Newsletter #1720

No news summary through yet, but on with a look ahead to the weekend’s semi-final and a look back at the Liverpool game.

There are the usual requests for the game, and as Mancini plays the underdog card let the mind games begin.

Next Game: Manchester United, away, 5.15pm Saturday 16 April 2011 (FA Cup)


In preparation for this weekend’s FA Cup semi-final I’ve written a few pieces on the only previous all-Manchester FA Cup semi-final. One should appear in When Saturday Comes, one in the semi-final programme itself, and the other appeared in the Manchester Evening News last week. It’s the most detailed and should be of interest to all Blues.

It can be read at

My new Facebook page includes photos of the actual 4 page pullout:

Let’s hope Saturday gives us the same result as 1926 (but not the same end to the season!).

Gary James <city(at)>


On the end of an abject defeat and with Tévez injured possibly for the rest of the season with a suspected hamstring tear, this was one of our worst days for a long, long time. We could not have made this any easier for Liverpool or indeed Tottenham who will have looked on with relish as three vital points were lost by City here. If that’s not enough pain, we go to Wembley on the back of a morale sapping reverse that can only boost United.

Until Silva was brought on, there were no partnerships, little link play, and with one or two exceptions, barely any fight or pride as we allowed Kenny Dalglish’s hungry Liverpool to run us ragged with their work ethic and quick passing. We could be forgiven for thinking it was like the bad old days again: Dalglish running us ragged and Liverpool deservedly thrashing us by a big score. Curse those, dark, dark 80s Swalesian afternoons. We were cursing again on this occasion with the paucity and gutlessness of this night on Merseyside, as Suarez, Kuyt and Co. squeezed the life out of us from the word go, and Andy Carroll stole the headlines, showing Edin Dzeko a master class in centre forward play with his two expertly taken goals.

Dzeko may come good one day, but he was way, way off the pace here. If he’d started last Saturday’s Grand National, he wouldn’t have reached Becher’s Brook yet first time around on this showing. He must do better. Much, much better. Barry and Yaya looked far too ponderous for the first 45 minutes in particular.

Why Milner was shaking his head repeatedly when he was subbed is a source of some mystery. We could have been forgiven for wondering if he was on the pitch, so anonymous was his contribution here. Boyata looked like what he is: a centre half playing full back. He doesn’t have the technique to play a ball on the run. Kompany and Lescott struggled against the interchangeable running of Kuyt, Suarez and Carroll, but they were not helped by two weak full backs.

For all the money spent at City, our best left back by far is the right footed Zabaleta. Kolarov is weak defensively and ponderous going forward. This defensive weakness was emphasised when he haplessly failed to deal with the cross that led to Liverpool’s third goal.

It is a sad indictment that City did not manage to test débutant right back Flanagan once in 90 minutes. In fact the young man had no one to mark all game. Surely we should have had Adam Johnson on his natural left flank to test the young man? That’s what most managers would do. Indeed it’s what most players with any common sense would have done, or is that beyond our intelligence?

Whilst the City performance was inexcusably pathetic, Roberto Mancini must take a fair share of the responsibility for this damaging defeat, which heaps even more pressure, as if it were needed, on him and his squad. Why was de Jong not playing from the start? Surely he would have plugged at least some of the gaps that Yaya, Barry and Milner left? We are always a better team with the Dutchman in. He demands more from his team mates with his personality and starts off attacks. Why was Silva not pulling the strings in midfield from the start rather than playing a cameo when it was too late? Both de Jong and Silva make us tick in different ways.

It is not too much to ask players to play 2 games in 6 days. Mancini should have played his best team in both games, and to his credit, he has admitted this. By going into the Liverpool game without these two, we had not one, but two, hands tied behind our backs. You have to put your best foot forward, especially at places like Anfield. Liverpool is a proud football club with a great record (still the most successful club in England), and they are not going to gift anybody anything, especially at their own home. Our squad is still a work in progress and we do not as yet have the depth to leave out top quality players (especially half our spine in de Jong and Silva) and get positive results at places like this. Only time will tell how much damage has been done to City’s challenge for the Champions’ League, and indeed for the FA Cup, with this defeat and the injury to Tévez. I am very sorry to say this, but I fear that Roberto Mancini may live to regret this particular evening for a long time.

If there are any more cowardly surrenders like this, City will end up empty handed this season.

