Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Stoke 1 - 1 City

  • A decent performance, but a seriously good point. We're up to fourth, and we still have one game in hand. It was a strange game - we were under pressure for most of the first hour, before Abdoulaye Faye was sent off. After a spell of a pressure we conceded from a rare Shay Given error, and it looked like we would lose to ten men for the second consecutive season at the Britannia. But a late Gareth Barry goal belatedly brought us level and we hung on for a point.
  • It ought to be said, though, that we were lucky with Ryan Shawcross' stoppage time header. He jumped against Shay Given from a Rory Delap long throw and headed home. It was disallowed; Shawcross having allegedly held Given down. It was a very marginal call from the referee. We won't always get this lucky. And it raises serious issues: we conceded two good goals against Stoke from long throws in two games. Only one of them was given - but we shouldn't be in this position.
  • Until the sending off we were poor. Stoke were as bold and aggressive as expected. They dominated possession and threw balls into our box. For the most part we defended bravely, Joleon Lescott again proving that he is better than Kolo Touré. But we did concede chances. And we again proved that we can't dominate possession. The Vieira/de Jong/Barry triangle was as slow and damp as it has been in the past. It was not until Faye was sent off that we got in the game.
  • From that point we got the space and possession we had been waiting all game for. Johnson on the left, and Shaun Wright-Phillips attacked down both flanks and we finally looked like the better side. But we couldn't make it count and the rarest of Shay Given mistakes led to our going 1-0 behind. Imagine losing to ten men of Stoke in consecutive seasons. Given's one of my favourite players so I'm delighted I'm not now cursing him for causing our defeat. But it shouldn't have happened and it was almost fatal.
  • We managed an equaliser, and a found a few half-chances for a winner. It shouldn't have come to this, and we should have lost it in stoppage time. I wanted a brave performance more than anything else. Did we get it? Probably not. We were cautious and timid, again, for too long and required lucky breaks to get level. But it's a point on the road, and one from behind as well. Enough to keep us in a decent positon for now. But enough to generate momentum for good results against Liverpool, Stoke and Chelsea? Probably not, I fear.


Johnny Crossan said...

I think you took a happy pill before writing that Lonely.
Well done.
Alan Wiley is my favourite referee but de Jong is not my favourite player.

trinder said...

Things I'm a more certain of than I was at 7pm last night:

1. Roque Santa Cruz is not good enough.

2. Emmanuel Adebayor has a fine technique but lacks intelligence, passion and energy. That makes him not good enough.

3. Patrick Viera had technique, intelligence, passion and energy but he's lost the first and last of those. That makes him not good enough.

4. Stoke on Trent is a shithole.

5. Kolo Toure is not good enough.

6. Javier Garrido is not good enough.

7. Stephen Ireland must play on Sunday in a 4-2-3-1 formation.

Insightful stuff this might not be but it's becoming more and more apparent that we can't keep playing a defensive formation if the players aren't going to stay in position at the back, move about up front and create something in the middle.

trinder said...

Where's pjdemers to remind us all why we need a creative midfielder?

Anonymous said...

On the last couple of performances I think I can safely say that City a) don't deserve to finish 4th and b) if City did finish 4th they would be completely out of their depth in the Champiosn League next season.

Without Tevez/Bellamy there is little or no spark in the side, and without SWP or Johnson, no pace. I think I know what Mancini is trying to do - get the players to retain possession, simple passes and dictate the tempo. That works well in Serie A or La Liga, but the Premiership game is played at blistering pace and once City lose the ball or a pushed onto he back foot, don't seem to be able to cope. They let the opposition dictate rather than stamping their own authority on the game.

It is clear that at present we have too many defensive midfielders - Vieira is clearly past his sell-by date, I don't know why Garrido is still with the club and it might well be time to recall Joe Hart from his loan spell (although I suspect that the terms of the loan prohibit that unless Given suffers a serious injury. Note to self: Phone Mrs Given and get her to push Shay down the stairs)

TPB said...

Can only see PV being useful on the big European nights, where he is "wheeled out" (a la Makelele or Dwight Yorke at the end of their careers) to play Defensive Midfield and just stand in the centre circle, breaking up and doing water carrier.

richard said...

Viera is unfit, he needs 3 weeks on the treadmill.

trinder said...

And a lift from Dr Emmett Brown in his DeLorean.