Newsletter #1721

What weekend, what a game, what a result. As we Blues are constantly reminded, after 30 years we are back to a Wembley FA Cup Final following a great team performance against Manchester United and a fully deserved victory. We have match report and views tonight, opinion on Mancini and the Tévez situation and the ticket requests commence.

Next Game: Blackburn Rovers, away, 8pm Monday 25 April 2011


Manchester City deservedly beat United to reach our first FA Cup Final since 1981. If you still don’t believe it, no, you’re not dreaming. Yes, it happened! Days like this live long in the memory. For me it’s the first final since my very first season on this Blue journey, and it was a real joy to walk through the streets of Wembley on a beautiful spring evening, celebrating a sweet victory like this.

In the City end the atmosphere was party-like before a ball had been kicked, even if a lot of us went to Wembley in hope rather than expectation. Flags, banners and sky blue shirts adorned the West end of Wembley, but in contrast the United’s aggressive, snarling fans looked on in arrogant expectation that they would prevail again. The pressure as all on them and their team. Mancini had cleverly cast us as underdogs, and we cheered every City player’s name loudly as it was read out. How wonderfully fitting it was that we turned our backs on the pitch and did the Poznan when the United team line up was announced at the start. Class.

Yet it all could have been so different if Berbatov had taken those two chances within a few seconds of each other early on in the game. Indeed, for twenty-five minutes, City were on the back foot and looked tentative, whilst Valencia and Nani threatened down the flanks for the opposition. It was surprisingly down the middle where United first opened us up and there was a nasty feeling that Berbatov would inevitably score when he was played in. It was a horrible moment but Joe Hart’s block was world class and a match-winning contribution. Like a boxer that has been hit with a firm right-hander, we seemed a little groggy after that moment. Sensing this, Nani attacked down our right again and his sharp cross saw Berbatov amazingly spoon over from three yards. Again credit goes to a City man, in this case Kolarov, for making a challenge to put the Bulgarian off. City were still tentative and struggled to put anything together in that first quarter. Vidic flashed a header past the post at a set piece, but that was to be the closest that United would get for a long time.

Mancini gestured ‘press, press, press’ to his players, and suddenly City grew in stature and the match turned in our favour. United players were having to hurry passes as every City outfield player harried, squeezed and pressed. United started misplacing passes and balls were being played into touch to cheers from the City end. Yaya Touré, Barry and the brilliant de Jong were dominating Scholes, Park and the ever pedestrian Carrick in central midfield. Yaya Touré in an advanced rôle just behind Mario Balotelli up front also did much to ensure that United’s back four had far less time to play the ball.

Chances started to come for City as Silva stared to weave his magic and Johnson showed his skills down the right flank. Silva crossed from the right for Balotelli but he failed to turn and shoot, and the ball fell to Barry who swivelled and was just wide, finding the side netting. Balotelli hit a scorching 30 yarder that van der Sar had to punch over. City forced a succession of corners, one of which was volleyed over by Lescott on his weaker right foot. By then City were the better team and United were struggling. Yaya turned and accelerated to the edge of the box on one of those thrilling lung bursting runs, but his shot was deflected behind by a defender for a corner. Then David Silva picked out Kompany, who had stepped up from the back and his terrific twenty five yard drive curled shot was just wide of the right hand post with van der Sar struggling.

Kompany indeed was having yet another top class game, superbly containing Berbatov and showing what a true natural leader he is. He reads the game superbly, has good pace, is a clean tackler, distributes the ball well and is never intimidated. He is the complete centre half and should be our captain.

City went in on top at the break and continued the pressing game after the break. This paid off seven minutes into the 2nd half when van der Sar played a poor clearance to the leaden Carrick who gifted the ball to Yaya. The Ivorian midfielder who took a touch to the right, wide of Vidic, before majestically sweeping the ball low into the net. It was fantastic moment as adrenalin coursed through our veins. The City players dived on top of Yaya at the corner flag. Supreme joy, po-going and the biggest Poznan in history followed. We were deservedly in front. Wembley resonated to Blue Moon whilst the opposition ranks were silent.

