR game. The ball came to Aguero who maintained his composure and upright stance with three Bayern players in close attendance and scored past the Neuer, “the best goalkeeper in Europe” as he likes to be known. Now the stadium is erupting with hope and outrageous pleasure at having beaten arguably the best team in Europe after having played such a mediocre game. It’s nice to win well of course but there’s something very special about smash and grab and knowing that in future the records books will say nothing about Bayern’s resilience, skill and dominance with ten men but just the bald: Manchester City 3 Bayern Munich 2. We didn’t, I’m pleased to say go one step further and chant “Can we play you every week” because they might have said “yes” but we all looked forward to the stories about our little Argentinian genius and his hat trick against one the most accomplished sides we have ever seen. As a little bit of icing on this delicious cake, our youngsters had beaten Bayern 6-0 at Hyde earlier. They have already qualified and beaten Bayern 4-1 in Germany and 6-0 at Hyde last year too.
And so to Rome on December 10th where, after applying the labyrinthine Champions League competition rules from a book which only an organisation as inward looking and self-regarding as U.E.F.A. could devise, it seems from rule (f) about overall goal difference that a 1-1 draw will be enough making the reasonable assumption that Bayern will beat CSKA in the Allianz arena. 0-0 or a victory for Roma will see them go through on away goal superiority or points and if CSKA did manage to draw we would be fourth. The dreaded third place with an automatic penalty of having to play on Thursdays in the feeblest competition yet devised in the known Universe, would be unavailable to us and seems the unlikeliest outcome.
———- MATCH REPORT: MANCHESTER CITY 3 BAYERN MUNICH 2 (HT 1-2)
Miraculously, improbably and dramatically, Sergio Aguero scored two late goals to beat a brilliant Bayern Munich side and retain a good chance of qualifying from this Champions League group. Sergio Aguero’s world class hat trick was the difference after City had laboured for 80 minutes. Bayern had been markedly superior in their quality, their work rate and positioning. Then somehow City’s late charge and, at last, uncharacteristic Bayern mistakes and some breaks fell our way with the ball at the feet of a great player whose finishes were of the highest class – they had to be – to beat Neuer, the best goal keeper in the world. Neuer was beaten by the finest margins and that precision is one of the main reasons why Sergio Aguero is so great. Brilliant. He took our breath away again on a damp night in Manchester that will live long in the memory. Yet it all could have been so different. Bayern’s pressing and work rate had put us to shame for most of the game, and they hadn’t given any indication that they would concede another goal.
The night started with many of us turning our backs on the UEFA’s pretentious Champions League anthem, with plenty of boos. Pellegrini went for the formation that many of us wanted, with Aguero the sole out and out forward with Frank Lampard in an advanced attacking midfield role flaked by James Milner on the left and Jesus Navas on the right. The only contentious decision was his selection of Bacary Sagna over Pablo Zabaleta.
Despite a good few minutes of taking the game to Bayern at a quick tempo, City couldn’t sustain it and Bayern were soon on the front foot. The brilliant Robben fired a warning shot wide after 10 minutes. After a teasing, run three minutes later, he crossed from the left and Rafinha’s goal bound shot was brilliantly blocked by Mangala. It set the tone for the match and Mangala’s astute performance.
City couldn’t sit back and a brilliant long pass form Lampard gave us an advantage that should have set us on our way to victory. Sergio Aguero raced after a pass that Andrea Pirlo, Glenn Hoddle or David Silva would be proud of, and was about to pull the trigger when Benatia brought him down. The referee took a long second to give the penalty and send Benatia off, and there was the apprehension of seeing a great penalty taker facing the giant, agile Manuel Neuer, the best goalkeeper in the world who was doing his best to distract Aguero as he waited on the line. Cool as you like, Aguero stepped up and hit the most precise penalty we ever wish for, just inside the right hand post and Neuer’s finger tips. It had to be that precise. “Sergio, Sergio!” was sung with gusto.
For a few minutes City used the man advantage and pressed for a second, but it didn’t last as Bayern rose to the challenge. They didn’t compromise their attacking intent, keeping a forward line of Lewandowski with Robben to his left and Ribery to his left. It was impossible to tell who had 10 men and who had 11, so good was the quality of Bayern’s passing, movement, work rate and positioning. Too often we were static in our movement. This was epitomised by Nasri who played a fine pass out to Navas but failed to make the run into the box to take up an offensive position.
