Newsletter #1848

An international break already, how annoying! Just as things are starting to get going in the League. Still, for us it gives Sergio, Gareth and Micah some time to continue their recoveries. Indeed, Barry got 80 minutes under his belt for the EDS side away at Liverpool earlier in the week. The game was a 2-2 draw, with Scott Sinclair also appearing. Hiwula and Suarez got our goals.

An interesting weekend just gone with what should have been a walk-over QPR turning into an uncomfortable ride until Tévez’s late deflection sealed the win. That said, it wasn’t as spiky a ride as United had on the south coast, Southampton very nearly taking the spoils. United’s response to an adverse situation spoke volumes that this season is going to be a heck of a battle.

Bring it on!

Next Game: Stoke City, Britannia Stadium, 15 September 2012, 15.00


Yaya Touré inspired City to this victory to make it two home wins out of two this season. It was an improvement on the previous home win against Southampton and a below par performance at Anfield, but it was not until the 93rd minute that that the win was secured.

The game was played in late summer sunshine and, it has to be said, a lovely, friendly atmosphere. Games with QPR generally are, but more so since May 13th, when, of course, unforgettably, both sets of fans shared a classic, white knuckle ride of an afternoon when we both got we wanted! We paid tribute to a departing hero with a stirring “Oh when de Jong goes sliding in, I wanna be in that number, when de Jong goes sliding in”. Thanks and all the best Nigel, it’s been a blast.

City lined up with a 4-4-2 formation: Zabaleta and Kolarov in the full back positions, with Joleon Lescott restored to central defence alongside Vincent Kompany. Jack Rodwell was back in alongside Yaya Touré in central midfield, with Silva on the right and Nasri on the left.

City dominated the first half and had all the best chances, QPR being reduced to a mere couple of shots from distance. Our finishing was not quite sharp enough to make our team’s superiority tell: Dzeko headed wide from a left wing Nasri corner; the Bosnian then had a header cleared off the line before Yaya’s shot was blocked.

It was only a matter of time before City scored, and our pressure came to fruition in the sixteenth minute. Silva took a right wing corner, Tévez tried a bicycle kick from the left but it was blocked by a defender, and the ball broke to Yaya Touré, who swept the ball into the net with his left foot.

With City in total control of midfield, Rodwell and Yaya taking charge of proceedings, it could have been more. Silva had a short range shot well saved by Green, and then in a flowing move, Kolarov’s incisive pass from the left found Silva but he was thwarted by a superb tackle by Fabio (pantomime baddie, having signed from the Evil Empire) as he shot.

We picked up where we left off after the break. Dzeko made a good interception and played in Tévez down the right but the Argentine’s angled shot forced a good save from Green, who was having a very good game (apparently he is not good enough for Hughes, who has just signed Brazilian Julio Cesar).

Silva then played a delicate short pass in the box to the advancing Zabaleta and his sumptuous left foot lob hit the bar. City needed a second goal, badly. That we hadn’t managed one was punished just before the hour. Andy Johnson knocked Silva off the ball twenty five yards out on our right, and cut into the City box. His goal-bound shot was deflected off a defender forcing Hart to adjust his position in mid-air to make a save, but Zamora (a thorn in our side over the years) was on hand to nod in at the far post as Kolarov “slept in”. Once again City had got ahead in a game, only to be pegged back. Even though it was only an equaliser, the stadium scoreboard erroneously said the score was 1-2. Weren’t we teased and tormented by City enough on May 13th when it really was 1-2?! The QPR fans enjoyed this malfunction or “operator error” and feigned celebration of a phantom lead!

QPR were level for less than 2 minutes, as City responded. Rodwell played the ball out to Kolarov who advanced down the left and crossed low into the box. Tévez took a touch, scooped the ball back up from the bye-line, and Dzeko nodded City back in front: a trademark goal for the likeable Bosnian who showed his appreciation for Tévez.

