Newsletter #1465

The much hyped meeting with Robinho-chasers Chelsea ended up in a disappointing result for the Blues as we succumbed 1-3, although there were some positives to take from the game, not least the début of aforementioned Brazilian.

We have a match report tonight thanks to Phil, with views and opinion on the game and the usual requests.

Next up is the UEFA game in Cyprus.

Next Game: AC Omonia, away, 8pm Thursday 18 September 2008


At the start of a bright, brave new era for Manchester City, we were shown just how far we have to travel to hit the heights by an accomplished Chelsea side who have a very good chance of regaining their crown on this evidence. Whilst Chelsea ended up comfortable winners, City were not disgraced at all in this eagerly awaited encounter.

SWP returned to his true football home and was given a special welcome that is only reserved for one of Manchester City’s favourite sons. It’s great to have him back. Robinho also made an eagerly awaited début up front alongside fellow Brazilian Jo. Eastlands was awash with SWP and Robinho replica shirts, not to mention several fans in Arab attire: it was buzzing with optimism, and anticipation. It wasn’t long before City’s record £32.5 million signing was thrilling the crowd with a jinking run and pass to SWP whose effort was wide. Then in the 13th minute came the moment that sent ‘Middle Eastlands’ into raptures. Good work by Ball, Ireland and Wright-Phillips played in Jo on the edge of box, but he was fouled by Carvalho. Robinho then sweetly curled a free kick into the top right hand corner of the net with Cech motionless. What a wonderful start. It was as if oil been discovered in East Manchester too! Either that or Brazilian gold.

Chelsea came straight back at City and Dunne was forced to cut out a searching cross after a mix up in the City defence. Sadly the lead was shortlived as the ball bounced around the City box from the resultant corner and City’s defenders allowed Carvalho the freedom of the penalty box to volley an equaliser. Chelsea dominated possession for the rest of the half with City breaking when possible. Anelka had a couple of shots over, Hart saved a free kick, then Malouda hit the bar when he looked suspiciously offside. At the other end SWP played in Jo who was unlucky to be thwarted by the excellent Carvalho’s lunge, which deflected the Brazilian’s goalbound shot over.

The atmosphere was cracking: ‘We’ve got Robinho’ chimed around the ground, and both sets of fans gave SWP a warm reception as he went to take a corner by the Kippax/South Stand. He must have done a lot right down in South West London too!

Zabaleta was looking like an accomplished right back. This clean tackler looks very good on the ball, but he almost gifted another goal to Chelsea when he mishit a pass straight to the dangerous Lampard in the box, but his shot was well saved by Hart.

One or two of the usual suspects amongst the visitors weren’t afraid to throw in some horrible challenges, as is the wont of a team captained by the odious John Terry. He somehow managed to escape a booking after he cynically body-checked Wright-Phillips, but Mikel was not so lucky and was rightly booked after he hacked Wright-Phillips down. Fouls aside, it was Chelsea who carried the greater threat and it was a more varied threat than ours. As if to illustrate this, Ashley Cole went close with a 25 yard drive just before the break.

Chelsea continued to threaten after the break with Cole and Lampard causing the City defence all sorts of problems with their clever movement and thrusts from midfield. Joe Cole had an effort blocked by Wright-Phillips, but this was only a temporary reprieve as Lampard exchanged passes with Malouda, ran into the box, took a step to his left and drove past Hart’s left hand and just inside the post to give Chelsea the lead. Well taken it may have been, but the positioning of the City defence left a lot to be desired.

City tried to hit back, but Dunne headed over a Wright-Phillips corner. Chelsea could have extended their lead when it looked like Anelka was fouled in the box but referee Halsey waved play on. Chelsea were outmuscling and outrunning City in midfield, and Hughes replaced Hamann with Fernandes. Zabaleta fired over after being played in by Wright-Phillips who continued to be City’s most creative player.

The visitors kept possession very well though, in the style of Liverpool sides of the 70s and 80s, but City still had chances. Wright-Phillips tricked his way past Carvalho – no mean feat – but the Portuguese defender recovered brilliantly to thwart Ireland with a block after the latter had hesitated.

