Tuesday, 21 April 2015

West Ham thoughts, Silva, Under 18s…and Pep secures Manuel’s job?

Just wanted to throw a few snippets together…

West Ham United game

In a weekend that saw both Arsenal & Liverpool not compete in the Premier League and both Southampton & Manyoo lose; what a very welcome 3 points that was. But it was much more that that too.

It was pleasing – and relieving – to see both the performance and commitment levels up again; particularly the latter and regarding certain individuals.

Yaya looked bothered and ‘up for it’. He might GET upset at criticism (and his gobby agent might do his usual April / May act too); but some players just look deceptively languid and other just are. For me Yaya is a bit of both a various times…but was neither last Sunday.

Another under my personal, recent spotlight of questionable character was (is) Aleks Kolarov but he too appeared to be interested in playing last weekend. Didn’t really see enough of Dzeko on the day to pass judgement…

But then we have ability levels. Although he still flung-in a few hopeful, rather than intended, crosses; Jesus Navas – by his own standards at least – had one of his better games. Still might only get a 7, perhaps 7.5/10…but that’s not bad for him!

Mangala – forced into action though injury to Kompany – had a very composed game indeed. More like that and I’m sure this lad will grow and grow in confidence. I’m sure he has the ability in him.

Zaba was back too! What a crackin’ first half in particular he had – some amazing tackles!

Fernando too – a surprise inclusion for me (I thought our manager would prefer Fernandinho) – had a very good game indeed. I just can’t seem to give him the full credit he perhaps deserves; I can’t wait to see if he can do it against top opposition. What I mean by that is…I seem to say he has good games but against far lesser teams and at home. Hope, like his ex-Porto colleague, he too can continue to improve.

Both David Silva & Sergio Aguero looked revitalised; feeling no doubt that others around them were pulling their weight for once. “If only” springs to mind…

Similarly, leading on from that, it was so pleasing to see the levels of both performance & determination ‘up’…but also so flippin’ frustrating, with just 5 games to go, as to “why only now?!"


It’s seemingly good news about David Silva’s face to elbow incident – he hasn’t fractured his cheekbone. I’m sure he’s sore and might even develop a bit of a ‘shiner’. City are monitoring him ahead of another vital (they all are now) game against Aston Villa (Etihad Stadium, Saturday 25th April, 5:30pm KO BST).

Hopefully we’ll see him in the starting 11, even if it means him wearing a protective, Zorro-style mask.


Youth F.A. Cup Final, 1st leg

My wife, a mate & I went last night and were joined at the Etihad Campus Stadium by an impressive 6,418 others! Well-done to all who attended and, in particular, to those fans in the ‘standing’ North Stand behind the goal (1894 Group and, separately, brass band ‘et al’). They made for a great atmosphere!

Although a little annoying at times, I can’t fault either the club’s idea to hand out 100s of corrugated (clappers?)  Certainly made a din from half-way-through the second half and, as I say, helped to lift the atmosphere even further. Kids enjoyed ‘em…

If I was to sum up the game I think it would go something like this:

  • Chelsea had the majority of the first half, but notably began to fade a little on 35 minutes.
  • They were 5% bigger, in general; stronger and, I have to say, about the same percentage more organised than us too; dominating possession for large parts of the first 45.
  • Although some of the Chelsea lads had a lot of spirit, I would say, however, that our lads were 10% more committed and determined than theirs...AND fitter.
  • The ref had a 'mare of a match and...
  • ...the Under 18s can take corners!

Notable performances on the night came from our right-back Pablo Maffeo and right-winger Aaron Nemane, who won by a mile the award for most tenacious (if there had have been one of course). Deserved a goal for all his fine endeavours.

Although looking a little lightweight; central midfield playmaker Manuel Garciapushed further forward after the break – came to life and looked to have skill & flare.

But MotM for me was Captain Tosin Adarabioyo who had an OUTSTANDING game at centre half! He looked very alert, intelligent and composed under a lot of visitor pressure. In fact he and his central defensive partner Cameron Humphreys looked a solid pairing.

We did have key missing personnel, as was pointed out by my mate; in EDS pair Denzeil Boadu (midfield) and striker Thierry Ambrose, who I am assuming, by his comments, were eligible to play for the Under 18s in this one.

We missed several second half chances and 2-2 might have been 'a fair one' over all. Most certainly 1-3 wasn’t, as Chelsea grabbed a late 3rd.

All is not lost though – keep at ‘em as we did do in the second half and we can snatch this one in the return leg on 27th April ‘down there’. Well done to the club for informing fans that all who attended last night can get free travel to the away leg by retaining their ticket and going on to the club's WEB site!


And finally…

It’s no secret that we are most likely in the market for Pep Guardiola some time in the future as, I’m sure, are several other top, European Clubs. It’s all about timing with this fella and, I’m sorry to say, I can actually see him heading for Trafford rather than Manchester at some point should he choose England.

However – and for now – it would appear that to HELP with that 'possible timing', Pep has announced that he wants to ‘see out’ final year contract with Bayern and THAT, I would say, has ensured Manuel Pellegrini's stay at City for one last season at least - logic being that no other manager will touch us if they believe that they’re only going to be a one-season ‘stop gap’…and what good would that do us anyway?

Hyperlinks to be completed as soon as…

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