As we well know, City don’t do things the easy way, and we lived on our nerve ends for the last half hour. Typical City: a thing of the past? Don’t believe it. City wouldn’t be City without a fright. We were fortunate that Nelson fired wide in the six yard box after the returning Nedum Onuoha headed the ball across goal at a corner. Soon after, QPR won a free kick when Park induced a foul by Kompany. Granero’s teasing delivery flashed across the box with Hart nowhere and thankfully no red and white shirted QPR man got a touch.

For all City’s wonderful attacking flair, a defensive frailty remains and our opponents sense this. QPR’s Granero, signed by Hughes from Real Madrid combined effectively with Park Ji Sung (another pantomime baddie), Faurlin and Shaun Wright-Phillips (pantomime hero, and cheered with gusto) as the visitors buzzed around, and probed without quite finding the killer pass. When they did they found Vincent Kompany in particular on hand to intercept.

Roberto Mancini shored up the midfield, bringing on Milner for Silva and Razak for Nasri, and this helped break up QPR’s passing game somewhat.

Finally, in the third minute of stoppage time, Carlos Tévez made the points safe, starting and ending a highly intricate move. He made a surging run into the box, and with defenders breathing down his neck passed to Kolarov, before taking the return pass. Tévez played the ball back to Yaya who fed Dzeko who shot. The ball was nestling in the net in an instant, with Tévez diverting Dzeko’s shot low to Green’s right. Cue another big sigh of relief!

It was not a wholly convincing performance, and we are certainly not as fluent as we were at the start of last season. It’s early days, but whereas we started like a house on fire last season (9 points from 3 games, 12 goals for, 3 conceded), this year we haven’t finished or defended quite as well (7 points, 7 goals scored, 5 shipped in). This summer’s disrupted pre-season is a factor, as well as Agüero’s and Barry’s injuries, but at times we haven’t had quite the same intensity as a whole. We may have been a little spoiled by the spectacular start to 2011/2012, and 7 points from 9 is not a bad start this term (there was a time not so long ago when we’d have taken that without question), but we can do better than we have so far this season, in terms of results and performances. With Stoke, Real Madrid (I’ll admit to goose bumps on that one!) and Arsenal coming up (three very different challenges), City will have to improve in all aspects of the game to prosper.

The were certainly positives in this game. City are a very potent team even if we didn’t really hit the heights here, and the football is very pleasing on the eye. Jack Rodwell looked very much home in the midfield engine room, playing with intelligence and control. He looked like he’d been here for years. We defended better as a team than we did in the last home game and looked less vulnerable to counter attacks. With Mancini at the helm, we can be reassured that his desire to win and his drive for continuous improvement will only benefit Manchester City.

1-0 Yaya Touré (16)
1-1 Zamora (59)
2-1 Dzeko (61)
3-1 Tévez (93)

Att: 45,579

Hart: Unlucky to concede after making a very good save. Largely unemployed, but had a wobble when indecisive at a free kick in the second half: 6
Zabeleta: Hit the bar. He defended well too. Was rubbing his hamstring when subbed. Hopefully he won’t be injured for long: 7
Kompany: City’s most assertive defender made some crucial blocks when it mattered: 7
Lescott: Good to see him back. Steady enough: 7
Kolarov: Did plenty of good things, making some meaty tackles, but he was ball watching as the ball broke to Zamora for QPR’s goal: 6
Silva: Not everything came off for him early on but he persevered and again showed some silky touches: the highlight being the deft pass to Zabaleta when he hit the bar: 7
Yaya Touré: A great player who makes the game look so easy. It is amazing Barcelona let this colossal talent go. It truly is a privilege to watch him: 8 (Man of the Match)
Rodwell: This was a much more confident showing after his slightly nervy début. The boy has plenty to offer and looks like a good all round midfielder: 7
Nasri: Bring and inventive, he’s always looking for an opening: 7
Tévez: One assist and one goal in another all-action show: 8
Dzeko: Took his goal well, and showed some good link up play. At times he looked clumsy, though, and some ponderous touches slowed down attacks: 7
Kolo Touré (for Zabaleta 74): Steady: 6
Milner (for Silva 80): Shored up right hand side: 6
Razak (for Nasri 90): n/a

