Newsletter #1785

Well hopefully this will reach you before kick off of tonight’s game at the Emirates in what is proving an genuinely intense period for back-to-back top-drawer games. Looking forward to your thoughts on it.

Tonight’s issue has some interesting content particularly around racism and also for those of you interested in the Club’s history. Looking forward to your feedback on both.

To finish my brief notes, a thought for Gary Speed’s family in what is a truly shocking episode. I’m sure I picked up over the years that he was himself a City fan, though I stand to be corrected, but regardless a ‘proper’ footballer respected by us all. RIP Gary.

Next Game: Arsenal, Carling Cup, Away, 8pm Tuesday 29 November 2011


On a very sad day for football, Joe Hart made a string of crucial saves at the end of a tough encounter at Anfield as we maintained our unbeaten record. We might have taken all three points if it had not been for a slice of bad luck. Charlie Adam’s shot was going well wide until Joleon Lescott, unfortunately, sliced it into our net.

City had been the best side in the first half hour. Inspired by David Silva, we played some delightful football that stretched Liverpool, who had packed their midfield with five men in an attempt to nullify us. There was no hangover from Napoli as we started on the front foot, fearlessly taking our impressive passing game to Liverpool on a great stage like Anfield. We were rewarded when Kompany flicked in Silva’s corner and it seemed like we were set fair for a rare win at Anfield.

It was such a shame that we conceded that unlucky equaliser so soon, because if we could have held the lead for longer we would have gone and scored more goals. Instead, a previously defensive Liverpool were inspired and upped the tempo of their game considerably. Hart had to save a long range drive with his legs, but City still threatened and Reina had to save at the foot of his post after Silva played Agüero in.

Liverpool probably deserved their draw for the chances they created late on in the game. City, though, deserve credit for showing resilience when under the cosh. Hart had to make at least four top drawer saves in the last quarter of the game including an excellent double stop from Carroll and Suarez. He can take pride in an excellent afternoon’s work.

Mario’s first yellow was fair enough (though a Liverpool player went unpunished in this game for a scrag that wouldn’t have been out of place in Rugby Union) but he should not have been issued his second yellow card. The Liverpool players who surrounded the referee were an embarrassment to their club.

Skrtel, who rolled around like he’d been hit by Vladimir Klitschko, was a disgrace. Mario’s arm was up but he did not elbow or forearm smash anyone. There was, certainly, no violent intent nor was his challenge dangerous. You get the distinct impression that Balotelli was issued the second yellow because of who is he is, and not for what he had done. His challenge was certainly no worse than Agger’s that caught Sergio Agüero in the first half, and received no booking.

We could have nicked it at the death, even with ten men, when Dzeko sped down the left and centred to Silva. The Spanish genius controlled the ball instead of shooting first time and by the time he got his shot in there were three Liverpool players on the line to clear. It is easy to say that Silva should have shot first time, but the excellent Reina was in front of him at point blank range when he received the ball, so a shot was not that straightforward.

A point at Anfield is a good result, which we deserved, and with the Geordies also deservedly earning a point at Owed Trafford, our five point lead is maintained.

Football seems trivial on a very sad day, with the news of Gary Speed’s sudden death. Gary Speed had a distinguished career winning the League Championship as a youngster with Leeds United in 1992, and serving Everton, Newcastle, Bolton and Sheffield United with distinction, as well as inspiring a revival as Wales manager. A good, solid, top class player, who played the game fairly, he had so many friends in football, and to all accounts, always made time to talk to fans and sign autographs. He truly was a credit to his profession and was one of those players that we would have been very happy to have playing for us. Whatever darkness there was in his world, I hope he found peace and light in his passing. Sincere condolences to his family and friends who are clearly missing a lovely man.

Hart: At his brilliant, agile best: 10
Richards: Good, disciplined display: 7
Kompany: Did extremely well to keep the dangerous Suarez shackled, and did especially well to make some brave challenges when he was on a booking: 8
Lescott: Desperately unlucky to chalk up an own goal. Otherwise stood tall and gave a very good account of himself: 7
Clichy: A Rolls Royce of a left back: superb on the ball and dangerous going forward: 8
Milner: All action, energetic, rarely wasted a pass. Great work-rate yet again and top class performance again: 8
Yaya: Looked tired and in need of a break. Gave ball away too often in the opening quarter but improved thereafter: 6
Barry: A class act from start to finish. Right place, right time, time after time: 8
Nasri: Bright and inventive: 7
Silva: At the centre of our best work, his lovely touches inspired our dominance in the first half hour. Might have snatched a winner later on: 8
Agüero: Did very well, linking up well with Silva and Nasri in particular: 7
Balotelli: No real contribution in 19 minutes, but should not have been issued that second yellow: 5
Dzeko: Super run and lovely ball for Silva might have set up a winner: 7