Mangala made his only error of the game when he brought down the turf hugging Lewandowski on the left hand edge of the box. Everybody knew that it wasn’t going to end well, with Alonso and Robben both lining up as if to take the kick, either side of Lewandowski. After a lot of arrangement of a wall that was flanked by Bayern players, barking of orders from Joe Hart, spraying of magic foam, not to mention City fans bricking it in the stand, Alonso just curled the ball with ease around the wall and into the net. It was so easy that it was ridiculous. Surely there will need to be a lot of research by Joe Hart and coaches to avoid a repeat.
It was like a haymaker that left a lumbering heavy weight, tottering on the ropes. Belief was shaken. Bayern were buoyed. As the half drew to a close, Rafinha was given freedom to cross from deep on the right. The ball eluded the jump of Kompany and Lewandowski rose above Sagna to loop a header in over Hart who was poorly positioned in no-mans-land, close to his six yard box. If the first goal was a sickening moment, this one was bruising.
The second half did not start well when Fernando gave the ball away to Alonso deep into our half, the Basque midfielder played a one two and mercifully fired over. A 1-3 score line would have been game over.
City were stung into life for a few minutes. Nasri played in Navas with a clever pass but the Spaniard shot was saved at the near post. Milner fired over after Nasri and Lampard combined to tee him up in the 52nd minute, but City couldn’t sustain it. Our passing, movement and energy paled when compared to Bayern who confidently maintained possession and played highly intelligent, progressive football. City often chased shadows, and when we did get the ball we were closed down quickly and surrendered possession way too easily. The atmosphere in the home sections was mostly subdued, reflecting the play in front of us. The Bayern section continued their boisterous, repetitive “La-la-la-la-la…Bayern” chants. Not good, unless you’re a Bayern fan, that is.
Bayern weren’t creating chances, but they looked totally in control.
Pellegrini had made changes bringing on Jovetic for Milner, and Zabaleta for Sagna then Lampard forced Neuer to tip over after Aguero played him in.
Whilst The substitutions were improvements, with Zaba bringing aggression and oomph to our tackling down the right, so much so that he got booked for a raised boot. Zaba made another aggressive sliding tackle to win the ball, and we held our breath, and rightly the referee did nothing. Some referees have sent players off for such tackles, for example Rodwell in a Merseyside Derby three years ago.
Bayern were still in control, but they did start time wasting in the last twenty minutes. Neuer was rightly booked after delaying a goal kick, Ribery and Lewandowski who had been the biggest offenders feigning injury to win free kicks, were particularly slow at walking off when substituted with the latter stopping and pretending to argue. Both inevitably got the bird, but did they care? Not a bit of it. Bayern were on their way to victory, or so they thought.
With Alonso the fulcrum of Bayern’s midfield, the visitors were passing the ball round, and City were chasing shadows, or so it seemed. It looked like text book stuff from the Bavarian side. [[[[I even said “This is way to play football”
Then with 84 minutes on the clock, Alonso inexplicably and surprisingly, played a ball across the midfield and Jovetic intercepted and his touch released Aguero who had plenty to do, being fifty yards from goal. But he ran, and ran on with Bayern defenders trailing in his wake, and with great poise, slotted the ball just past Neuer’s reach and into the net off the far post. The Etihad erupted with joy: “Sergio, Sergio!”. From nowhere, suddenly there was hope. A draw still would gave us a chance if we went on to win in Rome, but it was better to win. Sergio wrestled the ball away from Neuer to get the game going again.
The Bayern crowd fell silent.
With 3 minutes injury flashed up on the board we roared the Boys in Blue on. City suddenly had momentum, and Bayern were the ones who were concerned, and belting the ball away, but that was not enough as City went for it. Even, so we weren’t going to make another famous comeback were we?
In the 91st minute Dante cleared down field, Zabaleta hoisted the ball forward first time, and Jovetic flicked on. Boateng failed to control it and his heavy touch fell to Sergio Aguero who motored away from him, before slotting the ball past Neuer and into the net with covering defenders closing in. Extreme joy enveloped us as the lads celebrated by the corner flag in front of us. It was such an exhilarating moment. It was yet another great finish, under pressure from one of the world’s greatest strikers. Cometh the hour, cometh the man, again.
