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ISSUE DATE: Saturday 25th April 2015
NEXT GAME: Aston Villa, Etihad Stadium, Saturday 25th April (17:30 BST)
Yaya Toure has been a huge influence on Manchester City over recent years, and has been an integral part of our success in that time, scoring and creating goals that have won two League Championship an FA Cup and a League Cup. He has given us a lot of memories that will stay with us forever. Who can forget him running past Vidic to strike home so sweetly at Wembley to beat United, then Stoke in 2011, to win us that FA Cup? Those two goals at Newcastle in 2012 were crucial in the title run in, and his lung bursting runs were a thrilling sight to behold. All such happy, unforgettable memories.
Many fans are fed up with his behaviour, though. Last season’s “Cakegate” shenanigans, which were all about trying to engineer that last pay day, his lack of interest and lack of effort at times, increasingly this season, has led to the conclusion that maybe it’s time to say thanks for the memories and good luck (except against us of course). Yaya Toure’s much improved all-action performance in the West Ham game only served to emphasise how far short he has fallen such standards in too many other games, most notably in the previous week’s Manchester Derby. The contrast was stark. Stung by criticism, he put in a shift. His remarks about needing challenges to keep him motivated further betray his lack of interest and apparent willingness to move on.
Speaking this week, Yaya said “No amount of wages will make me stay at a club if I feel that I no longer belong there or if no challenge exists for me. It would be unjust on my part. There comes a moment where numbers don’t stop unjust on my part. There comes a moment where numbers don’t stop us, it goes beyond that. For the future, I don’t know more than you do because I always go where I am offered new challenges. That is in my nature. ‘When things are not going well at a club, the key players take the fall.”
Manuel Pellegrini stated in his Friday press conference that Yaya is happy here, and that he can find new challenges here. That may be so, but Yaya is clearly flirting with other clubs and his actions and words over the course of the season suggest otherwise.
Yaya will be 32 in May. He has been a great servant to City and deserves to be remembered for all the great things he has done here. If he really wants to move, and City can get a decent fee and a replacement, then we should not stand in his way. It may be a cliché that all good things come to an end, but it is increasingly obvious: that is where we are heading.
TEAM NEWS v ASTON VILLA
Today City have an important game against Tim Sherwood’s resurgent Aston Villa, who have reached the FA Cup Final and pulled out of the bottom three after looking like certainties for the drop under Paul Lambert. They have more to play for than West Ham did last week, and have a more potent attack with Benteke on a scoring streak. Hopefully City will be on top form again. Wilfred Bony, James Milner and David Silva are all in contention for this game, whilst Vincent Kompany, Samir Nasri, Gael Clichy and Stevan Jovetic are all out injured. There is better news about the City captain, who could be back in two weeks if his recovery from a groin injury continues successfully this week.
A quiet edition of MCIVTA this morning after last week’s fireworks. Thank you for your contributions. It would be interesting to read your thoughts about the way forward for City. Who would you like City to buy/sell? Does anyone have any thoughts about the continued rises in season ticket prices? City have been stymied in spending money to build on success by UEFA’s corrupt so-called “Financial Fair Play” regulations – what are your thoughts on that? Should City challenge them? What are your memories of the early 1980s – Johnny Bond, Paul Power, Tommy Hutchison and that 1981 Centenary FA Cup final against Tottenham which we should have won at the first attempt? Please keep your contributions coming to email@example.com. Thanks.
Come on City.
MATCHVIEW: THE WEST HAM MATCH IN BRIEF
Well, if that wasn’t a perfect example of why we as City fans should never feel comfy until the final whistle, then I don’t know what is. For 70 mins West Ham’s supposed opposition was docile to the point of compliance. Then whilst David Silva was down being treated for what thankfully wasn’t as bad an injury as it might have been, I have reason to suspect that the players all swapped shirts as our attention was distracted. For the final 20+ mins we seemed to go out of our way to gift them a way back into a match they had no right to get a thing from.
I don’t get to too many matches – can’t afford it, the days since my £5 Junior Blue Season Tickets on the Kippax/£6 on Platt Lane, being a distant memory – and my last three attendances have had me bear witness to defeat. Admittedly, two of those were cup exits with cheaper prices, but this just means I have to start picking my matches more carefully. And with this in mind, after last season’s two encounters at The Etihad, it seemed the Hammers might be a safe bet.
