Newsletter #1626

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Disappointment ultimately on Saturday as Scholes popped up with the winner in Fergietime and we failed to capitalise on either home advantage or our recent run of form.

The resultant loss and other results over the weekend mean that elusive 4th spot is still “game on” and the top 6 rankings of the Premier League are certainly going down to the wire.

We have a match report tonight thanks to Phil, opinion on the game and tactics and a hatful of requests including news of a new Hong Kong Blues supporters’ group.

Next Game: Arsenal, away, 5.30pm Saturday 24 April 2010

MATCH REPORT ‘LIVE’: MCFC 0 MUFC 1

Poor concentration and poor decision making in the dying seconds cost City dearly for a third time this season in derby matches. One wonders when the penny will drop.

Not that any team truly deserved to win this scrappy, attritional affair. It had been an uninspiring game that was heading for a goalless draw. None of City’s big game match winners played well, and Valencia and Evra apart, none of the visitors did enough to suggest they could win the match before that final minute of stoppage time.

Not for the first time this season, City showed United far too much respect from the start and retreated in midfield, playing into the veteran Scholes’ hands, giving him 30 yards space to look up and pick his passes, often finding the dangerous Valencia with unerring accuracy. City really should have known better. Much, much better. It cost us in the first leg of the league Cup Semi and it cost us again here. City should be getting in the opposition’s faces and denying them space – that is how to win derby matches. Indeed, that is how City have won derby matches down the years.

Tevez came closest for City in a sterile first half. His free kick was heading for the top left hand side of the goal but the wiry van der Sar managed to claw it away. It was our only effort on target before half time, not that the visitors did that much better. We were, though, lucky not to be two goals down by the break: Valencia set up Rooney but he uncharacteristically screwed his shot wide and Giggs tamely hit a shot straight at Given when well placed.

The 2nd half saw Rooney making sure that Kompany got booked by going down as if he had been shot after a robust challenge by the Belgian stopper. His job done, the former Everton striker was up as soon as the card was flourished to much deserved derision. Doubtless the little oik will be diving for United and England for the rest of the season, further dispelling the myth about cheating being the domain of foreign players.

Opportunities to score were at a premium in the 2nd half as well as City continued to pay too much respect to United. Mediocre players like Fletcher should not be given time on the ball, because even he can find a simple pass to someone who can play. City should have been pressing United all over the park, from the front, but Tevez and Bellamy can’t do it on their own. Adebayor did a passable impression of a grazing giraffe, barely moving to put any pressure on United’s centre halves. As our 4-4-2 formation resulted in us being outnumbered by United’s five man midfield, we would have been better sacrificing Adebayor for an extra midfield player such as Zabaleta.

City’s best chance of a goal after the break was when Tevez played in Bellamy down the left, but the Welshman’s effort was a good few yards wide when he would have been better playing the return ball to Tevez or even to Adebayor, who both looked frustrated. Bellamy held his hand up in acknowledgement of this. Evra and Nani both had efforts from distance that did not test Given.

City should have been awarded a penalty for a foul by Neville on Barry in the box, after he had taken an extra touch following an incisive Adebayor pass, but surprise, surprise, no penalty was awarded. It was a clear foul, so how do referees like Martin Atkinson get away with such blatant failures to apply the rules?

Suddenly the game opened in the last 10 minutes. It was breathless, end-to-end stuff as both teams went for the win. Substitute Berbatov headed wide, to much relief, when he should have done better, then at the other end there was an almighty scramble with goal-bound shots from Onuoha and Tevez being blocked by United defenders in the six yard box. Then SWP cut inside from the left but fired wide, and Bridge shot straight at van der Sar when well placed.

As the cliché goes, it ain’t over until it’s over, especially with these opponents. Every time we gave the ball away (and this happened too many times), wherever it was on the pitch, Blue hearts sank. And so it proved, as United intercepted a Bellamy pass that was intended for SWP deep inside their half. The ball found its way to the advanced Evra down the left and his cross was glanced in by an unchallenged Scholes. You just don’t give a player of Scholes’ class that much room. Come to think of it you don’t give any opponent (even Fletcher or Neville) such room. Our management, coaching staff and players all must learn this lesson. An opportunity was missed here to beat a United side who are well past their best. They were paid too much respect when they should have been harried and hassled out of the game.

Roberto Mancini has got the vast majority of decisions right since he has come here, but taking de Jong off and then bringing on Vieira was a big mistake. Mancini has not learned how to play an English derby yet, and even on the occasion that his team beat United (in the League Cup Semi First Leg), the winning margin might have been greater had we shown them less respect and denied them space. Hopefully Mancini will get another chance to pit his wits against them next season and show that he and his players can learn from this. When pressed by a journalist afterwards, Mancini promised us fourth place this season. That may turn out to be a rash Benitez-style guarantee, especially given Tottenham’s unexpected defeat of Chelsea later on, but it is in keeping with his initial statements when appointed. It may be that Mancini feels that he has nothing to lose in making such a promise, as there are jobs in Italy that he could take, should he not be given a chance to continue here. Hopefully his promise comes to fruition and we will see him here next season, managing City in the Champions’ League.

