Thursday, 28 January 2010

United 3 - 1 City

  • So much for Wembley. We went to Old Trafford this evening needing a draw or a win, and we got neither. For a brief period it looked as if we were going to take the game into extra time, but we couldn't even make it that far. Ultimately, United were too good for us. Taking the game to extra time would have been an achievement itself. Losing the game in stoppage time was heart-breaking, but was no breach of football justice.
  • As in the first leg, we stuttered at first. We conceded too much space to United, and they subjected us to a level of pressure that we deserved. We improved as the first half went on, and 0-0 was probably fair at the interval. But again we faced the problem of retreating in the face of pressure, and again we were reliant on Vincent Kompany and Dedryck Boyata to keep the game level.
  • But their resistance could not last forever. The upsetting thing about the second half was that both goals were avoidable. Both came from a sequence of missed tackles, both could have been avoided had best defensive practices been followed. It was a shame after such a good defensive performance, but it was almost inevitable from the off: we never quite looked like having the experience to hold them off.
  • Once we went 2-0 down we finally started to play. The addition of Stephen Ireland and Emmanuel Adebayor added more to our game, and our goal when it came was deserved. But a really excellent team would have pressed that advantage and gone into the lead. We didn't. After a brief spell of pressure we ceded control back to United, and as much as I would have liked to complain about Rooney's goal, if it had not have come in the 91st minute it would have happened in the 101st or 111th minute.
  • To get through this evening we would have needed to have been either defensively flawless or brutal on the counter-attack. We were neither, which is why we failed. But we're still in the FA Cup, and in competition for fourth place. This season isn't over yet, and glory is still within reach.

12 comments:

rosler forever said...

I love city, the outfield players put their heart on the line tonight and were a little unlucky I thought, maybe steve ireland on from the start?

I have been a football coach for 20 yrs now and something has been bothering me about city displays this season. Having read hundreds of blogs and not commenting until now have only seen a couple of comments based on what I am about to say and I am dumbfounded that it is not said more often..... I can only assume it is not said by media pundits often as most of them are outfield players, ...Goal number 3 rooney is heading the ball without jumping on the 6yd box. A goalkeeper should collect that every time! Many goals this season have been conceded in this fashion, or a scramble has ensued and then given pills off a great save and everyone says he is a great keeper... This is the equivalent of an outfield player giving the ball away cheaply and then winning it back in a less crucial position..... The first goal, the initial through ball should have easily been met by given and the second he anticipated a near post shot from carrick and let in a soft shot.

In the league derby at old trafford he let in Fletchers header as he thought it was going wide! He has pulled off many saves over the season but much a keeper does effectively to prevent goals could be prevented way before the dramatic reflex saves he has shown because he has not clreared his lines. This is why under hughes in particular toure and lescott defended so deep and reacted late as they expected another keeper from previous teams to collect. I believe he feels he can't because of his height. .... This needs to be addressed quickly, is it a height issue? joe Hart back please, he was the best goalkeeper we have had for years.

Eastlands = Heaven said...

I do agree that Given has been a bit suspect at times in not coming off his line but I still feel that Given is quality and possibly the best keeper in the Premiership. Hart is definitely improving at Birmingham but Given should still be our number 1 for at least another couple of years.

wizzballs said...

Rosler, Given's unwillingness to dominate his area has been discussed at length on several forums.

It's a hard call tho. Even to there is a real weakness in his game, Given's shot stopping is unparalleled, he is popular with the team and a model professional. He has saved us more often than I care to remember, and I would be unhappy if we repaid him by dumping him. He is more than good enough until Joe Hart fulfils his potential.

personally, tonight, I felt that the goal was more a result of Zabaleta failing to track Rooney's run in the box, and, generally, I think the team lost concentration in those final moments, they appeared to be waiting for the final whistle. To me that's a matter of experience in pressure situations. Utd have been there countless times.

which is my point to you JPB. the difference tonight was no more than a couple of moments of lapsed concentration. we outplayed them as the first half went on, and were tearing into them at the start of the second. unfortunately I believe we let the bellamy/coin/bottle incident distract us, and utd scored within seconds. the heads dropped, we retreated, they scored a second... in fact we showed great character to get back into the game, and I would have backed us had it gone to extra time, but we didn't make it to the final whistle.

utd are top class opponents, who were supremely motivated. we matched them (had more shots on goal in fact), but as is so often the case at the top level, concentration levels at key moments made the difference.

in other words, we competed at the highest level. we did not flatter to decieve, it was as honest, and ultimately narrow a defeat as you can get. I took enormous pride in seeing such a committed team performance. It's what sport is all about. With experience, hard work and a bit of tuning of the squad, we will be in a position to match the best and win trophies.

