Sunday, 11 April 2010

City 5 - 1 Birmingham

  • At this stage of the season it's easily said that results are all that matter, that performances mean nothing. This wasn't how I felt going into the game. Because results and performances cannot be so neatly separated. Against Birmingham we could have won unimpressively - as we did against Wigan last week. But to get anything from our fast-arriving matches with Arsenal and Manchester United we will have to play excellent football. And we won't do that without confidence and momentum. So it was important not just to win today, but to win well. To look like a team that knew they were favourites for fourth, and were quite comfortable with that fact. Only with such a performance could I genuinely expect that the team expected that they'd do it.
  • And that was precisely what we got. It was all much more similar to the routing of Burnley last Saturday than I expected. For the first half an hour we played good football in front of Birmingham's stacked banks of four. It was the traditional pattern of a league game at Eastlands: possession, decent passing and hoping that Carlos Tévez would conjure something. But after Phil Dowd awarded us a penalty that Mike Dean would have been proud of, Birmingham just collapsed. For a team with a reputation of organisation and solidity they were strikingly ragged and riddled with errors. 1-0 on 38 minutes became 3-1 just five minutes later.
  • After all that excitement the second half was a strange affair. Birmingham decided to venture into our half and fashioned themselves a few half chances. There were glimpses of nervousness, but that was just a Pavlovian reaction to past horrors. We were never going to throw this away, particularly given how open Birmingham were on the break. And we grabbed another two to kill the game, Nedum Onuoha and Emmanuel Adebayor bounding through unchallenged. It was all easier than I feared.
  • As easy as Birmingham made it for us, this was one of our better attacking performances for some time. And it was one of the first times this season I've thought that Carlos Tévez and Emmanuel Adebayor could be an effective strikeforce in the long term for City. They linked better than they ever had done before, Adebayor performing excellently as a target man, with Tévez dropping off and operating as a deep-lying craftsman. With Craig Bellamy and Adam Johnson carrying on their Turf Moor tactics of cutting inside to link with Tévez we were livelier than usual and got our rewards.
  • And I go into this week more confident about fourth than I have been all season. Even if Spurs beat Arsenal in midweek we will be one point ahead of them with a better goal difference. But I don't think that's going to happen. Liverpool and Aston Villa look drained and distant. I'm giving us a higher than 50% chance of getting fourth now, which is a big move up in my predictions. And our next game is the derby against a deflated United side. We're not favourites for that game - we never are - but we've got a decent chance of another great result.

2 comments:

1.618034 said...

Maybe it's not going to be too long before we are favourites in these games...?

Rooney will play. Taggart's going to play him until he's too bad for the world cup, so he'll play. The last thing he wants is Rooney missing the end, ok the run-in, then playing at the world cup when he'd be better off resting for next season's push for 3rd.

Whether he's fit enough to influence the game is another question. I'd be amazed if he lasts the full game, but we'll see eh?



A win would be Earth-shattering!

HVA Blogger said...

I really fancy us to beat the rags.

I know that I shouldn't, but I do.

We're really hitting form as they're falling apart. If Rooney is injured or half fit, we'll take all 3 points.

Keep up the good work, Jack.