Friday, 27 February 2009

City 2 - 1 F.C. København

  • Through to the last sixteen of a major European competition! I don't know when we last did this, but it can't have been in my lifetime. This is really all that matters this evening. As both seventh and seventeenth place drift further away from us in the Premier League, the double-headed Aalborg BK tie in mid-March matters more than anything else. The Istanbul songs are getting less ludicrous with every tie.
  • And we actually played pretty well. For all but second half stoppage time we defended as well as we have done for quite a while. The Given - Bridge - Onuoha - Dunne - Richards back five is improving with every game. I don't usually like these sorts of arguments but I wonder whether having two Irish and three English players back there makes a meaningful difference? It will be interesting to see whether Hughes sticks with it against Aston Villa next Wednesday when he has Wright-Phillips back - or whether he moves Kompany/Zabaleta back into defence.
  • Our attacking play was even better than in the first leg. F.C. København played with such a high line that Robinho, Bellamy and Wright-Phillips always had space to exploit. We battered them for 77 minutes and while our failure to score grew increasingly frustrating, a goal felt more and more likely as the match progressed. And such was the obligation on København to attack at 1-0 that a quick second goal was always likely; and so it proved. They may not get on but the footballing aspect of Robinho and Bellamy's relationship is fantastic - they will tear apart better defences than København's this season.
  • Another game in which we're starting to see the benefits of Sparkyisation - the players brought in (and those let go of), the revolution in training methods, the overall change in culture which has defined Mark Hughes' management of Manchester City thus far. We were told in August that our improved fitness would tell late in games in the second half of the season. Would we have been able to force a win in the last fifteen minutes under Eriksson? Every match now reveals another impressive element of the Hughes era - last Sunday it was the hard working shield of Hughes buys, Kompany, Zabaleta and de Jong, holding Liverpool at bay. The arguments for his retention are growing slightly stronger.


tommytheblue said...

Would we have been able to force a win in the last fifteen minutes under Eriksson?

yes... pretty much remeber us actually getting two goals against bolton to towards the end of the game.

it's irrelivant...but yea, we did!

Wigan Blue said...

"Another game in which we're starting to see the benefits of Sparkyisation"

An interesting verb. Don't go into what SGE could have done with the £100 million. and where we should have been, not what we can hope to aspire to.

trinder said...

And out last night went:
AC Milan (3rd in their league)
Valencia (5th)
Aston Villa (4th)
Fiorentina (4th)
Bordeaux (4th)
Olympiakos (1st)
Stuttgart (7th)
Wolfsburg (6th)

By the next draw, at least another 5 strong sides will go:
CSKA (2nd) or Shakhtar (5th)
Metalist (2nd) or Dynamo Kiev (1st)
Hamburg (1st) or Galatasaray (5th)
Marseille (3rd) or Ajax (3rd)
PSG (2nd) or Braga (5th)
Udinese (12th) or Zenit St Petersburg (5th)
Werder Bremen (11th) or St Etienne (18th)