Newsletter #1725

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With a win at the weekend against struggling West Ham, we’re now on 62 points and holding that fourth spot in the table.

We have match report tonight thanks to Phil, opinion on last week’s Rovers game from Glyn, more on the M-word and the usual requests.

Apologies for the delay in getting this one out.

Next Game: Everton, away, 3pm Saturday 7 May 2011


City increased our lead over Spurs and a resurgent Liverpool to 7 points with three games to play after this latest victory over bottom of the table West Ham.

On a beautiful sunny but windy day in Manchester, unchanged City started off playing brilliant football against the Hammers. For 25 minutes City played brilliantly, and this should have been a stroll in the park, but City made heavy weather of it through a combination of sloppy defending and profligate finishing. For those first 25 minutes, our passing game mesmerised the visitors who added to their woes by standing well off and affording us too much space. It was not difficult to see why the lightweight Hammers are in so much trouble, even if they were missing their two key midfielders, Scott Parker and Mark Noble.

It wasn’t as if the Cockneys didn’t have enough warning. Silva found space easily but shot wide and Balotelli headed a Kolarov corner off target when well placed. These warnings weren’t heeded and the result was a very joyous moment for us after 10 minutes.

Another Kolarov corner was cleared to the edge of the box where Nigel de Jong was advancing to hit an unstoppable low shot that bounced past a forest of defenders and into the net. It was the first goal in City colours for the popular Dutchman who was mobbed by his team mates who were clearly delighted for him whilst Eastlands resonated to chants of “de Jong, de Jong, de Jong…”. What an absolute delight and a beautiful strike to boot. Nigel’s position means that he rarely gets a shooting chance, but he showed here that he has the technique to score as well as to skilfully anchor City’s midfield. Every time he got the ball after that, he was further encouraged with chants of ‘Shooooot!’

City were carving the visitors open at will and just 4 minutes later, we extended our lead. Zabaleta played a give-and-go pass infield to Silva from the right, and chested down the Spaniard’s clever chipped pass on the run and the popular Argentinian’s shot from an angle was struck into the roof of the net by West Ham right back Jacobsen. It was unclear from the stadium replays as to whether Zaba’s shot was going in but it would not have mattered: had Jacobsen not got a touch, Balotelli was waiting at the far post for a goal line tap in. It all seemed so easy as the sublime Silva pulled the strings in midfield and we went for more goals.

Unfortunately, as has been the case in various games this season, we seem to lose a bit of focus around the 20 or 25 minute mark, and this let the visitors in: Keane ran onto a Spector ball that sliced open our defence way too easily but Hart was on hand to make a brilliant block. Soon after a corner was cleared but we failed to deal with the ball back into the box and after the ball hit Lescott on the hand, Demba Ba scored with a clinical shot to give the visitors some hope.

Thereafter it was not possible to relax in the stands. Prior to West Ham’s goal, we had been singing “I never felt more singing the Blues, when City win, United lose”, but after that Eastlands became a little more tense. The game should have been put to bed well before the end but we squandered our chances. For all the visitors’ pluck in trying to get on level terms, they didn’t create too many clear cut chances. Da Costa’s header forced a sharp save from Hart but it was a rare sight of goal as City’s defence tightened up again. Still, our nerves in the stands were never eased as we failed to find the killer touch.

Balotelli could have scored twice. Firstly, when played in with another incisive Silva pass, he cut inside a defender but hit the bar. Then Silva should have scored when played through for a one-on-one with the ‘keeper by Yaya Touré’s clever ball but he hesitated and Green closed him down. Instead, Silva played in Balotelli who also, really should have scored, but his strike was cleared off the line, when he had more time to aim for an unguarded part of the goal. Dzeko came on for Barry and tested Green with a rasping shot but unfortunately for us the ex-England ‘keeper’s spillage didn’t fall to a sky blue shirt. Silva had a deflected shot palmed over by Green.