Best Oppo: Reina: Brilliant, brilliant ‘keeper: 8
Atkinson: Very inconsistent, to put it kindly. Liverpool predictably enjoyed the better of the decisions. Got it badly wrong with Balotelli’s second booking, being influenced by the crown, Skrtel’s play-acting and Dirk Kuyt’s appeals: 3

Phil Banerjee <phil.banerjee(at)>


Having watched the Napoli match followed by Sunday’s match vs. Liverpool, I just wanted to air my views on how we are faring.

In relation to the Champions’ League match away to Napoli, there was enough analysis written in the media to realise that this match was pivotal to City’s survival to the next phase. I assumed Mancini would field his best eleven and then use the required subs after that, so my reaction when the starting eleven was announced was “what the hell is he playing at?” I had discussed the possible team with 2 work colleagues of mine, (Spurs and Man U supporters), and we all agreed that City’s best starting eleven would be as follows: Hart, Kompany, Lescott, Clichy, Richards, Barry, Yaya Touré, Silva, Milner, Agüero and Balotelli. Why play 2 big guys up front? Also, Zabaleta and Kolarov are not the quickest in defence.

Well, it came as no surprise to see Napoli and Cavani in particular score 2 goals, virtually killing our hopes of qualifying for the next stage. The first goal has been symptomatic of the way we seem to let in soft goals; why is no one on the post and why do we just leave opposition players un-marked in the box? Napoli use pace on the counter to attack us, whilst we want to play the “old Arsenal way” of basically walking the ball into the net; this slow deliberate passing game does not always work.

Against Liverpool, we started positively but we needed someone like Dzeko to play alongside Agüero, to give us 2 options of attack, along the ground and also crosses into the box. Agüero in particular just never wanted to shoot when in good positions, I really don’t know why?

Liverpool were content in getting men behind the ball and playing on the counter, with Downing being very direct, just running at our defence. We seemed to want to make 30 passes before we got to their box and by then they had numbers back and made the through ball even more difficult. Suarez was making a nuisance of himself, even though he was going down quite easily at times, but he gave none of our defence any respite. We need that same threat in our team, preferably a winger, and I could not understand why Johnson was not brought on together with Dzeko, as this would have caused them different problems. I thought Balotelli was unlucky to get a 2nd yellow, but he needlessly got a first yellow, and after that it was as much his reputation, as anything else that got him sent off.

Our defending in the last 10 minutes was really exposed, even though we had enough people to repel the Liverpool players. Have a look at how Richards was ball watching when a cross came over from the right, and Downing was totally un-marked and just volleyed wide. Then at one corner, there were at least 2 un-marked Liverpool players lurking at the top of the box and no-one bothered to close them down and a shot just went wide, just un-believable poor defending. Surely every player should know who they should be picking up? We just seem to mark space, I can see this really hurting us, if it is not rectified soon.

After these last 2 matches, I am witnessing cracks in our defence and I am not all that confident of beating Chelsea and Arsenal, as both these teams are very capable of beating anyone on their day. We definitely need one or two more quality defenders, if we are to stamp our mark as one of the best teams in the Premier League and Europe. I love Nasri as a player, and I thought he was outstanding playing for Arsenal last season, but for some strange reason, he is not performing to those heights as yet, I just hope something clicks and he gets into 2nd gear, and very soon too.

I read an article in the Express the other day and it was on Wilfred Zaha the young Crystal Palace player. Their former manager George Burley has stated that he has so much natural ability that he puts him up in the heady heights of Maradona and Messi. He has nurtured players such as Darren Bent, Bale, Huddlestone and Walcott, and says Zaha has more ability than them, and is capable of playing either on the wing or as a free man behind the striker. Zaha was born in the Ivory Coast and is wanted by both them and England and Palace’s match against the Reds on Wednesday will be keenly watched by many scouts. I wonder if our two Ivory Coast players give Mancini any advice on whom he should look out for?

From what I read in the press, Mancini, is really working on all the players to maintain their concentration 100% of the time, and urges them to keep improving their all round game. However, it’s the better player who makes less mistakes than the others, and as long as we have a big contingent of very good players, then all bodes well. Spurs are looking ominously good at the moment and seem to have strength in depth, and I reckon they are the team to watch above all the others. We need to maintain our winning ways, or else this lead will soon be chipped away.

