Saturday, 4 September 2010

Hart stars and AJ scores in England win

A big night for Manchester City players at Wembley. Joe Hart, James Milner and Gareth Barry all started, while Adam Johnson came on and scored a late goal.

Hart was the most impressive of the four. While England were much the better save, Hart had to make key reaction saves from Stanislav Angelov, Dimitar Rangelov and Glen Johnson to preserve his clean sheet. He also dominated his area and made no terrible mistakes, which might sound unremarkable but is in fact a novel approach for an England goalkeeper.

Milner and Barry were both strong and solid in midfield (Barry's perfectly judged cynical foul on the edge of our box, unpunished, was a beautiful example of his ability with the dark arts), but it was Johnson who scored. He came on for Theo Walcott, with twenty or so minutes left, playing from the right wing. And it was from one of those favoured positions of his that he scored, receiving the ball from Wayne Rooney, swerving inside and beating Nikolay Mihaylov - a little bit too easily - at his near post.

Valeri Bozhinov and Martin Petrov both started for Bulgaria, and I would certainly have applauded any achievements of theirs and written about how much they meant to me. But there was almost nothing to note there.

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