Newsletter #1919

A tardy edition of MCIVTA this week, for which I apologise offering no other excuse than a mental week here in Editorsville.

Still, I’ve managed to beat kick-off for Game 2 at least!

Game 1 saw a belting display by the new look side that augurs well as Manuel reckons we will improve as the season goes on!

A very different challenge this afternoon of a newly-promoted though no doubt highly-motivated and passionately supported Cardiff. It was games like this that we came a cropper last season (Southampton particularly sticks in the mind) so let’s see if we have backbone ‘buckle’ to add to the ‘swash’ of Monday night’s demolition of the Magpies.

Whether there on on TV, enjoy the match.

Next Game: 25 August, Cardiff City, Cardiff City Stadium, 16:00 BST


Manchester City started off the new season with a thrilling performance that delighted and dazzled another huge Etihad crowd and comfortably defeated Newcastle on a night when we all paid tribute to the late, great Bert Trautmann.

From the very start City, full of energy and verve, quickly, and thrillingly tore into Newcastle. Zabaleta and Navas were combining down the right as if they had been playing together for years and within 3 minutes Agüero forced a save from Krul and Newcastle defenders were having to get bodies in the way of goal-bound shots as we tore the Newcastle left asunder. A minute later Navas’ inch-perfect pass found Zabaleta and from his pinpoint cross, Dzeko’s goal-bound shot was pushed away by Tim Krul’s fingertips. It was a truly exhilarating start of great skill, pace and precision.

Ben Arfa hit a rising drive over the bar but it was only a temporary reprieve for Newcastle as less than six minutes had elapsed when City took the lead with another super move. Fernandinho found Silva who fed Dzeko down the left. The giant Bosnian shimmied and worked his way to the left hand bye line and crossed. The ball bounced up off Steven Taylor and Silva clinically headed in to open our scoring for the season. We were on our way.

Newcastle had a little go without really threatening City’s back line. When they did attack they were firmly dealt with by the back four, which were led by the imperious Kompany.

City continued to move the ball quickly. Fernandinho was outstanding in midfield with his running, sharp tackling and accurate passing, and he formed a very impressive, dynamic central midfield partnership with Yaya Touré, which was the basis for City dominating this match. They offered superb protection to the back four and were instrumental as City launched quick attacks that Newcastle struggled to deal with all evening. Indeed, Fernandinho played in Dzeko with an incisive ball but Dzeko fired just wide.

Our lead was doubled after Kompany won a ball in defence and charged forward. Dzeko flicked his pass cleverly to Agüero who advanced down the inside right channel, bursting away from Taylor at the crucial moment, before cleverly stroking a clever, diagonal shot past Krul, and inside the left hand post. It was highly intelligent, top drawer finish from Agüero, who was having a terrific game with his movement, speed and skill very much to the fore.

It was a very one-sided contest with City having nearly all the chances. Navas flashed a long range free kick a yard wide of the right hand post. A lovely triangle of passes involving Navas, Zabaleta and Fernandinho released Dzeko but he slipped and fell at the crucial moment! Dzeko’s build up play and touch was excellent but he just couldn’t find the finish to give him the goal he deserved. He headed a Silva cross just wide before the break when the game was effectively over for the visitors whose defenders were getting increasingly frustrated with City’s quick, mesmerising attacks. Debuchy had already got his knickers in a twist and dramatically thrown the ball away when a free kick had been awarded against him before Steven Taylor’s forearm flattened Sergio Agüero. It might have been out of character on Taylor’s part but it left referee Marriner with no choice but to brandish a red card and off he went.

It was great to see three strikers from the recent past, Paul Dickov, Shaun Goater and Paolo Wanchope being interviewed by Hugh Ferris and giving the half time analysis; they were inevitably very impressed with what they saw in front of them. It was nice to see ex-Arsenal goalkeeping great Bob Wilson, a friend and admirer of Bert Trautmann’s, speaking in reverential terms about the Great Man, and sagely saying that he did more than any politician to heal the wounds of war between Germany and Great Britain. Uwe Rösler also spoke of how honoured he was to have known Bert Trautmann. Watching on and also speaking were three of Bert’s children, who were thrilled with the wonderful tribute to their father. It was a lovely touch by the club and beautifully presented. It would be topped off if one of the stands were named after him.

City continued looking to add more goals, and Dzeko forced a smart save from Krul with a header from Agüero’s superbly inviting cross from the left. As good a save as it was, the cross was of the highest quality and Dzeko had time to have put it beyond his reach. As well as Dzeko was playing, the increasing feeling was that he was not going to score, and so it proved: he twice forced saves when he might have scored when put through by substitute Nasri and headed a Silva corner wide also nodding over a right wing cross from Navas. All strikers have days when they cannot score, and it was good man management from Pellegrini that he kept faith in him and allowed him to see out the 90 minutes.

