Sunday, 21 September 2008

City 6 - 0 Portsmouth

  • It's hard to discuss this without degenerating into cliche: was it a perfect day or the stuff of dreams? Was the football slick or superb or sexy or Samba? It was, I think, our best attacking performance in the top flight this decade. To tear apart a team as good as Portsmouth, so respected for their solidity, is quite something. But the pace, the imagination, the ruthlessness, and the wit of our attacks: I've never seen anything like it.
  • Before the match I presumed we would stick to the team and system used against Chelsea - the 4-4-1-1 with Robinho behind Jô and Ball at left back. Instead, he went with the same set-up as used in Cyprus on Thursday night: a 4-3-3 with Garrido at left back and Elano operating with Kompany and Ireland in midfield. A bold choice, and comprehensively vindicated.
  • It was certainly as well as we could have possibly played. I do not mean this as criticism: a lesser performance could still have led to victory. But for Robinho, Wright-Phillips, Ireland and Jô to all play like that, in unison, was a special moment. Terry and Carvalho were immaculate last week - it would have been fascinating to see them against us playing like this.
  • This is almost certainly a function of the natural pessimissm of all City fans under 40, but at half time I was not confident. Perhaps it reminded me too much of my last game at CoMS, the infamous loss to Fulham last spring: but I never thought 2-0 was enough. The first half was very even - watch Sky's Football First highlights if you get the chance. Lassana Diarra was running the midfield, and Dunne was having problems with Peter Crouch. But in withdrawing Younes Kaboul for John Utaka at half time, Redknapp sacrificed Portsmouth's extra man in the middle. And without three centre halves, Pompey just couldn't stop us.

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