Yaya’s strong running from midfield was a real problem for United because he always had the beating of the mediocre Carrick and the ageing Scholes. Sensing there might be more goals in the offing, he drove forward past these two and played in Balotelli but the Italian’s touch was poor and a chance was squandered. Then Johnson thrillingly tricked his way past Evra to the bye-line and van der Sar was lucky that the City winger’s cross went behind for a corner because it could have gone anywhere off the Dutchman’s body. Silva played a beautiful swinging cross in from the left but Lescott headed wide. United were on the ropes and hanging on.

The feeling was that we needed another goal to put this one to bed. Were we to pay for not putting those chances away?

The closest United came was when Nani’s free kick was tipped onto the bar by Joe Hart, but it would have been an ill-deserved equaliser, because City dominated the three quarters of the game, squeezing the living daylights out of United and attacking them with incisive passes and powerful running.

De Jong was an absolute colossus in central midfield and led the way along with Yaya who was everywhere, eating up the ground, closing down the opposition and tackling. The Ivorian was almost playing as a centre forward at times, contesting and winning headers against Vidic, which is no mean feat.

City’s pressing game was best summed up by returning right back Zabaleta who made a firm tackle right on the edge of United’s box as we penned them back in their own half. It was brilliant stuff: a superb example of how to play the pressing game.

True to form, United got nasty, and it was no surprise that it was Scholes who showed their worse side with a brutal kick on Zabaleta’s thigh. At last a referee showed Scholes the red card that he has deserved on so many times over the years for his dirty, vicious play. How refreshing it was to see a referee who would not be intimidated by United, and particular their disgraceful manager.

City should have had a penalty and Vidic should have been sent off when he bundled over Yaya as he ran past him onto Barry’s left wing cross. We were told that five minutes were to be added on and the tension filled City end resonated to ‘Clap-clap, clap-clap-clap, clap-clap-clap-clap City!’

It would have been better for our nerves in the stands if Balotelli had tried to hold the ball rather than gifting the ball back to our opponents, on more than one occasion, but we needn’t have worried. City saw this one out with good, solid defending in all areas of the pitch and clever use of the ball and the width of the pitch, especially from the excellent de Jong and Yaya.

The celebrations were long and loud as the players celebrated together and with us. Zaba whirled his shirt above his head in sheer delight.

Balotelli celebrated more than 50 yards in front of what was left of the Rags. So what? Ferdinand and Anderson and a few others couldn’t take it and went for him violently. Fair play to Roberto Mancini for stepping in to protect him from United’s thuggish players. The headlines will all be about Balotelli when the focus should be on the appalling, violent, unsportsmanlike behaviour of United. We’ve had to put up with United players giving it large to us for years but we don’t cry about it. Typical United. Just a bunch of nasty, sour losers. For years they haven’t known how to win or lose with class and they proved it again here. Indeed, United have no class.

Contrast the gross over-reaction of the United players with that of the City players when Scholes assaulted Zabaleta with his vicious tackle, that could have ended his career. That’s a perfect example of the difference between City and United. Dignity is a foreign word at Old Trafford.

That’s enough about them. This was our day and it was great to see our players celebrating with a Poznan in front of the fans. City did us proud in a disciplined performance full of endeavour and no little quality. We now know that our players can win on the big occasions against difficult opposition. United’s engine parts are old and in need of replacement. The ageing cogs are turning that bit more slowly and City took full advantage off this. City’s pressing game was a joy to behold and it gave us the platform to play our football.

This victory was significant for a host of reasons. Obviously we are in our first final for 30 years. Our players proved that are big game players. They also proved that they can beat United on the biggest occasions, which must be an enormous psychological boost. Furthermore, the City players proved that they can win a big game without Carlos Tévez. All this can only bode well for the future.

