Newsletter #1419

More disappointment on Saturday as we failed to capitalise on our few chances or to defend as Chelsea emerged victors at CoMS.

We have a match report thanks to Phil, Alex’s march round-up and opinion on Sven’s signings and tactics.

Next Game: Saturday 12 April 2008, 3pm, Sunderland (away)


City eventually finished well beaten by title-chasing Chelsea but with better finishing we may well have earned a draw if we had put away our first half chances.

City started off meekly though, and it was not long before Chelsea were in front. Kalou fed Anelka who raced away down the right and with the City defence at full stretch, the ex-City striker’s cross was diverted past Hart by Dunne’s sliding challenge. It was unfortunate as those sort of blocks are normally deflected for corners. This did not deter City and we went on to dominate the first half, with Chelsea playing on the break. Johnson volleyed wide when well placed. The visitors’ normally solid defence was surprisingly easily sliced open and Ireland should have scored when he took a return cross after a one-two with Benjani. Instead of despatching the ball into the net, his shot was deflected away by a defender. Benjani also let the visitors off the hook when he headed wide from a perfect cross by Petrov.

Petrov, who was causing Chelsea problems down the left, then had a rasping shot tipped over from under the angle of post and bar by Cuducini who was at full stretch. The Bulgarian was also wide from a free kick. Johnson then played a one-two with Stephen Ireland and his effort was blocked on the line by the odious Ashley Cole who was serenaded with enquiries as to where his wife Cheryl had gone! John Terry and Frank Lampard were also on the end of some well-earned stick as well later on. What is it about Chelsea? Is it a home for petulant, cheating, disabled parking space nabbing, philandering, referee chasing oiks? Or are they misreported and much misunderstood?! Some Chelsea fans complain that it is the press picking on them as a club. To be fair, the return of the admirable Nicolas Anelka and Shaun Wright-Phillips drew warm applause from the City fans when their names were announced at the start – a well-earned acknowledgement of the wonderful contributions they made to City. If only SWP was marauding down the right flank for us now, and Anelka had made his ‘provisional’ agreement to rejoin us in January, because we could do with him up front. City had been the better team in the first half and just needed a finishing touch.

Encouragingly, City continued where they left off after the break, pressing Chelsea for an equaliser. This only lasted a few minutes as Elano twice gave the ball away in quick succession inside his own half and Kalou was played through by Essien with the aid of a deflection and he rounded Hart to score the killer second goal. It seemed to knock the stuffing out of City and it was a case of whether Chelsea would add to their tally. Hart was forced to save a low shot from Anelka and then an Anelka header hit the bar, and then the City ‘keeper managed to scoop the ball away from going over the line. Anelka has certainly got better and better, looking a real threat in the air.

Essien and Mikel were dominating midfield as Johnson faded. City’s afternoon got a whole lot worse when the impressive Nedum Onuoha fell awkwardly, sustaining a bad injury to his arm. It was clear that he was in a lot of pain and hopefully he will recover quickly from his shoulder and wrist injuries and enjoy far better luck with injuries.

A Corluka effort from Petrov’s corner was deflected wide and an overhead kick from Ireland was saved. Petrov had a free kick saved and struck another wide but Chelsea dominated possession and the game petered out to a disappointing defeat.

In summary Benjani again looked isolated as a lone striker. Will Sven ever start with 4-4-2? We looked rather lightweight against Chelsea’s more experienced midfield in the 2nd half, and if we are to become a side that qualifies for the UEFA Cup and better by rights rather than the Fair Play League then we are few players short. A physically strong midfield enforcer is a priority this summer, as well as a top class striker and a pacy right winger. So that’s an Essien, an Anelka and a Shaun Wright Phillips, please! It isn’t a time for panicking, either in the stands or in the boardroom. Whether or not we agree with everything Sven does, we have come a long way since last season’s relegation scrap. Sven needs to be given the backing for the players that he wants to bring in without interference.

