Newsletter #1604

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Victory over Pompey at the weekend, but a somewhat uninspiring performance after the cup diversions, sees us equal with Liverpool in 6th place with two games in hand.

We have match view and opinion tonight on the Portsmouth game, reaction to the recent cup games, off pitch comments and the usual requests together with an optimistic portent.

Next Game: Hull City, away, 3pm Saturday 6th February 2010

MATCH REPORT ‘LIVE’: MCFC 2 PFC 0

Manchester City gained another home win against bottom of the table Portsmouth after a pedestrian performance that suggested that City were still mentally and physically tired after the League Cup Semi Final exit last Wednesday. Goals from Adebayor, returning after the tragic attack on the Togo team bus, and Vincent Kompany, sealed this win on a cool, but sunny winter’s day in Manchester, when the skies matched the colours of City’s smart shirts.

Unfortunately the game didn’t match the weather. City started off very poorly and never really got into gear in this match. Indeed Pompey might have taken the lead early on after Given fumbled a cross, but Utaka skied his effort. The visitors went much closer when van den Borre’s effort was deflected by his fellow Belgian Vincent Kompany onto the bar. The ball came down off Stephen Ireland’s chest on the line and the defenders seemed to wait an age before Kompany hoisted a clearance away. It was a pretty scrappy affair as City looked drained of energy and inspiration. When we did attack, Kompany headed wide at a corner and Ireland’s shot from a Tevez cross was comfortably saved by David James, who was given his customary warm reception at the start. His ovation is well earned, as we probably wouldn’t have stayed up without his excellent goalkeeping.

Fortunately for City, Pompey’s defence was dodgier than a Harry Redknapp transfer (er… allegedly?), and City did not have to hit top gear to put this match beyond their reach. Our two goals, which came before half time, were well taken by City it has to be said but Pompey’s defending left much to be desired.

Firstly Stephen Ireland played a beautifully weighted long, diagonal pass into the path of the advancing Adebayor who took the ball down with a deft touch and scored with a perfect volley past David James. The second goal was a superb bullet header by Vincent Kompany from Petrov’s pinpoint corner: a much deserved reward for a very popular player. Both goals were delightful, and it was good to see a smile on Adebayor’s face after Togo’s terrible ordeal.

City’s defending has clearly improved under Roberto Mancini. Whichever personnel he has employed, we are looking much more like a solid unit. Toure made some vital interceptions and clean tackles, particularly in the second half and his experience will be useful in the remainder of the season. It is a shame that his partner Vincent Kompany picked up a debilitating groin injury, which Mancini feared might be ‘serious’. Hopefully he will not be out too long. Kompany has looked very impressive at the heart of our defence. Southampton fans apart, it’s impossible not to feel sympathy for Portsmouth’s faithful after the way their club has been badly mismanaged. One wonders how Harry Redknapp and his mate Peter Storrie (their Chief Exec) sleep at night. They are not popular to say the least amongst their fans, given the state of their club, and it was no surprise to see a picture of Redknapp with the slogan ‘Judas’ printed over the top of it, adorning the window of a Pompey fan’s car. A question has to be asked: why did their current owner Ali Al Faraj take over if he couldn’t pay the players wages (repeatedly)? Didn’t he do due diligence on Pompey’s books to see what mess had been left by the previous regime? This Portsmouth mess has been waiting to happen for years: so much for the so-called ‘Fit and Proper Persons’ test. Whatever, hopefully their club can survive this terrible situation that they find themselves in.

Pompey’s players still attacked with spirit even though there was little end product. O’Hara did, though, fire narrowly wide after good work with Boateng and Given was forced to make one save from a long range effort, but our defence was too well organised to be breached in this match. It was City who came closest to scoring in the second half when substitute Bellamy skinned van den Borre and squared the ball to Tevez who tricked his way past a defender before inexplicably hitting the outside of the post as the goal beckoned.

