Sunday, 24 January 2010

Scunthorpe 2 - 4 City

  • With a semi-final second leg at Old Trafford on Wednesday, today was always going to be overshadowed by events to come. Selection was a balancing act between resting those that we need for Wednesday but doing enough to progress to the fifth round. And Mancini achieved it perfectly: Gareth Barry, Shay Given, Carlos Tévez, Micah Richards and Shaun Wright-Phillips were all rested, while Craig Bellamy was only needed for the last five minutes. We didn't play brilliantly, but we did enough, which is more than we sometimes do.
  • The performance was a bit mixed. We didn't control possession as well as we might, which with Stephen Ireland and Nigel de Jong starting in central midfield was slightly disappointing. We settled better in the second half, but Scunthorpe had quite a few chances. When they equalised in the first half it had been long coming, and we were fortunate to be 2-1 up at the break. In the second half we were bombarded with high balls, and for the most part we looked comfortable. And with Scunthorpe coming at us it was never going to be that easy.
  • The way you get out of these situations: a well organised, competitive opposition in unfavourable conditions is with isolated moments of excellence. All four of our goals demonstrated the quality we can call upon, the one key difference between the two teams: Martin Petrov's finish for our first, Stephen Ireland's beautiful pass for our second, Sylvinho's cannon-shot from distance, and Petrov's ball for Robinho for our fourth. It would have been nice to out-pass them, maybe, but with goals of this quality it was still very good. A great reminder, too, of the players we can call on even without some of our biggest names.
  • It was pleasing to see more of the Academy players in the game. Dedryck Boyata made his third start under Mancini, and looked increasingly confident. Abdisalam Ibrahim played the whole game and looked good, while Greg Cunningham came on at left back for the second half. Add Stephen Ireland and Nedum Onuoha and it was a good turn-out for the Academy boys. Mancini's willingness to blood youngsters has been a pleasant surprise thus far - I wouldn't mind seeing one or two in the next round.
  • That's not to say that Stoke City will be an easy game. They're a competitive side and they look secure enough in the Premier League to really throw their all into the FA Cup. That said, it is still a relatively favourable draw for a fifth round game. Stoke have come to Eastlands twice and we've beaten them 3-0 and 2-0. We've got to be big favourites though.

3 comments:

Thomas said...

agreed fully. nice to see a performance from ireland before the derby. this game was good for us.
Ibra and boyata were both very impressive. superb debut!

Philip said...

Boyata looks really, really, really good so far.

Impressively calm and composed when in possession as well as big and strong. Hard to go wrong when you've got those qualities.

Ibrahim looked good too, but I would need a bit more evidence to decide what I think about him. Certainly showed an impressively positive attitude and some nice touches though.

Hemulen said...

I like Boyata. He looked really pissed off to be subbed against United last week . I take that as a good sign!