Best Oppo: Granera just shades Shaun Wright-Phillips (cheered to the rafters again) and Rob Green. 7

Chris Foy: Truly dreadful. How could he show his face here again after unjustly sending Vincent Kompany off last season? 3

Post Script

My daughter starts infants school next week and I took her to this game, which she enjoyed as much as a four year old can. She did very well and wasn’t an ounce of trouble! Her “education” has already started though, and I’m not talking pre-school at nursery. She already knows “We love you City we do” and “Do, do, do, Pablo Zabaleta”, and on this occasion, she didn’t need any encouragement to join in with a chorus of “Mancini, wooah…”. I knew her education was on the right track a year ago when she told me, (unprompted, honest!), that “Man. Utd poo in their pants”, and when if you ask her what we do with the United, she will reply “We put them in the bin”. That’s my girl!

I didn’t expect her to walk all the way up to the Etihad so we got a taxi up to the ground, and I had a nice chat with the driver, a friendly young man named Raf. He told me that he has followed City since he was a young lad and that his family had moved to Rusholme from Bangladesh when was 5 years old – Bangladesh coincidentally being the country of my late dad’s birth, so we had a nice chat about that too. It’s easy to forget that so many Blues have to work on a Saturday and Raf is no different, though he will try to get to see City play when his brother’s season ticket is free. He’s a really good lad I hope he gets to see our wonderful team soon.

The afternoon was a bit of a love-in really. Almost literally as the sub warmed up in front of us! Nedum Onuoha who had got a very warm reception as he warmed up in front of us, was chatting to Gael Clichy (whose wife gave birth last week). In fact there were six players all gassing as they warmed up. You know the sort of stuff: “Nice day for a game of footy old chap”, or “Does my bum look big in these shorts?”. They were having a right old chin wag. One wag sat behind us shouted “Get a room! Go on, you can all afford it!”

Phil Banerjee <philban65(at)>


Just a quick one.

Can see why Mancini was unhappy with the transfer policy this summer. What sort of business operates like this? Five in on last day of the window is ridiculous. I am not doubting any of the quality and potential but it just seems crazy and I don’t even think it was in relation to the brilliant cakewalk of a Champions’ League group we were handed (tongue in cheek guys). We should have challenged the Fair Play ethics and stuck 2 fingers up at Uefa and done what Chelsea did. At least some of the dead wood has gone. Would have loved to of kept Nigel though.

As an addition, what the hell is going on at QPR, West Ham, Reading and Norwich? Last I saw, around 38 signings or so between them over the summer window. Absolutely crazy.

Mike <wythyblue(at)>


I freely admit that I just don’t get it. I cannot fathom the ins-and-outs of our recent transfers. I guess we have kissed goodbye for all time to a fixed back four, but I cannot work out line-up permutations from the new squad. All along (even through last season) I thought that all we needed was a back-up centre half and we would have the best squad in the country. I also worry about the number of international midfielders who won’t be playing enough. How long can that lot be kept satisfied?

Instead we buy a right back, two more defensive midfielders (whilst strangely off-loading our most loyal, versatile and solid player in that position) and a 34-year-old 3rd choice ‘keeper. I don’t understand off-loading Johnson (a proven match winner despite his frustrating lack of consistency) for Sinclair. I don’t strongly object, I simply don’t get the point. I guess it must be the same mysterious backroom stuff that made Nedum Onouha persona non grata at the Etihad.

I cannot see how the necessary defensive reinforcement comes from that mix. But I am not the magician Mancini. I sincerely hope these were all his preferred choices though I confess to feeling a little anxious from my out-dated perspective.