It was disappointing that we could not add to our goal tally and thus push ourselves back above Liverpool, but our performance didn’t merit more goals, and the game petered out. In the dying minutes there were photographers and a few fans looking to the skies at an aircraft whose vapour trail suggested that it was giving Eastlands a wide berth with a sharp turn to the West. The pilot might not have fancied this game at 25,000 feet, but for those of who were there, it was still good to see City win and show that there was no Cup hangover.

Indeed, this is what it must be like to see a top team: i.e. to play badly and still win fairly comfortably. A note of caution, though, is in order: City will have to perform much better than this against struggling Hull next Saturday to get another vital win.

Att: 44,015
Given: His early fumble could have been costly. Inconsistent distribution 6
Zabaleta: Solid in defence and adventurous in attack until head injury left him unable to continue 7
Toure: A good solid return and some great, clean tackles 7
Kompany: Continued his rock solid form until his groin injury 7
Garrido: Our left side was vulnerable early on but he settled down 6
de Jong: A key cog in the engine room as ever 6
Barry: His industry, physicality and common sense were impressive in the 2nd half 6
Ireland: Intelligent, incisive ball for the opener was the highlight of a hard working performance 7
Petrov: Lovely delivery for our 2nd goal but his shirt will not need washing 5
Adebayor: Led the line well and took his goal superbly 7
Tevez: Quiet first half, but buzzed around to more effect in the 2nd and should have added to his impressive tally 6
Subs:
Onuoha: Slotted in very well at right back 7
Boyata: Another seamless substitution which is to the young man’s credit 7
Bellamy: Always a threat in his cameo and so nearly created a third goal with his pace and trickery 7
Refwatch: Martin Atkinson: Hardly noticed him, but he had a very easy game to referee 7
Best Oppo: O’Hara: Clever little player 7

Phil Banerjee <philban65(at)tiscali.co.uk>

MATCH VIEW: MCFC 2 PFC 0

I didn’t buy a ticket as:

  1. I suspected it might be such a dross game as it turned out to be, and
  2. the trains were not running again from my local station and I like to getdown there and have a pint or two before the game, which rules out driving(thank you Network Rail)

They were there for the taking and we could have picked up an extra “point” by improving our goal difference – it may be the crucial factor come the end of the season?

We were dreadful in terms of entertainment. The crowd noise was nil and there seemed to be a total lack of willingness to get on with it. Can we not learn from Chelsea and other top teams, who seem to take advantage of teams in the basement, to improve our league position?

Apart from 3 points, what a waste of an afternoon. Not trying to be controversial, but we long suffering fans want more than this sort of display to brighten up our match days, surely?

Chris Ryder <chrisryder62(at)googlemail.com>

OPINION: CUP GAMES

Just thought I’d add my comments regarding cup games etc. Whilst I am gutted that we lost the semi-final, and of all teams, against Yoonited, I don’t think that it’s the end of the world.

Yes, winning a cup would be great and it would mean that goddamn banner at The Swamp would have to come down or be seriously downgraded, but surely gaining Champions’ League qualification must be our priority this season? That is the only way of luring top drawer players to Eastlands, not by winning the Carling/FA Cup.

I don’t see why we should only aim for fourth place either, the way the league is shaping up this season, is 3rd or 2nd place really out of the question?

All we need to do is get the away form more consistent and hope that other results are favourable and who knows what might happen on this adventure that is supporting Manchester City!

Keep the faith.

Andrew Keller <akcity(at)msn.com>

OPINION: IS OUR COOK SPOILING THE BROTH?

I was very reassured by the various comments on our Chief Executive in the last MCIVTA. I was beginning to think it was just me that thought this ex-Marketing Executive, whose language would more likely find resonance in Nike’s boardrooms, is manifesting exactly the sort of self-promoting, arrogant leadership that has come to typify Man United and the sort of vainglorious claptrap that comes out of Old Trafford and which makes them so hated round the world.

