Newsletter #1881

A net gain this weekend in what needs to be a relentless running down of the current leaders. Relentless, remorseless and unforgiving are the traits we’ll need if we are to pull back this title by gradually and steadily building the pressure across in Trafford. Until they are in meltdown.

Only way we’ll do it I can promise you.

With regards to tonight’s issue, well young (ok David, not so young) Smithy has done it again with a hat-trick of ‘And Finallys’. Congratulations David, definitely up for player of the month. A Player for All Seasons is the other main contributor, as ever, thank to Phil B for his coverage of the weekend’s game.

Next Game: Stoke City, Britannia Stadium, FA Cup 4th Round, 26 January 2013, 12.45


David Silva wove his magic, delighting and warming another huge Etihad crowd as he scored both goals to defeat Fulham. He gave the sort of performance that magnetically draws you from your warm fireside into the freezing cold. So sublime was his alchemy and delightful skill that you could forget the wintry weather for a while. His second goal was a real beauty and the highlight of an afternoon when City should have won by more than two goals.

Vincent Kompany’s successful appeal meant that Roberto Mancini could field a City side that was unchanged from last week’s superb victory over Arsenal, and City took the lead within 2 minutes of the start. James Milner’s admirable pressing won the ball deep inside Fulham’s half and he found Dzeko who was afforded a lot of room to set his sights. Dzeko’s powerful drive was pushed out by Schwarzer at full stretch but only to David Silva who shot powerfully across the Fulham ‘keeper and into the net.

For a while City’s pressing game forced Fulham onto the back foot again and another goal seemed likely. Dzeko failed to test Schwarzer from an inviting Silva cross. Silva’s brilliant turn on the half way line completely deceived a Fulham midfielder and he advanced and found Tévez wide on the right with a clever pass. Tévez waited for reinforcements and fizzed a cross into the advancing Dzeko’s path, but the latter fired just over the right hand angle of post and bar.

City got a little sloppy and allowed Fulham room to get into the game for too long in the middle third of the game and Fulham almost drew level when Damien Duff crossed from the right but Sidwell, under pressure from Zabaleta, hit the outside of the post. It was very good defending by Zaba who did just enough to prevent an equaliser. It was to be the closest that Fulham were to get all afternoon as City defended well before reasserting our dominance soon after the break.

Strangely, the temperature in the ground went up in the second half, which was very welcome, and it was in keeping with City’s improved showing. Fulham enjoyed a slice of luck when the ball pin-balled in the box finally off Dzeko forcing a save, but their fortune only lasted so long as City clicked through the gears.

After 69 minutes, the best move of the match gave us a goal of outstanding beauty, which raised us off our seats. Silva’s flick from Nastasic’s ball found Clichy and the City left back’s pass was cutely touched back by Tévez for Silva to run onto in the inside right position. With defenders in hot pursuit, Silva took a touch on the run and delicately lifted a curler over the diving Schwarzer and into the net off the far post. Wow! What a goal, and what a player. This brilliant, exhilarating goal had so much to enjoy: team work, skill, great movement, intelligence, impudence, poise and deftness of touch.

The understanding and cohesion was slick and the finish was breath-taking. This is a very special team and David Silva is a very special player.

Silva very nearly completed a hat trick with a similar opportunity after Tévez slid a pass into the inside left channel, but this time Silva shot just wide of the far post. Now if he’d gone for another chip…

We should have had more goals but wayward finishing meant that we didn’t significantly boost our goal difference. Dzeko shot into the side netting after another good Tévez pass. Then the giant Bosnian fired high and wide after more good work by Agüero and Silva. It was very good to see Sergio Agüero enter the fray less than three weeks after his hamstring tear, and he had two good chances to add to the score. The first after good forward passes from Barry and Dzeko allowed Sergio to round Schwarzer but he was off balance and scuffed his shot from a tight angle. Then Dzeko slid him in down the inside right channel but his angled shot skidded wide of the post.

Between these two chances Milner fired a powerful drive just over after more clever interplay by Agüero and Silva.

City’s final gilt-edged chance was created by the wonderful tenacity of Gael Clichy who twice won the ball and carried it forward playing a perfect pass across the area to Dzeko who blazed over. In mitigation, the ball might have taken the merest bobble before Dzeko hit it but it was another chance gone.

So we settled for two when it could have been a lot more. City had seven shots on target and Fulham had none as City recorded a fourth successive clean sheet. The immensely likeable Martin Jol and his Fulham side miss the departed Dempsey and Dembele but they will have enough in their home form to avoid a serious relegation struggle, but they did not have anywhere near enough in their armoury to trouble the champions. City played well in the second half after failing to build on our good start in the first. If there is one lesson to be learned, it is that our finishing must become more clinical, because better sides would have punished us for our profligacy. Still, City did the job efficiently enough, and with no little skill.