We have to focus now on that Champions’ League spot. That has to be the priority, though it has to be said that we must play our strongest team in all matches, including the FA Cup Final against Stoke. Sounds great doesn’t it? Hopefully we will close out the season with that silver cup and a Champions’ League spot. I won’t tire of you telling me I’m not dreaming…

Att: 86,549
Hart: World class save, and more thoughtful distribution: 8
Zabaleta: Overcame a shaky start to play his typically committed rôle. His performance also owes much to his dedication and the skill of the conditioning coaches. Welcome back Zaba: 7
Kompany: Brilliantly dominant. A colossus yet again who was important in rallying the troops: 9
Lescott: Overcame some tricky early moments to form a solid barrier: 8
Kolarov: Significant improvement on previous games. Pushed forward well. Sometimes shot when a better option was on, though: 7
Johnson: Some lovely skill gave Evra a torrid time: 7
Barry: Started slowly but grew into the game to help dominate midfield: 7
de Jong: Awesome in every way and one of several True Blue heroes here. There is no better player of his type in the world: 9
Silva: Weaved his magic on the Wembley carpet, and showed how well he can play the pressing game too with his industry: 8
Yaya Touré: Was there a blade of grass that he didn’t cover? A brilliant, lung-bursting, box-to-box performance that had everything: skill, power, pace, strength and a clinically despatched winner: 10 (Man of the Match)
Balotelli: Lively and grew into the game to be an important player. Needs to develop nous to close a game out, though: 7
SWP: When he skipped past Evra it was like the SWP of old. Worked hard: 6
Vieira: Too late to mark, but helped tighten things up: n/a
Best oppo: Vidic: Tough opponent as ever, but even he couldn’t stop Yaya: 7
Refwatch: Mike Dean: refused to be intimidated by United and got most decisions right. Should have awarded City a penalty at the end, though: 7

Phil Banerjee <philban65(at)>


From pessimism to elation in the space of 5 days. Well done to all the players for this fantastic victory over the Reds.

I was biting my nails in the last few minutes, just hoping the clock would tick a little bit faster. I must admit, I was surprised with United’s team selection, no Giggs, or Hernandez, but they so easily could have taken the lead when Berbatov missed two great chances within the space of a minute, with the second chance looking easier to score than miss. After those misses, he was only ever on the periphery, whilst Nani did not threaten much either. City grew in stature after a poor first 30 minutes, and we began to get more possession, and our key players were beginning to show how good they were. Lescott had a very good chance from a corner, and perhaps should have taken a second touch before shooting. Silva, Touré, Barry, de Jong and even Balotelli were beginning to get more dominant. For all the stick I gave Kolarov, he was so much better today, yet his crossing and dead ball free kicks are not up to standard.

Mancini was going mad just before half time, obviously urging our back four to push up the field, and this seemed to have a big impact on how we played. After the break, I can honestly say City were controlling play and eventually Yaya Touré scored, which got me running round the front room like some deranged mental patient.

Then Lescott should really have doubled our lead, from a corner, when he failed to direct a free header on target. Adam Johnson produced a moment of magic, dropping his shoulder and leaving the defender for dead, and with a little luck his shot across the goal could easily have been turned in by van der Sar. City continued to up the ante, and Zabaleta was outstanding at right back; time and again he flew in with tackles, just winning the ball on most occasions. We had one moment of worry when Nani’s free kick was just tipped on to the crossbar by Hart and cleared to safety. It was great to see SWP on the pitch, and he did not disappoint, had some good runs down the right flack, got back to defend, and nearly laid on the second goal for Touré, after another good jinking run. Lescott and Kompany were solid, and gave United’s forwards no time on the ball, and were a real strength today. When Scholes crunched into Zabaleta I assumed it would be a yellow as they both went for a bouncing ball; it’s only after he was given a red, and they showed the replay, could you say he deserved it. Wow, what a lift this was for all the City players and the fans, United down to 10 men and 1-0 down, but knowing their never say die attitude, I was still not confident that we could hold on for the win. I was just thinking to myself, surely they will have at least one chance, and with our bad luck, they probably would take it. We had another chance to get a second after a great run and pass saw Touré fall over before he could control the ball with just van der Sar to beat. In the end the final whistle went, and all I thought was hallelujah!

