Monday, 5 October 2009

Villa 1 - 1 City

  • A good point. Not our best performance of the season, but no team plays well every week. Like much of the best of this season, what was most pleasing was how much we resembled a big four team. To go to Villa Park, to concede early, to play badly, but to rally, equalise and come away with a point? It's what proper teams do. Just ask yourself how an un-Sparkified Manchester City would have performed: before Shay Given, Gareth Barry, Craig Bellamy and Nigel de Jong transformed us from a mentally weak team into a mentally strong one. Something like this I imagine.
  • But let's not let the fightback cloud the fundamentals: the first half was as poor as we have played this season. We were lacking in control at the back or spark going forward. Villa hassled us all over the pitch - starting with John Carew and Gabbie Agbonlahor up front but extending all the way through their team. We never settled into a rhythm and had no attacking option other than the punt to Adebayor. Dunne may have well not have left.
  • More worrying, though, and this was not limited to the first half, was our failure to deal with balls into the box. We conceded from a corner - Dunne, if you didn't know - and could have conceded more from similar situations. Joleon Lescott and Kolo Touré both had good games individually, but the organisation simply isn't there from set-pieces or crosses. It cost us one goal today, two goals at Old Trafford, and if it is not fixed soon it will cost us Champions League football.
  • I can't avoid commenting on the goal we conceded, scored as it was by the great Richard Dunne. It was nice to see him decline to celebrate his goal, and also that the City fans reciprocated the respect. He had a good game too - judging his interceptions perfectly, winning every header and showing decent pace across the ground too. But when compared to Lescott and Touré I cannot honestly say that I wished he'd been playing in black.
  • We've got a nice long break now - thirteen days - before our next game. But no-one can doubt that these first two phases of the season have been a great success: sixteen points from seven games (at this point last year we had nine), plus two League Cup wins. And we're ahead of Arsenal and Liverpool, only five points off the lead and with a game in hand.


Anonymous said...

I have to disagree a little here.Except for some periods i thought we bossed most of the game.We kept possesion well and although not hitting the peaks of late we played pretty well.

Defending set pieces is proving our undoing time after time and this needs sorting quickly,as does stopping the ball getting into the box so often.

Up front we just seemed to lack the spark and belief needed to win the game.An out and out goal poacher alongside Adebayor is needed,but as we know there are few about.Maybe we could try Robinho there,as if Bellamy stays fit there is no way he will get the left wing berth back!

All in all though we are looking a strong outfit and the more we play together the better we should become.

Quester said...

I am inclined to agree with the author here - it was disappointing to have not come away with all 3 points and cemented our position at no. 3 in the table.

Dreadful first 10 minutes of the game and to be honest I found Ade and SWP disappointing, even Barry was not on top form, but maybe the constant booing from the Villa fans was getting to him (it certainly was me!).

Again I was frustrated with Hughes not changing the team earlier (Petrov should definitely have come on for SWP) and RSC remained pretty much invisible throughout his time on the pitch. Whilst defensively we are still too weak and lacking direction, but hopefully these weaknesses will improve with time.

The GOOD NEWS is we didn't get beaten and Superman finally started to show some of his customary magic again - I think he could at last be getting back to the force he was last season. Bellamy was again our most dynamic and dangerous player on the pitch and Tevez continued to show unending effort and some very good passing and vision. I could go on, and on ......

Suffice to say it wasn't our best match, but it was still 100% better than anything we managed last season. I'd mark this one as C+/B-, can and must try harder.

PS: great work by the way, TLDRC is by far the best of the City web forums around today.

Peter Derbyshire said...

Thought Ireland made a big difference, for periods we seemed short in midfield, the formation often became a 4 2 4 with a huge gap between Barry, De Jong and front 4!
Still a good point against a very Villa team