The afternoon belonged to David Silva who is a player that you look forward to seeing. He delighted us here with his sublime passing and his match winning goals in this victory, which with Tottenham’s amusing and significant last minute equaliser, draw us to just five points behind United.

Even in the deep mid-winter, the heat is on!

Goals: Silva 2, 69.

Att: 47,286

Hart: Largely unemployed. His distribution lacked decisiveness at times: 6
Zabaleta: Yet another very good, tenacious showing that illustrates his consistency and high standards. His afternoon was sadly curtailed when he sustained a kick on the top of his foot when colliding with a Fulham defender as they stretched for a Tévez through ball. After treatment and chants of encouragement from the crowd, Zaba tried to continue but limped off and the ovation he got from what seemed like everyone was a special moment. On Monday he reported that it is still rather sore but that he should be ok for Stoke. Speedy recovery Zaba: 8
Kompany: Read the game well, rarely tested though: 7
Nastasic: Right place, right time, good passing: 7
Clichy: Very good full back play both in defence and attack. He deserved an assist for that terrific run at the end: 8
Milner: Pressed, harried and used the ball well. Deputised seamlessly at right back for the last half hour: 7
Barry: As ever, he gave us firm foundations. Some good forward passing too: 7
Garcia: One or two sloppy passes, but otherwise decent: 6
Silva: A magician in the winter wonderland, his was a performance to savour. He lit up a dark afternoon with his wand of a left foot: 9 (Man of the Match)
Tévez: Great work rate and some incisive passing. A very good afternoon’s work: 8
Dzeko: It certainly wasn’t his day in front of goal with several missed chances but his link up play was good: the benefit of a run of games. Some good flick-ons, inch-perfect passing, all he needed was a goal: 6
Agüero (for Tévez 81): Bright and inventive cameo. His runs also were very intelligent and on another day he’d have bagged a brace: 7
Nasri (for Zabaleta 63): Some nice touches: 6
Lescott (for Silva 88): n/a
Sub not used: Pantilimon, Rodwell, Balotelli.

Best Oppo: Sidwell: worked hard and went closest to scoring: 7

Refwatch: Jon Moss (Leeds): Seemed to struggle to keep up with play. Some curious decisions. By George, he should have stuck to drumming: 5

Phil Banerjee <philban65(at)>


How on earth can City value “*rap-a-telli” at £31 million?!

Just how can a very, very average (I would go as far as saying, rubbish footballer) have his worth go up, especially after such a disruptive and poor season to date? If AC Milan are willing to pay any kind of transfer fee, City should be delighted and hire a private jet and get him out a.s.a.p. With City back in the title race, I really feel that it would give the team and the club a massive boost, if they can sell Balotelli and bring in a good replacement. Remember, Tévez does not plan being here past his contract in 2014, so we should be strengthening and soon.

I would like someone like Stefan Jovetic, still young and hungry and would not cost as much as someone like Cavani or Falcao, plus a creative midfielder, someone like Benat or Isco. We need to be much, much stronger than all our rivals and, even with injuries, have real talent to beat all-comers.

If you have noticed from our last few matches, we really do not convert enough of all the chances we create, and in reality should be hammering average teams by 4 or 5 goals. When Chelsea are on song, they seem to be a real threat all over the park and that’s how we should be; after all, we are the Champions.

CTID… come on you Blues.

Glyn Albuquerue <glyn.albuquerque(at)>


One or two tickets desperately needed for QPR game.

Please email on the address below.

Stuart Brodkin <stuart.brodkin(at)>


I emigrated to Canada from Manchester in 1981. Here are ten memories from yesteryear from an ex-pat lifelong City fan:

