Sunday, 4 May 2014

Nervy at times but…JOB DONE!

Job done…at least yesterday. But I hope the players have the same attitude as me in that we (they) need to finish it off now by ploughing 100% effort into the next 2 games.

It would be one of the biggest ffffff…foul-ups in Premier League history if we were to slip up at home to Villa and/or West Ham and Liverpool were to take advantage. DON’T be lulled into a ‘false one’ City just because Aston Villa & West Ham United yesterday secured their Premier League statuses for next season. I’m sure they won’t but, yer know…

Another ‘nerve jangler’…but not just for the fans

The sense of relief on the City players’ faces at the final whistle said it all. Particularly in the second half there was a tangible sense of nerves from our lads at times. It was understandable of course and those wobbles came close to blowing it for us. Hart was immense; pulling off two vital saves that if we DO win the league will be looked back at AS league-winning saves I’m sure.


Stomach-dropping moment

I was so very confident before the game. But that assurance in itself was kind of making me a little jittery in a strange sort of way. I was in little doubt that we had enough in us to beat a depleted [through injury and a loss of ineligible Gareth Barry] Everton side who had wobbled of late…then I saw the team sheets.

It wasn’t just the fact that there was no David Silva in the starting 11; it wasn’t JUST the fact that slow, often scary Javi Garcia had been chosen ahead of Fernandinho once again. What is that? Is Fernandinho carrying a knock or something? No, it was also the announcement that Everton were going 5-4-1; with 3 central defenders, 2 wing-backs and a compact diamond midfield 4 behind Lukaku.

My stomach sank to my feet – Martinez had ‘done a number’ on us. All of a sudden I saw a vastly outnumbered and overrun Manchester City midfield. Garcia won’t be able to cope with that, I shuddered; Yaya will be pretty-much nullified in the fact that he’ll be required to ‘dig in’ and battle for the ball rather than marauding forward with it; doing damage in their box.

Not only will there be a 3-man central wall blocking anything Sergio could muster but, I bemoaned, he’ll be having to drop back to help the sparse & struggling City midfield to retrieve the ball for himself.

I wasn’t TOO concerned about the attacking wing-backs; I felt that Clichy & Zabaleta would cope well and that if Nasri & Milner had good games they could push them back and/or exploit ‘the gaps’ in the corners.

I was right. Garcia appeared to be struggling for the most part – he tried but he’s just not mobile enough to be a Premier League midfielder tasked with controlling the middle and protecting the back 4. And when he struggles - as he does more often than not - he often ends up fouling out of self-frustration. And Yaya, for all his efforts, was indeed largely ineffective [by his own high standards] yesterday.

Dzeko was simply anonymous in the early stages and it bemused, concerned and frustrated me as to why we were seeing [in such a VITAL game] the Edin sulk machine on full show. There’s something not right in that guy's head.

And so as strange as the man can be; it’s perhaps NOT so bizarre that he then ended up with a fine 8/10 performance (9/10 from the Manchester Evening News) and 2 goals – the first one a very fine header indeed. He truly is Dr Edin & Mr Hyde!

FURTHER jitters

Sergio was, for the reasons I’ve already given, having to work ever so hard and having gone behind to a FABULOUS Ross Barkley early strike; our Argentinean battleship got his reward with a superb, narrow-angle strike after fine link-up-play and passing from Nasri & Yaya.

But THEN he holds his groin and starts to hobble around…AGAIN! Nnnoooooo! I’m sure thousands of Blues fans could be heard screaming the same. Silva on the bench; up to that point a sulking, largely invisible Dzeko and an overrun midfield. I honestly feared that we wouldn’t have enough in our locker to break them down or, worse, hold them off.

Not wanting to subject myself to the usual barrage of ex-Manyoo and Liverpool commentators on the telly, I had done the now-usual procedure of pausing the DAB radio for 6 seconds so-as-to synchronise it with the TV picture. Fernandinho had been brought on for Sergio and Fred Eyre [on Radio Manchester] was almost seething by his standards. He just couldn’t understand why [when we needed a win] Pellegrini had brought on a defensive midfielder for a striker.

Having been concerned about the afore mentioned, outnumbered midfield it made perfect sense to me – I think Fred just had a [rare] panic moment. It eased my fears considerably…and eased Yaya into a more advance position just behind Mr Sulky Pants. It worked and the rest you know. It wasn’t without a wobble at 3-2 but, as I say, Hart was [is] world class.

Viva the Villa!

Okay, so I am suggesting [there] that having secured their league status yesterday it takes an edge off them. We still shouldn’t be complacent and it was very good to watch both Edin and Milner’s resolve in these two post-match interviews.

No “we’ve won the league” t-shirts and flags please Blues; leave that to the arrogant and classless Liverpool supporters. Just vigorous support of the lads on Wednesday night please. Sing, shout and scream our boys to victory and then victory, I’m sure, will come.

An early goal? Well yeah I hope so. Just as long as – a la Sunderland at home recently – we don’t then take our foot off the gas. Sergio, it would appear, is fine and thankfully only came off as a precaution. Silva too could even start at home having made a brief but largely ineffective appearance at Goodison yesterday. So there’s two pieces of excellent news.

No Garcia please Mr Pellegrini – let’s take the next game by the throat. I’ll do the usual pre-match formation & personnel prediction in a pre-Villa blog posting but if everyone is fit to start [apart from Navas who isn’t expected to make it I don’t think], this is what I’d go with…











Subs: Pantilimon, Clichy, Lescott, Garcia, Milner, Jovetic, Negredo.

As long as he keeps scoring you’ve gotta go with Edin up front. I just hope he cheers up a bit. Kolarov at home I think – although I much prefer Clichy ‘in there’ I suppose at home he gives up a more-attacking thrust.

Anyone who read – and is boveredmy last blog entry; I DID swap cough bottle for something far more enjoyable in the end…

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C’mon City! 


  1. I'd go with that team against Villa, Steve.
    It's been interesting to see the different viewpoints on the team, performance, and so on, that I've seen expressed.
    Irrespective of that, City got the job done, with two more now to go.
    It'd be a huge bonus if Palace could do us a favour tomorrow night.

    1. Hi Colin...

      Yeah, Palace at home certainly are capable - I was a little wary when we went there recently. Hope so! Good draw by Norwich at Stamford Bridge yesterday...