Newsletter #1793

A short intro tonight as it gets past my bedtime and hell knows I need the beauty sleep. Apologies for the tardiness of this issue, for which I’m happy to blame my employer!

Some great stuff, which I hope you get to see pre-kick off and some great responses to Chris Cobb’s article in MCIVTA 1792 on Tévez. It’s caused quite a stir (not all of it polite!).

What I have not included, but was copied into, was some great banter between Chris and Joel Perry during the week. Excellent to see healthy debate thriving!

OK, bring on the Reds. A bit worried about it, there have been few cup upsets so far, hopefully tomorrow won’t provide another! Every underdog has its day so remember that! Bless them!

Next Game: Manchester United, FAC3, Home, 1pm, 8 January 2012


For the second year running, City thrashed Liverpool by three goals to nil at home and this time the defeat was more significant. The win put us three points clear at the top, and it showed our side’s strength of character after a difficult Christmas period. We were not anywhere near our best, and yet we managed an ultimately comfortable victory in difficult playing conditions.

It could have been a very different game had Joe Hart not made a vital save in the early minutes, coming out to smother Downing’s effort when the Liverpool winger was clean through after a defence splitting Henderson pass. It was the sort of save that changes games and makes you grateful that we have the best goalkeeper in the League.

If this was a wake-up call, City were soon up and into action and decisively so. Silva crossed from the left, Dzeko turned sharply and his angled shot was saved by Reina at the near post. It was only a temporary reprieve.

Nine minutes had passed when Milner won the ball 30 yards out on the left, passed crisply to Silva who found Agüero, who unleashed a powerful, dipping shot that zipped under Reina’s body and ignited the Etihad stadium. Reina should have done better, but Agüero deserves credit for a terrific shot that dipped at the right time and moved like a bowler’s subtle in-swinger. Not only was it a thrilling strike but, after two goalless performances, this strike was a relief. We do not need a goal drought!

This goal galvanised City and we dominated the first half with some thrilling, incisive football. Yaya Touré advanced powerfully, found Dzeko who played in Agüero, but his shot was saved.

Roberto Mancini had made three changes in defence: Richards, Clichy and Kolo Touré coming in. Milner was in for de Jong and Agüero replaced Adam Johnson. Gerrard was on the bench for the visitors. Suarez, who accepted his ban, though crassly still protesting his innocence, was missing for the visitors. It prompted the chant from the Singing Section of “Where’s your racist gone?” It is a pity that Liverpool and Suarez cannot show genuine contrition and apologise for how they/he behaved.

City then gave away a free kick 30 yards out when Johnson cut inside and was tripped by a mistimed challenge. Joe Hart made a sharp save, low to his right from Adam’s fizzing free kick.

The game was flowing from end to end. Liverpool tried to hit back with Glen Johnson marauding down the right. He crossed for Carroll who fired wide. Dzeko’s low, long range effort was deflected a yard wide of Reina’s right hand post.

It was City, though, who made the next decisive step. From Milner’s left wing corner Kompany expert flick was brilliantly tipped away by Reina, but it was only a temporary respite. From the resultant right wing corner from Silva, Yaya Touré rose to head in City’s second goal. It had been a close contest but City were playing the better football and deserved the 2-0 lead.

“Who put the ball in the Scousers’ net? Half our ####in team did!” went the chant.

Liverpool tried to hit back with Downing in particular prominent down their left with his quick, powerful runs. He crossed to Carroll but the striker who cost an eye-watering £35 million blazed over. Silva wasn’t much closer with a free kick at the other end. Kompany then made a fantastic block in the six yard box, using his body to prevent Kuyt’s goal-bound effort from giving the Scousers a foot hold in the game.

The only other action of note in the first half was a bad foul on Yaya by Adam who oddly didn’t get booked, and then a minute later Barry was booked. Sometimes it is fair to ask where the consistency and fairness is?

