Monday, 14 March 2011

City 1 - 0 Reading

  • After a series of difficult and disjointed home 1-0 wins, here was a 1-0 win to revel in. They didn't play brilliantly although, given recent exertions and performances, they played better than I thought they might. And, crucially, we have avoided immersion in the dreadpool of a cup final against Manchester United. Forgive me my cowardice, but the only way to think as a City fan is by identifying the worst possible outcome, and then navigating ways of avoiding it. We are not going to lose a final to United this year, and that is a relief.
  • Not nearly as much of a relief, though, as Micah Richards' goal. I don't think I've ever experienced as much of a collective nerve release as when Richards headed in David Silva's corner yesterday. The longer the game went on goalless the worse the potential outcomes seemed; the stoppage-time loss, the penalties loss. We made half-chances but Reading defended well, Mario Balotelli was thrown on for Patrick Vieira to make something happen. He didn't score, but he did win the corner from which Richards scored; his most important goal for the club since another late bullet header from a corner in the cup.
  • Before then the performance had been acceptable (which is noteworthy), without ever reaching the levels some would hope for. Reading were physical, compact and well-organised. They had an aerial threat and offered us nothing in their third. Chances were limited; most came from the excellence of David Silva, although the final third movement and sharpness was not always good enough to take advantage of his play. The Reading centre-backs forced our players wide when they did get through on goal, and their keeper was good enough to block anything hit at him. With a spine of the side restored, in Vincent Kompany and Nigel de Jong, the players were less flustered than they might have been.
  • And so it's Wembley one month from now. Of course, semi-finals should not be played there, because it devalues the final. The practical point that there will be more than 60,000 plus Mancunians on the same transport links is actually secondary to the moral point about what Wembley is meant to mean. But I don't want to sound churlish. It's another symbol of post-takeover progress; one step beyond our League Cup semi-final of last year, and, given the opposition, a chance to avenge that 4-3 aggregate defeat. There's no point in my offering a prediction, as you all know what I think. But it's good and important to be there. And we know now they can't beat us in the final.

3 comments:

J i m s t e r said...

"The practical point that there will be more than 60,000 plus Mancunians on the same transport links"

Surely the reds will be using their usual Network South East links!

pjdemers said...

It high time we as fans stop fearing United. The semi-final will not be deceided by tactics but but by desire. the team that wants it most will win. it is that simple. its high time we as Citizens adopted this attitude.

joseph burrell said...

at that time I was working as an online bookmaker and I recall that Manchester City was getting better after every match, but in the end they were not that lucky