Sunday, 31 January 2010

TLDORC January awards

Not quite as dramatic as December 2009, but if the rest of this decade is like January 2010 we're in so for some fun. The month was dominated, understandably, by our thrilling League Cup semi-finals against Manchester United. We won the first one at home 2-1, thanks to two goals from Carlos Tévez. We went to United, went 2-0 down before Tévez pulled the scores equal. The tie was set for extra time before Wayne Rooney won it for United in stoppage time. Upsetting, yes. But to lose 4-3 over two legs, with United scoring their winner in the 182nd minute of the tie is no shame. Particularly when Sir Alex Ferguson had compromised his policy of playing the kids in the League Cup. But that wasn't the whole story this month. In both the Premier League and the FA Cup we continued our steady progress under Roberto Mancini. In the league we brushed off Blackburn - thanks to a Tévez hat-trick, before losing dismally at Goodison Park and then beating Portsmouth 2-0 at Eastlands today. We also progressed to the fifth round of the FA Cup with wins at Middlesbrough and Scunthorpe. And, of course, Robinho left. It's been a busy month.

Middlesbrough (a) 1-0 (thoughts, ratings, reax, more reax)
Blackburn Rovers (h) 4-1 (thoughts, ratings, reax)
Everton (a) 0-2 (thoughts, ratings, reax, more reax)
Manchester United (h) 2-1 (thoughts, ratings, reax)
Scunthorpe United (a) 4-2 (thoughts, ratings, reax)
Manchester United (a) 1-3 (thoughts, ratings, reax)
Portsmouth (h) 2-0 (thoughts, ratings, reax)

Player of the Month

He wasn't quite as productive as in December - scoring six goals in six games (one as sub) rather than eight in seven - but for the second consecutive month Carlos Tévez was our indispensable man. It is easy to sneer at one man teams - Liverpool's dependence on Fernando Torres, United's on Wayne Rooney - but Tévez is at least as crucial to our attacking player as either of those are to their respective sides. This month was he was central to everything good that we did. It started with a hat-trick against Blackburn Rovers - his first in the Premier League - where he showed the quality that accompanies his work rate, with two delightful curled finishes. But the main story this month was his being reunited with Manchester United in the League Cup semi-final. It was all about him, and he revelled in it. Two goals in the home leg, including a nerveless penalty, and he put us ahead. An inspired flick at Old Trafford levelled the tie but he never got the chance to put them out in extra-time. He did succeed though, in making himself our main man, our icon, and the man on whose shoulders our chance of success rests.

Honourable mentions for the two Belgian centre-backs, Vincent Kompany and Dedryck Boyata, who were both very good. We always knew that Kompany could play, and he has been better recently than any City centre-back has been this season. But we didn't know much about Boyata. He played five games this month and was much more assured than we could have hoped. He won't be a regular for a while yet but he's certainly promising.

Performance of the month

Tévez against Blackburn. A hat-trick, the first we've had at City for a while, and while the first was bundled in the second and third were goals of real class. He's not just a trier.

Goal of the Month

Sylvinho v Scunthorpe

Thirty five yards. And the 'keeper had no chance.

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