Newsletter #1671

A convincing performance and win over Chelsea in a weekend that saw a number of pleasing results in the Premier League. Some sterling performances from Kompany, Tevez and de Jong in particular. We have match views tonight on the game, and a couple of looks at Mancini and his ambitions.

Next up the appetising Juve clash at home.

Next Game: Juventus, home, 8.05pm Thursday 30 September 2010 (Europa)


Manchester City recorded a third successive victory against the reigning Champions Chelsea to send out a signal that City are very serious contenders for the top four, and possibly higher. This is quite a turnaround against what has been a bogey team down the years. City out-muscled and out-fought a Chelsea side that is quintessentially physical and packed with world class players, and thoroughly deserved a third consecutive victory over them.

Every player should take credit for a superb, hard working team performance that shook Chelsea out of their stride from start to finish. Chelsea were not allowed to play their natural power game because of City’s relentless pressing all over the pitch. Up front Tevez played his customary tireless rôle, as leader of the attack, and his brilliance won the day. Strong as an ox, he just will not be intimidated. In midfield, de Jong, Barry and Yaya Toure harried and hassled Essien, Mikel and Ramires into conceding possession with a series of interceptions and firm tackles. Their tenacity and work-rate rubbed off on others who are not known for their tackling ability: Silva who gave us an intelligent playmaking performance, also made a superb tough tackle just outside our own box to set up another City attack. So much unsung work was done by Barry who covered acres of ground. De Jong relishes a battle like this and is so crucial to this team’s ability to snuff out dangerous opponents with his crunching tackles and insightful interceptions. Yaya Toure minimised Ashley Cole’s forays by squeezing him for space and boxing him in. Out wide, James Milner patrolled the left flank diligently and gave no quarter, showing just why he has been added to this industrious squad. Indeed, City’s tireless pressing game was the platform upon which this victory was built.

Whilst Chelsea hit the bar in the first half, and Hart made a reaction save immediately afterwards, it was the closest Chelsea got to scoring all afternoon, so tight was City’s defence. City passed the ball well and carried a threat in the form of the darting Tevez; and we may have taken the lead before we did: Cech pushing out Silva’s rasping angled drive.

City’s winning goal was born of tenacity, power and skill. Milner won the ball on the left with a firm tackle, playing in Yaya Toure. The Ivorian midfielder slipped in Tevez on the half way line and the City captain began a powerful, mazy run that took him to the edge of the box, whilst Silva cleverly distracted other defenders with a decoy run. Ashley Cole tried to close Tevez down but the City Captain hit a low shot through the defender’s legs, across the lunging Cech, and low into the net off the left hand post. It was a goal that City’s industry fully merited.

Chelsea tried to hit back, but found a blue defensive wall ready to snuff out their fire. City defended in packs, denying Chelsea the space to express themselves. When Tevez, de Jong, Yaya Toure, Barry, Milner and Silva were breached, the back four were ready to intercept and tackle. Kompany was an absolute colossus at the back. Time after time, he read the game, intercepted and tackled. His partner in the centre, Kolo Toure almost matched him for brilliance, continuing his fine form, and the stand-in full backs Boyata and Zabaleta made strong cases to retain their places with sterling displays. It was such a special performance that Didier Drogba was rendered so ineffective that he was substituted with 12 minutes to go, and he wasn’t injured. All in all, the team formed a superb defensive unit to give us our 4th clean sheet in the League this season, with only two conceded since the season kicked off.

As in last season’s Eastlands encounter, Chelsea put in one or two nasty challenges in attempt to turn the tide. Mikel tried a painful kick on Tevez’s ankle, but it was to no avail. Neither Tevez nor his City team mates were to be intimidated. If anything, it only strengthened their resolve. They earned their right to play football in this game by winning the physical battle. No mean feat.

The question is now: can City show the relentless consistency to be real contenders for the title? First we need to show quality week-in and week-out to make a Champions’ League spot a probability rather than a possibility. To start with we need to put Newcastle and Blackpool to the sword in our next two games and build from there.

