Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Victory at the Villa heading into the break

To beat a stubborn Aston Villa side it took patience, inventiveness and a some in-game flexibility and tactical nous from our manager; following his quite-deserved slating of his rigid 4-4-2 in Europe.

Same start but “change” proved a point…for me at least.

I was fairly sure before the game that our ‘Engineer’ was going to adopt a slightly different tactic than he has shown in the Premier League; at a resolute Villa side on their own patch it just screamed for something a little different than a 4-4-2 with a increasingly frustrating (again!) and largely immobile Edin as one of the front-two-pairing.

I was slightly heavy hearted and a little concerned if I’m being honest when I saw the starting 11 in some ways; Kolarov on the left of defence gave me a few pre-game butterflies and with no Navas and the afore mentioned ‘Lamppost’ up front, our attack just looked a little stale-looking on paper; despite the likes of Silva & Aguero being on the pitch.

And it looked like my fears were being borne out for much of the first half, as we found it difficult to break down the claret-shirted defence. And our ‘passing radar’ appeared to be ‘off’ before the break, both in midfield and defence - in fact there was a scary moment or two in defence in the first half that was simply caused by our own self-destruct-like, miss-passing.

We just looked a little 'out of sorts' despite the over all controlling possession (after a brief & lively spell from Villa early on in the game).

And then, I’ve since learnt, Alan Shearer as a Match of the Day pundit criticised us and, in particular, our poor passing; summing up by saying that it was a poor display in general. I still haven’t seen it on iPlayer and don’t intend to watch it now…

But having just said similar myself, I can’t say that I entirely disagree with his alleged comments. I thought we looked sort of rusty and ‘off key’. But that was all in the first half and if what I am being told is accurate about the ex-Southampton, Blackburn Rovers, Newcastle United and England forward’s comments, then he appears to have gone a little ‘over the top’ and hasn’t provided a whole-game, balanced view.

In the second half I thought the City tempo was up, the passing improved considerably and, in general, we looked more threatening. However, there’s was still something missing…and we still had a floundering and completely ineffective Bosnian striker on the pitch. That was until, on 64 minutes, Dzeko was replaced by Fernando.

The Injured Fernandinho had already been replaced by the more attacking threat of Frank Lampard but as soon as we had our main anchor back [in Fernando] when replacing ‘Lamppost’, we really came into our own. It was the formation and, perhaps, even personnel we should have started with (allowances made of Fernando’s return to fitness aside).

It made ALL the difference and with threats now coming from more areas of the pitch from deeper and from all angles; Villa ‘backed off’ and we eventually cracked them. It took wonderful goals from Yaya & Sergio but we did it…and we deserved it Mr Shearer.

With Yaya not only being under general scrutiny over the last few weeks from all sorts of punditry an’ the like; leading up to the televised 5:30pm KO (BST) Sky Sports then racked-up the pressure and scrutiny even more! Not only was this done with intense analysis of the player’s recent performances but, disgustingly, by also sticking a camera right into his face for ages as he warmed up with his colleagues before the game. I’ll be disappointed if MCFC don’t complain to Sky about that over-intrusion and 'stepping over of the line' for me…


Although I take great heart in the fact that our manager and his team can see issues during games and have the insight to changes things considerably for the better; I just hope that the same management team now sees the benefits of, perhaps, STARTING games differently than 4-4-2 at times; particularly if one of the “2” is a certainly curate’s egg…and one which is starting to smell more ‘off’ than good.

I hope Jovetic can remain fit and recapture his pre-season / early season form…

Special mention to Kolarov for a fine performance…and coming from me that’s VERY high praise indeed! He didn’t appear to be tested defensively for whatever reason (and somewhat thankfully) but his attacking play was excellent on Saturday evening.

David Silva gets special, SPECIAL mention – once again he was awesome and certainly my MotM.

A couple of wobbly moments between Kompany and Mangala but, as I’ve said, our midfield / defence created our own problems in the first half with some poor passing. In the second half they looked more calm and in control.


I don’t like international breaks and although this one has some meaning – being, as it is, for the Euros and not just ‘friendlies’ – it’s even more frustration that the Premier League’s stop / start season…as flippin’ well stopped once again! Before the resumption in the middle of October against Tottenham Hotspur we will have only played-out SEVEN league games!

I hope that when officials start moaning AGAIN about a jam-packed Christmas fixture list that they take a look back and finally realise that we all-too-often create our own issues earlier on in seasons…

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