Sunday, 17 October 2010

Blackpool 2 - 3 City

  • The most enjoyable win of the season. More so than Chelsea, certainly. That was a bigger achievement, yes, but it was a measured, planned and mechanical performance, a chess victory. This was thrillingly chancy, a burglary from our much more assured and coherent hosts. It was more ice hockey than chess, especially as the game opened up in its final quarter, and the goals started to flow. Up to that point, though, Blackpool had been the much more impressive side, outplaying us from the start. But winning when you don't play well is meant to be the sign of a successful side, and this was our second consecutive such win - and our fourth straight league victory.

  • I'm still shocked that we won. Away wins in the league have been sufficiently scarce sufficiently recently for me still to value them like precious stones. (We won two from 19 in 2008/09.) So to go somewhere like Bloomfield Road and win feels like achievement enough. But this wasn't just a generic away game, but one against a Blackpool side playing with real confidence and cohesion, whose last game was their win at Anfield. They carried this form through today, and out-pressed and out-passed us all over the pitch. I don't want to sound patronising, but they were excellent today. The point is this was precisely the sort of game we always used to lose. I tend to revel in the 'typical City' stuff, and part of me does enjoy the loyalty to archetypes. But this sort of snatched away win; well, I could get used to it.

  • We didn't help ourselves. We played flat 4-4-2 for the first time this season, with Emmanuel Adebayor and Adam Johnson back in the side. Deprived of not only Yaya Touré, but also Nigel de Jong's reckless essence, we were outmanned in midfield. David Vaughan and Charlie Adam passed around us, we could only hold our shape and hold tight. When we did get the ball they harried us until they had it back; there was no invention, only long balls to the front men, most of which bounced off Adebayor. Fortunately, Blackpool didn't create too much themselves. Except for the moment Joleon Lescott abandoned the forgiving DJ Campbell in the box we defended well enough. But there was no question of the better side.

  • Just our luck, then, that we had David Silva on the bench. He came on and - in concert with Carlos Tévez - won us the game. Silva has an ability to move into spaces other players just don't see, and after two minutes on the pitch he drifted into the left channel and crossed to Tévez who flicked the ball in. He had been off-side, too. Blackpool pulled one back but we instantly retained the lead, again through Silva and Tévez. They swarmed on the dawdling Ian Evatt, Tévez won the ball and fired - via a deflection - into the bottom corner. Somehow ahead, we looked comfortable enough before Silva scored a fantasy of a goal. He received the ball from a Milner free kick, feinted outside and cut in to beat Stephen Crainey, before doing exactly the same to David Vaughan. He then curled the ball past Charlie Adam and Matt Gilks into the far corner. It was like nothing we've seen since Kinkladze. It's when I see things like this that I become increasingly certain that at some stage this season, David Silva is going to reduce me to tears.

  • We managed to concede one more in stoppage time before the final whistle. But we emerged with the three points, and a further-buttressed sense that all of Roberto Mancini's talk about 'winning mentality' might actually have some meat to it. We might not yet be playing the football we want to, but for as long as we can defend properly, and keep Silva and Tévez involved in the right areas, we might be able to hang on to second place for a few more weeks yet.


dougie said...

Fair play to Mancini. I'd been calling for two up top but the improvement once ade went off was clear to see. Great to see us in second with daylight too. Tevez and silva sublime

Nika said...

Adebayor was useless. He may still not be match fit but his lack of movement and touch was apalling; he simply has to go. De Jong was definitely spooked by all the bad press. He had a poor game and City struggled to hold Blackpool at bay because of it. Really pleased to see David Silva get on the score sheet -- and some people think he is too lightweight for the Premiership. I think not. We did not deserve the 3 points today, a draw would have been a fairer result. Well done Blackpool; I really hope the Seasiders stay up as they are highly entertaining and good value for money.