There were so many towering performances out there. Here are the ratings:

Hart: Did what he had to do well, and avoided ‘doing a Blackburn’ in the first half with an assured claim 7
Boyata: Looked very comfortable in an unfamiliar rôle. Decent defensively and got better as the game progressed in attack. One memorable shoulder charge knocked over the powerful Drogba 7
Toure: Back to his best Arsenal form thus far this season. Like his partner, he made so many vital blocks and interceptions to keep formidable opposition out 9
Kompany: Block after block, interception after interception, this brilliant centre half reads the game superbly and makes such a crucial difference. A perfect 10 (Man of the Match amongst a few excellent performances)
Zabaleta: A warrior in the cause as ever. Rock solid in defence and a threat going forward. His final ball lacked a little incision in the first half but a still a very decent effort down the left for a right back 8
Silva: Gifted, gutsy, determined, intelligent 8
Yaya Toure: Getting used to the pace of English football and this performance showed he is making great strides in more ways than one 8
de Jong: In his element here and at his pugnacious best 9
Barry: Showed great energy and industry in a tireless, superb demonstration of midfield play 9
Milner: Has fitted in superbly into this team of warriors 8
Tevez: Another incredibly hard working afternoon rewarded with his 4th league goal of the season 9

Johnson: Too late to mark n/a
Boateng: Too late to mark n/a

Refwatch: Andre Marriner: Not always consistent but an adequate job done 6
Best Oppo: Nicholas Anelka: If anyone was going to carry a threat it was him 7
Worst Oppo: Mikel: Always resorts to clogging when the going gets tough 5
Footnote: John Terry, who wasn’t quite a furlong behind when City scored, is always prone to nasty little kicks and tricks, yet he had the gall to have a hissy fit at the referee at the final whistle. He and or two others found it hard to take that Chelsea had been beaten fairly and squarely by a more powerful team. If ever a man could be accused of hypocrisy this is the one. Does he have any class at all? He’d do well to take a leaf out his manager Carlo Ancelotti’s book when it comes to sportsmanship, but don’t hold your breath. City had a lucky escape in failing to secure Terry’s signature, especially when you compare him with the excellent Kompany.

Phil Banerjee <philban65(at)>


Roberto Mancini came up with the perfect plan, and his players produced the killer instinct.

The back four refused to let the Chelsea attack get their way, Kolo Toure and Kompany stood firm in the centre, whilst Boyata played like a veteran, and he can only improve with time. I felt that Zab played his best game in a City shirt; he is an excellent utility man, always ready to oblige.

Chelsea came close on one occasion when they hit a post; the rebound was headed towards goal, when the alert Joe Hart made a very good save to keep them at bay.

The midfield held the Chelsea players, not giving them any room to move. De Jong “The Tiger” (a terrier is too tame a name for de Jong) disrupted the Chelsea midfield with his tigerish way of stopping players, and after winning the ball he made some very good passes. Yaya nearly went through for an individual goal – it was a very good effort, Gareth Barry never stopped running , David Silva showed that he can play English style football, and Milner always looked dangerous on the left flank.

Captain Carlos brought all the City supporters to their feet as he picked up the ball near the half way mark and ran beating two Chelsea defenders before pushing the ball through Ashley Cole’s legs to score. It was the goal to beat Chelsea and make it their first league defeat of the season.

As Tevez ran back after scoring, he lifted his shirt to show the writing on his under shirt which in Spanish said “Happy Birthday” to his mother – a nice touch!

The man of the match? I want to say that the whole team deserved it, but I give it to Kompany; he never put a foot wrong.

A very good victory, and an important one at the right time. Now the team must not relax for the next games; every game is important.

I can’t wait for Mario to be fit and partner Tevez up front. Roberto will of course be rotating his players for certain games, giving a player a rest here and there, not wanting any more injuries.

In Roberto I trust! Come on you Blues!

Ernie Barrow <britcityblue(at)>


Well after the result at the Hawthorns the doom mongers were in heaven, Mancini out was the call in some forums but I feel we should look at the bigger picture.