Additionally, Cook’s football management record is far from impressive in my view. Having tried to sell Steve Ireland to Sunderland over Hughes’ head he then bought Robinho over Hughes’ head as his and Mansour’s “box-office” vanity signing.

We then had all the publicity of the Kaka “AC Milan bottled it” débâcle. He and Marwood then decided Richard Dunne was surplus to requirements and got rid of him to Aston Villa. Added to his appalling gaffe about Uwe Rösler and the idiotic claims about City’s march to “world dominance” he is becoming a joke, who at every step demonstrates a clear lack of experience in the world of football. After the shambles of the press conference where Mancini was introduced as our new manager it is no wonder the press now look forward to Cook’s appearances.

I find myself longing for the calmer, dignified leadership of David Bernstein or even our very own occasional contributor to MCIVTA Howard Davies. Cook should learn to let the team talk first on the field and then leave it to Mancini, who in his short time has shown himself to be a more dignified and articulate ambassador for the club than its Chief Executive.

Bernard Paton <bernard.paton(at)orange.fr>

OPINION: NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF THE ESTABLISHMENT

So Manchester United are not going to be charged by the FA for their fans raining dangerous objects on Craig Bellamy. He was hit by a coin and two bottles amongst other things that were thrown at him when he went to take a corner. It’s yet another spineless act by our FA. It was wrong for Patrice Evra to have been hit by a cigarette lighter thrown at him the first leg at Eastlands. Manchester United, however, are serial offenders in this respect, with Javier Garrido being hit by a coin that was intended for Carlos Tevez earlier in the season. They repeatedly fail to protect opposition players from their thuggish elements. Why should Manchester United get away with it? You can guarantee that if it was City fans who’d thrown those bottles onto the pitch (one of which was glass) then City would have been in the dock, and had the book thrown at us. Why do the FA think it is ok to have such double standards?

Furthermore, as I alluded to in MCIVTA 1603, with Barry going over to take the corner instead of Bellamy it disrupted our team in two ways:

  1. Our normal corner taker from the left (Bellamy) was not taking the kick,thus taking away from us our right to choose the best person for the job.From an attacking point of view our corner was, therefore, compromised.
  2. Our team lost a bit of organisation because Barry, a midfield player withmore defensive instincts, was pulled out of position at the set piece. It wasno coincidence that this incident led to their goal and thus changed the game.

Why should this be allowed? Why should Manchester United thugs be allowed to ruin a game, influencing it in their favour? It’s mob rule, and by failing to act, the FA are at best turning a blind eye to it: at worst they are endorsing it.

Time should have been given by the referee to allow Bellamy to recover to take the corner. The referee was in his power to do thus. He can actually take the players off if he sees fit. Why did the referee not allow Bellamy time to recover? Why should City be disadvantaged by a United fan’s bad behaviour?

All these are questions that the FA should answer. I’m not holding my breath, though.

Phil Banerjee <philban65(at)tiscali.co.uk>

OPINION: THE OMEN

Just thought I’d share the following. I know the past has nothing to do with the future in footballing terms, but I like this coincidence.

  • 1980/81 season, City swap managers, Allison for Bond.
  • Bond takes the team to the League Cup semi final and are unlucky to lose toLiverpool over the two legs.
  • Bond takes City to Wembley for the FA Cup final and… well you know the rest.
  • 2009/10 season, City swap managers, Hughes for Mancini.
  • Mancini takes the team to the League Cup semi final and are unlucky to loseto United over the two legs.
  • Here’s hoping Mancini can take us one step further than John Bond did 29years ago.

Up The Blues.

Phill Gatenby <safestanding(at)aol.com>

REQUEST: REDDISH BLUES PLAYER MEETING

The next meeting of the Reddish Branch of the Centenary Supporters’ Association is on Wednesday 3rd February at Reddish Working Men’s Club, Greg Street, South Reddish, Stockport starting at 7.00pm (doors 6.30pm).

Our confirmed guests for the evening are Shaun Wright-Phillips and Javier Garrido plus officials from the Club.