We have to put this disappointment behind us and be positive at out-of-form Arsenal. At our best, there is no reason why we cannot complete a double over them.

Att: 47,019
Ratings:
Given: Poor distribution again, nearly cost us dear 5
Onuoha: Generally solid but got drawn to the ball for their winner, leaving Evra acres of room 6
Toure: Some good last ditch tackles but was turned too easily by Rooney in the first half and was slow to cover for their winner 6
Kompany: One sliced clearance nearly cost us before the break but otherwise solid enough 6
Bridge: Had a torrid time up against Valencia in the 1st half but a reasonable return. A better finish might have won the match for us, though 6
Johnson: Overawed and lacked courage. Must work harder to help defence. Plenty of lessons to learn 4
de Jong: City’s best player without a doubt made several important tackles and interceptions. Whilst our midfield was too deep as a whole, his tenacity gave our defence great protection: so why was he substituted? He would have been the ideal player to stop Scholes, especially when the United man was pushed up in attack 8
Barry: Industrious as ever, and should have been awarded a penalty. Should he have shot earlier in that move? 7
Bellamy: Good industry but didn’t sparkle here. Poor finish when he should have played Tevez in 6
Tevez: Great effort for the free kick was thwarted by a very good save. Plenty of energy but poor service into him didn’t help 6
Adebayor: One defence splitting pass apart, he just didn’t look interested, which is criminal 5
Subs:
SWP: Showed some nouse when he came on 6
Ireland: Looked tentative, which is such a shame for such a talented player. Lost his man for their winner 5
Vieira: Nowhere to be seen when they scored and made no impact whatsoever. What was the point of bringing him on when de Jong was playing so well? 3

Best oppo: Valencia: caused us plenty of problems down our left 7
Refwatch: Atkinson: Failed to award an obvious penalty to City. One wonders what he would have done had it been the other way round. Failed to spot countless nudges by Vidic and the ridiculous Neville. This is the same referee who played all the fictional ‘injury time’ in the League derby at Owed Trafford yet he played no extra time here for Scholes diving into the away fans to celebrate his goal 4

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

OPINION: DERBY DAY I

Needed to vent again after another lacklustre performance against the enemy. Just seemed that we were always playing for the draw when we should have been going all out for the win! With Spurs beating Chelsea we are now behind the 8 ball again with regards to that elusive Champions’ League spot. Now we are in dire need of the Rags beating Spurs and hopefully we can get something out of the game at Arsenal. I think that in my opinion that the best form of defence is now going to be an all out attack. If we are going to go down let’s at least say that we did it with a fight where we at least outshoot and out possess all the teams in this last run in. Wins against Spurs and Villa are now a must, I’d hate to be going to West Ham having to win to get that 4th spot. Let’s get 7 points from our next 3 games and hope that, as much as I hate to say it, that the Rags beat Spurs and we can enjoy our final game in the capital knowing that we are already in.

Mancini must realise that Vieira is just not good enough to play now at this level; why oh why did he bring him on for Johnson, God only knows. Just another example of his negative tactics. It just left us with no width on the right. Then he takes Adebayor off and brings SWP on leaving us with no height up front.

Opinions please!

Andrew Armstrong <and_arm(at)msn.com>

OPINION: DERBY DAY II

Sometimes it takes more than raw talent to make a great team. It also takes maturity. Three times this season, City have lost games to United in the dying seconds of the game. The 4-3 loss at Old Trafford should have been a warning about taking your foot off the accelerator but no, City has conspired to do it twice more. Bellamy had the ball clear in midfield, yet instead of sprinting to the corner flag and kill off the final 30 seconds, he launches a Hail Mary cross-field pass to SWP, which gets intercepted. Twenty seconds later, the ball is in the back of City’s net. No wonder Mancini went ballistic.

With Tottenham beating Chelsea 2-0, how expensive could that dropped point be?

All credit to United though. They had the best chances and, more importantly, they kept their cool when it mattered most and stole maximum points again!

Still don’t know what Mancini was thinking when he subbed Johnson for Vieira? I don’t think Johnson was injured but it totally affected our penetration on the right side. Vieira added nothing to the attack. SWP coming on restored some attack to the right side – but that meant Adebayor coming off. Terrible tactical manoeuvre.

Now we have it all to do with wins against Tottenham, Villa and West Ham a must. I can’t see United slipping up against Tottenham. But I fear the records will show that City gave United’s championship bid a lifeline through Bellamy’s errant pass. But did we ever think it was going to be easy?