Martin Hunt <Martin.hunt(at)>


I’d like to say what a fantastic captain we have in Vincent Kompany. Top captain. Top centre back. Above all, top human being. A great figurehead for the club. That’s all on that. No more need be said!

Performances so far. Well, I think that were we United, the papers would be talking of how garnering points, including a resilient draw at a place we rarely come back from with much, when not playing that well, was the mark of true Champions. But – thank whomsoever – we are not United. We are City (from Maine Road), so of course we are twitching. It’s what we do. Twitching.

The defence has been oddly unassured, yes. However, better to do that now than later in the season, and I am sure that will soon be ironed out. I’ve just watched the extended highlights of the QPR game on the club site, and as with (poor – as in I’m sad for them) Southampton, we could have put seven or eight past them easily. I am sure that had Kun been playing we’d have put more away, but I think the extra goals will come soon, as we adjust to this.

Tévez has been fantastic since the whistle blew for the Community Shield, and “all will be well, and all will be well”. Dame Julian of Norwich wrote that. An early Christian mystic, whether she was a proto City fan or not I don’t know – but in this case, I am sure she is right. All’s well, steady the Blues, and we’ll be marching down Joe Mercer Way to see Roberto’s aces! These are happy days for us City fans.

Jeremy Poynton <j.poynton(at)>


A very good thing has happened in British football this season, when the old reserve teams became the under-twenty-one teams and new divisions have been set up. This will bring some players closer to becoming first team players in the future. The competition will be greater with standards becoming higher.

Although City have signed six players during the transfer window, Mancini bringing on Razak for the few minutes during the City versus QPR game signalled to the Academy that we have not forgotten you.

With all the first class players that City have on their books, it will be difficult for a young player to make it, but at City the facilities and coaching are in place to help. The building of the new training grounds prove MCFC means business for the future.

A big thank you to the MCFC owner Mansour bin Zayed for his vision in making MCFC the best football club in the world.

I know that the day a young player comes through the Academy, the City supporters and fans will be waiting to cheer him on.

Good luck to all our young players!

In Mancini I trust!

Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)>


I went to Malaysia to watch City play the Malaysian national team in an ageing stadium recently. The stadium was half full but made the noise of a level I have never experienced at a football match before. It was great to see so many young Malaysians wearing the city shirt and good to see that the banners taunting Tévez were taken down after a complaint being made by the official Malaysian City supporters’ club, a lovely bunch of people!

We went to a meet and greet at the hotel City were staying at; the security was very tight and getting to talk to any of the players was difficult, but Brian Kidd and Mike Summerbee were very receptive with the fans.

The one exception from the current playing squad was Adam Johnson; he cut a forlorn figure but was happy to break from the tight security and chat with the fans. For this reason I wish him the very best with Sunderland and England. Mancini did not fancy him or was it that Adam wanted more playing time?

If we sell Nigel, I would not understand it! What a great midfielder he is and who do we have to replace what he does, ideal for the game against Madrid away!

CTID, Tony Higginson <Tony.Higginson(at)>


Many of us are disappointed to see Nigel de Jong go (I thought that we’d got too late into the transfer window for him to be sold). He has served us really well over the last 3 and a half years. His 137 appearances and 2 goals don’t really tell the story of what good influence and major player that he has been at City.

He was the Man of the Match when we won the FA Cup in 2011, and a key player as we finished 3rd to qualify automatically for the Champions’ League. He is loved chiefly for his tough tackling game, but he is also a very intelligent player. Rarely does he give the ball away, passing the ball simply and also with intelligence and we have definitely benefited from that.

Nigel has certainly played his part as City have transformed from a team that didn’t retain possession so well to one that is often a master of keeping possession. Although a bit part player last season he still played his part, making 21 League appearances, sometimes coming off the bench to allow Yaya Touré to move forward and change the game.

