Joe Kinnear was a theatrical, comedic goldmine yesterday on Talksport, saying that he's "more intelligent" than Newcastle United supporters and showing a crushing inability to pronounce the names of Newcastle's top players. Kinnear called Yohan Cabaye, "Yohan Kebab" and have you ever heard of Hatem Ben Affri? Kinnear Read more
Joe Kinnear has re-joined Newcastle United under the guise of "Director of Football." Due to the absurdity of the appointment, I could finish the blog here and leave you to chew on that information for the entirety of your Monday. It is a very bizarre development at Newcastle, as Read more
The new Premier League season is set to be an exciting one, thanks to a raft of changes that have occurred at the top clubs since the end of the last one, which leave things feeling less predictable than they have for a while.
The fact that Chelsea have Read more
As I trawled through the various football websites this morning, all I saw was this...
Tumbleweed. Lots and lots of tumbleweed. The transfer window hasn't opened and won't do so until the July 1st, so we should all calm down in that regard. At the moment it feels as Read more
The football season is over, players have gone on holiday and the tedium of transfer rumours have officially started, if not prematurely, with the transfer window not actually until July 1st. So, what to do until August when it all kicks off again? Spend time with loved ones? Take Read more
The football season is over, players have gone on holiday and the tedium of transfer rumours have officially started, if not prematurely, with the transfer window not actually until July 1st. So, what to do until August when it all kicks off again? Spend time with loved ones? Take up a new hobby? Me and Mat were going to take up fencing over the summer, but that idea seems to have fallen by the wayside. Instead, maybe you could sort out that home improvement that you’ve been needing to finish, but haven’t had the time to do so?
Of course, the answer to the above questions is a resounding “no.” Now that the 2012/13 season has passed and we’ve lived and breathed its every emotion, it is time to review what happened and chew on every little incident from every team. Now, I’m only one man, I can’t talk about every team as that would be impossible. Instead, for the next month, we shall be hosting fan reviews on here, where we interview a willing volunteer who answers our questions about their team. Fourth to be interviewed, is Ben Warner, a Manchester City supporter and owner of “Blue’s Views“ who will be talking about Roberto Mancini, Manuel Pellegrini and what the future holds, transfers and what went wrong last season. This is what Ben had to say:
1) On a scale of farce to ten, how has this season ranked for you?
I think somewhere around a six or a seven for me. Sure, we didn’t win anything and we finished way behind United in the title race, but we did finish second, which is no mean feat in the Premier League. Being able to face sides like Real Madrid was great too, and so was being able to go back to Wembley, although that was a lot less happy than two years ago.
2) Before we undergo an assassination of what went wrong in the 2012-13 season, can you explain the incredible last few moments of the 2011-12 campaign? Where were you, who were you with, what emotions were you feeling?
I was at that game, with my dad and a family friend, and I honestly will never forget it; I’m not sure anyone will. I was sat at the end where Aguero put in that winner, I had the most perfect view too, and although I can’t remember the goal going in that well, I remember sheer ecstasy after it, for about 30 minutes, just 47,000 people singing and dancing in celebration. The cheer when that goal went in was quite possibly the loudest I think I’ll ever hear at a football match, and it was just the relief, that ‘Typical City’ was gone, and the new and improved version was here to stay. Well, so we thought. I’ve seen that goal so many times now, the attacking move is etched into my memory, so is the commentary, the trophy lifting, everything.
3) Now to the assassination. Roberto Mancini added £50 million worth of talent to a title winning side and lost City’s title with time to spare to Manchester United. What went wrong in the transfer window?
We just missed out on the key players like Hazard and Van Persie, and left it too late to buy anyone of a similar quality instead of them. We left it until the week before our first game to buy anyone, and Rodwell was never going to set the world alight this year. We bought five players on deadline day too, which is just panic buying really. We got almost nothing from Maicon (mainly down to injury) and Sinclair was just a poor signing, we clearly wasn’t goos enough. I think though Nastasic and Rodwell will turn out to be good buys, they’re both young with very good potential and they can reach that here. Javi Garcia didn’t really contribute a huge amount this season, but I think next year, he’ll step up and be a bigger part of the team.