Keith Sharp – Toronto, Ontario <keith(at)accessmag.com>

OPINION: DERBY DAY III

Two words: ‘Typical City’! And thanks to Chelsea for ‘not turning up’ against Spurs!

Thought we deserved a draw, didn’t really deserve to win, a real lack of scoring chances, and always thought United would steal a goal. A couple of odd substitutions, taking off Johnson for Vieira and then bringing SWP on later.

The really ‘sour’ point was Rooney act in getting Kompany booked. We don’t need those acts in football, and I’m not expecting Rooney to be put on an FA charge of bringing the game into disrepute either, it’s United you know!

Hmm, what to do? At least my granddaughter can have the TV, instead of me watching the replays if we had won!

Kevin Williamson <scribbs(at)slingshot.co.nz>

REQUEST: ARSENAL AWAY TICKETS

A long shot I know, but has anyone got one, preferably two, spare tickets for the Arsenal game? One could be a child ticket (for my child aged 14).

John Edwards <jbmc30(at)googlemail.com>

REQUEST: SWINTON BLUES

The next meeting of the Swinton branch is on Thursday 29th April. KO 7:30 pm. Confirmed guests are 2 first team players but we don’t know which ones yet.

Venue: Swinton Conservative Club, Swinton Precinct. Admission only £1.00 for adults, U/16s and; OAPs free.

Cameras and autograph books etc. a must. Please wear a City shirt.

Alex Channon <alexchannon81(at)googlemail.com>

REQUEST: REDDISH BLUES

The next meeting of the Reddish branch of the Centenary Supporters’ Association is on Wednesday 28th April, 7.30 pm (doors 7.00 pm) at Reddish Working Men’s Club, Greg Street, Stockport.

Our confirmed guests are Garry Cook and Paul Lake.

The meeting is a fund raising night for Sierra Leone and if anyone has any old football kit, boots etc. that they no longer want please bring them with you on the night.

As always everyone is welcome and admission is by voluntary donation.

Howard Burr – Secretary, Reddish CSA <reddishblues(at)btinternet.com>

REQUEST: ARSENAL LIFT

Does anyone know of any coaches/minibuses with spare seats for the journey to the Arsenal game?

Andy Mcgovern <beverleymcgovern(at)yahoo.co.uk>

REQUEST: HONG KONG BLUES, NEW OSC BRANCH

I gathered with a couple of friends in our regular bar in Hong Kong last Saturday to ‘enjoy’ the game… I am not going to comment on that because everyone else will have done so and we certainly did! Of course we were all sad, angry, “so typical City”, etc. in our views but the good thing that came from this was that we ended up with around 10 of us swapping emails and agreeing to ‘adopt’ the bar we were in as the home for our foundling “HK Supporters’ Branch”. After some healthy debates and beer enlivened chat I think all of us went home in a more positive frame of mind than we might otherwise have done, buoyed by our new friendships and bonded by being a Blue.

I am contacting Kevin Parker at the OSC to get us set up officially with the club and we will take it from there. Don’t think we are going to be into our own website etc. but we want at least to give people moving to HK or visiting HK a point of contact and a place to find fellow Blues to meet up for our games. The bar is the White Stag in Wan Chai and people can contact me on the email address below.

Graham Schofield <schofield65(at)btinternet.com>

REQUEST: SYDNEY BLUES VIEWING

I will be in Sydney for the last 3 games of the season (Villa, Spurs and West Ham) so would appreciate some advice on where I can watch the games amongst fellow Blues, especially given the random start times of the 3 games.

Thank you in advance… whoever you are.

Mike Sokol <mike.sokol(at)btinternet.com>

RESULTS

18 April 2010

Wigan Athletic        3 - 2  Arsenal               22,113
Portsmouth            1 - 2  Aston Villa           16,523

17 April 2010

Manchester City       0 - 1  Manchester United     47,019
Birmingham City       0 - 0  Hull City             26,669
Blackburn Rovers      2 - 3  Everton               27,022
Fulham                0 - 0  Wolverhampton Wndrs   25,597
Stoke City            1 - 2  Bolton Wanderers      27,250
Sunderland            2 - 1  Burnley               41,341
Tottenham Hotspur     2 - 1  Chelsea               35,814