Craig Bellamy warmed up in front of us to cheers and chants of his name, and rightly so. He gave us good service and was a popular player here. Talking of City old boys, it was a delight at half time to see Jihai Sun being presented with a shirt with his name and 130 on his back, signifying the number of appearance he made for City in his time here. At 34 he is still playing in China and he was delighted to say that City was the best club for him and the best club in England right now. Sun was a good servant to our club, as a wing back or midfielder in our promotion season, and in the struggle to stay in this division. I recall two games where he shone in a sky blue: a 1-0 win over Chelsea where he controlled central midfield before getting injured after a brave tackle; and a typically tenacious intelligent, battling performance in central midfield again that was key in securing a vital win at Newcastle in the Spring of 2007 to help City stay up. Sun told us that he follows our results, in particularly that 6-1. It was really nice to see him and a lovely touch by the club to invite him back.

The hail, rain and wind lashed the already soaked surface at the Etihad and this made conditions trickier still. Liverpool came out after the break and took the game to City, raining crosses in, but they found a formidable barrier in Vincent Kompany who stood tall and made several crucial headed clearances to clear the danger. He was particularly brilliant when he nipped in a yard clear of a waiting Carroll at the far post to head away after a searching left wing cross.

City tended to sit back, playing a counter attacking game. It seemed like a deliberate plan, and the vile conditions certainly didn’t help our intricate passing game, but we invited more pressure on ourselves by giving the ball away too easily with too many misplaced passes. Liverpool were retaining the ball better than City, but they lacked the guile to break down City’s defence. Something had to change for them.

Charlie Adam, as usual seemed more intent on committing bad fouls rather than creating and he, along with Kuyt, was given the hook by Dalglish. On came Bellamy to cheers and applause (it must be strange for him getting cheers from opposing fans!), and Gerrard to jeers.

Liverpool huffed and puffed and dominated 2nd half possession but despite the changes, they still lacked a cutting edge to break down our superbly organised defence. All those hours on the training ground, especially the shadow training, pays off in such circumstances.

Bellamy tried to inject some pace and quality into Liverpool’s play and when his shot flew wide of the target, it was to ironic cheers and a cheeky chant of “Once a Blue, always a Blue”.

The weather didn’t help the quality of play and it was a bit scrappy at times. When Barry picked up an unjustified 2nd yellow card with a quarter of an hour to go, it looked like we would be hanging on at best.

We need not have worried. Yaya went on one of the thrilling lung bursting runs and was brought down by Skrtel in the box. Referee Jones failed to send Skrtel off and therefore failed to apply the rules (denying a goal scoring opportunity is punishable by a red card). Milner coolly sent Reina the wrong way, hitting the perfect penalty into the top right hand corner of the net.

The Etihad Stadium could relax and many Liverpool fans headed for the exits. With Sunday in mind, Mancini sent on Lescott for Silva, and Clichy was pushed onto the left of midfield. Despite having 10 men, City still carried the greater threat. Another exciting Yaya Touré run saw the Ivorian play in Dzeko but he turned into trouble. It had been symptomatic of a night of struggle for the Bosnian who looked sluggish. Substitute Adam Johnson almost added to the score when his curling shot from the right hit the left hand post. The last significant action saw Gerrard shoot wide, to sum up Liverpool’s night.

City had outclassed Liverpool, who are no more than a top 6 side on this evidence.

With two 3-0 wins in a row it’s a rôle reversal from some hideous Swalesian afternoons when Dalglish (the player), Souness and co came to Maine Road and laid waste to our defence.

Attendance: 47,131
Hart: Game changing save set us on our way: 9
Richards: Much better positional discipline: 7
Kolo Touré: Some good tackles, one rash one on the edge of the box conceded a free kick in a dangerous position. Didn’t fancy any aerial challenges again: 6
Kompany: The best defender in the Premier League was the King of all he surveyed and was absolutely brilliant yet again. Excellent in the air and on the ground, he read the game superbly making countless headed clearances to nullify the threat of several testing crosses. The much criticised Carroll is a handful and Kompany dealt with him superbly. He was a colossus: 10 (Man of the Match)
Clichy: Pretty solid, including one good headed clearance: 8
Silva: Worked hard up and down the right flank and set up the first two goals: 8
Barry: Another good solid shift. Unjustly sent off: 7
Yaya: 9
Milner: Superb industry, common sense football, and a superbly taken penalty. We look a better team for having him in it. 8
Agüero: Scored an exhilarating goal and worked hard. It was a surprise when he was subbed but makes sense in the context of our fixtures: 8
Dzeko: Looks low on confidence and really struggled here. Knocked off the ball by Skrtel rather easily and decision making poor at times. Needs to keep working: 5
Johnson (for Agüero 71): Almost added to the score: 7
Lescott (for Silva 76): Slotted straight in at left back seamlessly: 7
Best Oppo: Downing: A threat down the flanks: 7
Refwatch: Referee Mike Jones did not cover himself in glory throughout the evening. He failed to book Adam, who gets away with a lot of bad tackles, and yet his second booking for Barry was for an innocuous foul. He showed similar inconsistency throughout this match: 2