There are so many goals from other areas that Dzeko’s misses did not matter. Yaya Touré scored a stunning free kick from just outside the box, which thumped into the top left hand corner of the net. Krul had no chance. Boof! Have some of that…

The football was beautiful. We retained the ball well, and moved it quickly. There was so much to enjoy that we barely had time to exchange pleasantries about how our summers went in the stand!

Pellegrini brought on Nasri to play up alongside Dzeko just after the hour and the Frenchman gave a highly impressive showing to demonstrate his talents to his manager. His link play, desire and skill were exquisite, and his industry was rewarded in the 75th minute when he showed great desire to reach a Zabaleta through ball, advanced and stroked home a shot past Krul’s left hand post to make it 4-0.

Negredo was warmly welcomed onto the pitch for ten minutes of action and he showed some good touches and managed to have the ball in the net only to be ruled offside, and blazed a Clichy cross well over.

There is a lot of talk nowadays about formations, but to label this City team playing 4-4-2 or 4-3-3 would be an over-simplification as the system was so fluid and everyone worked when we attacked and defended. Silva started on the left but had licence to wander inside, as is his wont, whilst in contrast Navas thrillingly used the whole width of the pitch to show his sublime skills and jet heeled pace.

It wasn’t that Newcastle were a bad side. It was a case of City being so good and not allowing Newcastle to play. The high energy pressing was very impressive and the desire shown by the players was very pleasing indeed. The passing and movement was slick, quick and incisive, and every man can take credit for his performance. Silva continues to shine as a creative force, and Navas complements him with his different skills. This excellent performance was at the level of the opening months of the 2011/2012 Championship winning season, with more of a pressing game and the extra dimension of having a very fast, out-and-out winger. It was that good.

The only cloud on this wonderful summer’s evening was the worrying injury to Vincent Kompany, sustained when he over-stretched his groin to thwart Sammy Ameobi. Hopefully the highly influential skipper will be back very soon.

This was a wonderful start to the season, but it’s only a start. Chelsea have predictably stated quickly and Trafford have made a firm statement too. City need to build on our fine start, continuing at Cardiff on Sunday.

Att: 46,842

Hart: One dodgy throw out aside, his handling was good but he had very little to do: 7
Zabaleta: Linked up really well with Navas and was very sharp in the tackle: 9
Kompany: Very dominant, he was proactive and very quick to win the ball. Showed some lovely skills to come away with the ball: one turn, step over and the delicate way he dragged the ball away from a Newcastle attacker in front of the Colin Bell Stand was exquisite: 8
Lescott: Looked the least comfortable on the ball but defended well enough when called upon, making one particularly well timed, firm tackle and dealing assertively with crosses: 7
Clichy: A good, solid showing: 7
Navas: Very exciting to watch: he is very, very fast, skilful and delivers: 9
Fernandinho: A highly accomplished all round performance, showing great running power, skill and formed a quick understanding with his team mates, particularly Yaya. Booked for a foul challenge along the way: 9 (Man of the match)
Yaya: Worked very well with Fernandinho in a deeper role than he played. Scored with an exhilarating curling strike: 8
Silva: A rare header for the magician amongst a typically intelligent display from a class act: 9
Agüero: Another top drawer performance and showed great intelligence and a change of pace before a terrific finish to beat a very, very good goalkeeper: 8
Dzeko: Was looking like a different player. He looked confident, more aggressive and had an elasticity in his body that we have not seen before. If only he could have found a finish. The longer the evening went on it looked like one of those days when he couldn’t score. Good man management by Pellegrini to show confidence and stick with him: 7
Nasri: If he can produce such a high standard consistently he will give Manuel Pellegrini a pleasant selection dilemma: 8
Garcia: n/a
Negredo: n/a

Best Oppo: Krul: Some excellent saves from one of the best goalkeepers in the League: 8

Refwatch: Marriner: Should have awarded City at least one penalty but otherwise got most decisions correct: 7


Understandably Alan Pardew expressed his annoyance with Arsenal for the timing of their derisory £10 million offer for Johann Cabaye. Arsenal’s offer was made the day before the match, and Cabaye, who had travelled to Manchester, said he was not in the right frame of mind to play. Whilst this certainly disrupted their plans, Pardew’s claim that it would have affected the result is rather fanciful, though.