Hart saved a very powerful Lampard drive and the England midfielder’s cross was then headed over by Malouda – a further warning sign to City’s defence, and so it proved when Anelka motored past Dunne onto the excellent Joe Cole’s threaded pass to make it 3-1 on 69 minutes.

City continued to fight gamely and there were no heads going down here. Cech saved from Jo after a good cross by Zabaleta, and then John Terry scragged the Brazilian striker to the ground when he was in full flight towards the goal. It was a challenge more akin to St Helens or Rochdale Hornets, and Terry was rightly given his marching orders. Unsurprisingly, a whole gaggle of Chelsea players, led by Terry and seconded by Lampard, surrounded the referee, showing very little respect. All this less than three weeks after Terry spoke favourably about the ‘Respect’ initiative. The word ‘hypocrite’ springs to mind.

This encouraged City further and Stephen Ireland fired over after Kompany played him in from a Richards knockdown. The young Irishman might have shot when played in by Jo, choosing instead to pass to Ball whose shot sailed over the bar. Substitute Sturridge had a shot saved. Even with 10 men, though, Chelsea continued to be a threat and Zabaleta was forced to make a brilliant tackle to deny substitute Drogba a scoring opportunity. Then Hart tipped over a fine effort from a tight angle by Ashley Cole.

Despite Chelsea’s dominance and deserved victory, City were always a threat and stuck to the task and the optimism surrounding City was reflected in the buoyant home support throughout with ‘We Love you City’ ringing out from the stands at the end. Yes, City have a fair way to go to be up there with Chelsea, but this has been a decent start to the season. Here’s to continued improvement.

Hart: Handled well in a busy game – 7
Zabaleta: A solid all round début – 6
Richards: Stretched and distribution not the best – 5
Dunne: Struggled against breaking Chelsea midfielders and uncharacteristically Anelka too – 5
Ball: Out of position for Chelsea’s 2nd and 3rd goals – 5
Wright-Phillips: Involved in much of City’s best work. Creative and inventive in attack giving us more pace, and committed in defence – 7
Kompany: Good, hard working performances and some crunching tackles, but distribution was wayward at times – 6
Hamann: Struggled with the pace of the game, which left the back four exposed to Chelsea’s fluid movement – 5
Ireland: Some nice touches, clever link up play, good passing and admirable work rate, but must be more decisive when presented with opportunities to score – 7
Robinho: Great free kick to open the scoring, and some exciting runs. Lost possession easily at times though, but worked hard to help our defence out – 6
Jo: Worked tirelessly up front throughout and was unlucky to be denied by Carvalho’s block in the first half – 7
Fernandes: Gave us more athleticism – 6
Sturridge: Still managed to get a goal-bound shot in less than 10 minutes of action – 6

Man of the Match: Shaun Wright-Phillips
Best oppo: Carvalho: Colossal. Sign him up!

Halsey: Got most though not all decisions right but should have booked Terry for his body check in the 1st half, so the Chelsea skipper has no grounds for complaint whatsoever – 6

Oppo fans: fairly vocal and they nearly sold all their tickets this time – 6
Home fans: Absolutely buzzing and good humoured – 10
Att: 47,331

Phil Banerjee <Philban65(at)>


Well in the ‘Battle of the Wallets’ we finished a distant second, and that was without Ballack, Essien and only a little cameo from Drogba. The difference was all about attitude. Chelsea came to put paid to these upstart City players and supporters alike.

We scored first then that was about it. Funny really, in a game all about money, the best players on the park were almost all British! And in a game now renown for the influx of foreign players, Chelsea has almost as many English players as any other side. Lampard, the Coles and Terry stood out (as usual), while Ireland and SWP didn’t look out of place either.

We need some full backs though, yes I’ve changed my mind on Ball, the Argentinian looked even worse (yeah I know it was his first game, I hope he improves on that performance). Hopefully this performance has brought everyone back to earth a little after the whirlwind couple of weeks and it’s going to take time to be the ‘new Chelsea’. The trouble is that other clubs have got a little money behind them and I don’t think it’s going to be as easy as we think to buy a Premiership like Chelsea.