Phil Banerjee <phil.banerjee(at)>


What I liked about the City players in this game was that determination from every player.

Again the team were led by a very good captain in Vincent Kompany.

Yaya before going to the African Nations Cup made his statement, “whilst I am at City I am going to give my best.”

Next week we play Liverpool again in the Carling Cup. They must never be taken lightly, they had good possession against City, but lacked a goal scorer, and they could not break down a very good City defence.

What a great season the team is giving us, with maestro Roberto Mancini at the helm, with games coming one after the other so fast he has to balance the teams that play each game.

I could give praise to every City player individually; instead I will do it to a team of players!

Come on you Blues, same determination against United!

CTWD, Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)>


Now that normality has been restored with City’s emphatic 3-0 win over Liverpool, Mancini should look back and compare City’s performance on Tuesday against the 1-0 loss to Sunderland and the 0-0 draw at West Brom and learn from City’s mistakes in the first two games.

The big difference in the Liverpool game was that the Scousers actually tried to play football and were not content just to park their bus in defence and luck out on a counter attack. Having said that though, we have to be prepared for the majority of teams that will try such defensive tactics in future games. The way to combat this is to have Silva and Agüero start the games, eventually break down the opponent’s defence like they did against Swansea, Norwich, Wigan and Everton, and run up a two-goal lead before making way for the bench.

Surely, if Mancini had started Silva and Agüero against Sunderland, we would have had the points secured by half time? It was also obvious against Sunderland that Nasri and Dzeko do not play well together without Silva. This could be worrying if Silva was ever out for any length of time. Yet conversely, Johnson was more effective in the first half against Sunderland before Silva came on, something for Mancini to think about.

Defensively, we just lost patience against West Brom and Sunderland! Tried too hard to score a goal and forgot about guarding against the break. It almost cost us against West Brom and did cost us against Sunderland. Still, other teams also dropped points so hopefully, we have learned some lessons moving forward and we will hopefully, not throw away any more cheap points in the future.

One more point, sacrilegious to say this but… maybe we should field a weakened team against United in the Cup? Surely our primary goal is to win the League, we are in the semi-finals of the League Cup – with an excellent chance to win it, plus we have a chance to play changed teams in the Europa Cup (or whatever it’s called!). My biggest concern is that we try to go for too much like Arsenal did last year and blow the lot! Go for the League, go for the League Cup, put out a changed team against United… and if we win, we prove a point, but if we lose… no big loss… just saying.

By the way, great performances by Kompany, Milner and Kolo Touré tonight!

Keith Sharp, Toronto <>


The Ivory Coast has rejected the request by the Touré brothers, Yaya and Kolo, to stay and play for City in the important game versus United on Sunday.

Will this kind of thing hurt the future selection of players by Premier League clubs by having African Nations Cup players?

Let us say that there are two players, one from an African nation and another from another country, both of pretty much equal standards in playing ability; which one does a manager pick? It will be obvious in the future.

Both Yaya and Kolo are very good players that City will miss.

The African Nations Cup is important to the players, but the timing of the competition is bad.

Now Roberto must fill in their places from a great squad of players.

We must not underestimate United just because they got beat by Newcastle; be prepared to beat the Rags!

Come on you Blues!

CTWD, Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)>


Oh come on, this was and is not a PR Exercise. This is a paid employee who has been through the formal disciplinary process with the support of his union and the club has been proved correct in its claims that he refused to carry out the duties expected of him – whether or not we will ever know if he flatly said “No” to Mancini when asked to prepare to come off the bench is not really the issue here.

