Newsletter #1717

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A goalfest on Sunday afternoon as we trounced Sunderland 5-0 with five different names on the scoresheet – let’s hope that they have kept something in the tank for the next couple of games!

We have a match report tonight thanks to Phil, a view from the States and opinion on Blues past and present, international news and the usual requests.

Next Game: Liverpool, away, 8pm Monday 11 April 2011

MATCH REPORT “LIVE”: MCFC 5 SAFC 0

Manchester City impressively hammered Sunderland by five goals to nil to reclaim third place and reaffirm the Champions’ League challenge. The visitors were very poor indeed, but that must not take away from the sheer quality and clinical nature of this victory.

City dominated the game from start to finish and opened the scoring with a delightful goal in the 10th minute. Yaya Touré played Johnson in down the right, took the return pass and cut the ball back for Johnson who swept home a left foot drive low into the net.

David Silva is never far away when it comes to City’s creativity and he was the architect of our 2nd goal in the 15th minute with his superb lofted pass, which Tévez brought under control before he was fouled by Bardsley in the box. Tévez had missed two penalties at the start of the year but he was not to be denied this time despite Mignolet getting a hand to it.

It was as good as game over with the visitors failing to test Hart all afternoon. Gyan, who had given Lescott a nightmare second half in the international match, was well shackled by our centre back this time, and the best he could manage was a shot that was 2 yards wide and a powder-puff overhead kick.

Indeed it was the Blues who were more likely to score: Balotelli had an effort saved and Johnson curled a smart shot just wide. However, City seemed to step off the gas after an irresistible opening quarter, as if they became bored with such poor opponents who had only taken 1 point out of their 6 previous games.

One criticism of Roberto Mancini’s team is that they don’t have two good halves in one game, i.e. they take a lead in the first half and don’t worry about scoring goals in the second. Well this game confounded those critics as City turned the style on. Johnson was wrong flagged offside after he was put clean through by Silva’s beautifully weighted lofted pass, but his effort was blocked by Mignolet in any case. Balotelli then accelerated in thrilling style down the inside right channel but his shot was blocked as well.

Silva then added City’s third in the 63rd minute at the end of another top class move. Nigel de Jong has an excellent range of passes that is rarely heralded by so-called football experts in our media, but he demonstrated his eye for a pass and his ability to execute it with a superb lofted pass into the inside right channel to find Tévez. Tévez crossed the ball, which broke to Silva after Balotelli’s shot was blocked and the City playmaker swept home. It was a particularly well-received goal for a very popular player who is a delight to watch.

Substitute Patrick Vieira bundled in the fourth goal with his torso after a corner had been cleared to Kolarov who crossed low and very hard into the box.

Between these Yaya Touré played in Johnson with a clever ball and from the England winger’s cross, Tévez’s shot was blocked.

Balotelli tried to get in on score sheet but his vicious curling shot was pushed out by the overworked Mignolet who in truth was the only Sunderland player to perform well. He was denied again by the Sunderland goalkeeper who tipped over his equally venomous free kick.

City’s completed the scoring after a disastrous (for Sunderland anyway) pass by Cattermole across the Sunderland box and Yaya Touré nipped in with a great touch and lifted the ball over the ‘keeper superbly. Yaya Touré seems to thrive in a box-to-box rôle in a central midfield two and in this match he was at his very best. Maybe it suits him to have more responsibility in such a rôle rather than in a midfield three or indeed the advanced one that he has been employed in. Next season we should see the best of him as he will have had a year’s experience of our League.

People ask why City cannot play like this every week. The answer lies in the fact that City are still a work in progress with ground to make up on the likes of Arsenal and United. They have been there in the top four for years, having developed a winning habit years ago, and City are still trying to break in. Do we want to go gung-ho at a place like the Emirates leaving ourselves open? Of course not. Of course we must try to attack but sometimes you get pushed back and that is what happened at The Emirates and Stamford Bridge. At Old Trafford we took the game to the hosts and played well: only a freak goal stopped us getting a good draw and slightly better finishing may have brought all three points.