Hart. Couldn’t be faulted for either goal. Some good saves: 7
Corluka. Solid enough, and adapted well when moved to centre half: 6
Dunne. Unfortunate for own goal. Dealt well enough with the threat of Anelka: 6
Onuoha. City’s best defender until he sadly got injured. Made two awesome tackles to thwart Anelka: 8
Ball. Solid and dependable. Another very good game: 7
Elano. One good pass, one terrible one, but otherwise looked disinterested: 4
Johnson: Excellent first half but his lack of games recently told and he faded away in the second period: 6
Fernandes. Another superb all action display even if he was out-muscled occasionally: 8
Ireland. Combined with Johnson to create a chance, and missed City’s best chance to equalise in the 1st. Plenty of effort but needs to develop a ruthless streak in front of goal: 5
Petrov. City’s most potent attacker for most of the afternoon before he got frustrated late on: 7
Benjani. Certainly can’t be faulted for effort but failed to hit target with his only clear chance: 6
Sun. Steady enough: 6
Vassell. No real impact: 5
Caicedo. Too late to make mark: n/a

Phil Banerjee <phil.banerjee(at)>


It’s not difficult to see where City have gone wrong this year and why the fight for a European place seems all but lost. Having dropped seventeen points against the teams in the bottom half of the table, it’s clear for all to see where the wind has been sucked out of the Blues’ sails. Four of March’s games came against teams fighting against the drop and should have offered up eight, maybe twelve points alone, yet our inability to convert chances and even some slack defending at the back have left City with only one win from five and typically of the Citizens this came against Spurs, the most difficult game of the month.

On the first of the month, Steve Bruce’s resurgent Wigan side fought out a goalless draw and so set the tone of the month. It was Wigan that game who looked the more likely to score and if it hadn’t been for an ex-Blue named Sibierski missing a sitter in the last five minutes, March could have been even worse. Obviously Sibierski thought he was still wearing the blue of MCFC and felt the urge to miss. It seems the trend of the last twelve months that we just can’t buy a consistent goalscorer. From Samaras and Corradi (enough said), we move to Benjani, a player whose quality can’t be doubted having scored twelve goals and two hat-tricks this season, yet just can’t score and to be fair on the lad he’s not being given the service. It’s time to settle the problem. We have three solid ‘keepers (one who deserved an England call up more than any of the five Capello had in his squad at one point or another). The defence we all agree, though could do with one or two addition is our best asset. In Johnson we have a gem who will go on and play for England and I hope and pray Elano finds that early from again. Petrov is a constant threat but we have nothing down the right and I don’t believe we have had since the departure of SWP. That is the problem area, bring in a right winger and we have better service, more chances, more goals. Be it Mancini of Roma, Lennon of Spurs or the dream scenario of Ronaldinho, this problem needs solving now!

A trip to the Madjeski conveyed just to what extent our attacking problems are as we were walked over 2-0. The spirited and promising performance against Spurs ended with a 2-1 win and with two assists the 42,000 of us watching caught just a glimpse of that Brazilian magic we are all longing for. Two more trips to struggling sides ended in heartache against Bolton and ten-man Birmingham as one point from the Reebok and a dismal display at Saint Andrews concluded 3-1 to the home side.

Though the dream for Europe via the league may be over, a late push could see an short summer for the boys and a journey to the Intertoto Cup during pre-season. In fact this is not the only route, with England top of the Fair Play League, and City only trailing Liverpool, Stretford Red Socks and Everton, the Blues could be handed a lifeline by UEFA for the second time in five years.

Player of the month: Joe Hart. No Question. The boy’s coming good and a string of good performances throughout the season has shot him onto the international rumour front. Why Capello called up Carson, Kirkland, James, Robinson, and Green before Hart is beyond me but if his form continues then Fabio may have to keep a closer eye on the soon to be 21 year old.

Moment of the month: Not on the pitch this month but off it. Whilst watching the game against Spurs I happened to look to my left and see a certain Bulgarian leaving an executive box. Martin Petrov, who was serving a three match ban, came out and invited two young Blues to watch the game with him and others from the club. Footballers are constantly criticised, joked about and said to be out of touch but my faith was restored in its entirety when watching this simple but thoughtful act from the pacy winger.