4) The likes of Sergio Aguero and David Silva were notably quieter than the title winning season. Samir Nasri was barely visible. What happened there?
The star players just underperformed, the spine of the team. Joe Hart was inconsistent throughout the season, mainly down to overconfidence and not having a real contender for the goalkeepers spot. Kompany underperformed as well, and had a large two month gap due to injury in the middle of the season too. Yaya did have a pretty good season, but he did fade in games. We played Wigan twice towards the end of the season, and he just looked a shadow, which was very disappointing to see. As for Aguero and Silva, the tactics just didn’t suit them, and I think they’ll recover under a new manager next season. We were playing long balls up forward quite a lot when nearing the end of the season, and that’s just not the kind of ball Aguero wants, look at his size.
5) Just a season after Mancini had won the league, he was sacked before the 2012-13 season had shut its eyes. The media has since reported massive divides in the dressing room, crediting Mancini as the force which created a lot of arguments. Is his sacking justified?
I think so, yes. We can’t forget all he did for us, and I never will, but City is a team that should be challenging on all domestic fronts, not just one a season. He never got us anywhere in the Champions League either, and for a club of our stature, we need to be able to progress beyond the group stages, instead of going out every season. We also shouldn’t be finishing so far behind United either, or slumping to that kind of defeat to Wigan in the Cup Final. In fairness, Wigan deserved to win on the day, but we should have put up more of a fight, instead of playing the way we played. So I think, for us to progress as a club, we had to let Mancini go. His tactics weren’t working, he didn’t get on with the players and the staff, and we weren’t going anywhere.
6) Is Manuel Pellegrini the right manager to replace Mancini?
I think so, yes. Ok, he hasn’t won much so far in his career, and he is nearly sixty now, but he’s managed Real Madrid before, showing he has pedigree, and has taken Vilarreal and Malaga, both relatively small clubs, far in the Champions League. Further than we’ve ever been, and that’s what we need. I’m backing him to do well when he comes in, especially if we get some of the players we’re being linked to.
7) Manchester City have moved early to sign players, having signed Jesus Navas from Sevilla and Fernandinho from Shakhtar Donetsk. The fees reported have been a little over the estimation of each player, but how important is it to move ahead of the opposition and get a settled squad in pre-season?
It is very important in my eyes. That’s what we didn’t do last season, we got all our transfers in late, they weren’t settled for a long time, and it showed, whereas United and Chelsea had already improved their squad a lot by the time the season had started, and because they’d bought their players earlier, it also meant they got the better players too, such as Van Persie and Hazard, who we were interested in both, and missed out on both because we failed to make the best offer, which in fairness, we shouldn’t do, given the money we possess.
8) Stephan El Shaarawy is reported this morning as being the subject of a £34 million bid from Manchester City. Would that be a good signing and where else would you look to strengthen the side?
I think if we sign him, he will turn out to be a very good signing for us. We haven’t got many young strikers coming through, and with Dzeko set to leave, and speculation about Tevez heading to Italy, then he will be important for us, as he already has a lot of ability, and possesses a very high potential too, which if we can manage to get out of him, will make him a very important player for us. In terms of other positions, I think we need to get a new left-back in, I’m just not impressed by Clichy and Kolarov, they don’t seem good enough to me. I don’t know who we could get instead though, maybe one of Real’s left-backs, Marcelo or Coentrao, or Alaba, if he wants to leave Bayern (although why you would is beyond me). I think it wouldn’t hurt to get a new backup goalkeeper, who’s good enough to challenge Hart for that number one spot, make him up his game from this season. Julio Cesar springs to mind, although he seems happy to stay in London, and looks likely to move to Arsenal.
9) Who would you sell out of the current squad?