Zabaleta, who had been a perfect combination of skill, tenacity and superb positional play, then chased a ball down in the last minute of stoppage time but came off worst in a collision with the West Ham ‘keeper. He was down on the ground for several minutes as City’s medical staff attended to him. His injury probably wasn’t helped by West Ham defender Tomkins’ stupid attempt to drag him to his feet. He was helped back to the dressing room and hopefully his ankle knock is not too serious and he will be back very soon.

Every game now is crucial but with this result the Champions’ League is now in touching distance.

Hart: Some good saves and better distribution: 7
Zabaleta: Brilliant all round. He just gets better and better: 9
Kompany: Mostly strong and resilient, but both he and Lescott had a dodgy minute that made openings for the visitors: 8
Lescott: Like his partner, he rallied from that brief sloppy spell to be a commanding performer at the back: 8
Kolarov: Found wanting defensively at times and rather clumsy going forward: 5
Johnson: Some thrilling runs but not enough end-product on this occasion. How much more effective would he be on his natural left side? 6
de Jong: Great to see a quality player notch his first City goal. Took a knock to his hip in training earlier this week which made him a doubt for this fixture. His first half display was top drawer before he was taken off with injury (scan on Tuesday) and hopefully he will be fit again for the run in: 8
Barry: Some clumsy fouls, one of which earned a booking. His distribution wasn’t consistent: 6
Yaya Touré: A hard working, physical presence and he showed his creative side when his sumptuous pass created and open up the Hammers defence: 7
Silva: At the heart of City’s best moves with his wizardry. Very hard working in defence: 9 (Man of the Match)
Balotelli: Lacked the killer touch in front of goal but worked hard to help his defence. One silly, unnecessary reaction to Da Costa showed he has work to do on his temperament: 6

Attendance: 44,511

Milner: A good, solid industrious second half: 7
Dzeko: Two testing shots and worked hard. Clumsy touch at times and is struggling to find his men with passes: 6
Vieira: Steadied ship: n/a
Best Oppo: Ba: Took his goal well: 7

Refwatch: Howard Webb: Except for one moment when he got in the way and gifted a touch to the visitors, his was a top job: 8

Phil Banerjee <philban65(at)>


Having just watched the match against Blackburn, I really thought we were fortunate to win the game. We started off really well, moving the ball at pace and passing the ball with a lot of confidence. Silva was very unlucky not to score with a volley that just came back off the post. Gradually though, Blackburn started to get a foothold in the game and began pressing us back. They were unlucky not to get a penalty when Kompany clearly fouled Roberts and we were very fortunate indeed. We then got a spate of yellow cards, and I was really beginning to fear that we might get a man sent off. Blackburn’s main tactic was to get plenty of men behind the ball and then play on the break. If you think we are a tall side, just have a look at Blackburn; they seemed to win most of the 50/50 balls in the air, and looked very dangerous, especially down their left flank. The second half saw Blackburn really press on, and they began bombarding us with long balls into the box.

City then went through a 15 minute period where they just could not keep possession and gave way numerous free kicks in dangerous positions.

I was screaming for Balotelli to be subbed as he is as poor a forward as Jo (and Jo has to be one of the worst forwards ever to wear a City shirt!). Balotelli is absolutely useless at holding up play, and gives us nothing up front; what Mancini sees in him is just a mystery. Why take off Johnson? Take off Balotelli the plonker and bring on Dzeko. It was great to see Dzeko score the winner (though “plonker” nearly got in the way and could have been flagged offside!) and also his first Premier goal, and I can see him getting better and better, unlike that Italian plonker! I wanted Mancini to bring on SWP, to play high up field, and catch Blackburn on the break, especially as they were totally reliant on bombing long balls into our box from all parts of the pitch. Touré then nearly caught them out with a break on the half way line, but his heavy touch just prevented him creating a one on one with the ‘keeper.