Yes of course I wanted to win the cup but with the injuries we had, what team was Bobby supposed to play? Kompany? Kolo? With Richards, Boateng, Kolarov, Lescott and Bridge all out could we afford to risk them? Also the kids need games or we will never know if they can cut it at top level.

Mancini needs a couple of seasons to get his own players in, as it is any coincidence that the players doing all the complaining in the papers were Hughes signings? Bellamy, Adebayor, Given, Robinho? Also he will have the full support of the Academy kids who will all buy into his methods as they know they will get a chance under him? how many has he blooded now 7 in only 9 months in charge? Fergie built his dynasty by getting the youth players on side then adding class players around them to knit them into a team. Let’s show a little patience and get behind the manager otherwise we should be careful of getting what we wish for (O’Neill anyone, just ask Villa fans!).

Mike Cooke <mikecooke321(at)>


For all those unsure about where we’re going under Mancini, read this excellent article from the only football journalist who is prepared to engage his brain before writing, Martin Samuel:–weather.html

Steve Burrows <stevieburrows(at)>


26 September 2010

Bolton Wanderers      2 - 2  Manchester United     23,926
Wolverhampton Wndrs   1 - 2  Aston Villa           27,511
Newcastle United      1 - 2  Stoke City            41,915

25 September 2010

Manchester City       1 - 0  Chelsea               47,203
Arsenal               2 - 3  West Bromwich Albion  60,025
Birmingham City       0 - 0  Wigan Athletic        22,186
Blackpool             1 - 2  Blackburn Rovers      15,901
Fulham                0 - 0  Everton               25,598
Liverpool             2 - 2  Sunderland            43,626
West Ham United       1 - 0  Tottenham Hotspur     34,190

League table to 26 September 2010 inclusive

                              HOME          AWAY        OVERALL
                    P  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F   A   GD Pts
 1 Chelsea          6  3  0  0 12  0  2  0  1  9  2  5  0  1  21   2  19  15
 2 Manchester Utd   6  3  0  0  9  2  0  3  0  7  7  3  3  0  16   9   7  12
 3 Arsenal          6  2  0  1 12  4  1  2  0  4  3  3  2  1  16   7   9  11
 4 Manchester City  6  2  1  0  5  1  1  1  1  2  1  3  2  1   7   2   5  11
 5 Aston Villa      6  2  1  0  5  1  1  0  2  3  9  3  1  2   8  10  -2  10
 6 West Brom A.     6  2  1  0  5  2  1  0  2  3  9  3  1  2   8  11  -3  10
 7 Fulham           6  1  2  0  4  3  0  3  0  3  3  1  5  0   7   6   1   8
 8 Tottenham H.     6  1  1  1  3  2  1  1  1  3  3  2  2  2   6   5   1   8
 9 Blackburn R.     6  1  1  1  3  3  1  1  1  4  4  2  2  2   7   7   0   8
10 Newcastle Utd    6  1  0  2  7  4  1  1  1  2  4  2  1  3   9   8   1   7
11 Sunderland       6  1  2  0  4  3  0  2  1  3  4  1  4  1   7   7   0   7
12 Bolton Wndrs     6  0  3  0  4  4  1  1  1  5  6  1  4  1   9  10  -1   7
13 Birmingham City  6  1  2  0  2  1  0  2  1  5  7  1  4  1   7   8  -1   7
14 Stoke City       6  1  1  1  4  4  1  0  2  3  5  2  1  3   7   9  -2   7
15 Blackpool        6  0  1  1  3  4  2  0  2  6 10  2  1  3   9  14  -5   7
16 Liverpool        6  1  2  0  4  3  0  1  2  2  6  1  3  2   6   9  -3   6
17 Wolves           6  1  1  1  4  4  0  1  2  3  6  1  2  3   7  10  -3   5
18 Wigan Athletic   6  0  1  3  1 13  1  1  0  1  0  1  2  3   2  13 -11   5
19 West Ham United  6  1  0  2  3  6  0  1  2  1  7  1  1  4   4  13  -9   4
20 Everton          6  0  2  1  4  5  0  1  2  0  2  0  3  3   4   7  -3   3

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1671