Right off the bat: Aleksandar Kolarov. There isn’t much he can actually do on the pitch, and what he can do, he doesn’t do very well. He will never be good enough for us, and we should just let him go, recoup some money for him. I also think Dzeko needs to go too, he wasn’t good enough for large parts of this season, or the season before, and he just isn’t going to succeed. There are much better players we could get instead of him, so I say let him go. I also think Scott Sinclair and Maicon need to leave. They were panic buys last season, and have contributed very little. Why keep them on the wage bill, and not play them? Let them go, I say.
10) Finally, what has been your best moment of the season?
I’m not really sure, I have a few. Dzeko’s late winner against Tottenham in October was a great feeling, as we deserved to win, and managed it with a very good goal. Aguero’s header against Chelsea at Wembley was another big one. I was stood right behind the goal, and you just knew it was heading in, and the ground erupted in sheer joy when it finally did. I think though, it has to be winning at Old Trafford, and for me, it was finding out we’d won. I was on holiday in Tenerife at the time, and was deliberately avoiding the match because I was convinced we were going to be hammered, and I just didn’t want to watch it. I’d completely forgotten about it, until my friend texted me about Aguero’s goal, which ended up the winner. I found out we were ahead with about 5 minutes to go, and was literally just pacing up down waiting for the text to say we’d won. You should have seen my reaction when I got that text, I went mental, just jumping up and down on the stairs. Thankfully, I was stood on my own at this point, or I would have got some odd looks.
Sky Sports News broke the story we already knew last night, confirming that Roberto Mancini has been sacked from his position as Manchester City manager. Manuel Pellegrini, the current boss at Malaga, is set to take over the now-vacant job opening, despite dismissing that an agreement has already been agreed.
Looking back through the JFG archives, there are a few articles in which I say that Mancini would be sacked in the summer, such as this one from the Manchester City defeat to Ajax (click here). My exact line, word-for-word, was: “No success in the Champions League will mark the end for Roberto Mancini at Manchester City.” Just a year after winning Manchester City’s first league title in years, Mancini’s dismissal seems quite harsh. How can you sack a man who does that after just a year?
I’ve read two things this morning that corroborate with my opinions on Roberto Mancini, the first being a series of tweets from German journalist, Raphael Honigstein. He says that the Mancini sacking reminds him of Felix Magath’s sacking from Bayern Munich in 2007. Magath had won back-to-back doubles, something that had never been done before and that still couldn’t save his job. The reason for that, Honigstein says, is that Magath’s Bayern team was constantly outplayed in Europe and relations with the players and board had become so bad, that it was implausible they could work together.
The second bit I read this morning, is a piece written by Ian Herbet of the Independent. In the article, Herbert speaks of Mancini’s somewhat inhospitable temperament, an example of this being a chance conversation with one of his staff in the Etihad car park in April of last year. Said staff member spoke of Mancini, “always challenging you”, before quickly adding that was a “positive thing”, a response which didn’t sound true at all from Herbert’s position.
Another story is of Mancini refusing to participate in a “player acquisition meeting” during Garry Cook’s tenure as chief executive. The story goes that Mancini sulked and sat with his faced down, looking at his feet for nearly an hour and a half. Interestingly, a guy called Ferran Soriano arrived as City’s new chief executive last summer, an individual who is considered to be quite the expert on management theory, even writing a book on the subject. Soriano is the man who wouldn’t hire Jose Mourinho for Barcelona because he generated media conflict and was a potential source of conflict within the club. Look at Mourinho at every club he’s been at and there has always been conflict between him and a certain band of players.
Referencing the article once more, Herbert says that Soriano believes in the potential of individuals to change their management style . At Barcelona, he encouraged Txiki Begiristain to coach the coach, Frank Rijkaard, in becoming more authoritarian, which worked for a while. Mancini isn’t so malleable.
On the Manchester City bench, David Platt has revealed before what Mancini can be like, constantly picking fault with passes, positioning and when and when not to take shots on goal. Mancini is in constant frustration when others don’t think like him and very rarely accepts that somebody else has a better method. This attitude is evident in his playing days, where he was notoriously difficult to manage.
