Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Soupy twist

You follow football for 30+ years and you think you’ve seen it all. Then in just one weekend, Liverpool suffer their second defeat in a row away to West Ham, WBA get their first win of the season away at Spurs, Palace win at Everton, Manyoo let a 3-1 lead slip at the King Power Stadium in ½ hour to lose 5-3, Super Frankie comes on to salvage a point for City against his once long-time employers, Chelsea, and there’s an 89-yard goal in the Bundesliga!

You just couldn’t make it up!


Let’s have it right from the start – we deserved a win. I thought, for the most part, we dominated and controlled the game and even after we went down (softly) to 10 men on 66 minutes; we didn’t look to have one-man-fewer than Chelsea. As for their attacking threat, I thought we handled them superbly!

72% possession against Stoke with 16 shots only to lose 1-0 to a breakaway goal; ending a creditable 2-2 draw at the Emirates by hitting the woodwork twice, ‘THAT’ Bayern late goal / result and a fine home performance against Chelsea not quite reaping full rewards. We’re not ‘far off’ are we?

And this, don’t forget, is all in our highly recognised, tough-opening, 9 Premier League fixture list draw. There ARE no easy games these days of course and now that we know more about what this season’s teams are capable of; a look beyond ‘those considered 9’ sees even more Premier League challenges ahead. The battle continues…

But the warriors are starting to show themselves now. Vincent Kompany continues to have one of his best starts to a season ever…and by his own very high standards that’s high praise indeed! And then…WOW…what a debut from Eliaquim Mangala; doubly so when you consider the opposition in his first ever game in England!

Not just because of his performance against Jose’s men but of James Milner I simply say this – get him signed up City!

Did recently-criticised Yaya ‘need a rocket’ or an ‘arm round’? Perhaps he did…and perhaps he got one. Either way it flippin’ well worked against Chelsea - he was back!

There were a couple of 6s in there against The Pensioners but not enough to go on about; the rest were 7s & 8s in a display to be very proud of.

The only negative I will draw some attention to is the somewhat predicted scenario of ‘struggling for goals’. Is 9 from 6 games in all competitions “struggling”? Well on the face of it that doesn’t sound like a bad return at all. And of the strikers Sergio Aguero is certainly ‘ticking along nicely’ if not exactly ‘on fire’ at the moment.

It’s a real shame 2-goal [against Liverpool] Stevan Jovetic picked up an injury and although he would still have been unfit to play; I think this is the point [a lot of people are making] about letting Alvaro Negredo go.

With Stevan out and last season's midfield goal machine, Yaya, taking a while to warm up – and with Edin Dzeko blowing his usual warm & cold” in front of goal (although his work-rate against Chelsea was excellent) – we’re not exactly ‘penetrating’ at the moment, are we?

And a worrying trend COULD develop here before too long if we’re not careful; and I would hope, therefore, to see our midfielders 'stepping up' with a few goals more often than they sometimes do - I’m thinking David Silva & Samir Nasri here in particular.

And although I’m not expecting them to make a Premier League start, as such; I would hope that at least one of the EDS strikers be given some 'game time' against Sheffield Wednesday in the League Cup tomorrow evening. We need to start seeing some movement / progress there...


God there were some mixed feelings against Chelsea. I went into the game fairly confident of a win and said so to various people on several occasions. Then, as the yellow cards started to fly in the first half, I got the first of my foreboding feelings. At half time my wife asked me how I thought it would go in the second half and it took an age for me to answer, with my wife actually thinking that I’d gone into an alcohol-fuelled trance.

There was some alcohol involved (perhaps a little too much) but I was analysing and giving my response some serious consideration. “A score draw and one of the teams, at least, to end up with 10 men” was my response.

I must try to get into the world of in-play betting, as much as that overly-cockney geezer gets right on my nerves…

As much as we were the better side in the first half I just had one of those City “moments of dread”; whereby something was going to go awry after the interval. Of course we now know that on 66 minutes Zaba was that man to be given an unplanned, early exit and just 5 minutes later…BANG! 1-0 to Chelsea. I just slowly shook my head in anticipated disappointment…

But then another 6 minutes or so saw ‘Lamps’ come on [for Kolarov] and so…queue an exuberant Chelsea support who, buoyed by their recent goal and 1-0 lead, cheered on their former hero in a relentless song of, “Super Frankie Lampard”.

Queue, then also and for some unknown reason, a renewed belief that something was going to turn in our favour. We were still more than holding our own and I just got the feeling that the away support were going to rue their support for a Manchester City player (there goes that in-play bet thing again).

After his equaliser you could just hear pockets of City fans all around the ground clambering to be the first to start our very own “Super Frankie Lampard” song and it all resulted in a hotchpotch effort to be honest.

So I too - fuelled by adrenaline and a little ale - tried my best start our own and / or attempt to coordinate some of the existing efforts. All was going well until the end of the second volley; where, at the top of my screaming voice, “Super Frankie…” clearly came out, “Soupy Frankie Lampard”.

There’s nothing like that kind of loud-singing faux pas to take the wind out of your sails. I promptly sat down with a slightly nervous chuckle…

Still…it was a really good moment and one to shut the away fans up until after the game at least. Was 1-1 a fair result then? No…and Chelsea certainly left the more relieved of the two.

“THAT” Bundesliga goal…



These 4:00pm KOs the evening before a work day just aren’t Blog friendly ones - it then takes time for me to issue a (then slightly delayed) post match posting.

I do intend to do a small League Cup preview either later today or, perhaps, shortly before the game tomorrow evening. Thanks as always for taking the time to read!

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