Newsletter #1709

A win against Wigan on Saturday and the other results mean (dare we say it) the title race is still wide open and we are neatly positioned in third spot. Match report tonight courtesy of Phil.

We have opinion tonight on our attacking options, the handshake, Taggart’s tantrum and the usual requests.

Next up European action against Dynamo Kiev.

Next Game: Dynamo Kiev, away, 8.05pm Thursday 10 March 2011 (Europa)


City enjoyed a decent slice of fortune to narrowly defeat bottom club Wigan at Eastlands. A very reasonable first half performance in which we took the lead was followed by a listless second half that saw us clinging on to the slender advantage.

City started off lively enough with Balotelli forcing a messy save from Al Habsi.

Yet again David Silva was the chief creator for City, out unfortunately for us both Barry and Yaya Touré miscued when set up by the Spanish midfielder. It was Silva, though, who gave us the lead in the 39th minute when his low, rasping shot was spilled by Al Habsi in the Wigan goal when really he should have thrown his body on it. Tevez might have added to the score after taking Kompany’s perceptive pass and beating two Wigan defenders in a mazy run, but he shot just wide of the left hand post.

After the break City were flat and almost non-existent as an attacking force as spirited Wigan dominated, playing decent football. Is it tiredness? If so, surely it isn’t a good idea to talk about it too much. The danger is that that the players then begin to believe they are more tired than they actually are. The players lacked movement in midfield in particular in the second half and this exacerbated our wayward passing. Gareth Barry doesn’t normally misplace so many passes as he did here.

Our defending was decent enough though Gary Caldwell was given the freedom to head over when well placed and McCarthy forced Hart into a smart save. Both Rodallega and débutant Connor Sammon should have scored at the death, both of them forging an instant understanding that threatened to halt City’s Champions’ League charge.

It was good, though, to see Vinny Kompany back at the heart of the back four, and in Touré’s absence he and Lescott look like a decent partnership, especially now that Lescott has rediscovered his confidence. Nigel de Jong’s rousing reception as he warmed up showed just how much we missed his quality in midfield, and it was great to see him get a few minutes on the pitch. We need him too. He will give us greater bite and mobility in midfield, shield the back four well and initiate attacks.

City may have been flat in the second half, but no one can deny that Mancini has his team very well organised. Everyone knows their rôle in his formation and positionally they do well. Wigan could argue that they had enough chances to win but we made our own luck in this game. The well-worn cliché that good teams win when they aren’t at their best applies to City here. How good are City? How resilient can we be in the run in on 3 fronts? The next few weeks, starting with an exacting trip to the Ukraine will give us the answers.

Hart: Had to be alert and made some important saves: 7
Richards: Enjoying a run in the team: 7
Kompany: A solid presence as ever: 7
Lescott: Growing in stature. Made an important block in the first half when the scores were level: 7
Zabaleta: Struggled with Moses’s pace at times, but decent enough: 6
Yaya Touré: Industrious but not quite at his best: 6
Vieira: Struggled with the pace but some nice touches: 6
Barry: Rather wayward in his passing but worked hard as ever: 6
Silva: Chief Conductor and matchwinner again: 7
Tevez: Went close in the first half, starved of service in the 2nd where he had little impact: 6
Balotelli: Forced an early save but he too suffered from a lack of ammunition: 6
Kolarov: Decent: 6
De Jong: n/a
Dzeko: n/a

Phil Banerjee <philban65(at)>


Having watched City huff and puff against Wigan, it still bothers me that Mancini continues to show a lack of attacking options with his line-up. He has a very European attitude of attacking through the centre and not using wingers to stretch the other team’s defence. I have no problems with the way Silva, Tevez and even Balotelli set themselves up. But when Plan A isn’t working, I feel he needs to bring players like Shaun Wright-Philips into the game.

Say what you want about last year’s team, when SWP and Craig Bellamy were on top of their games and attacking from the wings, City’s attack was lethal. Now I appreciate that Johnson is injured but I still believe SWP should be used, even in the final 10 minutes or so when the opposition is pushing for an equalizer. There is nothing more deflating for the opposition than to have SWP go off on one of his storming counter attacks when the other team is pressing.

I don’t know if he was injured for Saturday’s game but City certainly needed him late against Wigan. I guess next season, we’ll have Weiss back as well as Johnson. Still, Bale, Walcott, Lennon and Nani show there is a value in having speed from the wings and this is an element I feel City are currently missing from their line-up.

If we could re-introduce this element to our attack, I know we would be able to put other teams away a lot more effectively.

Anyone dreaming of a City-United Cup Final?!

Keith Sharp – Toronto, Canada <>


Just an observation on ‘the handshake’.

Perhaps Mark Hughes is being a little sensitive, or perhaps there is an underlying issue. I make that a hat-trick for Hughes. Mancini is ‘disrespectful’ in not making eye contact for the handshake. Wenger refuses to shake hands with him at all, as does Tony Pulis.

Maybe time to sit down in front of a mirror Mark.

Dave Kilroy <dave.kilroy(at)>


It is part of the job of a football manager to front up to the press after a game, win, lose or draw. It’s part of the grown up world that we are supposed to live in, and every club bar one fulfils this rôle. If the manager cannot make it then normally an assistant or coach is delegated to face the media. On occasion this season, Brian Kidd or David Platt have talked to the media when Roberto Mancini has needed to catch a flight to Italy after the game to see his sick father.