Playing well below par, trailing 1-2 against 10 men until deep into a crucial game, then turning it round in the dying minutes? That’s never happened before has it! You bet we’ll fight to the end, and despite playing below par, this City team can take credit for that, and in particular Sergio Aguero, What a great striker Sergio Aguero is. “Sergio, Sergio!” we boomed.
Sergio, God only knows where we’d be without you…
City: Aguero 21 (pen), 85, 91
Bayern: Alonso 40, Lewandowski 45
Hart: Had a very poor game. Set the tone for his performance with an early kick out straight to a Bayern player but got away with it. He has saved us many, many times so it really pains me to be critical of his performance here. His positioning and arrangement of the wall was amateurish and the ease with which Alonso by-passed it showed him up. For Bayern’s second goal, he was caught in no-mans-land, except this time he wasn’t playing football with the Germans. He was too far off his line and was lobbed too easily. He either has to stay on or near his line or go for the ball. In this case he had a reasonable expectation that Sagna or Kompany would head it away, so he should have been on his line: 4
Sagna: Should have cut out the cross which led to Bayern’s second goal. Other than that, he had a decent game, keeping Ribery quiet, which is no mean feat. Didn’t offer much going forward, though there were mitigating circumstances with Bayern’s dominance of the ball. Still, a full back’s first job is to defend, so fair play to him: 7
Kompany: His poorest game for a while. Caught under the ball for the cross which led to Bayern’s second. Still, he battled on and improved: 5
Mangala: A very decent game indeed where his athleticism, pace and clean tackling were much in evidence. The one mistake was to give away the free kick that led to Bayern’s second, but he more than made up for this throughout. His best moments were a crucial early to deny Rafinha in the first half and a glorious long pass for Navas. Indeed, this was a very impressive show from the young Frenchman who read the game very well: 8
Clichy: Despite the enormous challenge presented by perhaps the best winger in the world, Arjen Robben, he had a good game against him: 7
Fernando: Not his fault that he isn’t naturally a high tempo, pressing kind of player, so probably isn’t suited to how we need to play. Unable to affect this game much and he almost gave the game away with a stray pass in the second half: 5
Navas: Some good runs, and he never stopped running. Too often his crosses hit the first man though, emphasising the difference in class between him and Robben: 6
Nasri: If he’s going to talk about stepping up to the challenge he has got to match the talk with the application. Too often he would play a pass and not move to take the rebound, He could have done more pressing and was guilty of ambling back at times when possession was lost, but he wasn’t alone. Still, there were some good moments of link play: 6
Lampard: Played a wonderful long pass which led to our penalty being awarded. Laboured with the pace of the game for a long time, though, and was one of several who surrendered possession, but he found his second wind when pushed deeper after Jovetic came on for Milner. He then found more space and his passing became more progressive. It was in this spell that he almost scored when his long range shot was tipped over by Neuer: 6
Milner: Worked hard all night and did well to support Clichy and reduce Robben’s threat, but not many of his forward passes came off. He gave Rafinha too much room to cross for Bayern’s second: 6
Aguero: Another demonstration of world class finishing from this City Legend. When called upon, he showed great coolness under pressure. His technique, control and skill is brilliant and he is at the very top of his game. All his goals showed great calmness and poise, the latter two being at the end of runs at speed. Not every striker has those qualities, which make him one of the top three forwards in the World. Great players like Sergio Aguero are rare and treasured: 9 ***Man of the Match, Oh yes***
Jovetic (for Milner 66): Lively and can claim two assists for his touches which led to Sergio Aguero’s goals: 8
Zabaleta (for Sagna 68): We were far more dynamic for having his presence down the right, and his well-directed ball forward set up the winner: 8
Demichelis (for Aguero 93): n/a
Best oppo: Robben: The world’s best winger was dealt with well by Clichy but still found ways of posing problems for us. Sometimes it looked like he could beat us on his own: 8
Refwatch: Pavel Kravolec: Fell for several of Bayern’s dying swan acts, but got most decisions right and was fair and even handed. Not every UEFA referee can be described thus. Had we lost, we could not have blamed him: 7
———- MATCH REPORT: SOUTHAMPTON 0 MANCHESTER CITY 3 (HT 0-0)
City outclassed Southampton and climbed over them into second place in this very important win. Dare we see say our third win in succession suggests the Boys in Blue are finding some momentum at last? Without wishing tempt fate, we’ll just hope the winning run continues.