Nigel, of course, played his part in perhaps the most famous goal in our history, carrying the ball from our half, waiting patiently for the right pass, before playing in Sergio Agüero, who as you know (but, hey let’s repeat it anyway), took a touch and played it to Mario Balotelli before taking the return and smashing it into the net to win the title!

Nigel is a very popular guy both in the City dressing room and amongst City fans. To all accounts he is a very grounded individual with a self-deprecating sense of humour. A frequent supporter of the Elite Development Side, he has been a super servant of this club who will never be forgotten.

So I’ll say thanks and good luck to Nigel for the future.

Phil Banerjee <philban65(at)>

AND FINALLY… Calling all Blues… the MCFC Babies in Ghana need your help!

The MCFC Babies FC in Ghana is an incredible story of how one lifelong Blue living in a deprived area of northern Ghana made it his mission to setup a youth football club for his local village. In 2008 Peter Amoabil, a local teacher in a village called Kanvilli Tunaayili where unemployment runs at over 95%, set up a youth football club with nothing.

Alex Channon, known to many in this forum, galvanised action to help them by organising a kit appeal. This was the inspiration behind another Blue, Malcy, setting up a charity called Soccer Babies to help the MCFC Babies FC in Ghana and in future other clubs.

Two years later and the Babies FC entered the FA Ghanaian youth league and the U12s, U14s, U17s all finished in the top 4 of the Colts league, an incredible achievement made proudly playing in their MCFC kits.

Now, having survived a near fatal bus crash in pre-season training, the Babies need your help!

Soccer Babies has discovered the horrendous truth that the primary school that all of the players attend has no running water or toilet facilities for the children and teachers – something they have been too embarrassed to mention and that we found out by chance.

This means they end up walking over 30 minutes to the bush to relieve themselves – running the risk of disease, snake bites, and missing huge chunks of school classes.

We are running an appeal to raise enough money to build a toilet for the school and secure the financial future of the MCFC Babies in Ghana for the next 3 years. For the building of the school we will partner with another well-known charity that has a successful track record of building school toilets in Ghana to ensure the money gets spent correctly.

This is an appeal for a great cause – those much poorer than us in Africa who support Manchester City – the appreciation and support that has been sent by Blues to this poor community in Ghana in the past has turned this entire community into lifelong City fans.

Let’s make a real difference and donate to this great appeal.

You can donate by clicking on this web link:

More pictures and info about the MCFC Babies can be found at their webpage on MCFCfans:

Tony (Twitter: @MCFCLondon)


2 September 2012

Liverpool            0 - 2 Arsenal               44,932
Newcastle United     1 - 1 Aston Villa           48,245
Southampton          2 - 3 Manchester United     31,609

1 September 2012

West Ham United      3 - 0 Fulham                33,458
Swansea City         2 - 2 Sunderland            20,350
Tottenham Hotspur    1 - 1 Norwich City          36,142
West Bromwich Albion 2 - 0 Everton               25,383
Wigan Athletic       2 - 2 Stoke City            16,247
Manchester City      3 - 1 Queens Park Rangers

League table as at 4 September 2012

                    P  GD Pts
 1 Chelsea          3   6   9
 2 Swansea City     3   8   7
 3 West Brom A.     3   5   7
 4 Manchester City  3   3   7
 5 Manchester Utd   3   1   6
 6 Everton          3   1   6
 7 West Ham Utd     3   1   6
 8 Arsenal          3   2   5
 9 Wigan Athletic   3   0   4
10 Newcastle Utd    3  -1   4
11 Fulham           3   1   3
12 Stoke City       3   0   3
13 Sunderland       2   0   2
14 Tottenham H.     3  -1   2
15 Norwich City     3  -5   2
16 Reading          2  -2   1
17 Aston Villa      3  -3   1
18 Liverpool        3  -5   1
19 QPR              2  -7   1
20 Southampton      3  -4   0

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1848