In all honesty I can think of a few City captains over the years who would have kicked him off the plane from Munich rather than let him travel back with the squad, Andy Morrison spring to mind straight away, but the club handled this in a professional and correct manner no doubt as they would do with the bloke who forgot to order the chips for the Etihad the other week 🙂

Bring back a player who has the potential to split the squad, has zero desire to play for his team mates or the gaffer? I would rather Kolarov played up front again. The press last week brought up a blast from the past with the infamous March 72 signing of Rodney Marsh, that worked out well. Let him to go to Milan, let us recoup the fee we paid and keep faith for the second half of the season.

Peter Blyth <blythie44(at)>


Oh Chris Cobb what sense you talk, Tévez is currently the missing link and it has shown since he was dropped although some pathetic stats person is going to try and tell me otherwise, but to that person stats mean nothing – ask Sunderland!

There will only be one winner in fact there is only one winner: Tévez. He is being paid whilst we have lacked his skill, passion and creativity. The whole saga could and should have been dealt with better.

I would also like to add that every manager should select his strongest players and then make any changes if they are injured for the next game. Worrying about the Liverpool game is about as stupid as trying to complain about the Sunderland goalscorer being in an offside position; it would not have made any difference as he did not gain any advantage by it. If any players were injured after the Sunderland game then you bring in your other players and get the team to play to its strengths and the opposition’s weaknesses.

Sam Duxbury <Sammi459(at)>


It is very telling that Liverpool Football Club have decided not to appeal the well-warranted 8 match ban for Suarez’s racist abuse of Evra. There are no grounds to appeal. Suarez is guilty. He admitted using the racist abuse and this is backed up by other witnesses’ claims.

Liverpool, Suarez and their fans claim that his use of the word “negro” is not racist in Uruguay but that holds no water. Racism is racism wherever we are in the world. In any case we are in the UK, where thankfully, such language is challenged and condemned. Except by Liverpool and many of their fans. It has been said this issue is not our business. I can’t disagree more strongly. Racism is everyone’s issue.

Racist behaviour, violent racial attacks and discrimination still occur in our society, and Liverpool continue to trivialise the issue, putting their own self interest above everything. Dalglish and his players have worn T-shirts to support someone who has been found guilty of racism. They have shown no respect for black people in this country. Someone whom I respect told me any football club would do the same. Again I disagree strongly. Even in today’s world where commercialism rules football, no club would handle this as badly as Liverpool have.

One has to question the lack of leadership in their club, and the competence of their chief Executive Ian Ayre who already made a fool of himself this season with his failed attempt to break the collective agreement for the overseas TV money for Liverpool.

I speak as someone of mixed race who looked up to Kenny Dalglish in my youth (even when they used to thrash us four or five nil regularly). I have to say that I am not alone in losing total respect for Dalglish due to his crass defence of Suarez. His latest idiocy was to describe as “brilliant” Suarez’s statement of serving the ban as a person who has done “nothing wrong”. He says there are things he could say about the Suarez-Evra episode but would get into trouble if he did. What nonsense. If he had valid points to make, he would not get into trouble. Clearly he has no case and no valid points, otherwise they would have been used in Suarez’s defence. Liverpool FC have trivialised racism with their self-serving tribalism and many of their fans have followed this line. Liverpool FC pay lip service to the Kick It Out campaign but when it matters, they back a racist. They have shown no genuine contrition, when they should be ashamed of themselves.

Dalglish and co say they “stand alongside” Suarez, but what about standing alongside Liverpool’s own black supporters? By backing Suarez they let down many of their own fans. A lot of decent, balanced Liverpool fans (from a variety of ethnic backgrounds) are embarrassed by their club’s behaviour. Many people in football have roundly condemned Suarez, and indeed Liverpool for their behaviour, and rightly so.

Suarez’s general apology does not go far enough. He should apologise to Evra for racially abusing him. Liverpool Football Club should apologise too for their crass behaviour, supporting a racist, telling us a pack of lies about what happened and then having the gall to question the disciplinary process. I won’t hold my breath, given their bare faced arrogance. Then they can educate Suarez and some of their fans, making the point that racism is wrong.

