Saturday, 11 September 2010

City 1 - 1 Blackburn

  • How infuriating. We threw away points for the second consecutive game, taking a score draw in a game we had no excuse not to win. It was a fairly stylish performance - not much less good than that against Liverpool. We created more chances than we did then, and not much would have to have gone differently for us to score four as we did in this game last year. But we wasted them, and so the ludicrous first half goal we conceded ended up costing us two points. Five points from four games is not what we hoped for.

  • It can't really be blamed on cautious selection. Nigel de Jong was not in the 18, and Gareth Barry was on the bench, which displayed a willingness to break up that iron midfield triangle I was hoping to see. Patrick Vieira came into midfield, while Shaun Wright-Phillips started wide. David Silva was on the bench, which I hope was due to his coming back tired or injured from Buenos Aires - if he's behind Shaun in the pecking order for games like this then something's wrong. He certainly improved us when he came on though, which might suggest a misjudgement from Mancini.

  • Something that is frustrating now - but ultimately heartening I suppose - is that this was not a particularly poor performance. We played worse than this and won home games last year: the 3-0 against Wigan, the 1-0 against Wolves etc. For the most part, we dominated possession, moved the ball imaginatively and created more than enough chances to win. Paul Robinson made a series of good saves, we wasted opportunities and the ball kept on breaking into safe positions for Blackburn: I felt like a Spurs fan on opening day. I could list the worst moments, but I don't want to recall too much of it now. Adam Johnson in the first half, Gareth Barry in the second half, Carlos Tévez's left foot volley were the closest but there were more. We gave it everything, improving in confidence after Patrick Vieira's equaliser. But it was not to be.

  • Of course, what really stopped us from winning was the pathetic goal we conceded. Joe Hart came too far out for a ball that was not his. Kolo Touré confused matters and Nikola Kalinić rolled the ball into the empty net. I think the majority of the blame should lie with Hart, who was where he shouldn't have been, and did not obviously give Kolo a call either. But that's not to say Kolo could not have done better either. It was the sort of avoidable unforced error that serious teams do not seem to make. From that point on Blackburn needed no invitation to line nine players up on their eighteen yard line. Had that not gone in we probably would have scored first - and then it's a very different game.

  • Looking at the table at this stage of the season is pointless. I genuinely don't care where we are tonight. But points matter, and five points from four is probably three or four points fewer than I expected from these opening fixtures. Gelling takes time, particularly when combined with bedding our two key midfielders into the Premier League environment and while rotating to maintain satisfaction and competitiveness on multiple fronts. This is a difficult course for Mancini to navigate, and his position is far from enviable. But drawing home league games against average opponents is a sackable offence at Manchester City, and I'm sure he's aware of that.


Quester said...

It is a sackable offence, and quite rightly so. The cure is very simple though - stop playing such slow, tedious, cautious, and unimaginative football in the first half of every game.

If they came out to every match all guns blazing at high tempo and maintained that pace throughout the match (easy with 3 quality subs to bring on), then we will cream virtually every opponent.

Oh and one other thing, use RSC instead of Jo - we might have seen a different scoreline then. I don't know what Bobby Manc has against the lad, particularly as he has such a good attitude for one so "shunned", but he needs to get over it and give the boy a chance to prove himself.

Listen up Bobby, you are on borrowed time mate!

The Kippax Street Kid said...

Whilst we are all frustrated at dropping points at home against Blackburn and generally miffed about the modest return of 5 points from 4 games, there are mitigating circumstances. We've played Spurs away - a team that flew into the opening fixture against us. Liverpool we flattened. Sunderland (away again) were hard working and very lucky with Tevez's miss and Richards late, late abherration. Not one of our opening games has been what you might class an easy game. We are still learning to play as a team, we have several players out injured (including 3 possible left backs) and every team is trying their damnedest against us now - something we have to deal with.

Compare our opening fixtures of Spurs, Liverpool, Sunderland and Blackburn with Chelsea's opposition thus far: West Brom, Stoke, Wigan and West Ham.
That's 4 awkward games versus 4 bankers.

longwayfromhome said...

I still believe that although Tevez is good as a sole striker, he is best as a "number 10". In home games vs opposition that will set up 10 men behind the ball we need to play Adebeyor with Tevez behind him or in Ade's absence RSC. We learnt this last year and why Bobby M is having to re-teach himself is a bit of a mystery.