Was it just me and my projection or was there a genuine air of pre-match tension of the sort we have recently had replaced with one of expectation? Either way, I personally felt it, although as the game unfurled, and esp. after their gift goal, it largely looked like a walk in the park was to be had. Given the lack of resistance, it is therefore something of a concern,
going forward, that we only fashioned the single goal of our own making. One more goal would have made the latter part of the encounter much less of a squirm.
Nevertheless, one of the positives was that several of the players to have received criticism for various reasons had good, solid performances:Fernando, Mangala, Navas. And Zaba was simply on fire which was great to see.
Let’s hope this result puts us on something of a roll in both performances as well as results, but I don’t see Villa being as happy to roll over; we have to take our chances when they come and hope Mangala doesn’t panic with Benteke.
Bodsnvimto AT googlemail.com
Manchester City 2 West Ham United 0 (HT 2-0)
City clinched all three points with a comfortable win over West Ham, but there was concern all round after David Silva left the field on a stretcher, in a neck receiving oxygen after he sustained a painful cheek bone injury after Kouyate’s stray elbow caught him. Thankfully the little magician later tweeted that he was back home and returned to training in midweek.
After the Old Trafford debacle, the big concern was that City’s tepid poor form and lack of interest in competing would continue and that Sam Allardyce’s men would repeat their victory over us. Thankfully the players laid that to rest with a feisty showing for this game at least, though it has been said for weeks that West Ham “have had their flip flops on”, as the expression goes. City snapped into tackles and set about West Ham in a manner that they should do, and City dominated the match from early on.
David Silva fired over in the 11th minute after Pablo Zabaleta showed tenacity to win the ball and Fernandino slipped the Spanish playmaker in. Sergio Aguero had a shot smothered and saved a minute later after he combined smartly with Yaya and Navas. Kolarov had a free kick deflected just wide in the 16th minute. Aguero fired over from the resulting corner as West Ham’s goal came under greater pressure. City were showing plenty of energy and urgency with Aguero and Lampard doing plenty of pressing up front , Yaya Toure leading the way in midfield, and Fernando covering the space behind him, and everyone showing an urgency that was markedly lacking at Old Trafford. One tackle from Fernando on Kouyate deep inside City’s half was perfection. It had to be to stop a dangerous break and any error would have resulted in dire consequences.
It was no surprise that City took the lead in the 18th minute, but no one could have predicted how it came about. Navas outmuscled Hammers’ left back Aaron Cresswell just inside the West Ham half and ran at full tilt down the right, before his early cross struck James Collins, looping over West Ham keeper Adrian and just over the line. It was the first bit of luck that City have had in a while, but one can’t help thinking that The Boys in Blue made their own luck in this game.
Navas was having such a lot of joy down the right in a much improved showing – it had to be after a supine showing in the Derby – leaving Hammers left back Aaron Cresswell standing. His delivery was much better too especially his volleyed cross from Kolarov’s intelligent long pass.
City though were prone to a moments of sloppiness: Fernando had found his way into referee Anthony Taylor’s book after Zabaleta conceded possession, then a careless Demichelis pass was seized upon by Carlton Cole and Joe Hart sread himself well to deny the veteran striker.
If City’s first goal was fortunate there was nothing lucky about City’s thrilling 2nd goal which was all about City’s pace, skill and endeavour. Stuart Downing played a pass infield, which Yaya Toure intercepted at full stretch, feeding the advancing Aguero, who skipped away from the challenge of Collins and drove at pace, deep into the West Ham half, playing the ball out to the speedy Navas who ran into the box. Then the City right winger cut the ball back for a perfect return ball for Aguero, who took a touch before sweeping the ball past Adrian. It was a brilliantly executed goal, which Navas and Aguero celebrated by throwing themselves at each other in a “mosh pit” style celebration.
This prompted a chorus of “City, tearing Cockneys apart again”.
It wasn’t for want of trying that City didn’t add to the score after the break. A beautifully worked move by Silva, Yaya and Aguero forced a save from Adrian in the 49 the minute as City picked up the pace again, playing some lovely delightful football to match a beautiful Spring day. West Ham, however, dug in and proved stubborn, making interception after interception as City dominated proceedings.