Alex Rowen <ajpr2007(at)>


Phil Banerjee writes that most of Sven’s hurried signings have proven successful. I have a question. Which ones?

Petrov: Can’t beat a man with the ball at his feet, can only beat someone down the wing for pace but relies on a good pass from midfield and being ‘awake’ to read the pass, he’s petulant, lazy and moody, and nowhere near as good as he thinks.

Giovanni: Seems OK when he comes on but why on earth did we pay all that money for someone to sit on the bench all season. I could have done that!

Elano: Had two great games against Newcastle and Boro. What else? Doesn’t like being tackled, his passing is no more fantastic than the average midfielder and, apart from the two games mentioned, doesn’t create anything whatsoever. The biggest prima-donna we’ve ever had.

Garrido: Worst defensive full back at the club. No positional sense, always caught out of position. Plays better when he comes on from sub in midfield. Can’t be trusted in the back four.

Corluka: OK in midfield but at full back, poor positional play, lacklustre attitude when losing the ball. Overrated by everyone including his country.

Bojinov: Can’t criticize him because only played parts of two games. We’ll see.

Bianchi: Good goal poacher, when we actually create a chance but very lazy and rarely works back to help out but then again, who could score goals in this team when we don’t make chances and concede on a regular basis.

Fernades: I can’t stop laughing at this one. He looks like he’s got size 17 feet. Mr Huff’n’puff. Runs round like a headless chicken, creates nothing yet, amazingly, the critics think he’s great. Wish I wore their specs ’cause I think he’s c**p!

At various times during this season, Sven has been forced to play virtually the same team as last season due to injuries and this is back when results were going our way.

Since the derby match, not one City player has put an ounce of effort in. How else can you explain how we can play United off the park on their own ground then go and lose to garbage like Reading and Birmingham, and draw with Wigan. Even the win against Tottenham was tedious. Hardly three passes put together the whole game. If that’s what’s making everyone happy, thinking it’s better than last season, well I must see the game differently. At times it’s worse.

Once again, against Chelsea, two goals conceded due to not marking. Fed up of seeing it. Fed up of saying it.

A defence than can’t defend, a midfield that is limp and creates nothing, and a forward line, ha, that’s a joke, the one man band, doesn’t score because he, inevitably ‘he’ not ‘they’, doesn’t get any service.

A damning view if ever there was one but Sven seems to think that we played well against Chelsea. Well if that’s acceptable, then there are a lot of ‘losers’ out there. £40 million down the drain and by my reckoning, if Shinawatra’s millions don’t get released, he’s broke.

It was reputed that he had £120 million free of Thailand that he could invest in the club. He bought the club for £80 million, and spent £40 million on players. There’s nowt left.

Oh, and one last thing. Ishmael Miller. Thought it was a great ‘managerial’ move signing him up for three years then loaning him out to get league experience. Genius, I thought. Then they let him go for £900,000! FFS. How many managers at City let this happen? Who’s next, Ched Evans for £150,000, Sturridge for £250,000? In fact, why not let them go for ‘frees’?

Have a good close season because it started about a month ago for City.

John Nisbet <nisbet1957(at)>


The game versus Chelsea was frustrating to watch, as Chelsea got off to a good start after an own goal from Dunne as he tried to cut off a pass from Anelka.

It seemed as if it was only Petrov to really put any pressure on the Chelsea ‘keeper, with some fine long distance efforts. We all know that Micah is missing, but he is just one player, how can City change our fortunes so much since Christmas?

One glaring reason I think is that we continue to play Benjani as the lone striker, and even then he keeps wandering off to the left flank, because he is so well marked out of the game on his own up front. If SGE is the great coach that he is supposed to be then why I ask does he keep playing a one man strike force that fails week in, week out?

There is no question that some big changes have to be made if we are to be a team competing to be in Europe, and I am not for the idea of getting into Europe through some back door; if we are not good enough to win a place by beating teams in the Premier League then just forget it.

