Sunday, 30 January 2011

Notts County 1 - 1 City

  • Well we are probably more likely to reach the fifth round than we were on Sunday morning. And that's not meaningless. But this was not one of the great Manchester City FA Cup performances. A City team hollowed of its core, on a Passchendaele pitch, up against spirited but limited football league side, to whom we conceded a soft goal. That said, the fact that we equalised betrays a strength of spirit not always associated with City sides. And that the equaliser was Edin Džeko's first as a blue doubled the relief.
  • I appreciate that the need for rotation, of course I do. But I sometimes think that Roberto Mancini does it with insufficient discrimination. Our team has an obvious core: the spine is Vincent Kompany and Nigel de Jong, the brain is David Silva and Carlos Tévez. To remove all four is not only to remove our best four players, but also to leave us invertebrate and thought-free. We had this when we went out of the League Cup at the Hawthorns in September, and here it was again. In the first half, we lacked Silva and Tévez: the midfield of Patrick Vieira, Gareth Barry and Yaya Touré had enough of the ball but they could do little with it. One could forgive James Milner and Jô for creating nothing from the wings at the Emirates. But this was Meadow Lane and they were just as poor. Both players Milner has his uses but I'm not sure he is a top class winger.
  • As the game went on, Notts County improved. Patrick Vieira no longer has the legs to run a midfield as he used to; with Nigel de Jong in the team there would not have been the same concession of momentum. The hosts then took the lead, as a pathetically marked corner was headed in at the near post. That's our fifth consecutive game without a clean sheet, which must infuriate Mancini.
  • Just when I thought this was going to be latest embarrassing cup exit, we equalised. Micah Richards, probably our best attacking player, thundered down the right flank again. (He plays as if the by-line is the finishing line in a race, which while obviously rather lacking in subtlety, means he plays with more drive than the strolling Jérôme Boateng). Džeko ran between two defenders and shot high into the net.


Anonymous said...

Fair enough. You are right to point out our sort of half-hazard decision on who to play the wings. Putting Milner in seemed to be a decent enough idea given his Leicester City performances (surprisingly spirited), but with an almost arbitrary placement scheme during the Premier League (Johnson or Milner), how can the reason of the team expect to react and align? With Johnson injured for the forseeable future I suppose Milner will have to do but I am a bit sick of never knowing who will widen the game for us on match day.

Dzeko was fairly serviceable as a wing but this clears up the idea that he can ever be 1) a workhouse a la Tevez or 2) a ball-controlling target man. As we can see, he will need the likes of Silva, Balotelli/Tevez as first striker, or a Yaya playing attack in order to get the ball to him in the box. No surprise given his reputation as slow but accurate at Wolfsburg, but it does distress me that yet again we have put ourselves in a Tevez-dependent role if Balotelli is injured or lazy, or if Silva is out or having an off day. Maybe it's also watching Andy Carroll going to Liverpool for only a bit less than Dzeko that is also hurting my soul. Good blog this time around though.

Birmingham tomorrow - we'll be watching over here in California (American blue in the house)!

Anonymous said...

Meant to say "Dzeko was fairly serviceable a striker", sorry!

budakon said...

In Invertebrate side. Love the metaphor. So true.
Otherwise known as spineless.

Grumpy said...

The side Bobberto put out should have been capable of turning over County, even missing Carlitos and dem. They were too cautious in the opening 45.

It's a much-improved side since the dark days of Dunne and Ireland looking at each other to see who would c*ck-up first, but still lacking the confidence, the belief, that Champions have.

StanMCFC said...

Disagree with some of the thoughts on here. Actually thought Dzeko did really well in a very competitive match on a terrible pitch.

Like his attitude too (didn't let missing a couple of half chances affect him). At £10 million less than Carroll he could well turn out a bargain buy.

Tevez wasn't fit so not an option and Milner is better than people giving him credit for. Hopefully he'll get a run in the side now AJ is injured.

Otherwise happy to get a draw from a game we probably would have lost under Hughes and definitely would have done under his predecessors.

StanMCFC said...

ps if (and i realise it's a big if) Michael Johnson can get match fit again, he will give us another creative option in the absence of Silva...