For me, that tunnel vision limits Mancini as a manager. He can rarely think outside his own box and is known to sulk when he doesn’t get his own way. Mancini spent £50 million on improving a title-winning side last summer, but has seen the team regress. Admittedly, he failed to sign the targets that were high on his list, such as Daniele De Rossi, Javi Martinez and Robin van Persie, but he hasn’t signed Akpo Sodje, Sam Togwell and Bilel Mohsni, has he? Instead of his priority targets, Mancini signed Matija Nastasic, Scott Sinclair, Jack Rodwell, Javi Garcia and Maicon. Hardly slouches, are they?
Many have also said that Mancini missed the option of bringing on Nigel de Jong in matches to push Yaya Toure further forward. This relates back to my theory on Mancini’s tunnel-vision not being suited to adapt. If a team misses one bang-average defensive midfielder, then what does that say about the squad and the manager in charge of it all?
Due to difficult personal relationships and a reluctance to accept different ideas, Mancini has seen a title-winning team of his destroyed in Europe for the second time in his career. As a result, he’s been dumped. For me, the sacking has been coming since October and because of the atmosphere he has created at the Etihad Stadium, it’s fully deserved.
Former Manchester City striker and current Sky Sports football pundit, Niall Quinn, has predicted Manchester City to make one or two, “spectacular” signings this summer as they look to banish the memory of this season’s failures.
Having spent £50 million in the summer on a squad which had just won the Premier League title, falling 12 points behind the league leaders, Manchester United and failing to win a match in the Champions League, is a regression. Having performed so poorly in last season’s Champions League as well, failing to qualify from the group stage, speculation over Roberto Mancini’s future has been rife. Despite his success with Inter Milan, Mancini was ultimately sacked for poor results in Europe despite significant investment.
Earlier this season, when Manchester City failed to qualify from their Champions League group for the second year running, I predicted that Roberto Mancini would be sacked in the summer. I still think that may be the case, as I don’t see Manchester City’s owners being blessed with patience, but much of the blame for Manchester City’s summer transfer activity seems to lie with Brian Marwood, who might find himself without a job this summer as Mancini gets a reprieve.
Roberto Mancini set out to spend big money on Daniele De Rossi, Daniel Agger and Javi Martinez, as well as Robin van Persie. Instead, Mancini got Scott Sinclair, Javi Garcia, Jack Rodwell, Matija Nastasic (who has been outstanding) and Maicon. Mancini wanted to get his shopping at Mark’s and Spencer, but Marwood raided the out of date shopping trolley at his local corner shop. To say Manchester City supporters were underwhelmed by the players the bought, is an understatement and Mancini constantly points to the fact he didn’t get his top priorities and that fault ultimately lies with Marwood and thus, Mancini should still be at the club next season. It’s the least he deserves for sorting out the mess left behind by Mark Hughes.
The Italian had this to say about what happened in the summer,
“We had the chance to get important players, players that this year could have been the difference in this team, but it is useless to talk about this now.“
Earlier in the season, Mancini had also commented that his strikers weren’t playing well enough and Robin van Persie is the difference between City and Manchester United in winning the title. I can’t imagine that to have had a positive affect on his own strikers, but you can understand the frustration in not bagging Robin van Persie for himself, as well as all the other players on his shopping list.
Samir Nasri, (Paris Saint-Germain) Edin Dzeko, (strong speculation he is joining Borussia Dortmund) Scott Sinclair, Kolo Toure, Joleon Lescott, Maicon, Carlos Tevez and Aleksander Kolarov are all expected to leave in the summer, whilst Wayne Bridge and Roque Santa Cruz’s contracts expire, leaving a huge gap in the squad to be filled.
If Niall Quinn is right in his prediction, then Daniele De Rossi, Daniel Agger and Radamel Falcao could be playing their last seasons with AS Roma, Liverpool and Atletico Madrid respectively. With Arsenal set to spend big in the summer, Tottenham Hotspur closing the gap between themselves and the top sides and Chelsea just a few players away from being a massive force, signing those three players would put Manchester City on an incredibly strong platform.