It was a superb team performance where everyone contributed, and it could have been more than the three goals that we eventually scored. The score line is also remarkable from the fact that Southampton had only conceded once in their previous five home games and were 2nd in the League before kick off. City, in truth, made the Saints look very poor indeed, and “That’s why we’re Champions”, was loudly bellowed by City fans.
Sergio Aguero was again City’s best player, and followed up his hat trick of goals against Bayern with an excellent selfless showing which delivered a couple of assists. He would probably have had a goal of his own early on, had he been awarded a penalty for a clear trip by Fonte in the box. Instead referee Mike Jones booked him for a dive that never happened. Clearly he was felled, and it’s not as if Sergio Aguero dives or ever has dived. Fonte knew he’d fouled him and as good as admitted it by pointing in the hope that Jones would think that the offence had occurred outside the box! It was an outrage. This latest incidence of appalling refereeing could have cost us very dearly indeed.
City had started this game encouragingly, pressing far up the field and not allowing Southampton to get going. For twenty minutes it was all City as we passed the ball quickly and Fernandinho and Yaya snapped into tackles. Navas offered pace down the right to keep Bertrand busy and Nasri came inside from the left to make the play, with Aguero and Jovetic taking turns to come deep, running between the lines. Their movement bamboozled Southampton’s much lauded defence who didn’t know who to mark. There were not many clear cut chances in that opening phase but Yaya forced a save from Forster with a high curling shot in the 16th minute.
Southampton had a little spell from the 20th minute. In the same sequence of play, Pelle just failed to make enough contact to force a Schneiderlin cross in and Hart was forced to make a stretching save from a goal bound shot from Davis. The ball broke loose and Vincent Kompany literally put his body on the line to block Tadic’s shot from the rebound.
City were the dominant force and after good work from Aguero and Nasri, Jovetic’s shot deflected through Forster’s legs and was cleared off the line just after the half hour. Aguero headed the resultant corner wide. Sergio Aguero was causing Southampton defence problems and they really struggled to deal with his speed and strong running. Not that Southampton had any legal way of stopping him: with both Fonte and Aderweireld tripping him in one run across the box but the thoroughly inept Jones gave nothing.
Southampton’s biggest threat came from set pieces and Pelle glanced a corner wide in the 34th minute, but City’s play was superior. The Saints enjoyed a short spell after the break: Aderweireld couldn’t trouble Hart with his shot; and Tadic cut in from the right and fired just wide. It was to be the last meaningful threat on City’s goal, so dominant and effective were City in this game.
Our first goal was a testament to City’s hard work and pressing. Fernandinho dispossessed Wanyama twenty yards from Southampton’s goal, and ran across the front of the box, before picking out Aguero’s run down inside left with a perfectly weighted diagonal pass. Aguero twisted and turned back from the by-line with mesmerised defenders in his wake, and played a superb cut back to Yaya Toure whose fierce low goal bound twenty yard drive deflected in off a Southampton defender. It was no more than City deserved.
Almost immediately Pellegrini made a tactical switch, bringing Milner on for Jovetic, pushing Nasri inside and Milner wide left.
City were rampant and went for more goals. More unselfish work from Aguero saw him cut the ball back for Milner but the Yorkshireman’s shot was a foot over the bar in the 65th minute. Pellegrini brought on Lampard for Nasri to beef up midfield, and this only increased our stranglehold on the match. Kompany delivered a flicked a corner on and Aguero just couldn’t keep his effort at the far post down. Navas went close after he robbed Bertrand. It looked like City would get a second goal, but no one can ever say with 100% confidence that it is ever plain sailing with City, no matter how good our team is.
Yaya Toure dallied too long on the ball and got caught in possession by the feisty Shane Long, and Mangala shoved the Irish striker over just outside the box. It was his second yellow, and it is impossible to argue about either, so off he went. It was a needless, rash challenge especially as Vincent Kompany was on hand to cover, and would probably have got across to block off Long’s run.