Cabaye is a very good player but this vibrant City side that moved the ball so quickly and intelligently would have beaten Newcastle comfortably even if he had played for them. As for Arsenal, they showed a total lack of respect for Newcastle and it did disrupt their plans. It is a bit rich when Arsenal play the Old Etonian card and self-righteously lecture other clubs (ourselves included, when we actually made our bids for players at a far more considerate time) about transfers when they are far worse than anyone other than perhaps Manure in their pursuit of players. Hypocrisy remains quintessential behaviour in the Establishment.

Phil Banerjee <philban65(at)>


The crystal ball I was looking into a couple of weeks ago must have been a bit cloudy. That, coupled with a sense of optimism and an inability to count, led me to believe City could end up in pot 2 for the ECL draw.

I listed 4 matches affecting City; I have since found a fifth: PSV vs. AC Milan. We need 3 games (not one as I suggested) to go against the seedings.

So far one looks as if it might (Lyon losing at home) and three look as if they won’t (Zenit winning away, Arsenal winning in Turkey and AC Milan drawing 1-1 at PSV).

Last night Schalke drew 1-1 at home to PAOK, but are probably favourites to progress. Assuming Arsenal and Zenit win on aggregate, we have to hope for wins from PSV in Milan and PAOK in Greece. Also that Real Sociedad hang on to their lead against Lyon.

The UEFA coefficients are listed at:

That page also shows how points accumulate in both UEFA competitions.

This year we have to get 20 points just to retain our present coefficient. We get 4 for being in the group stage and 4 more if we get to the round of 16, we also get about 3.5 points because of the England’s ranking, so we need 5 wins in the ECL just to be in contention for pot 2 next year. None of the clubs just in front of us lose as many points when the 2008-9 points drop out of the calculation.

Incidentally, just 2 more points last year would have guaranteed pot 2 status.

Sorry if I raised anyone’s hopes.

On the plus side – if we’re in pot 3 we avoid Dortmund and Ajax, who are ranked just below us.

Roger Haigh <rogerhaigh(at)>


On paper, and as stated by Sky, it was 4-4-2. In reality it was Pellegrini’s very flexible and fluid interpretation of that set-up that is in fact 4-6-0.

City’s midfielders and forwards offered a variety of options, with the effect that whenever one player varied position by moving deeper or narrower, a colleague made a reverse run so the side was never suffering from the congestion we all felt the Mancini tactics developed.

The first goal was the perfect example of this.

Silva typically moved inside from his notional wide left to receive the ball in a central position and Dzeko immediately made the reverse movement with his run to the left flank, thus ensuring width retained. Silva passes out to Dzeko who does his amazing imitation of “Waggy” (RIP). Silva continues by running centrally into the box, the duo briefly doing each other’s job, with the result that the striker crosses and the wide midfielder does an “Alex Harley”.

Oh Happy Days.

Special mention has to go to Dzeko. For two and half seasons I’ve pulled my hair out over his lack of “first touch”. It diluted considerably his contribution and often made him look like a waste of 27 million quid.

Evidently, Mancini scolded him relentlessly about it, destroying his confidence and he never really found his mojo under his leadership.

Then the first thing Pellegrini does on day one is telephone Edin and explains his determination to rectify things. “He gave me confidence and that’s all I needed,” said Edin after the game on Monday night.

A new manager can make clever signings but the real measure of Pellegrini’s impact is taking a player already on the books and coaxing out talents unseen (or ignored) by Mancini.

Spanish TV is covering the Premier League even more this season (so many Spanish players signing for English teams and Mourinho’s return, from Madrid, to Chelsea).

Consequently, we got a long interview from Jose yesterday and interestingly he avoided being impolite about Pellegrini, but took up the theme of what he called “City’s over-spending”. I had to laugh at the Zealot (Jose) mindset he has, didn’t see the irony and hilarity of anyone from Chelsea complaining about financial doping.

Finally, City played with a smile on their faces. Mancini would have been appalled. There was one incident in the second half that clearly showed the players’ contentment under Pellegrini. Four City players, led by Zaba masquerading as a centre forward, chased a high ball into the penalty area. They waited for each other to make a move and suddenly Krul had it. The City players looked at each other and fell about laughing. Mancini would have done his Basil Fawlty impression on the side-line and then later, his Malcolm Tucker impression back in the dressing room.

On the negative side. We will have to play either Boyata or Garcia or even Yaya at Cardiff. That means we will have to be more cautious than normal, so don’t expect a repeat of Monday last.

Word here in Spain is that Pepe will be sold to City, but not till as late as possible (Sept 2nd) as they wait for the return of their young French central defender from injury.