Although I am against SGE playing a one man strike force, I am not opposed to him being the Manager/Coach. The only thing that makes this game have anything positive about it is that it makes Chelsea only 2 points behind the Evil Empire, and Chelsea have to play United at home, a very big game now.

As I write this I do not know the condition of Nedum. I just hope as we all do that his injury is not serious, he sure looked in pain as he was carried off. Setanta, who carried the game on TV made him the “man of the match” despite him having to leave early through injury (nice one by Setanta).

Credit to many of the City players in this game who did put a lot of effort into their game, but being down 1-0 after just 5 minutes was not the best way to start against a team likes Chelsea.

Come on you Blues!

Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)>


The second and final auction of Colin’s International caps, England shirts, City shirts, final pair of boots and various other items takes place this Friday at Franklins Gardens, Northampton. Full details are available at

Colin is selling these items as he is moving house and he is retaining all his medals and some caps and other items but he is downsizing by selling some of the many items that he received during his career.

Chris Williams <sportingmemcjw(at)>


6 April 2008

Middlesbrough         2 - 2  Manchester United     33,952
Everton               1 - 0  Derby County          36,017

5 April 2008

Arsenal               1 - 1  Liverpool             60,111
Aston Villa           4 - 0  Bolton Wanderers      37,773
Blackburn Rovers      1 - 1  Tottenham Hotspur     24,592
Fulham                1 - 3  Sunderland            25,035
Manchester City       0 - 2  Chelsea               42,594
Newcastle United      3 - 0  Reading               52,179
Wigan Athletic        2 - 0  Birmingham City       17,926

League table to 06 April 2008 inclusive

                             HOME          AWAY        OVERALL
                    P  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F   A   GD  Pts
 1 Manchester Utd  33 15  1  1 41  5  9  4  3 29 12 24  5  4  70  17  53  77
 2 Chelsea         33 11  5  0 32 10 11  3  3 26 13 22  8  3  58  23  35  74
 3 Arsenal         33 12  5  0 34 11  8  6  2 29 16 20 11  2  63  27  36  71
 4 Liverpool       33 10  6  1 39 12  7  6  3 18 13 17 12  4  57  25  32  63
 5 Everton         33 10  3  3 29 13  8  3  6 20 14 18  6  9  49  27  22  60
 6 Portsmouth      32  7  7  2 24 12  8  1  7 22 21 15  8  9  46  33  13  53
 7 Aston Villa     33  9  3  5 29 19  5  7  4 27 25 14 10  9  56  44  12  52
 8 Blackburn R.    33  7  6  4 22 17  6  6  4 21 22 13 12  8  43  39   4  51
 9 Manchester City 33 10  4  3 23 16  3  6  7 14 23 13 10 10  37  39  -2  49
10 West Ham United 32  6  5  4 18 18  6  3  8 17 21 12  8 12  35  39  -4  44
11 Tottenham H.    33  8  3  5 44 30  2  7  8 18 26 10 10 13  62  56   6  40
12 Newcastle Utd   33  7  5  5 23 24  3  3 10 17 34 10  8 15  40  58 -18  38
13 Sunderland      33  8  3  5 19 16  2  3 12 13 34 10  6 17  32  50 -18  36
14 Middlesbrough   33  5  5  6 17 21  3  6  8 13 26  8 11 14  30  47 -17  35
15 Wigan Athletic  33  8  3  5 20 14  1  4 12 10 33  9  7 17  30  47 -17  34
16 Reading         33  8  2  7 19 22  1  3 12 18 39  9  5 19  37  61 -24  32
17 Birmingham City 33  5  6  5 23 19  2  3 12 15 32  7  9 17  38  51 -13  30
18 Bolton Wndrs    33  5  5  7 20 18  1  3 12 10 34  6  8 19  30  52 -22  26
19 Fulham          33  4  5  8 20 29  0  7  9 10 27  4 12 17  30  56 -26  24
20 Derby County    33  1  5 10 10 27  0  3 14  6 41  1  8 24  16  68 -52  11

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1419