Hart: 9 – did everything that was expected of him, and made 2 great saves
Zabaleta: 9 – this guy will sweat blood for the team: real inspired performance
Kompany: 9 – solid as ever, and hardly put a foot wrong
Lescott: 8 – looked a little shaky early on but got into his stride as the game progressed
Kolarov: 8 – one of his better performances, and got forward well, but his free kicks and shooting need to be worked on
de Jong: 9 – he does so much hard work in midfield, he is just incredible
Barry: 8 – he too got better as the game progressed, and was comfortable in possession
Johnson: 8 – did not stamp his authority in this match but produced a couple of great moments
Touré: 10 – because he scored the winner, and started to use his strength and pace in the second half
Silva: 8 – was good on the ball but I have seen him play better
Balotelli: 8 – was better than on Monday, but still needs to show what he really can do (and stop all this winding up of the opposition – nearly marred our victory?)
SWP: 8 – great to see him on the pitch, and he did not disappoint; hope Mancini uses him much more now
Vieira: 5 – did not have time, and hardly did anything of note
Mancini: 9 – purely because we won, he was rated 0 on Monday!

All we need now is to focus on the league, and cement our Champions’ League place. Come on City!

Glyn Albuquerque <glyn.albuquerue(at)>


It never fails to amaze me how many City fans always run down the manager after a loss such as the 3-0 defeat by Liverpool.

This might be hard to take by many of you but I have my own opinion why we lost that game, and a decline in the results since the Christmas break.

The reason is Carlos Tévez, since he claimed that he wanted to leave MCFC, and that it was too late to change his mind. Well MCFC had to go to the extreme to get Tévez to continue to play for the club by threatening to sue the player, because he has a contract to play for City.

Well check back the form of Tévez before Christmas and the form since Christmas with the lack of goals, his last goal a penalty versus Sunderland, how weak the kick was, and the poor celebration from Tévez after it!

Remember how Robinho played in his last few games before leaving City? And his nasty comments about the city of Manchester after arriving in Milan?! Tévez and his agent keep talking about playing in Italy next season; unless he has a complete turn around in his thinking, I must admit I would want him to stay, but only with the same commitment as before Christmas, when he was great! City proved that they can play without Tévez when they beat the Evil Empire at Wembley. And what a great plan as underdogs did Mancini come up with; congratulations to all the players, you did us proud, better than a final to beat the Rags!

Now to win the FA Cup, our first bit of silverware for so long, and to take down that sign at the Swamp to keep reminding us how long it’s been Grrrr.

Blame Tévez, not Mancini; he as a gentleman said it was his fault but no, he was let down by Tévez! Let’s remember when City beat United at Wembley – it was the decline of the evil empire.

Come on you Blues!

Ernie Barrow <britcityblue(at)>


I wonder if those people who have questioned Mancini’s approach might pause to consider things in the light of the weekend’s result. We were never as good as we looked against Sunderland and we were never as bad as we looked against Liverpool. I suspect that Mancini takes the Kipling approach and treats success and failure as twin imposters. However, Saturday’s result – beating United in a match that means something at the stage of the season when they are usually irritatingly unstoppable – is a significant achievement no matter how much money he spent last summer.

And by the way, thanks to the people who gave me assistance and encouragement in getting hold of semi-final tickets. It was a brilliant day out for Adam (and me). We had to surgically remove the City flag from around his shoulders before he went to bed! Only problem is that Josh is now mad keen to surpass his brother and get to the final so anyone who knows of any tickets going then please let me know!

P.S. I loved the team doing the Poznan at the end 🙂

Andy Longshaw <andy(at)>


Owing to a variety of reasons, I was able to make it across for the grand total of one match this season. The choice was Liverpool away or the original schedule for Spuds at home. Trust me to pick the wrong weekend. Thanks, City, for reminding me why it’s so important to have self-irony when following this club! And to all the crowing, deluded Livepool fans who think we were a team outclassed – it’s not exactly a difficult job to look good against something the consistency of pigs**t.