How can we get the fans to adopt that “We are supporters of Man City, Pellegrini is our king” song? Any suggestions, please advise. If it’s a goer, I’ll write a second verse.

Pat Knowles <pjamk(at)>


A fantastic start to the new season, some of the play was electrifying. There is a new “team spirit” about the team, and morale is high.

All the players played their part, but two players stood out, simply because there was a big change in their game: Joleon Lescott played one of the best games that I have seen him play; he never put a foot wrong in defence. The other player is Edin Dzeko, who played his heart out, set up a couple of goals and I am not going to say that he missed a goal, rather that he was unlucky not to score!

Manuel Pellegrini has got his career in the English Premier League off to a dream start.

Fernandinho, Jesus Navas and Alvaro Negredo, welcome to Manchester City with Stevan Jovetic yet to play.

This 4-0 win was won by every single City player… well done.

Come on you Blues!

In Pellegrini I trust!

Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)>


As a Blue who counts Phil Banerjee’s insightful contributions as one of his very favourite regular features of MCIVTA, I’m not glad to be writing in to disagree with him. However, I am compelled to respond to his take on David Conn’s recent piece with my own views.

Like so many other City fans, I feel like I’m still in dreamland after the incredible transformation of our club over the last few years. Seeing world-class players like Silva, Agüero, Kompany, Yaya, and so many others turn out for my club is a thrill that never fades. Winning the Premier League was a memory I will cherish forever. Furthermore, the new owners have not only transformed the playing staff, they have invested heavily in the club, the community, the city of Manchester and reached out to fans around the world. I have first-hand experience of the latter, being a Canadian Blue who was fortunate enough to meet the legendary Paul Lake when he brought the Premier League trophy(!) to our supporters’ club in Toronto.

However, the charges of human rights abuses, torture, labour rights abuses, and the crushing of democracy in the UAE are serious and troubling. Organisations like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International are not perfect, but the concerns they have raised cannot be waved away by pointing at the abuses that occur in the UK, in Canada, or anywhere else in the world.

While the charge that the UAE are “laundering” their image through their ownership of our club may be overstated, there is no doubt that Manchester City are the most visible aspect of the ruling elite of the UAE worldwide. They bought our club, and not Cheltenham Town or Malmo, for good reasons, not least of which are the legions of loyal supporters City boast. We are all delighted to see our club having so much success. We must remember, however, that the club, the community, the traditions and culture of Manchester City are more worth more than any amount of money or on-field success.

Phil is right that heart-breaking, infuriating human rights and labour abuses take place all over the world every day. Here, however, I see an opportunity for concerned citizens. I am alarmed at what’s happening in the UAE. I am concerned about the actions of the people running our club. This season, I plan to get informed about what’s going on in the UAE, and share what I learn with other City fans and other football fans. I plan to offer support to human rights and labour groups working to improve the situation for the people who live and work there. I plan to raise these issues with our club and its ownership and take the actions I think will help effect real change.

The new owners have transformed our club in many positive ways. Now we supporters have the opportunity to help transform the lives of people in the UAE for the better.

OK, rant over. Now, off to the pub to watch the Kick Off of our new season. Come on City!

Jeremy Milloy, Toronto <jmilloy(at)>


Can someone please explain to me the origin of the Manchester City crest? That is, what does the motto ‘Superbia In Praelia’ mean and the significance of the three stars, eagle and ship?

Philip van Gass <philipvangass(at)>


For years we have been able to watch City and the Premier League in Holland on Sport 1 channel. To start with they showed all the Premier League games, then most of the games then the last season or so some of the games but we were always able to watch City.

Now a new channel called Fox International has the Premier League games. So 10 days ago I unsubscribed from Sport 1 and subscribed to Fox. Only costs 12 euro a month as well. Problem is I still have no access to the football. It is taking forever to process and I may miss the first game of the season.

In the past any City games not shown on Sport 1 such as Cup matches I was able to watch as pay as you view for around 5 euro. I check out the options and see there is PSV reserves vs. Oss for 12 euro, yes one game for the same price as a month’s subscription and a reserve team at that. No City though on pay as you view. Getting a little worried about Fox already and their ability to show all of City’s matches.

Anyone else in Holland having issues with them and trouble watching?

Just hope things get better.

Bob Price <bob.price(at)>


Reddish Blues’ next meeting is on Thursday 5th September at Houldsworth WMC, Leamington Road, Reddish, Stockport, SK5 6BD starting at 8.00pm (doors 7.30pm). Our confirmed guests are Patrick Vieira and two E.D.S. players; as always, everyone is welcome.

Howard Burr – Secretary, Reddish branch, Manchester City Supporters’ Club

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Newsletter #1919