Sunday, 30 August 2015

The word is…“Nice”.

4 wins, 10 goals scored and 0 conceded – Nice.


It’s nice to go into the international break with a pure 100% record; nice to see both Chelsea & Liverpool slip-up at home yesterday (c’mon Swansea today!) and nice also to see Chelsea on just 4 points after 4 games!


Nice to see that Pellegrini, more than he used to at least, is not-only showing flexibility in his formations but also that he’s beginning to spot in-game areas for improvement / change…and is changing them before time runs out!


Nice to see Fernandinho showing some consistency – long may that continue...and nice also to see Sterling slotting into our system with ease; pulling defences all over the place, getting assists and now a home-goal to his name; all in just 4 games.


Nice to see the new 3rd tier of the South Stand helping to create a better atmosphere at the Etihad Stadium; encouraging the other stands to join in with verve also.

My player ratings v Watford

Hart                 -           6
Little to do but what he had to he did well.

Kolarov          -           7
Continues to be a very steady & good performer – what a changed player!

Mangala         -           7
Had to maintain a disciplined back-line against a buzzing Hornets team who could have had a sting in their tail (stop groaning…) if allowed to…and did so very well.

Kompany        -           7
See Mangala comment – ditto…

Sagna             -           8.5
An impressive start to the season so far was capped off with his best performance so far! Grew into the game even more-so in the second half and made some very important tackles & headers. If it wasn’t for the next fella in the list then he was gonna be my MotM.

Another thunderous striker from Fernandinho!

Fernandinho  -           9
A liability against WBA with silly, clumsy challenges; a very good performance against Chelsea capped off with a fine goal, a solid 7/10’er away at Everton with only one (again) silly tackle just outside our box that we just about got away with...and then an excellent display against a packed and energetic Watford midfield; with ANOTHER powerfully-driven goal. Keep it up Dinho!

Toure             -           7
Yaya often struggles when the ‘oppo’ 'crams the midfield' so very tightly. So the fact that he still managed a very creditable 7/10 is all credit to him. Shame his free kick radar was off but another good display from a player who is showing far better form than-that of last season.

Sterling          -           8.5
Played on the left and then in the middle just behind Aguero – the young England international is every bit the nuisance I remember him being when he played against us for Liverpool. Joint-second best player on the day for me and…James who?

Silva               -           8
8/10 is probably below David’s high, HIGH standards…and the fact that he managed that still-high score against such an energetic & determined Watford midfield & defence is all credit to him! Another fantastic display from the little magician; who manages to find tight pockets of room - as well as his colleagues - with apparent ease.

Navas             -           6
For all his efforts – and you can’t fault that again yesterday – it just wasn’t working for the Spanish flyer. Has had a terrific start to the season but, despite that fact, some alarm bells must be sounding now; in-having an unproductive day around the same time that Kevin De Bruyne is having his medical and is likely to sign. Taken off at half time for Nasri...and the switch ‘across the 3’ paid instant dividends!

Aguero          -           6.5
Tried and tried (like Navas) but got little joy. However, although strikers love to, of course, get on the scoresheet; the Argentine will recognise that while he is getting close attention it’s allowing more room for the many other goal threats we possess throughout the team. Work-rate outside the box was always!

Nasri               -           7
Continues to come off the bench and get straight into the game. Not sure how much longer the potentially-tetchy Frenchman will be happy with a ‘super sub’ role but it is working for the team at the moment…and that’s what counts, yes? Got more minutes yesterday than in the previous 3 games and got another 7/10 from me.

Delph              -           6.5
Good to see him getting a run-out and he looked like he’d been playing in the team for a long time. Set up in a busying defensive role, mainly on the right-hand-side when coming on for Silva, but popped-up-in and took the ball to all areas of the field.

Iheanacho      -           5.5
On for 3 minutes and for enthusiasm he gets 10/10! However, for the application of that enthusiasm he gets…well, let’s just say less-so. Two very silly “interactions” with opposition players in his 180-second first-team debut - I can’t use the word “challenge” to describe the second one; where his arms were all over the shoulders, neck & head of the Watford man. Can’t wait to see that enthusiasm and pace applied in front of the opposition’s net...

What else we learnt…

  • Not helped by an ill-timed, slightly ‘off day’ yesterday; Navas, as I say, might soon be joining Nasri on the bench if De Bruyne does arrive by Tuesday. Surely the Belgium playmaker will be an eventual regular ‘starter’…and I just can’t see for one second Sterling or, of course, Silva being the ones to step aside…apart from times where they can be and need a rest.

  • Let me in! Although it’s a long, long season with many games over 4 competitions; the currently-injured players must be looking at the performances of their fit teammates and thinking, how the hell am I gonna shift ‘em?! Competition for places has always been a great motivator for players to ‘up their game’ - as one example of that; I’m sure the arrival of Raheem has been an influence in Jesus’ much improved performances in both pre-season and the opening 3 Premier Leagues games. Will Zaba dislodge Sagna for Premier League games or are we going to see the Argentine step in as rest-relief for the French right-back in the League & F.A. Cups etc? Before last season that would have seem unthinkable! What future does Fernando have? The unlucky [with injury] signing from Porto is out again and now seems to have new(er) signing Fabian Delph and an ‘on fire’ Fernandinho ahead of him for the one defensive role available. And new signing Nicolas Otamendistill awaiting work permit clearance – joins a team with 4 clean sheets and a very settled-looking back line. So what, then, has been Aleks Kolarov’s motivation? The last 6 games of last season he was Mr 7/10 and he’s hit that benchmark as a minimum personal standard so far this season. We’ve not been in for a new left-back in the summer – so what’s goin’ on? Well whatever it is, the injured Gael Clichy certainly has his work cut out to dislodge the reborn Serb defender.

  • Even with (again!) an injured Wilfried Bony out – another ‘Mr Unlucky’ [with injuries] – and with only 2 other, recognised out & out strikers available; we have the adaptable players & systems to cope ‘up front’.


I'm off on holiday abroad on Tuesday for a week and although I’ll be taking my new laptop with me; I can’t IMAGINE releasing a piece whilst I’m away…but we’ll see.

I’m sure I’ll be making some notes – and will be sat in a bar somewhere I’m sure as the 6:00pm (BST) clock ‘gongs’ to sound the end of the summer transfer window – and will release some season predictions before long.

Thanks as always for taking the time to read!

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