So it was time for a final rearrangement and Navas left the pitch to well earned applause while Demichelis slotted in alongside Kompany at the back.
Not that being reduced to 10 men bothered City unduly. City just kept picking off Southampton with clever breaks. More good work from Aguero saw him play in Fernandinho but the Brazilian shot into the side netting. It was, however, only a temporary reprieve for the home side, as City put the game to bed in the 80th minute. Davis was struggling to control the ball in midfield when Milner dispossessed him, advanced down the left, checked, and squared the ball to Lampard who drove home a classic finish inside the left had post, with Forster rooted to the spot. What a relief!
It could have been three when Clichy’s long pass freed Aguero with just the keeper to beat, but, surprisingly, he got too close to the advancing Forster who was able to smother his shot.
Southampton were poor, and this was epitomised by the hapless Pelle, who should have done better after Long played a cross in. Pelle might be his name but he is a million miles away from being the great Pele. Koeman may be restoring Long in his place if he goes on the basis of this performance.
City’s crowning third goal was the result of a most unlikely combination. City cleared a corner and Lampard played a measured pass across to Demichelis who was advancing down the left. The Argentine centre back found Aguero who ran down the inside left channel into the penalty area, and played a sumptuous pass with the outside of his right foot to Clichy on the right, and the left back smashed the ball high into the net. There were gleeful celebrations, and the players were clearly pleased for Clichy. It was Clichy’s 1st goal for City, in his 120th appearance, and his 2nd career goal. Who’d have thought we’d have seen both Demichelis and Clichy in the opponents half and the latter on the right, scoring with his right? Clichy was actually right footed as a young boy, but so good was his father’s coaching when he was a youngster, that his left developed to the point that it became his predominant foot.
The only cloud in the match was Vincent Kompany’s hamstring injury in the dying minutes of the match (and “We’ve only got nine men…” was the memorable chant from the City fans). With Eliaquim Mangala’s suspension, we will be severely disrupted at the back for our visit to Sunderland on Wednesday. One would expect Demichelis to play, and the options are Yaya (who played at centre half in a Champions League Final for Barcelona), Bacary Sagna who filled in there with some success for Arsenal at times and Dedryck Boyata. Moving Yaya would disrupt midfield, Boyata can be rather nervous so maybe it’s time to give Sagna a go there.
To defeat Southampton was no mean achievement, even if they were poor on the day. The paucity of the show owed much to the fact that we didn’t allow them to play. Pellegrini had the team very well organised and focused after the dramatic victory over Bayern in midfield, and his tactics were spot on. Our formation was very fluid and the flexibility and interchangeability of Aguero and Jovetic caused a lot of problems for our opponents. Fernandinho and Yaya dominated the centre of midfield. The manager and his staff would have watched Southampton’s two full backs combined to score their equaliser at Villa Park last Monday and ensured that his wide men prevented them from advancing into dangerous areas.
To defeat Southampton was no mean achievement, even if they were poor on the day. The paucity of the show owed much to the fact that we didn’t allow them to play. Pellegrini had the team very well organised and focused after the dramatic victory over Bayern in midfield. Fernandinho and Yaya dominated the centre of midfield with the former in particular. The manager and his staff would have watched Southampton’s two full backs Bertrand and Clyne combined to score their equaliser at Villa Park last Monday and ensured that his wide men prevented them from advancing into dangerous areas.
Let’s not forget that Southampton had only conceded one goal at home this season before City rolled into St Mary’s and grabbed our first win there since 2003. Pellegrini must be happy that there was a real rhythm and tempo to our play and that our players kept their feet on the ground. This was a very good, performance of Champions from City, indeed the best of the season so far, and was reminiscent of so many matches last season where we came out and dominated a side, preventing them from getting out of their own half from the kick off. This fine victory put us 6 points behind Chelsea after their draw at Sunderland. Now we have to better their result there, and get that elusive win.
Come on City.