Kevin Williamson <scribbs(at)>


We must learn from our loss against Chelsea. City had their moments, and what a fantastic free kick by Robinho.

The difference today was that the Chelsea defence was a better defence, and they held out.

As regards to Terry being gave a red card, I say anyone who makes a deliberate rugby tackle to stop a player from going on, deserves a red card.

OK Chelsea deserved the win, but not by a two goal margin, the game was closer than that, but a loss is a loss.

I feel sure that we shall do a lot better against other teams, this was a first game together for some of City’s players.

Come on you Blues! In Sparky we trust.

Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)>


Need a ticket for the Brighton game – live in Brighton, can you help? Call or email 07810 806740.

Richard Weetman <weetmania(at)>


To all Chicago Blues, resident and visiting, I run a bar on the North Side and would welcome fellow Blues along for match viewing and generally catching up on the latest news of the Blues.

The bar is called The Grafton Pub and Grill, 4530 N Lincoln Ave Chicago, Il 60625 and the website is here:

Malcolm Molloy <Malcolm(at)>


14 September 2008

Stoke City            2 - 3  Everton               27,415

13 September 2008

Liverpool             2 - 1  Manchester United     44,192
Blackburn Rovers      0 - 4  Arsenal               23,041
Fulham                2 - 1  Bolton Wanderers      23,656
Newcastle United      1 - 2  Hull City             50,242
Portsmouth            2 - 1  Middlesbrough         19,425
West Bromwich Albion  3 - 2  West Ham United       26,213
Wigan Athletic        1 - 1  Sunderland            18,015
Manchester City       1 - 3  Chelsea               47,331

League table to 14 September 2008 inclusive

                             HOME          AWAY        OVERALL
                    P  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F   A   GD  Pts
 1 Chelsea          4  1  1  0  5  1  2  0  0  4  1  3  1  0   9   2   7  10
 2 Liverpool        4  2  0  0  4  2  1  1  0  1  0  3  1  0   5   2   3  10
 3 Arsenal          4  2  0  0  4  0  1  0  1  4  1  3  0  1   8   1   7   9
 4 Hull City        4  1  0  1  2  6  1  1  0  3  2  2  1  1   5   8  -3   7
 5 Manchester City  4  1  0  1  4  3  1  0  1  5  4  2  0  2   9   7   2   6
 6 Fulham           3  2  0  0  3  1  0  0  1  1  2  2  0  1   4   3   1   6
 7 West Ham United  4  2  0  0  6  2  0  0  2  2  6  2  0  2   8   8   0   6
 8 Middlesbrough    4  2  0  0  4  2  0  0  2  2  4  2  0  2   6   6   0   6
 9 Portsmouth       4  1  0  1  2  2  1  0  1  3  4  2  0  2   5   6  -1   6
10 Everton          4  0  0  2  2  6  2  0  0  5  3  2  0  2   7   9  -2   6
11 Wigan Athletic   4  0  1  1  1  2  1  0  1  6  2  1  1  2   7   4   3   4
12 Aston Villa      3  1  1  0  4  2  0  0  1  2  3  1  1  1   6   5   1   4
13 Bolton Wndrs     4  1  1  0  3  1  0  0  2  1  3  1  1  2   4   4   0   4
14 Manchester Utd   3  0  1  0  1  1  1  0  1  2  2  1  1  1   3   3   0   4
15 West Brom A.     4  1  0  1  4  4  0  1  1  0  1  1  1  2   4   5  -1   4
16 Newcastle Utd    4  1  0  1  2  2  0  1  1  1  4  1  1  2   3   6  -3   4
17 Sunderland       4  0  0  2  0  4  1  1  0  3  2  1  1  2   3   6  -3   4
18 Blackburn R.     4  0  1  1  1  5  1  0  1  4  6  1  1  2   5  11  -6   4
19 Stoke City       4  1  0  1  5  5  0  0  2  2  5  1  0  3   7  10  -3   3
20 Tottenham H.     3  0  0  1  1  2  0  1  1  2  3  0  1  2   3   5  -2   1

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1465