Let’s hope it was a good omen to stay away for Wembley-weekend…

Mel Clegg, Vadsø – a far outpost, somewhere way up in the north of Norway <mclegg(at)>


At last. More people can see that Mancini is not the man for the job. He has spent badly and can’t get the best out of players.

Sam Duxbury <sammy459(at)>


I’m still buzzing off the result, presume you’re all the same, especially the blighters lucky enough to be there. My flight from Sydney back to Manc will be being booked tomorrow. Being an ’82 child there’s no way I’m missing the first City cup final to occur in my lifetime. I know there will be a hundreds of people in the same situation out there, am just putting my case in early on the off-chance.

If anyone who qualifies point wise is willing to grab me a ticket I would be eternally grateful and be willing to handsomely reward them cash wise. BTW I’m not a Johnny come lately, I had a season ticket up until recently, have been to plenty of away games and was there in the flesh when Dickov gave me my most cherished memory.

BTW again, 10593.7 miles is how many the miles the City iPhone app compass thing reckons I am away from Eastlands; not sure if it is remotely accurate but I’ll go with it. BTW again again, I knew this would happen. City are bobbins all my life and as soon as I decide to have a mooch somewhere else they decide to have a go at a bit of bling.

CTID, Dan Bowen <devo.mcduff(at)>


My name is Neil and as a hobby I make ‘hand-made’ football supporters’ banners. I was wondering if any of your Club members would like a banner making? Banner seizers are normally 6 – 10ft in length x 4 – 6ft in height. As it’s a hobby, my prices are very reasonable.

‘You design it, I will make it’

For a quote or any enquiries email Neil at the address below.

Thank you.

Neil Rodgers <nr001q5224(at)>


17 April 2011

Arsenal               1 - 1  Liverpool             60,029

16 April 2011

Birmingham City       2 - 0  Sunderland            28,108
Blackpool             1 - 3  Wigan Athletic        16,030
Everton               2 - 0  Blackburn Rovers      35,857
West Bromwich Albion  1 - 3  Chelsea               25,163
West Ham United       1 - 2  Aston Villa

League table to 17 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         32 10  4  3 31 13  8  5  2 32 18 18  9  5  63  31  32  63
 3 Chelsea         32 11  2  2 29  9  7  5  5 29 17 18  7  7  58  26  32  61
 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       33 10  4  2 29 12  4  3 10 17 27 14  7 12  46  39   7  49
 7 Everton         33  7  7  3 28 22  4  7  5 19 19 11 14  8  47  41   6  47
 8 Bolton Wndrs    32  9  5  2 31 19  2  5  9 15 24 11 10 11  46  43   3  43
 9 Aston Villa     33  7  5  4 23 17  3  5  9 19 37 10 10 13  42  54 -12  40
10 Newcastle Utd   32  5  6  5 36 23  5  3  8 12 24 10  9 13  48  47   1  39
11 West Brom A.    33  6  6  5 27 29  4  3  9 20 33 10  9 14  47  62 -15  39
12 Fulham          32  7  6  3 23 16  1  8  7 13 19  8 14 10  36  35   1  38
13 Stoke City      32  8  4  4 25 16  3  1 12 14 26 11  5 16  39  42  -3  38
14 Birmingham City 32  6  7  4 18 19  2  7  6 15 24  8 14 10  33  43 -10  38
15 Sunderland      33  6  5  5 20 19  3  6  8 15 28  9 11 13  35  47 -12  38
16 Blackburn R.    33  6  6  4 20 14  3  2 12 20 40  9  8 16  40  54 -14  35
17 Wigan Athletic  33  4  7  6 18 31  3  6  7 14 22  7 13 13  32  53 -21  34
18 Blackpool       33  4  3  9 25 33  5  3  9 22 36  9  6 18  47  69 -22  33
19 West Ham United 33  5  4  8 23 27  2  7  7 16 31  7 11 15  39  58 -19  32
20 Wolves          32  7  3  6 24 25  2  2 12 12 31  9  5 18  36  56 -20  32

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1721