Sunday, 28 December 2008

Blackburn 2 - 2 City

  • A comeback, at last. We have been the victim of too many this season: Liverpool was the most painful - but don't forget Chelsea, Spurs, Newcastle, Hull or Fulham. This was only our third point this season from a losing position (all 2-2 draws, interestingly enough), having been 1-0 down at Hull and 2-1 down at Newcastle. This is part of our long sought after but much required grit. Of course, real mental toughness would have meant taking one of our early chances and grinding out a 1-0 win. But for now, this will do.
  • At 2-0 it would have been very easy to criticise Hughes. Another weak display in one of these bottom of the table away games - we lost 2-0 at 'Boro and at Bolton, 2-1 at West Brom and Wigan and now this. But I don't think that's quite fair. In those games, we were useless, shapeless, spineless and - importantly - chanceless. Not today. With Caicedo's early chance and Robinho's header, we could have been 2-0 up very quickly. Robinho and Elano both ought to have penalties awarded. Defensively we were poor, and we struggled a bit after half time. But, as with the comeback, in creative terms this was not a performance to be bracketed with the above four.
  • So in that sense, Hughes deserves credit for sticking with the team that won on Boxing Day. It would have been easy to bring in Fernandes for Elano, or to bench Caicedo, or to resurrect the SWP in midfield, Vass on the right experiment. But he stuck to our sort of 4-1-5 and was almost rewarded in the first half. We didn't compete in midfield very well in the second half, and we still need Senna or equivalent (plus Johnson back from injury). But it seems like our 'home team' (the one with Elano in) is a bit tougher than it used to be.
  • With Micah Richards starting on the bench, and Tal Ben Haim nowhere to be seen (now that Elano is playing he's competing with Hamann to be top of Hughes' 'bad books') Richard Dunne took on the burden of being 'City's Comedy Centre Half of the Day'. He could have got sent off for tugging down Roberts on the edge of the box early on, and never looked very comfortable with McCarthy either. And when Blackburn put a long ball in late on, he headed the ball straight up in the air, before leaving Chris Samba to knock it on to Roberts. He's been our best centre back this season, but I'd still love to see us bring in Toure or Upson.
  • Both goals were scored by Robinho-Sturridge combinations. Our first started with a a nice flick and chip into the box by Robinho - which Ooijer (I think?) headed across to Sturridge, who took a quite difficult chance very well. The second goal saw Sturridge beat and hold off three defenders from a wide right position before finding Robinho with a perfect curled through pass. Most of our best play this year has been from Robinho-Ireland combinations, so it's nice to see another ludicrously talented Academy graduate link up with the £32.5million man to get us some goals.
  • Robinho now has 11 goals in 15 Premier Leauge starts. Nicolas Anelka has 14 in 18. Amr Zaki has 10 in 15. Gabriel Agbonlahor has 9 in 19. Cristiano Ronaldo has 8 in 13. There are other things that matter much, much more - Premier League survival would be nice. But what odds on a Manchester City Golden Boot this year?

1 comment:

tommytheblue said...

cracking report today, we were poor today, in our attacking the likes of ireland couldnt get into the game, passing was all off, but we didnt give up and were always closing down their play...howard red helped them too.

i would of liked to see big felipe stay on with sturridge upfront as he is a real danger in the box and the mighty darius came on to do nothing.

i said i would be dissapointed with a draw, but the nature of it feels like a win. 4 points means xmas has been good. hopefully the side will be confident comming out of today and we a few new faces ...e defence goalie and dm we could be a good force int he 2nd half of the season.... i hope hughes gets it right, as much as i dislike him, we need the stability at least untill the end of the season.