The FA should charge them for undermining the disciplinary process and for the damage they have done to the game in this country.

Phil Banerjee <phil.banerjee(at)>


Hope this is not too late, but here is going to be a good turn out from our fans:

Imperial Hotel Bourke Street
2-3 Bourke St, Melbourne, Australia 3000

Tim Berry <timberry(at)>


Hi, I live in Harpenden and am a season ticket holder. Sometimes I travel to games with my son, a friend and his son here, but sometimes alone, so I would like to make contact with other city fans in the Harpenden/St Albans area to travel to games/share costs.

Dave Parker <david.parker5(at)>


The City and Liverpool players wore black armbands in memory of the late Gary Ablett who died this week at the age of 46. Widely recognised as a true gentleman of the game, a fair player, and a very clean tackler, he was part of two Liverpool Championship winning sides. He also served Everton and Birmingham with distinction too amongst others and was latterly Liverpool’s Reserve Team manager and Stockport’s first team manager. Sincere condolences to his family and friends. Rest in Peace.

Phil Banerjee <phil.banerjee(at)>


4 January 2012

Everton               1 - 2  Bolton Wanderers      29,561
Newcastle United      3 - 0  Manchester United     52,299

3 January 2012

Tottenham Hotspur     1 - 0  West Bromwich Albion  36,062
Wigan Athletic        1 - 4  Sunderland            15,871
Manchester City       3 - 0  Liverpool             47,131

2 January 2012

Aston Villa           0 - 2  Swansea City          35,642
Blackburn Rovers      1 - 2  Stoke City            20,615
Queens Park Rangers   1 - 2  Norwich City          18,033
Wolverhampton Wndrs   1 - 2  Chelsea               27,289
Fulham                2 - 1  Arsenal               25,700

League table to 04 January 2012 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 20 10  0  0 31  4  5  3  2 25 12 15  3  2  56  16  40  48
 2 Manchester Utd  20  7  1  2 30 14  7  2  1 19  6 14  3  3  49  20  29  45
 3 Tottenham H.    19  7  1  1 18  8  6  2  2 18 12 13  3  3  36  20  16  42
 4 Chelsea         20  6  1  3 23 16  5  3  2 16  9 11  4  5  39  25  14  37
 5 Arsenal         20  7  2  1 16  6  4  1  5 20 22 11  3  6  36  28   8  36
 6 Liverpool       20  4  6  0 14  8  5  1  4 10 10  9  7  4  24  18   6  34
 7 Newcastle Utd   20  5  3  2 15 11  4  3  3 14 14  9  6  5  29  25   4  33
 8 Stoke City      20  4  4  2 14 11  4  1  5  8 20  8  5  7  22  31  -9  29
 9 Norwich City    20  4  3  3 17 15  2  4  4 13 20  6  7  7  30  35  -5  25
10 Sunderland      20  3  4  3 14 11  3  2  5 13 12  6  6  8  27  23   4  24
11 Everton         19  3  2  5 10 12  4  1  4 10 10  7  3  9  20  22  -2  24
12 Swansea City    20  4  5  1 12  4  1  3  6  8 19  5  8  7  20  23  -3  23
13 Aston Villa     20  3  2  5 11 13  2  6  2 11 13  5  8  7  22  26  -4  23
14 Fulham          20  4  3  3 16 15  1  5  4  6 11  5  8  7  22  26  -4  23
15 West Brom A.    20  2  2  6  7 12  4  2  4 12 16  6  4 10  19  28  -9  22
16 Wolves          20  3  2  5 14 17  1  3  6  8 19  4  5 11  22  36 -14  17
17 QPR             20  1  4  5  9 17  3  1  6 10 18  4  5 11  19  35 -16  17
18 Bolton Wndrs    20  1  1  8 11 24  4  0  6 14 19  5  1 14  25  43 -18  16
19 Wigan Athletic  20  1  4  5 10 20  2  2  6  8 21  3  6 11  18  41 -23  15
20 Blackburn R.    20  2  0  8 13 21  1  5  4 16 22  3  5 12  29  43 -14  14

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1793