Come On City.

Glyn Albuquerque <glynalbuquerque(at)>


I understand on good authority that Mario Balotelli was the subject of racist abuse last Sunday. I hope that it was reported and someone did/does something about it, i.e. prosecute and ban the racists.

This follows on from what a fellow City fan experienced at a previous meeting at Anfield a few years ago. Prior to kick off the City fan took a 6ft inflatable banana and got stopped at the turnstile by a steward. As soon as he was stopped, a policeman came over too. The steward said to the City fan, and I quote: “You’ve come to the wrong ground, Yakubu plays over there” and pointed towards Goodison. The policeman, to the City fan’s disbelief, laughed and walked away. Only then was the City fan allowed into the ground.

It seems that little has changed.

I certainly wouldn’t want to tar all Liverpool supporters with the samebrush but I would hope that racism is not representative of LFC, its players,its stewards or fans.

Phil Banerjee <phil.banerjee(at)>


I am going to be in Singapore next week (3rd); any advice on a venue to watch the game?

Tony Higginson <Tony.Higginson(at)>


I would like to bring to your attention a couple of smashing links to articles on Tom Maley, City’s first truly great manager, who won promotion and later, the FA Cup in 1904:

Anyone who is interested in our club will no doubt find this fascinating.

Thanks to Gary James for yet another wonderful read and to Ric and all at for this.

Phil Banerjee <phil.banerjee(at)>


27 November 2011

Swansea City         0 - 0 Aston Villa         20,404
Liverpool            1 - 1 Manchester City     45,071

26 November 2011

Stoke City           3 - 1 Blackburn Rovers    26,686
Bolton Wanderers     0 - 2 Everton             24,058
Chelsea              3 - 0 Wolverhampton Wndrs 41,648
Manchester United    1 - 1 Newcastle United    75,594
Norwich City         2 - 1 Queens Park Rangers 26,781
Sunderland           1 - 2 Wigan Athletic      37,883
West Bromwich Albion 1 - 3 Tottenham Hotspur   24,801
Arsenal              1 - 1 Fulham              60,043

League table to 27 November 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 City 13  6  0  0 19  3  5  2  0 24  9 11  2  0 43 12  31 35
 2 Manchester Utd  13  5  1  1 19 10  4  2  0 11  3  9  3  1 30 13  17 30
 3 Tottenham H.    12  4  0  1 12  7  5  1  1 14  9  9  1  2 26 16  10 28
 4 Newcastle Utd   13  4  2  0 10  5  3  3  1  9  7  7  5  1 19 12   7 26
 5 Chelsea         13  5  0  2 19 11  3  1  2  9  6  8  1  4 28 17  11 25
 6 Liverpool       13  2  5  0  9  6  4  0  2  8  6  6  5  2 17 12   5 23
 7 Arsenal         13  5  1  1 13  5  2  1  3 13 18  7  2  4 26 23   3 23
 8 Aston Villa     13  3  2  1 10  6  0  5  2  6 11  3  7  3 16 17  -1 16
 9 Everton         12  2  1  3  7  8  3  0  3  8  8  5  1  6 15 16  -1 16
10 Norwich City    13  3  2  2 12 10  1  2  3  7 11  4  4  5 19 21  -2 16
11 QPR             13  1  3  2  5  9  3  0  4  9 15  4  3  6 14 24 -10 15
12 Stoke City      13  3  2  2 10  8  1  1  4  3 15  4  3  6 13 23 -10 15
13 Swansea City    13  3  3  1  8  2  0  2  4  4 14  3  5  5 12 16  -4 14
14 West Brom A.    13  2  1  4  6  9  2  1  3  6 11  4  2  7 12 20  -8 14
15 Fulham          13  1  3  2 11  9  1  3  3  4  7  2  6  5 15 16  -1 12
16 Sunderland      13  1  3  3 10  9  1  2  3  5  6  2  5  6 15 15   0 11
17 Wolves          13  2  1  3  8 10  1  1  5  5 13  3  2  8 13 23 -10 11
18 Bolton Wndrs    13  1  0  6  9 19  2  0  4 10 12  3  0 10 19 31 -12  9
19 Wigan Athletic  13  1  2  3  8 11  1  1  5  4 13  2  3  8 12 24 -12  9
20 Blackburn R.    13  1  0  5  6 13  0  4  3 11 17  1  4  8 17 30 -13  7

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1785