The formation of the team did not make any odds here either. Mancini started with Balotelli up alongside Tévez in a 4-4-2, then moved the Italian wide left in the 2nd half in a 4-5-1. People are critical of coaches, Mancini in particular, for playing with one striker and yet we scored three goals with this against Sunderland and only (!) two with a pair of strikers. The media have their own love-in with Harry Redknapp and Tottenham are lauded for their attacking football, yet they have scored nine fewer goals than City with only one game less played. More spin, spin, spin, and the ironic chant of ‘Boring, boring City’ and ‘Mancini, wooah…’ at this game shows that City fans are not falling for the notion that Mancini is too defensive. Clearly that is a load of smoke and mirrors nonsense. It is very much in the interest of City’s enemies that the revolving door policy continues at Eastlands. They cannot stand the fact that City are on the up and have a top man at the helm. In Mancini we have a pragmatic manager who has got us well organised defensively and his team is capable of scoring goals and 50 in 31 games is not a bad haul at all. Indeed, City don’t need Jose Mourinho (if you want to see defensive football, he’s your man), because we already have an excellent manager.

Against Sunderland, City proved that they can be ‘flat-track-bullies’, beating the sort of team that has to be beaten. That is a good sign because there was once a time when we struggled to beat such teams not so many years ago. There is a lot to be grateful for. We have excellent owners of our club, a very good squad that will only get better in the coming years, and a very astute manager who deserves our full backing.

Att: 44,197
Ratings:
Hart: Largely unemployed: 6
Boyata: Solid enough in defence. Needs to offer more going forward: 6
Kompany: Solid and classy: 7
Lescott: Kept Gyan quiet for most of the game: 7
Kolarov: Good cover, augmented the attack well: 7
A Johnson: Great to see him back, taking on opponents on the wing. Took his goal superbly: 7
de Jong: City are so much better with him in the team. Whether he is stationed in front of the back four or given a little more licence to get forward like he was here, he is top class: 8
Yaya Touré: At his very best here in every way and complemented de Jong superbly: 8 (man of the match, in a photo finish from de Jong and Silva)
Silva: Delightful touches, intelligence and passes opened up the visitors regularly: 8
Tévez: Great work rate, skill and vision: 7
Balotelli: Better level of endeavour, went close to adding to the score: 7
Subs:
Vieira: Used his body to good effect to score: 6
SWP: Good effort in a short space of time: 6
Refwatch: Howard Webb: Got the penalty right amongst most decisions: 7
Best Oppo: Mignolet: None of the goals were his fault. Kept the score down: 7

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

MATCH VIEW: MCFC 5 SAFC 0

Whilst Sir Ferguson spied on City from the stands at CoMS, he must have left not feeling too good about the fixture coming up in the FA Cup semi-final, after seeing five different City players each score a goal.

City played some very good football against Sunderland but we must not get too carried away for we all know that the game against the Evil Empire will be no pushover. However, the game versus Sunderland is just what City needed: a win with some goals to help our drive for a top four finish, which brings more confidence to the players.

Now that we do not have a game every three days, players should be fresh for the remaining games in this season.

Stay Blue, the best is yet to come!

Ernie Barrow <britcityblue(at)aol.com>

OPINION: INTERNATIONAL BLUES

Having watched James Milner play for England against Ghana, I believe he could fill Carlos Tévez’s spot in the line-up if Carlito does decide to move on. Milner’s best position is definitely central midfield and I believe he replaced Tévez in this position when City beat Villa 4-0.

No knock against Tévez but City’s attack is built around him and I do feel we need other options moving forward. Milner is a shadow of the player he was for Villa or Newcastle when playing in a wide position and I feel City have yet to get the best out of him. I would like to see him take the Tévez position behind Balotelli and Dzeko with either Johnson or SWP wide right. Definitely need something to reignite our porous attack.

Keith Sharp <keith.sharp(at)hotmail.com>

OPINION: BAD TIMING!

I have not been home to Manchester since 2001 so this year, my 16 year old son and I planned to fly over from Toronto for Easter. I thought “Hey, we’ll see the Spurs game at home. I know the FA Cup semi-final is on that weekend but this is City we are talking about, they won’t get that far…”

Wrong! United at Wembley. Unbelievable. Oh well, we intend on doing the Eastlands tour and watching the game at City Square. We saw the Blues in New Jersey last summer an were looking forward to seeing them live at CoMS.

I missed MCIVTA during the down time in the winter, glad to have you back. Can’t wait to be in Manchester again.

Ollie Claffey <confederate(at)rogers.com>

OPINION: CROOKS’ DUTY

Great article in the Mail on Sunday today about Lee Crooks the ex-Blue who having retired from the game has joined 1 Squadron RAF regiment and is soon on his way to Afghanistan.

It is a real testament to the man that this is his way of giving something back. He could easily earn money staying in the game but has instead taken a £17,000 a year rôle protecting British airbases.

I hope not only our own players but those throughout the game hear about Lee and maybe take a moment to reflect that football is not all about money, fame and glamour.