City: Yaya Toure 51, Lampard 80, Clichy 87
Hart: Important one handed low save with his right hand to deny Davis. Otherwise good handling though one punch out was too low and lacked distance. His kicking is chronically inconsistent: 7
Zabaleta: City look better when he is making runs down the outside and he did so during this game. Solid defensively, sharp in the tackle and a warrior as ever but booked for a professional foul, and was a little bit naughty in uncharacteristically barging Pelle off the pitch in one challenge. 7
Kompany: Strong and resolute as ever. Literally put his body on the line at a crucial moment. We’ll miss his defending and leadership qualities, but hopefully not for too long: 8
Mangala: Had been doing well with some good interceptions, but on another day his rashness might have cost us: 6
Clichy: Excellent defending again and a well deserved goal. He is on a hot streak and long may it continue for the likeable left back: 7
Navas: Good work up and down the pitch again, even if not every cross was well delivered. Good team player who kept Southampton Bertrand in his pocket all afternoon: 7
Fernandinho: A performance of great energy, tenacity and intelligence. Looking very good indeed, he is back to the level he was at last season: 8
Yaya Toure: Strong in the challenge, committed, we are seeing him getting back to his best. Took his goal really well but caught in possession which led to Mangala’s red card: 7
Nasri: Rode some challenges with bravery and skill, and played with intelligence. Less influence when he was moved to central midfield: 7
Jovetic: Very intelligent in his movement which caused problems: 7
Aguero: Two assists does not tell the whole story in another brilliant performance. Superbly balanced, twists, turns, great vision, speed, hungry, unselfish, hard-working, tenacious, intelligent, he is not only a great striker but he is a great team player. He is not only a great goal scorer but has the ability to be a great play maker too and showed that in this game. Indeed, could play anywhere in midfield or on the wing very well indeed. That’s how good he is: 9 ***Man of the match***
Milner (for Jovetic 54): Very good all round lay up and down the left flank, including a carefully measured pass to set up Lampard for his goal. The longer he is not signed up the more of a worry it is though, especially as he would be able to start negotiating with other clubs in January. He says he hopes to sign a new deal so hopefully it will happen soon. It would be very disappointing to lose a player who offers so much: 8
Lampard (for Nasri 65): He is still a very good player. Took his goal as brilliantly as he had done throughout his illustrious career, and played a big part in setting up our third and final goal. We must do what we can to sign him for the rest of the season: 8
Demichelis (for Navas 75): Now a reassuring presence at the back. Lovely pass to Aguero in the build up to our third goal: 7
Best Oppo: Schneiderlin: Fiercely won a tackle with Fernandinho in midfield and put in a superb ball for Pelle in the first half before being subbed due to injury at half time. Even if he had been fit to continue, City were unstoppable on this occasion. He would improve Arsenal’s midfield but not ours: 7
Refwatch: Mike Jones: Absolutely atrocious. How he thought Sergio Aguero wasn’t fouled, let alone dived is preposterous. He also managed to halt a City attack rather than play advantage after a Southampton man was caught offside. Looked nervous and reactionary all afternoon: 1
———- AND FINALLY…
GLAD YOU’RE BACK
After many years of suffering City with the mindless BS that goes on in football (soccer here in the USA), this is really great news that MCIVTA is back ali
ve. Today (Sunday) we finish with 9 men with a red card and a bad knee from celebrating a 3rd goal by legendary Clichy goal scorer.
Only at City can this happen.
Love the singing in the rain stand as the new monster stand goes up.
Please contribute any/all your views and help for fellow fans on this site.
[Ed. Thanks, Philip, we’re glad to be back too]
———- MCIVTA ADDRESSES
Publishing deadlines are, nominally, 6pm Monday and Thursday evenings by email. Unfortunately we cannot accept email attachments.
Any offers to buy, sell or exchange tickets are made at the risk of the parties involved. MCIVTA has no commercial or insurable interest in any offer and plays no part in any transaction or arrangement.
Offers are detailed purely for the convenience of our subscribers only.
———- USEFUL LINKS
MCIVTA Back Issues and unofficial Manchester City supporters’ home page (http://www.mcivta.com) or Twitter (www.twitter.com/mcivta)
Official Club website (http://www.mcfc.co.uk), Twitter (www.twitter.com/mcfc) or Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/mcfcofficial)
Official Manchester City Supporters Club (http://www.mcfcsupportersclub.com)
Manchester City Disabled Supporters Association (http://www.mcdsa.co.uk)
“Points of Blue” committee (http://www.mcfc.co.uk/Fans)
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