Saturday, 3 April 2010

Burnley 1 - 6 City

  • One of the strangest and most memorable City games in years. In the first half, it was uncompetitive. In the second half it was unplayable. At no point did it resemble a football match. After our ten minute blitz I had no doubt that we would win the match, but as the rain got worse the traditional tension of watching City lead on the road was replaced by a new fear, of Alan Wiley calling the game off. But the pitch and the sun just managed to hold off the wind and the rain, and Wiley held off his judgement. I was never fully confident - it was the tightest run 6-1 I've ever seen, even if the football match was over in ten minutes.
  • But for those ten minutes it was thrilling. I have never seen as one sided a period of football in my life. It was much worse than the start of the Arsenal v Barcelona game in mid-week, and not just because the ball ended up in the net. Burnley put in the worst defensive performance I have ever seen in the top flight. That terrible Derby County side of three years ago were never this bad, as far as I remember. Every time we attacked we went straight through on goal. We missed as many good chances as we scored from. Tévez dropped deep with impunity, facing no resistance from Burnley's midfield. Adam Johnson, Craig Bellamy and Manu Adebayor ran past defenders at will. At first it looked like men against boys, but it quickly descended into men against cones.
  • I don't want to take anything away from our attacking though. We did well to score as early as we did, and to kill the game quickly. Mancini got it right going with four attackers - Bellamy and Johnson playing as outside-in wingers, with Tévez drifting behind the spearhead Adebayor. Tévez ran the game, putting the other three into advanced positions, where they faced little resistance from the defence. It was good to see us soon realise that Burnley were there to be routed, and to execute our plan with all the brutality it demanded. There was never any complacency or sitting back. Which is a sign of a more serious attitude than we've seen in the past.
  • It was crucial that we had that five goal cushion going into the second half. The conditions were so bad after half time that it bridged the chasm between the teams. Had we been left with only a two or three goal cushion at the break it might have been nervy, but there was no way we were going to piss away 6-0, even with the ball struggling to travel more than four yards along the turf in any one movement. We were calm and assured when we could have panicked, keeping the ball as far as we could and playing it into the slightly drier channels where possible. Had the weather stayed bright we could well have scored eight or nine and vaulted beyond Spurs' goal difference.
  • But I can have no complaints with the weekend. We are ahead of Tottenham and just scored six on the road for the first time since a 6-2 win at Hillsborough in September 2001. Tévez's form is improving ever further, as is that of Bellamy and Johnson. I'm still making Spurs narrow favourites for fourth, but tonight's result was a big step in the right direction. More of the same on Sunday please.


Philip said...

Tightest run 6-1 you've ever seen?

What a strange comment. I can't remember seeing such a one-sided game of football in a long time. Could have been double figures at half time without doubt. Even in the second half we created chances, and played some nice football. I feel you exaggerate the conditions to some considerable degree - the ball was slowed up a few times, but it was hardly unplayable and when we moved the ball at pace we opened them up again.

Really, there was nothing tight about it whatsoever - it was a one sided 6-1, if anything. I suggest you have a rethink.

Johnny Crossan said...

Keep your courage screwed to the sticking place Lonely.
"men against cones" v good
"still making Spurs narrow favourites for fourth" v bad

RoseHillBlue said...

Sorry Philip but completely agree with the tightest 6-1 comment. Any one who has followed City would have been worried in the second half purley because of the pitch. The middle of the pitch was deliberatley kept like a delta plain by the groundstaff and kept slowing the ball. If there was only one/two goals in it I feel the game could have been abondoned.

RoseHillBlue said...

sorry for several speeling errors! incidentally, what on earth was Henry Winkler a.k.a. Slyvinho wearing round his neck whilst wearing short sleeves?!?!

Philip said...

Sure, I was worried because of the pitch - in the sense that the game might be abandoned.

But not worried whatsoever in terms of football and if you thought there was anything 'tight' about that game - even in the second half - you need your head examining. We created enough second half chances to score 3 or 4 and would have done so in normal conditions.

To call that game 'tight', even 'tight for a 6-1', is simply an absurd assessment.

JPB said...

Philip - of course the game was one-sided. What I meant was that it was possible that we wouldn't win, because of the weather. We were never in danger of not winning the football match.

Philip said...

Okay JPB, fair enough - I misunderstood.

Mea culpa.

wizzballs said...

kids these days! I've seen much worse conditions. how about Turkey 2 Austria 1, and the ball stopping dead on the goal line?

The last game to be abandoned in England was Plymouth v Barnsley, last December. The rain was described as biblical, several inches falling in the space of a couple of hours leading up the game.

The experienced observer would not have expected yesterday's conditions to lead to an abandonment. It was merely a heavy sustained downpour during the game. The pitch was only damp at the beginning of play. what excerbated the problems, and perhaps made things look worse than they really were, was the overlong grass and uneven surface. but throughout, the ball rolled across the entire playing area, admittedly less so around the centre circle.

crucially, perhaps because it appeared to have been left unkempt since the romans packed up and went home, it didn't cut up at all.

there was only one mishap caused by the conditions, where bellamy and tevez collided.

so, it was playable, even predictable, and apparently did not pose a hazard to the players.

if the rain had started half an hour before play, things might have been very different, but in the event there was never any real prospect of the game being abandoned... that was despite the best efforts of the ground-staff, who cynically refused to work on it at all at half time, and the burnley phsyios who harangued the 4th official. the vocal appeals from the burnley fans' vocal appeals were largely ironic.

what a day though. spare a thought for the wonderful support offered to their team by the burnley fans who stuck it out.

one final thought... if you really have spurs as favourites, you might consider laying bets against us on an exchange. the market has us as clear favourites, 20/21 on, with spurs and liverpool both at 3/1.

onwards and upwards!

JonRoseHill said...

Philip, just for completeness (and to make myself feel better!), I of course thought it was extremely one sided. I only meant close in terms of it being abandoned due to the conditions stopping the ball rolling in the middle of the park.

My concern is Spurs always tend to win the big games at City (QF of FA and League Cups etc).

Philip said...

Yup, I do agree about Spurs - they have the sign over us, and despite the fact that we have more quality overall (IMO), they are better balanced, particularly in midfield.

I would back us if we had our first choice defence fit and playing every week, but without it things are going to be much tighter.

And don't forget Liverpool...

Harry said...

I'm not concerned about Spurs. Do the BBC predictor and see where Spurs come. Every time I have them in 7th. They have incredibly difficult games coming up and they always screw it up. Liverpool are our closest contenders IMO and we have a nice chunky lead on them. They haven't beaten Birmingham in the Prem yet and Brum are very good at home. Today's game will be interesting.

Harry said...

I'm not concerned about Spurs. Do the BBC predictor and see where Spurs come. Every time I have them in 7th. They have incredibly difficult games coming up and they always screw it up. Liverpool are our closest contenders IMO and we have a nice chunky lead on them. They haven't beaten Birmingham in the Prem yet and Brum are very good at home. Today's game will be interesting.