  1. I remember… hearing a few people speculating on the bus going to MaineRoad in the snow that the game would be called off. It wasn’t called off, andbecame known as “The Ballet on Ice”. It was against Spurs, and we won 4-1.It was a superb display by City, and Google reports a Spurs player’s comment“It was extraordinary. City moved like Olympic speed skaters while wewere falling around like clowns on a skid patch.” I couldn’t agree more.
  2. I remember… having my sky blue bobble-hat nicked – gone forever. Itwas an Everton game I think, and I was standing by one of the barriersat Maine Road’s Scoreboard End, pre-game. I was suddenly surrounded bya horde of visiting Everton fans that had just arrived in the ground,and before I could say “Franny Lee” I felt someone grab my bobble-hatfrom behind and run away into the crowd. At first I thought it was anEverton-style joke, but apparently not, and my City bobble-hat was goneforever. I rarely see anyone wearing a bobble-hat these days, but everytime I do I remember… well, you know.
  3. I remember… just say “Yes”. A young kid comes up to you afteryou have just parked your car on the street near Maine Road, and asksin a broad Mancunian accent, “Can I mind your car for you, mister?”Answer “Yes”. Don’t even hesitate. Answer “Yes”. Anything else and yourun the risk of coming back to a scratched and dented car, and then what?Answer “Yes”, give him the two-bob when you return, and get on with life.That was my dad’s advice when we first drove to Maine Road for a game.Just say “Yes”.
  4. I remember… City’s Scoreboard End cheered for Manchester United. Citywere playing a home game at Maine Road while United were away at West Ham.No Internet or cell phones in 1967-8, so half-time league scores wererolled out slowly, one at a time on a large roulette-style wheel, on thescoreboard located in, you guessed it, the Scoreboard End. West Ham, 1,was the first number, and the Kippax Street fans cheered at the prospectof United losing the game. Next, Manchester United… wait for it… 4,and the Kippax booed while the Scoreboard End, surprisingly, started tocheer. United were leading West Ham 4-1 at half-time. Why did the ScoreboardEnd cheer? I suspect it was because there were a lot of Red fans in theScoreboard End, as they decided to watch the City game at Maine Road ratherthan travelling down all the way down to Upton Park to see the Reds play.
  5. I remember… being a lonely City scarf in the Stretford End paddockat Old Trafford. It was 1968 and City beat United 3-1 at Old Trafford ontheir way to the League Championship. I went to this derby game with myRed friend, Alan, and we compromised on the Stretford End paddock as themost neutral and safe part of Old Trafford for both of us to go. When Cityscored to go 3-1 up I was one of only a small handful of Blue fans wavingtheir City scarves in celebration. Lonely life sometimes, being a Blue.
  6. I remember… using a rattle when I went to my first City game.A noisy rattle was not well received by others in the Maine Road crowd,and I didn’t take it again. I don’t come across rattles any more.I wonder what happened to them?
  7. I remember… pleading with my dad to go to the Newcastle game in 1968.Dad was also a Blue, and understood the importance of the game – the finalgame of the season – for City’s league championship prospects. He arrangedfor me to go by train with a couple of his fellow British Rail workers,and I witnessed a see-saw match that City won 4-3 at St James’ Park.We later learned that Manchester United lost 2-1 at home to Sunderland.We won the league. I had a broad smile on my face all the way back toManchester. What a terrific day. Thanks Dad.
  8. I remember… no-one was as excited as me in 1968 when City won theLeague Championship. Manchester United were scheduled to play in theEuropean Cup final against Benfica in a few days, and could be the firstEnglish team to win the competition. The prospect of United’s upcoming gameovershadowed City’s win, and when United finally won the European Cup againstBenfica they stole the limelight from under our noses. That was one of thereasons winning against QPR and sealing the Premier League championship in2012, last year, was especially sweet. A victory 44 years in the making.Revenge is sweet.
  9. I remember… the dark years in Canada. It was sometimes impossibleto get City scores. No radio or television coverage, newspapers wouldoften omit League 2 and 3 results for space reasons, and phoning homefor the results would cost a small fortune. And then along came MCIVTA,and civilization returned. As I recall, I was member number 100 or so,back in 1994. Great to see MCIVTA has survived.
  10. I remember… taking a tour of the Etihad stadium. I got back toManchester 5 years ago and took a tour of the Etihad stadium – or CoMSas it was then – with my 2 kids. Wonderful. What a superb stadium.I remember the pitch was mud-free and in pristine condition, and the 100%seating stadium was exemplary. Makes you proud.

If we had the chance to do it all again…

David Smith <dsmith(at)>


21 January 2013

Southampton           0 - 0  Everton               28,359

20 January 2013

Chelsea               2 - 1  Arsenal               41,784
Tottenham Hotspur     1 - 1  Manchester United     35,956

19 January 2013

Liverpool             5 - 0  Norwich City          44,901
Manchester City       2 - 0  Fulham                47,286
Newcastle United      1 - 2  Reading               49,411
Swansea City          3 - 1  Stoke City            19,603
Wigan Athletic        2 - 3  Sunderland            19,219
West Bromwich Albion  2 - 2  Aston Villa           25,583
West Ham United       1 - 1  Queens Park Rangers   34,962

League table as at 18 January 2013

                    P  GD Pts
 1 Manchester Utd  23  27  56
 2 Manchester City 23  26  51
 3 Chelsea         23  25  45
 4 Tottenham H.    23  12  41
 5 Everton         23   9  38
 6 Arsenal         22  15  34
 7 Liverpool       23  12  34
 8 West Brom A.    23   1  34
 9 Swansea City    23   7  33
10 Stoke City      23  -5  29
11 Sunderland      23  -4  28
12 West Ham Utd    22  -3  27
13 Norwich City    23 -15  26
14 Fulham          23  -7  25
15 Southampton     23 -10  23
16 Newcastle Utd   23 -13  21
17 Aston Villa     23 -25  20
18 Reading         23 -15  19
19 Wigan Athletic  23 -18  19
20 QPR             23 -19  15

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1881