Hart: One great save only delayed the inevitable. Distribution was Third Division standard again: 6
Boyata: Left gaps defensively and nowhere near good enough going forward: 4
Kompany: Battled as ever and the best of a bad bunch at the back: 6
Lescott: Lacked conviction and afforded Carroll too much room: 5
Adam Johnson: Our one hope of creating something in the first half, though his decision making was not the best: 6
Kolarov: Poor going forward and worse still at the back: 2
Barry: Well off the pace, but he didn’t let his head drop: 4
Yaya: Gave up far too easily at times when he should have been stronger. He at least managed to test the ‘keeper: 4
Milner: Almost non-existent. Needs to grow up: 2
Dzeko: No impact at all: 1
Tévez: His poor touches led to Liverpool’s first goal and his injury: 5
Balotelli (for Tévez): Much criticised but at least he tried to create something. Tackled back as well: 5
Silva (for Milner): Showed at least some of what was missing when he came on, but it was way, way too late: 6
de Jong: Did more in 9 minutes (7 + 2 in stoppage time) than Milner, Kolarov and Dzeko did in their time put together. Says it all: 6
Best Oppo: Dirk Kuyt: Whatever his limitations, he more than makes up for these with his drive, heart and fight. Deserved his goal: 9
Refwatch: Mark Halsey: Couldn’t be faulted: 8

Phil Banerjee <philban65(at)>


I am livid with Mancini, because he is most to blame for this loss.

I have just watched the Liverpool match, and as soon as our squad was announced, I thought why has he changed a winning team? Surely you must stick with the same team that hammered Sunderland, it’s the momentum that we would have carried into this match. De Jong has to play in midfield, and Silva makes us tick; why un-balance us? Apart for the first 5 minutes, Liverpool totally outplayed us. They pressed us straight from the kick-off, and Kolarov was robbed repeatedly; our left flank was devoid of invention. Tévez was as culpable for their first goal as his injury. I wish I knew where Milner was meant to be playing. For a big guy, Balotelli is in the same mould as Heskey, goes down too easily and has no bottle for a physical challenge; why Mancini keeps playing him is beyond me. Get rid a.s.a.p.

If you looked at the Liverpool team, they were hardly littered with big names, but wow, what big hearts they have, aided by massive team effort. Why does he not give SWP a run out? Carroll had our defence chasing shadows; for all his height Kolarov is a very poor defender.

Before this match, I was fairly upbeat and eager for the FA Cup semi-final, but I can now see us getting beat by Man Utd, because without Tévez, we almost look clueless up front. Dzeko, for all his effort, just cannot score, though it might have been different had Silva and de Jong been playing. We are very poor at both right and left back, and this seems to have been the catalyst for Kompany and Lescott not being as solid as they have been of late.

I would like to hear Mancini’s excuses for this poor, poor display; this has now really put a massive dent into our Champions’ League chances.

I have never been so pessimistic, all season.

Glyn Albuquerque <glyn.albuquerque(at)>


Before I begin I must warn you this is a rant borne from total frustration and disappointment. I am sure I will get over it but just now I am really down. So let’s begin…

Last night’s performance against a depleted Liverpool team was an absolute disgrace: terrible, no heart, no commitment, gutless and guileless. How can these players claim to represent a proud club whilst playing like that (not playing actually)? I really think this project has stalled. Despite what the result is on Saturday, we are not good enough; can anyone really see Barcelona or Real Madrid or even the Rags taking us seriously in the Champions’ League? That my friends is where we want to be and how we want to be measured and to be honest we are a long long way short. There is a total absence of what one would call team spirit or bloody-mindedness; we just lie down too many times and far too easily.

As for some individuals, Dzeko is an abject failure (yes even at this early point in his City career); he is too slow, has a terrible touch and is plainly just not good enough – discard now. Balotelli is lazy, sulky, definitely gifted but ultimately unsuited to the Premier Leagueb- discard now. James Milner has gone backwards, does not fit the team or the way we play – time for him to move on. Kolorav I’m afraid is another over paid less than gifted footballer more intent on bombing forward than defending; I put Carroll’s 2nd goal down to him, his crossing is woeful and he is just not good enough. Finally the manager; I know that the revolving door syndrome at City has to stop and sooner rather than later but this is not the man to bring this club forward. Our play is far too laboured, we are too deliberate in midfield have very little creativity. Without Tévez or Silva playing we are just too easy to stop attacking. I don’t know the answers, I just recognise the problems and there are many. I know if it were my money that was being spent so freely for the past two seasons I would be very, very disappointed and I would want answers. If I wasn’t getting them I might think it was time to collect my ball and head home. Lord help us if that happens!

Just feeling so depressed today and I still have to face all those Manure and Scouser heads!

John Hetherton <jhetherton(at)>


Never in my time supporting City have I been so totally angry at that inept display against a weakened Liverpool side. Totally unacceptable!

A spineless display, an inept manager, a squad on too big a salary, Tévez (only striker of any note) out injured, and guy with a stupid haircut masquerading as a footballer. Where oh where are the Francis Lees, Colin Bells, the Mickey Doyles, the Mike Summerbees of yesterday, guys whose blood was sky blue, and where is a manager like Joe Mercer?

Has Mancini already lost his job for next season, and how long will our owners put up with c**p like that? Hardly a good advertisement for self-promotion. Wonder if Rodney Marsh would sign a short term deal!

Not looking forward to the semi-final, but then again we’ll probably win by three! In Mancini I trust…? Even Ernie seems to have doubts.