For six years, Alex Ferguson has refused to speak to the BBC after an exposé that they ran into his son Jason’s dealings as an agent. Tellingly he has not taken the issue to court. A childish, ‘I’m not talking to you’ has been maintained by Britain’s least deserving knight: a man to whom dignity is a stranger.

Now Ferguson has criticised the very referee who, under his intimidatory tactics, and for fear of their characters being assassinated by him, has given them better end of important decisions in matches. Martin Atkinson, who played all that unwarranted extra time in the Old Trafford League derby last season is the latest target. How ungrateful! And now Ferguson is not talking to his own club’s TV station because the interview that he broadcast on their channel in which he said: “We need a fair referee and a strong referee and we didn’t get one” has landed him into trouble (well, the usual FA lenient slap on the wrist for Ferguson), as it has questioned Atkinson’s integrity. In fact, in a petulant act of corporate sulking, no one at United was allowed to speak to the media on the day of their sound beating at Anfield. How utterly infantile this behaviour is. It’s small-minded and pathetic behaviour from The World’s Most Small-Minded Club.

So who will United whinge to when their they have their next so-called ‘injustice’? They’ll have to come out of their collective sulk to speak to someone when they are ready to blubber again. How they can ever complain about referees is beyond any sane person as they have benefited from the decisions for many years now. How Rooney was not sent off against Wigan is still a mystery, not to mention an outrage. How Mendes’ goal for Tottenham that was at least a yard over the line a few years back was not allowed was preposterous; and all that extra “play till ‘nited score” time from over the years is simply not justifiable.

Every day I feel we are superior to United in the way that we behave. Maybe not this season, but soon we will be in a superior position in the League table too. Ok, we don’t always get things right at City (who does get it right always?), but I am so glad that our club always fronts up and acts like adults.

Phil Banerjee <philban65(at)>


The next meeting of the Reddish branch is on Wednesday 23rd March at Reddish Working Men’s Club, Greg Street, Stockport and our confirmed guests for the evening are Rodney Marsh and Mike Summerbee.

The meeting starts at 8.00pm (doors 7.30pm) and is open to everyone so why not come along to what will be a great night out? For more details please visit our website at or contact branch secretary Howard Burr on 0161 346 1368.

Howard Burr <reddishblues(at)>


For the meeting on 15 March, can I have topics early next week so that the club can come with the answers?

Steve Parish <bloovee(at)>


6 March 2011

Liverpool             3 - 1  Manchester United     44,753
Wolverhampton Wndrs   3 - 3  Tottenham Hotspur     28,669

5 March 2011

Birmingham City       1 - 3  West Bromwich Albion  27,013
Arsenal               0 - 0  Sunderland            60,081
Bolton Wanderers      3 - 2  Aston Villa           22,533
Fulham                3 - 2  Blackburn Rovers      25,687
Newcastle United      1 - 2  Everton               50,128
West Ham United       3 - 0  Stoke City            33,066
Manchester City       1 - 0  Wigan Athletic        44,864

League table to 06 March 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 Utd  29 13  1  0 39  9  4  8  3 24 21 17  9  3  63  30  33  60
 2 Arsenal         28 10  2  3 30 12  7  4  2 27 15 17  6  5  57  27  30  57
 3 Manchester City 29  9  4  2 23 11  6  4  4 22 14 15  8  6  45  25  20  53
 4 Chelsea         27  9  2  2 26  9  5  4  5 22 14 14  6  7  48  23  25  48
 5 Tottenham H.    28  7  5  1 19 10  6  4  5 22 24 13  9  6  41  34   7  48
 6 Liverpool       29  9  4  2 26 12  3  2  9 13 24 12  6 11  39  36   3  42
 7 Bolton Wndrs    29  8  5  2 28 19  2  5  7 14 21 10 10  9  42  40   2  40
 8 Sunderland      29  6  5  3 18 14  3  6  6 15 21  9 11  9  33  35  -2  38
 9 Newcastle Utd   29  4  6  5 32 22  5  3  6 12 19  9  9 11  44  41   3  36
10 Everton         28  5  5  3 21 18  3  7  5 16 19  8 12  8  37  37   0  36
11 Fulham          29  6  6  3 20 16  1  8  5 12 15  7 14  8  32  31   1  35
12 Stoke City      29  7  3  4 20 15  3  1 11 12 23 10  4 15  32  38  -6  34
13 Aston Villa     29  6  5  3 22 16  2  4  9 15 34  8  9 12  37  50 -13  33
14 Blackburn R.    29  6  4  4 17 11  3  1 11 20 38  9  5 15  37  49 -12  32
15 Blackpool       28  4  3  6 22 24  5  2  8 20 31  9  5 14  42  55 -13  32
16 West Brom A.    29  5  5  4 22 23  3  3  9 17 31  8  8 13  39  54 -15  32
17 West Ham United 29  5  4  6 20 21  2  6  6 16 28  7 10 12  36  49 -13  31
18 Birmingham City 27  4  7  4 14 18  2  5  5 12 20  6 12  9  26  38 -12  30
19 Wolves          29  7  3  5 24 22  1  2 11 10 27  8  5 16  34  49 -15  29
20 Wigan Athletic  29  3  6  6 16 30  2  6  6 11 20  5 12 12  27  50 -23  27

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1709