League table to 18 April 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         35 15  1  1 53 14  9  4  5 33 18 24  5  6  86  32  54  77
 2 Manchester Utd  35 14  1  2 45 11 10  3  5 33 16 24  4  7  78  27  51  76
 3 Arsenal         35 14  1  2 44 15  8  4  6 34 24 22  5  8  78  39  39  71
 4 Tottenham H.    34 13  2  3 39 12  6  5  5 23 22 19  7  8  62  34  28  64
 5 Manchester City 34 11  4  2 38 18  6  7  4 31 24 17 11  6  69  42  27  62
 6 Aston Villa     34  7  8  2 28 15  8  5  4 20 20 15 13  6  48  35  13  58
 7 Liverpool       34 12  3  2 40 13  4  5  8 14 20 16  8 10  54  33  21  56
 8 Everton         35  9  6  2 32 20  5  6  7 25 28 14 12  9  57  48   9  54
 9 Birmingham City 35  7  9  2 17 12  5  2 10 18 31 12 11 12  35  43  -8  47
10 Fulham          34 10  3  4 24 12  1  7  9 11 25 11 10 13  35  37  -2  43
11 Stoke City      34  7  5  6 24 21  3  8  5  9 16 10 13 11  33  37  -4  43
12 Blackburn R.    35  9  6  3 26 17  2  4 11 11 36 11 10 14  37  53 -16  43
13 Sunderland      35  9  7  2 32 18  1  4 12 14 35 10 11 14  46  53  -7  41
14 Bolton Wndrs    35  5  5  7 22 28  4  3 11 16 35  9  8 18  38  63 -25  35
15 Wigan Athletic  35  6  6  6 17 22  3  2 12 16 44  9  8 18  33  66 -33  35
16 Wolves          35  4  5  8 10 20  4  5  9 18 31  8 10 17  28  51 -23  34
17 West Ham United 34  6  4  7 26 26  1  6 10 15 31  7 10 17  41  57 -16  31
18 Hull City       34  6  5  5 22 26  0  5 13 10 44  6 10 18  32  70 -38  28
19 Burnley         35  6  5  6 21 24  1  1 16 16 50  7  6 22  37  74 -37  27
20 Portsmouth      35  4  3 11 21 31  2  3 12  8 31  6  6 23  29  62 -33  15

With thanks to Football 365

MCIVTA FAQ [v0910.01]

[1] MCIVTA Addresses

Articles (Heidi Pickup)          : editor@mcivta.city-fan.org
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[2] What are MCIVTA’s publishing deadlines?

Deadlines for issues are nominally 6pm, Monday and Thursday evenings by email. Unfortunately we cannot accept email attachments.

[3] MCIVTA Back Issues and Manchester City Supporters’ home page

http://www.mcivta.com/ is the unofficial Manchester City Supporters’ home page. Created in 1994, it is the longest running of the Manchester City related web sites. Back issues of MCIVTA are also hosted on the site. You can also follow on www.twitter.com/mcivta to get the latest updates.

[4] What is the club’s official web site?

The official club web site can be found at http://www.mcfc.co.uk/ and the official club Twitter page at www.twitter.com/mcfc. The club also has a facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/mcfcofficial

[5] What supporters’ clubs are there?

Manchester City FC recognises three supporters’ clubs: The “Official Supporters Club” (http://www.mcfcosc.com/); the “Centenary Supporters’ Association” (http://www.mancitycsa.com/) and “The International Supporters’ Club”.

[6] Where can I find out about Points of Blue (formerly the Fans’ Committee)?

The committee operates as an interface between supporters and the club. Points of Blue appears on the club website as a minor entry under “Fans Zone”.

[7] What match day broadcasts are available on the web?

The Radio Manchester (née GMR) pre and post match phone-in is available on the web at http://www.bbc.co.uk/manchester/sport/manchester_city/index.shtml.

Live match commentaries and archives of games, reports and interviews can be found at http://mcfc.videoloungetv.com/do/preLogin?clubSiteCode=MCFC&CMP=AFC-003.

[8] Where can I find out if City are live on satellite TV?

http://www.satfootball.com/pl.html provides a listing of Premiership games being shown on UK domestic and foreign satellite channels. Useful sites for North American viewers are http://msn.foxsports.com/foxsoccer, http://www.soccertv.com/, and http://www.livesoccertv.com/.

[9] Do we have a Usenet newsgroup?

Yes we do: uk.sport.football.clubs.man-city is our home on usenet. If you are not familiar with usenet, a basic explanation is available here: http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/0,289893,sid9_gci213262,00.html

[10] Do any squad members have their own web pages?

There are a number available and direct links can be found at http://www.mcivta.com/players/

[11] Where can I find match statistics?

Statistics for the current season are available from the club site, but for a more in-depth analysis try http://www.mcfcstats.com/.


DISCLAIMER
The views expressed in MCIVTA are entirely those of the subscribersand there is no intention to represent these opinions as being thoseof Manchester City Football Club, nor of any of the companies anduniversities by whom the subscribers are employed. It is not inany way whatsoever connected to the club or any other relatedorganisation and is simply a group of supporters using this mediumas a means of disseminating news and exchanging opinions.


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

Newsletter #1626

2010/04/19

Editor:


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