Silva picked up a harsh booking after shrugging off Reid, much to the irritation of the crowd. Reid certainly made nothing of the challenge, and it was nothing compared to the reckless flailing elbow of Kouyate that jabbed into Silva’s cheekbone leaving the City playmaker spinning to the ground. It was a real concern to see him laying motionless, surrounded by concerned players, and worse so when he was administered oxygen and put on a stretcher in a neck brace. Only Kouyate knows if it was a deliberate, but deliberate or not, he was lucky to escape with a yellow card. After more than 8 minutes, the stretcher bearing Silva was carried off the pitch to applause all round.
Things went a bit flat for a few minutes after Silva’s injury. There were a couple of sloppy passes from City, strangely by our two best performers on the day, Yaya and Navas. Mangala blocked downing’s shot from the first of these and Joe Hart made a fine block to deny Nolan who was clean through, one on one. Enner Valencia went close after a mazy run, but all in all it was a well earned win for the Blues. City have to keep this up to the end of the season, showing the same levels of commitment, taking each game as it comes. Villa who are still fighting for their lives, will not be as compliant as West Ham were in the first half, and with Benteke up front, pace on the break and new found confidence, will be no shrinking violets. With City one point behind United after the weekend’s results, victory against Villa is vital.
Goals: Collins (og) 18, Aguero 36.
Hart: Made two brilliant one-on-one saves on an otherwise quiet afternoon, underliming his excellent professionalism as well as superb technique: 7
Zabaleta: A good afternoon’s work: 7
Demichelis: Overshadowed by Cole in the air, and played one misguided pass which created a chance for Cole, but otherwise did well, including one block to deny Downing: 6
Mangala: A good, vigorous defensive display: 7
Kolarov: Made some good blocks and deflections in defence and delivered a couple of quality passes: 7
Navas: He had a very productive afternoon, leaving Cresswell repeatedly trailing in his wake. A booking for a professional foul which thwarted a West Ham break away, and a short back pass late on were the only aberrations but two assists and generally better crossing made for a good afternoon’s work. 8
Yaya: Showed aggression in midfield and interest which was infectious. If only he’d do it more often. 8 (Man of the Match)
Fernando: Good levels of aggression : 7
Lampard: Good pressing from the front with Aguero laid the foundations for this win: 7
Silva: Some delightful passing and probing was abruptly terminated by a flailing elbow. Thankfully he was not seriously hurt: 7
Aguero: Took a while to find his range but took his 101st goal calmly and clinically. Worked hard to put the West Ham defence under pressure, whether or not they had the ball: 7
Nasri (for Silva 75): No real impact: 6
Fernandinho (for Lampard 88): n/a
Dzeko (for Aguero 91): n/a
Best Oppo: Reid: The New Zealander was the pick of the West Ham defence, and a strong presence: 7
Refwatch: Anthony Taylor (Wythenshawe): From a family of United supporters, he is officially listed as an “Altrincham supporter”. This was the sort of refereeing that makes Frank Sidebottom turn in his grave (RIP Chris Sievey) and makes one wonder if Altrincham is now twinned with Stretford. Kouyate should have been sent off and Silva’s booking was harsh: 4
City have been linked with West Ham left back Aaron Cresswell this season, but he didn’t cover himself in glory here, particularly when he was outmuscled by the slight Jesus Navas for the first goal. He really struggled against Navas’s pace and didn’t seem to have a strategy to deal with him. He did some good work going forward, but it is hard to see what all the fuss is about.
Phil Banerjee firstname.lastname@example.org
KING OF THE KIPPAX NO 224
Pleased to say that King of the Kippax City fanzine number 224 should be in the outlets on Friday April 24th April. This issue is A4, 48 pages with a colour front and back cover. We’ve resisted putting Pellers on the brink on the front cover and settled for a more positive (though the positivity of Yaya on 222, and Pellers in the Derby showdown on 223 didn’t work) cover with Sergio celebrating his 100th goal (though hardly anyone did on the pitch at the derby!). This issue includes FFP update (Judge Judy would kick it out in 15 minutes) Roy Little and Harry Dowd tributes, Barcelona, QPR questionnaire, video referees and all the usual regulars.
It can also be purchased direct from (cheques to) King of The Kippax, 25, Holdenbrook Close, Leigh, Lancs, WN7 2HL for £4.50 inc P and P.
Dave and Sue Wallace
dw001e8104 AT blueyonder.co.uk
“Points of Blue” committee : Sadly discarded.
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