Jarrad Liam said...

Personally, I think everybody needs to stop being so sentimental about SWP. He gives the ball away more often then not, scores rarely, doesn't penetrate centrally and ends up looking like an idiot more often than not. Adebayor ahead of SWP in that line up for me.

Zabaleta in midfield ahead of Stephen Ireland? With Garrido at left beck? Ireland changed the game when he came on. Garrido got skinned all day long by Nani, and then by Valencia and by any spastic who goes near him.

It was a wank line up and Im surprised we didnt get flogged by more.

Mancini is yet to prove himself.

Daniel said...

It's not the end of the world, or of respectability. The rags embarrassed themselves. At the very least, their fans did. There is always tomorrow. United are a shit circus, City Acendant.

And can I just say that I LOVE the U.S.A. chant. I'm an American and I'm loving it all. Let another American be the ruination of the shitty shit shit rags!

City Till I Die!

PS: Soon enough, my friends. Soon enough, now.

Johnny Crossan said...

rosler forever wrote:
...Goal number 3 rooney is heading the ball without jumping on the 6yd box. A goalkeeper should collect that every time!"

The tactic is that the defenders deal with crosses and they know Given won't come - so they go for everything. Sadly Boyata and Kompany were the ones who got it wrong - too far apart.

And you're right, Steaming Joe would probably have been in there, but as an experienced coach you should recognise that is a different tactic.

Rios Dos Santos said...

Agree with your analysis JPB.
Over the two legs they put us under too much pressure. I think Boyata x Kompany did really well considering. Tevez somehow just keeps scoring. We battled well.

But my concern was again in Midfield.. We're just not tough enough to withstand long pressure from a quality side in midfield. We need to be able to at least try and keep the ball and try to control midfield a bit more... i know it's not easy but if we don't try we are bound to concede no matter how hard our young centre backs play.

Where was Barry?? He really needs to step up and be counted. He's playing for the World Cup no? Then he needs to do better. I want to see him get into the game more. GET INVOLVED.

He's not fast, he's not as good defending as De Jong, he's not as attack minded as Ireland.. I thought his game was to keep possession with a good eye for a pass and keeping midfield ticking. He has not been doing that for us recently. Not just again Manure. Then what is he bringing to our team??

Sorry about the rant guys!
But I really think Barry can do better.
So can SWP. He conceded possession way too often last night.

but generally everyone tried their best and i'm proud. Our time will come...

Eastlands = Heaven said...

I agree with Rios Dos Santos about Barry's performances of late but still think he is good enough. Maybe the prospect of Viera taking his place will improve his performances. I still believe that we will have a very good season. CTID

trinder said...

Wingers are the only players allowed to gamble with possession. SWP plays a very difficult role very well. His work rate is excellent, he protects his right-back better than Robinho, Petrov and even Bellamy do. Not every run comes off but that's the risk you take. The credit for Richards having such a good attacking game lies in part with Wright-Philips performance.

Rios Dos Santos said...

I agree, wingers are the only players allowed to gamble with possession, but top-class wingers beat defenders more often than they lose the ball. and the City we are now needs a top-class winger.

i like SWP and i hope he's the one for us. but last night he wasn't.

pjdemers said...

I will keep screaming this to the rooftops but we need a creative central midfielder before the January window closes. I was hoping we could use our connections with Hamburg to get German international Piotr Trochowski, a tricky dribbler with an eye for a through ball who can play thru the centre or on either wing.

I've heard constant rumours that we are looking at Cassano and I for one would welcome the move. Bottomline is we need a creative player who can play centrally to unlock oppostion defences

trinder said...

Cassano is a fascinating suggestion. He's part genius, part lunatic. A loan would make most sense, just to be sure he doesn't bring his basket case with him.