I guess a win is a win, regardless of how scrappy it was, and if we are to beat Spurs then we will have to retain possession far better than this. Barry and de Jong worked tirelessly in midfield, and Lescott and Kompany were very solid at the back.

Hart: 7 – kept out everything that came his way, and did not have too many alarms.
Zabaleta: 6 – seen him play better, was beaten in the air quite a lot and had to defend a lot.
Kolarov: 6 – sometimes looks good, but is not as effective as Evra, Cole or Ekotto, and his crossing and free kicks are woeful.
Kompany: 8 – apart from one dodgy moment, he was a tower of strength at the back.
Lescott: 8 – he too was solid at the back and had to deal with a lot of high balls into the box.
de Jong: 8 – does so much mopping up and covering; extremely important player to our team.
Barry: 7 – had to really defend a lot, but his lovely reverse pass to Silva set us up for our goal.
Touré: 6 – have seen him play better, needs to shoot a bit more.
Johnson: 6 – had some lovely runs but was not seeing much of the ball, and a surprise to see him being subbed.
Silva: 7 – he really makes us tick and always looks comfortable in possession.
Balotelli: 3 – never rated him, and does nothing for our team.
Dzeko: 8 – scored our winner, and seems a much better centre forward then you know who; needs to play every game.
Best opponent: Samba – a man mountain, and dangerous at set pieces; cannot believe Arsenal did not snap him up in January!

Come on City!

Glyn Albuquerque <glyn.albuquerque(at)>


I’ve been kicking around the whole M thing and reading the unbiased British press’s response to it. I remember posting a while back that the chant was started by Blackburn – I think it was according to my brother who is a Rag. Or was it Bolton? I forget.

Fact of the matter is Matt Busby played 200 games for City before he went into management. So chanting about the near death of a good City stalwart would be like chanting for the death of… I dunno… we could all think of plenty of names. The crux of the song as I see it is their “milking” of the whole tragedy. Most of us weren’t born when it happened so it has the same sort of impact as talking about the bombing in world war 2. We see it through the eyes of the older generation. I must admit I have in the past referred to Rags as Munichs to other Blues, but to me it seems like a label they have given themselves. Words mean different things to different people. The word “gay” is the classic example. It’s a word now that has been taken and owned by the gay community.

I don’t agree with chanting the song in that it is distasteful and we should behave better. But as other readers point out the press never gets on the backs of the Rags about the Wenger songs, the Foe songs or whatever is current for those Rag b*****ds. And I think most people will agree that the feeling isn’t against the players that died but a dig at the self-righteous arrogant pratts from across the town.

I agree, we shouldn’t sing the song, or call Rags Munichs. We should let our talking be on the pitch and our songs be the classics that we sing on the terraces (ok seats). We should always take the higher ground. As my dad always points out (who is also a manure fan) City fans always seem to be a better class of person, with a great sense of humour. That’s always been our strength and we should be proud of that.

Our time is coming. Correction: it’s already here. Let’s move on.

Andy Johnson <fastandyj(at)>


What the Club needs to do is educate the minority who chant the Munich songs. I know the old arguments, about Rags singing about Hillsborough, but the problem I have with the chants, apart from the young lads who died, there were also the journalists but it is the fact that one of City’s greats Frank Swift also died.

I hate the fact that most of the lads who sing it must be oblivious of this. Maybe the club should mention this on the score board before each home game.

Stephen Marks <salty12(at)>


I have been away for a few days so have only just got back to 2 editions of MCIVTA, in response to 2 articles written in reply to mine.

I don’t have to mention any players to buy when I say that it’s about buying players who can play together – it’s not what I’m paid for – I pay my money and as a customer can complain. Why do we have to mention the 5-1 win? That was bl**dy years ago and we have beaten them since.

Also under Sven we passed it out from the back and then got a shot on goal before the opposition had 11 men behind the ball, something we will need to do in the final if we are to stand any chance against a strong, physical Stoke team who have the excellent cheat in Huth and others who can spoil a game.