Football is the fans’ game, the game of the ‘common man’. My dad and his three brothers were all in the forces in WW2 and all came home safely to watch City from B Block for many years.

I am proud of Lee and wish him and all our lads abroad a safe tour and return. Next time we sing a song let’s sing one for Lee.

Dave Marcus <Dmarcus(at)bestdoctors.com>

OPINION: UNCLE GEORGE

Reading the piece about George Smith brought back memories and I have to think hard now. It was I think ’62 or so that my dad who was a pal of George asked him if he would come down to St Mary’s Park in Prestwich to meet his sons, me and Don, and have a kick about with us. He kindly came with I am sure his lad Ian and we were introduced to a City legend. I had on a City shirt I remember and we kicked a ball about together, which made a real and lasting impression on a nine year old kid at the time. Nice to hear he is doing fine and I wish him well.

Thanks George for the memory.

Bob Price <bob.price(at)planet.nl>

REQUEST: BLUES VIEWING ON THE GOLD COAST

Are there any City fans on the Gold Coast Queensland meeting up for the semi against the filth?

All the best lads.

Steve Gossage <palaceclean(at)yahoo.com.au>

REQUEST: BLUES VIEWING IN PRAGUE

I’ll be in Prague for the Liverpool game. Does anyone out there know if there is a Blue following in Prague and a pub where they meet up to watch the games on telly? Or if there simply is a pub guaranteed to show the English PL on TV? If so, please e-mail me.

Thanks a lot!

Christian de Lange <christian.delange(at)samsung.no>

RESULTS AND TABLE

3 April 2011

Fulham                3 - 0  Blackpool             25,692
Manchester City       5 - 0  Sunderland            44,197

2 April 2011

West Ham United       2 - 4  Manchester United     34,546
Birmingham City       2 - 1  Bolton Wanderers      26,142
Everton               2 - 2  Aston Villa           37,619
Newcastle United      4 - 1  Wolverhampton Wndrs   49,939
Stoke City            1 - 1  Chelsea               27,508
West Bromwich Albion  2 - 1  Liverpool             26,196
Wigan Athletic        0 - 0  Tottenham Hotspur     18,578
Arsenal               0 - 0  Blackburn Rovers      60,087

League table to 03 April 2011 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  31 14  1  0 40  9  5  8  3 28 23 19  9  3  68  32  36  66
 2 Arsenal         30 10  3  3 30 12  7  5  2 29 17 17  8  5  59  29  30  59
 3 Manchester City 31 10  4  2 28 11  6  4  5 22 16 16  8  7  50  27  23  56
 4 Chelsea         30 10  2  2 28  9  6  5  5 26 16 16  7  7  54  25  29  55
 5 Tottenham H.    30  7  6  1 19 10  6  5  5 22 24 13 11  6  41  34   7  50
 6 Liverpool       31  9  4  2 26 12  4  2 10 16 26 13  6 12  42  38   4  45
 7 Everton         31  6  7  3 26 22  3  7  5 16 19  9 14  8  42  41   1  41
 8 Bolton Wndrs    31  8  5  2 28 19  2  5  9 15 24 10 10 11  43  43   0  40
 9 Newcastle Utd   31  5  6  5 36 23  5  3  7 12 23 10  9 12  48  46   2  39
10 Fulham          31  7  6  3 23 16  1  8  6 13 17  8 14  9  36  33   3  38
11 Stoke City      31  8  4  4 25 16  3  1 11 12 23 11  5 15  37  39  -2  38
12 Sunderland      31  6  5  4 18 16  3  6  7 15 26  9 11 11  33  42  -9  38
13 West Brom A.    31  6  6  4 26 26  3  3  9 17 31  9  9 13  43  57 -14  36
14 Blackburn R.    31  6  5  4 19 13  3  2 11 20 38  9  7 15  39  51 -12  34
15 Birmingham City 30  5  7  4 16 19  2  6  6 14 23  7 13 10  30  42 -12  34
16 Aston Villa     31  6  5  4 22 17  2  5  9 17 36  8 10 13  39  53 -14  34
17 Blackpool       31  4  3  7 23 27  5  3  9 22 36  9  6 16  45  63 -18  33
18 West Ham United 31  5  4  7 22 25  2  7  6 16 28  7 11 13  38  53 -15  32
19 Wolves          31  7  3  5 24 22  2  2 12 12 31  9  5 17  36  53 -17  32
20 Wigan Athletic  31  4  7  6 18 31  2  6  6 11 20  6 13 12  29  51 -22  31

With thanks to Football 365

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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 #1717

2011/04/04

Editor:


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