Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Birmingham 2 - 2 City

  • This was six days ago, and I didn't really watch it, and it was shit. But for the purpose of completeness I've got to write something. My mood has certainly improved since then, thanks to Saturday. But this was an infuriatingly lazy disposal of two points. To be 2-1 up at Birmingham, having given away the lead once, with just ten minutes left: it is so far removed from the standards that the management expect that one wonders just what Roberto Mancini said and did on Thursday and Friday.
  • Scoring two goals in an away game ought to be enough. Particularly at such a goal-desert as St. Andrew's. So to concede twice to an opposition as flat as Birmingham is a deeply unserious approach to a title challenge. Both goals pointed to serious problems. The first was free-kick whipped into the area; Joe Hart and the defence dithered, Nikola Zigic kneed the ball and Hart was too slow to stop it. Hart was averaging nearly one error per game in January and this was very much in that tradition.
  • The second goal, though, was even worse: Patrick Vieira arrived a week late to a tackle in the box and Craig Gardner converted the penalty. Vieira came on at half time for Nigel de Jong and again displayed why he is no longer fit for purpose in the Premier League. The more you watch of City the more you realise that there is a larger gulf between the side with and without de Jong than there is for even David Silva or Carlos Tévez. Not just for play-breaking but for leadership, ball retention, a cool head under pressure: he's an indispensable figure. Why Mancini thinks that Vieira is a more legitimate alternative to de Jong than Pablo Zabaleta is beyond me.
  • That said, Aleksandar Kolarov's first Premier League goal for City was enjoyable. He strikes the ball with a clarity and force we haven't seen at City in years. He's got two goals for City now, from a combined distance of over 40 yards, and I'm sure there will be more to come. He nearly won it for us with the final kick of the game. I'm sure there will be more this season and in future.

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