Monday, 25 November 2013


It seems strange to almost start a blog posting with the words “if only” after such an emphatic win and some exhilarating football at times yesterday but…if only our away form was better. Oh well, there’s time to work on that; let’s just enjoy that one for now.



What a start!

My wife clocked it at 14 seconds; the TV chappy later said it was 15 and the announcer at the Etihad stated 20 (and MCFCTV now have it as just yer 13!). Whatever it was it most certainly set the tone! And what a finish from Jesus! I’ve been banging on about the Spaniard being used more and, naturally, I feel justified. Of course there are gonna be away games where it might not be appropriate to use him and, of course, a certain fellow countryman often stands in his way. But this game had his name all over it and he sure didn’t disappoint.
In a way it was slightly strange being 3-0 up at half time. We played quite well, don’t get me wrong, but it was a little patchy in the first half. Later on someone in my local told me that Spurs had more possession in the first half and that didn’t come as much of a surprise to me.

Took their time but got there in the end.

Yaya in particular looked sluggish before the interval. Navas was, and quite rightly, glued to the flank for the most part. Usually in David Silva, Yaya gets a little help from the very mobile Spaniard; often drifting in from wide to help orchestrate in the middle.
So yesterday Yaya found himself having to be 'the' mobile, attacking midfielder and he struggled somewhat for the first 45 minutes or so. Thankfully Fernandinho was on hand to ‘mop up’ and cover for him in what was his finest game for us so far. The Brazilian never started City life in particularly poor form - understated for a £30M man at worse - but he has been steadily improving week on week. That was a solid 8/10 from him yesterday; he almost got my MotM at one stage mid-way-through the second half.
Two others who took time to ‘bed in’ yesterday were the cause of a few first half flutters. Demichelis seems to be finding it hard to win the fans over (the ones I hear and talk to anyway) but I like him. He oozes experience; he’s calm, assured, has good positional awareness and is a good passer. However, Martin seemed to get caught snoozing on at least one occasion in the first half and had another jittery moment too.
I also found myself – not for the first time this season – shaking my head slightly at 3 first half occasions where Clichy seemed to leave us exposed down the left. He’s not the Clichy I’ve come to applaud over the last couple of seasons. What’s happened?
However, no damage done (far from it of course) and all 3 got up to speed in the second half to produce really good displays. If all of them were borderline 5s or 6s in the first half then they all finished with a solid 7/10 at the end. Yaya in particular literally burst into the 2nd half to set up Sergio with a fine, trademark, strong run down the middle.

Attack! Attack! Attack!

What can I say about Aguero and Negredo that wouldn’t be too obvious? Well nothing really. They are both absolutely devastating. And it’s not just their skill level and great understanding of each other; their fantastic work-rate is paying huge dividends. Not only are they often the beneficiaries of the creative Nasri, Navas, Silva and Yaya but they are also the architects of their own goals. Just watch the shift Alvaro and Sergio put in both on and off the ball. So strong on the ball too!
It should have been 10…
It might sound greedy of me and perhaps a little picky but…jeeze it could have been more! Sergio should have put his foot through a shot or picked out Zabaleta in the first half; Nasri almost got one but found the crossbar instead, Yaya almost had a second half goal that zipped just over and just before that there was a ‘nailed on’ Negredo header that he planted just over.
We were running riot against a team who had only conceded 6 goals in 11 Premier League games!

And the rest…

Pantilimon had another good game. Rarely troubled? Perhaps…but what he had to deal with he dealt with well; not least a low, hard free kick in the first half that he got down on (not easy I’m sure when you’re 6’ 8”).
Lescott gets special mention from me. He replaced the Nastasic who had a good first half himself (most probably still recovering/getting back to fitness and being withdrawn just to protect him) and Joleon did himself a huge favour by producing a really good 45 minutes.
Zaba produced another concrete 7/10 (if only we had someone equally consistent at left-back to compete with Clichy) and once again Milner comes on from the bench and gets involved with setting up a goal. His passing in general has improved so much; the pass to Navas for the 6th was excellent.

Oh yeah! And also on the bench was...John Guidetti! There's a good chance, then, that we'll see the Swede in action against Viktoria Plzen on Wednesday night...perhaps even from the start (alongside Dzeko)!

Roasted turkey or Kangaroo?

Although I still see the odd inflatable banana at the ground – particularly in the South Stand / South Stand/Colin Bell Stand corner – I spotted a few different ones yesterday.
Most obvious just before KO was a big inflatable palm tree! This was being passed from the South Stand and as the match started I last spotted it approaching the half-way-line in the lower tier of the Colin Bell Stand. What on earth must Pellegrini have thought of it.
The good old days...
Soon after came half a dozen or so bananas and I then, somehow, managed to spot a small, brown inflatable in the far distance; in the South Stand not long after Jesus’ early goal. As it was being flung around I just couldn’t decide on whether it was an inflatable roast turkey or a small Kangaroo / Joey.
Either way it was good to see some fun being injected back into the game - as I say, these scenes of frivolity were before a ball was kicked; before the goal celebrations were in full flow.
I for one hope we see a return of the inflatables and if anyone is wondering what on earth I’m on about, please have a read of this piece, which explains it perfectly – particularly the amazing night-time game away at West Bromwich Albion many, many years ago. Apart form perhaps a memorable Boxing Day game away at Stoke City’s old Victoria Ground, I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many inflatables at once! Great night...despite the defeat.
I’ll have to write a piece soon about my experiences throughout the inflatable era…


  1. Have to say I agree with most of your comments Steve. If Jovetic is fit for Weds I would like to see him start with Dzeko up front and give Guidetti 20 mins from the bench. Don't think the back 4 needs changing apart from Hart in goal. Milner needs 90 minutes with Yaya and Dino. Under no circumstances should Garcia get a start, to slow.

  2. PS Still got my banana from the eighties

  3. Yeah, can't wait to see Jovetic get going too. It's exciting to think that we have both of these two 'in the bank' as well (if they can remain fit of course).

    Agree that we need consistency at the back, even if it's against Plzen in a competition where we've already qualified. Sadly I can see him starting with Kolarov though (if recovered from a virus) and Micah will get at start I'm sure. He might stick with the two central pairing, which, of course, is an area we need to get some stability. Of course that decision won't please Joleon.

    Agree on Milner; he deserves a start. And yes, absolutely Rodwell ahead of Garcia! Would like to see Marcos Lopes get a run too if he's recovered from his injury of a few weeks ago.

    Despite having already qualified, it should be a very interesting game really.

    Banana: That's fab! Not sure I still have mine. If I do, I recall it having a bicycle tyre repair patch on it! 8- ) I used to have an inflatable Turtle Wax! They started selling (and fans starting bringing) ANYTHING inflatable after a while. It was pretty big and quite chunky; definitely took up enough room for another person...and took a while to blow up!

    Thanks for commenting.