Sunday, 26 April 2015

Same game, differing views…

In 30+ years for watching Manchester City and football in general, it still amazes me how often fans supporting the same team see games and performances so very differently.

Got what I was hoping for…perhaps with a slight twist

I said only yesterday that this would be won by a gutsy showing from our character-bashed players and I was fist-punchingly proud of our lads yesterday. Perhaps that, then, clouded my judgement on other aspects of our performance somewhat…and my head-scratching started only seconds after the final whistle.

As I made a point of staying behind longer than I sometimes do following the final whistle, to proudly clap our lads’ determination and victory; a chap from further up my row muttered, “Well that was a load of bobbins”, as he passed me and headed towards the stairs. I screwed my face up in a confused fashion and carried on my appreciative applause.

Then, as my wife & I headed down the spiral, I got a sense that others too weren’t happy – there wasn’t even a slight hint of relieved joy at our tight, late 3-2 win.

Even the fact that we’d scored our first corner in [insert exact 300+ figure here…and if you DO know the number then please tell me] wasn’t even muted from the grumbling comments around me. No…the post-game ‘atmos’ was as flat as Yaya’s performance before he was hauled off at half time.

Furthermore, as I popped into my local convenience store to get some ‘supplies’, a fellow shirt-wearing Blue said to me, “Well that wasn’t very good today, was it?” My uncontrollable pause and temporary holding of breath was a clear indication to him that I didn’t exactly agree with that sentiment and I eventually replied, “Well…I thought we showed a lot of determination and character today”. He half-heartedly agreed with my sentiment and left the shop.

Was it just me then; was I being overly ‘glass half full’? Had my pre-match Blog-posting and hopes for a character-filled performance coloured my view of the game? Had my alcohol intake affected my judgement?

Whatever it was, ‘the others’ seemed to be supported by the match-day facts which showed that Villa had 55% overall possession and slightly-edged also the ‘shots on goals’; with 13 to our 11. Then a few moments of reading some fan’s comments on the Manchester Evening News WEB site this morning was the final nail in my upbeat coffin; as most of those gave a damning verdict of our performance.


In the cold light of day…no change

I’m not budging. The furthest I’ll go is to point out some failings yesterday; something that we can all do even after some of the very best performances - well have you ever seen a team get 10/10 right across the board?

  • Starting with the obvious; Yaya’s lamentable (again) performance. Did little going forward, did nothing to help Fernando defend. No doubt, if asked, we’ll be told he was taken off because he ‘took a knock and / or felt a ‘niggle’…

  • Wobbly defence at times. As the game wore on and, as expected, Tim Sherwood’s men pressed us; there was signs of some cracks and, in one or two moments, downright chaos that left Hart exposed.

  • Kolarov. Do I have to include him in ‘the negatives’? He deserves it of course…but it’s sort of “standard” that he falls into this category anyway. A few overlapping runs and crosses into the box and his first goal of the season helped us to a vital win, of course, but he’s poor, poor defender and player in general. Turns like a bus that’s lost its right-hand-side wheels…

  • I thought Navas had another decent’ish game…but I will include, once again, his lack of ‘end product’.

  • The almost inevitable Villa ‘come back’. How often this season AND in season’s gone by have we just not killed off teams / let them back into it? That IS a character failing…

Well that’s about it from me.

I thought Hart, Demichelis, Zabaleta and, in particular, Mangala and good games. I thought Fernando, for the most part, had another decent one too.

Fernandinho was a vast improvement on the fella he replaced (Toure); Silva, Lampard & Aguero all linked up well in passing triangles and albeit an ABSOLUTE GIFT; the Argentinean got his 4th goal in 3 games and leads the Premier League goal-scoring table by one [to Harry Kane].

I view the Manchester Evening News’ player ratings as being, largely, a little too harsh as well – most deserve to be a point higher in my opinion.

On the horizon…

Tough game coming up at White Hart Lane – I hope, if ‘fully up to speed’ of course, Gael Clichy can be fit for this one. We certainly won’t have Vinny back (2 weeks’ish by all accounts) because Harry Kane and a whole host of attacking midfields will cause us issues I’m sure.

But Spurs have proven to be a very inconsistent and flaky team this season and, in particular, of late. It’s another one those for me - be ‘up for it’ and we can take a point and certainly have it well within us to take all 3. Not a game for Yaya then…

C’mon Everton and (huhhhh…I suppose) Chelsea today because…Queens Park Raisins at home, Swansea City away and Southampton at home - again IF we continue to show ‘grit’ - we should have it in our own hands to finish strong…and finish a creditable, if not slightly disappointing, 2nd.

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