The meeting is open to everyone and entrance is free to branch members, £2 for adult non-members, £1 for juniors non-members and includes a free raffle. So please bring along your family and friends and let’s have fantastic Blue night out.

You’re advised to get there early as we’re expecting a full house.

More details at http://www.reddishblues.com/

Howard Burr <reddishblues(at)btinternet.com>

REQUEST: HONG KONG BLUES

There was a posting a while back from Blues wishing to meet up to watch games in HK. Can they please get in touch so we can start something?

Met many Blues ex-pat and local when City played here a couple of years ago so must be a good sized group. Heidi you are a legend for all your work… and Ernie Barrow a legend too for your undying optimism. Best wishes to all… do I sense a new spirit?

Tom Derbyshire <bluemoonbn(at)yahoo.com.au>

RESULTS

31 January 2010

Manchester City      2 - 0  Portsmouth           44,015
Arsenal              1 - 3  Manchester United    60,091

30 January 2010

Birmingham City      1 - 1  Tottenham Hotspur    27,238
Fulham               0 - 2  Aston Villa          25,408
Hull City            2 - 2  Wolverhampton Wndrs  24,957
Liverpool            2 - 0  Bolton Wanderers     43,413
West Ham United      0 - 0  Blackburn Rovers     33,093
Wigan Athletic       0 - 1  Everton              16,869
Burnley              1 - 2  Chelsea              21,131

League table to 31 January 2010 inclusive

                            HOME           AWAY          OVERALL
                    P  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L   F   A  GD Pts
 1 Chelsea         23 11  1  0 37  8  6  2  3 20 11 17  3  3  57  19  38  54
 2 Manchester Utd  24 10  1  1 31  8  7  1  4 25 12 17  2  5  56  20  36  53
 3 Arsenal         24  9  1  2 35 14  6  3  3 25 14 15  4  5  60  28  32  49
 4 Tottenham H.    24  8  1  3 28  8  4  5  3 17 17 12  6  6  45  25  20  42
 5 Liverpool       24  8  2  2 30 11  4  3  5 12 15 12  5  7  42  26  16  41
 6 Manchester City 22  8  3  0 28 14  3  5  3 16 16 11  8  3  44  30  14  41
 7 Aston Villa     23  6  4  2 17  7  5  3  3 14 11 11  7  5  31  18  13  40
 8 Birmingham City 23  5  5  2 10  7  4  2  5 12 16  9  7  7  22  23  -1  34
 9 Everton         23  5  5  2 18 15  3  3  5 15 19  8  8  7  33  34  -1  32
10 Blackburn R.    24  6  4  2 17 12  1  3  8  8 28  7  7 10  25  40 -15  28
11 Fulham          23  6  2  3 15  8  1  4  7 11 20  7  6 10  26  28  -2  27
12 Stoke City      21  5  3  3 15 13  1  4  5  4 13  6  7  8  19  26  -7  25
13 Sunderland      22  5  3  2 18 13  1  2  9 12 27  6  5 11  30  40 -10  23
14 Wigan Athletic  22  3  3  4 10 14  3  1  8 14 33  6  4 12  24  47 -23  22
15 West Ham United 23  3  4  4 18 20  1  5  6 11 18  4  9 10  29  38  -9  21
16 Bolton Wndrs    22  3  4  5 17 23  2  2  6 12 21  5  6 11  29  44 -15  21
17 Wolves          23  3  3  6  9 17  2  3  6 10 23  5  6 12  19  40 -21  21
18 Burnley         23  5  4  2 15 11  0  1 11  8 35  5  5 13  23  46 -23  20
19 Hull City       23  4  4  3 15 18  0  4  8  7 30  4  8 11  22  48 -26  20
20 Portsmouth      22  3  1  7 14 17  1  2  8  5 18  4  3 15  19  35 -16  15

With thanks to Football 365

[Valid3.2]Heidi Pickup, editor@mcivta.city-fan.org

Newsletter #1604

2010/02/01

Editor:


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