Kevin Williamson <scribbs(at)>


Watched the United vs. Chelsea Champions’ League game on Tuesday. We will have our work cut out, no two ways about it.

Anyone notice the similar circumstances in which JS Park scored the vital 2nd goal that virtually ended the contest and the final goal in the derby game last season in which Owen made it 4-3 at OT?

  • Both goals (Park and Owen) almost immediately after visitors had scored and werevulnerable.
  • Both goals from a Giggs assist, a “delicious” clean pass from central midfield tothe left side of the box.
  • Both goals from an unmarked player on the left side of the penalty area.
  • Both goals (late on) essentially ended the contest.

When England played Ghana, Asamoah Gyan had Lescott in his pocket and was able to beat him and Hart to make it 1-1. A few days later the rôles were reversed and Lescott restricted Gian to one rubbish long range effort and Hart was determined not to be beaten twice by the same man in less than a week. Very pleased that Lescott and Hart were determined not to let lightening strike twice and had learned.

We have got to learn from this so that when we do go 1-0 up on Saturday after 78 minutes we can bring on Mr Valium (Vieira) and concentrate right up to the 98th minute.

1-0 to City… David Silva to thread an eye of the needle “delicious” pass between (Slobabdan Milosovic) Vidic and Plug from the Beano (Rio) and Johnson to diagonally run behind them to collect and chip the ball past van der Saar… (just like the goal against Juventus, which is my goal of the season). Twelve minutes to go plus the 6 minutes of Fergie time stemming from the endless complaining that AJ was offside to see out the semi. Queue Poznan during the protests by Giggs and Co.

Phil Lines <philipjlines(at)>


Strange request, but I’ve got a ticket for the semi, only problem is it’s in the United end.

Anybody know of a United fan who would be interested in swapping? Any help gratefully received.

Paul Burgess <Burgepc(at)> 07841 286596


I have 5 seats left on a mini bus for Wembley picking up in Hale and Stockport. Forty quid return, food and drink allowed.

Anyone interested call Duncan 07887 806858.

Duncan <duncan(at)>


Are there favoured watering holes in London where fellow Blues are meeting up on Saturday prior to the game? I’ll be flying in overnight so shall be ready for a pint or two Saturday lunchtime in preparation for the game!

Neil Adshead <neil.adshead(at)>


I will be in Bali on Saturday; anyone there that wants to watch the match and share a few beers with a fellow Blue, send me an email.

David Griffiths <daveandnickygriffiths(at)>


11 April 2011

Liverpool            3 - 0  Manchester City      44,776

League table to 13 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  32 15  1  0 42  9  5  8  3 28 23 20  9  3  70  32  38  69
 2 Arsenal         31 10  3  3 30 12  8  5  2 32 18 18  8  5  62  30  32  62
 3 Chelsea         31 11  2  2 29  9  6  5  5 26 16 17  7  7  55  25  30  58
 4 Manchester City 32 10  4  2 28 11  6  4  6 22 19 16  8  8  50  30  20  56
 5 Tottenham H.    31  8  6  1 22 12  6  5  5 22 24 14 11  6  44  36   8  53
 6 Liverpool       32 10  4  2 29 12  4  2 10 16 26 14  6 12  45  38   7  48
 7 Everton         32  6  7  3 26 22  4  7  5 19 19 10 14  8  45  41   4  44
 8 Bolton Wndrs    32  9  5  2 31 19  2  5  9 15 24 11 10 11  46  43   3  43
 9 Newcastle Utd   32  5  6  5 36 23  5  3  8 12 24 10  9 13  48  47   1  39
10 West Brom A.    32  6  6  4 26 26  4  3  9 20 33 10  9 13  46  59 -13  39
11 Fulham          32  7  6  3 23 16  1  8  7 13 19  8 14 10  36  35   1  38
12 Stoke City      32  8  4  4 25 16  3  1 12 14 26 11  5 16  39  42  -3  38
13 Sunderland      32  6  5  5 20 19  3  6  7 15 26  9 11 12  35  45 -10  38
14 Aston Villa     32  7  5  4 23 17  2  5  9 17 36  9 10 13  40  53 -13  37
15 Blackburn R.    32  6  6  4 20 14  3  2 11 20 38  9  8 15  40  52 -12  35
16 Birmingham City 31  5  7  4 16 19  2  7  6 15 24  7 14 10  31  43 -12  35
17 Blackpool       32  4  3  8 24 30  5  3  9 22 36  9  6 17  46  66 -20  33
18 West Ham United 32  5  4  7 22 25  2  7  7 16 31  7 11 14  38  56 -18  32
19 Wolves          32  7  3  6 24 25  2  2 12 12 31  9  5 18  36  56 -20  32
20 Wigan Athletic  32  4  7  6 18 31  2  6  7 11 21  6 13 13  29  52 -23  31

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1720