Now in response to the article by Jonathan Haggart on the song, wasn’t this done at about the time that Peter Swales allowed the BBC full access to the club and we became part of the Nationwide program every week? I still have a copy of the book issued at the time and quite often take a look to stir up a few good memories of those great days of ups and downs!

Come and live in the Lakes and listen to all these Rags fans and see how soon you get fed up with it, and why do they support the Rags? Because Mum and Dad said they should and why do Mum and Dad say that?

Sam Duxbury <Sammy459(at)>


28-year Blue and MCIVTA reader since 1996 seeks two tickets or pointers to reliable sources (my good mate’s already been fleeced by one of the sites purporting to sell final tickets).

If it’s any help I’ve an unbeaten record watching City at Wembley, having been at the 1999 play-off final after a season spent going to Wycombe and Walsall. Unfortunately I don’t get to go much nowadays as I’m based in Singapore, but still CTID here where every other shirt is a red one.

Hsien Min Toh <hsienmin(at)>


1 May 2011

Birmingham City       1 - 1  Wolverhampton Wndrs   26,072
Liverpool             3 - 0  Newcastle United      44,923
Arsenal               1 - 0  Manchester United     60,107
Manchester City       2 - 1  West Ham United       44,511

30 April 2011

Blackburn Rovers      1 - 0  Bolton Wanderers      28,985
Blackpool             0 - 0  Stoke City            16,003
Sunderland            0 - 3  Fulham                39,576
West Bromwich Albion  2 - 1  Aston Villa           25,889
Wigan Athletic        1 - 1  Everton               17,051
Chelsea               2 - 1  Tottenham Hotspur     41,681

League table to 01 May 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  35 16  1  0 43  9  5  9  4 28 24 21 10  4  71  33  38  73
 2 Chelsea         35 14  2  2 37 11  7  5  5 29 17 21  7  7  66  28  38  70
 3 Arsenal         35 11  4  3 32 13  8  6  3 36 23 19 10  6  68  36  32  67
 4 Manchester City 34 11  4  2 30 12  7  4  6 23 19 18  8  8  53  31  22  62
 5 Liverpool       35 12  4  2 37 12  4  3 10 17 27 16  7 12  54  39  15  55
 6 Tottenham H.    34  8  8  1 27 17  6  5  6 23 26 14 13  7  50  43   7  55
 7 Everton         35  7  7  3 28 22  4  8  6 20 21 11 15  9  48  43   5  48
 8 Bolton Wndrs    35 10  5  2 33 20  2  5 11 15 28 12 10 13  48  48   0  46
 9 Fulham          35  8  6  3 26 16  2  9  7 17 20 10 15 10  43  36   7  45
10 Stoke City      35  9  4  4 28 16  3  3 12 15 27 12  7 16  43  43   0  43
11 West Brom A.    35  7  6  5 29 30  4  4  9 22 35 11 10 14  51  65 -14  43
12 Newcastle Utd   35  5  7  5 36 23  5  4  9 13 28 10 11 14  49  51  -2  41
13 Sunderland      35  7  5  6 25 24  3  6  8 15 28 10 11 14  40  52 -12  41
14 Aston Villa     35  7  6  4 24 18  3  5 10 20 39 10 11 14  44  57 -13  41
15 Birmingham City 35  6  8  4 19 20  2  7  8 16 32  8 15 12  35  52 -17  39
16 Blackburn R.    35  7  6  5 21 15  3  2 12 20 40 10  8 17  41  55 -14  38
17 Blackpool       35  4  5  9 26 34  5  3  9 22 36  9  8 18  48  70 -22  35
18 Wigan Athletic  35  4  8  6 19 32  3  6  8 16 27  7 14 14  35  59 -24  35
19 Wolves          35  7  4  6 25 26  2  3 13 13 35  9  7 19  38  61 -23  34
20 West Ham United 35  5  4  8 23 27  2  7  9 17 36  7 11 17  40  63 -23  32

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1725



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