With the privilege of hindsight, I’ll amend my prediction to Roberto Mancini not leaving Manchester City this summer, but even if he does leave, Manchester City will spend big vast sums of money and that is a big worry to the rest of the Premier League.
I have a Chicken doing its thing in the oven, so I thought to myself, “why not write a match report on the match whilst the Chicken cooks, eat it when I’m finished and watch the rest of West Ham v Liverpool?”. That’s some damned good organisation on a Sunday.
So, the match was everything we could have envisioned it to be. There were five goals, a bloodied Rio Ferdinand, Roberto Mancini and Mario Balotelli had their obligatory fall-out and Tom Cruise was in attendance, giving a pre-match interview to promote his new film, “Jack Reacher”, because, you know, a Premier League match is as good as going to the cinema now. Helena Bonham Carter will feature on next week’s televised match between Newcastle United and Manchester City to promote Les Miserables.
Roberto Mancini opted to drop Edin Dzeko and Carlos Tevez from the starting line-up, giving Mario Balotelli his sixth start of the season and when the Italian has scored just one Premier League goal compared to Dzeko’s record of six and Tevez’s of seven this campaign, you have to seriously question the methology of Mancini’s decision. It was a big talking point between Manchester City fans and neutrals and had one of Dzeko or Tevez started, maybe City could have made the first 15 minutes of their domination actually count for something. City started brighter than United and played keep-ball early on, with United unable to win the ball back to the point where Robin van Persie was having to drop back to help out defensively.
Then, the game pivoted, swung into United’s favour momentarily and Wayne Rooney capitalised. Robin van Persie flicked the ball on for Ashley Young in midfielf, who tore away down the left, cut inside and squared a pass to Rooney, who let the ball run across the area before shooting back in the direction he came from. Rooney’s connection with the ball wasn’t the best, but his shot didn’t need to be struck at 100 mph to beat Joe Hart, as the shot was that precise that it had deceived Hart enough to roll into his bottom left-hand corner. After that, Manchester City lost their impetus, failed to keep the ball in the final third and United took a two goal lead thirteen minutes later, again through Wayne Rooney. Rafael’s cut-back found the England international on the edge of the areaand he swept home the chance for 2-0.
For all of the possession that City enjoyed, they had no cutting edge movement in the final third and the languid Mario Balotelli summed uo that half in a two minute spell, in which the Italian, David Silva and somebody else (Pablo Zabaleta, I think) were combining passes without going anywhere. Balotelli mainted his position on the touchline and played backward passes to Zabaleta, Silva was crowded out and all it took to escape the malaise was for Balotelli to innovate and find some space. He was like that for the 52 minutes in which he played. Everything was lazy from Balotelli and Mancini’s indulgence of his compatriot borders on the fatal.
Fortunately for Manchester City, a lazy back-heel early in the second half from Balotelli, which prompted the groans of over 40,000 City fans, knocked Mancini into action as he beckoned Carlos Tevez to strip ready for action. Instantly, City looked more threatening and they carried the game toward United, desperate for a way back into the game.
That route came via Yaya Toure, whose goal was similar to Rooney’s second, with the Ivorian sweeping home from the edge of the area and although they arguably deserved it, Manchester United should have been celebrating a third just a minute earlier. Robin van Persie’s right-foot shot cannoned off of the inside of the post, fell to Ashley Young and the winger converted his chance, but was adjudged to be offside. Replays showed that Young was being played onside by Zabaleta and the goal should have stood.
Sir Alex Ferguson must have been preparing his post-match speech on linesmen in the 85th minute, when Pablo Zabaleta, the man who played Young onside for the disallowed goal, poetically equalised for Manchester City. A corner was headed to the edge of the area by Robin van Persie and the Argentinian made no mistake with a thunderous strike, which made its way through a few red shirts to seemingly protect City’s unbeaten home record of two years.
With two minutes remaining, Manchester United attacked, with Rafael tearing his way toward goal before being upended by the stray boot of Carlos Tevez, thus resulting in a free-kick to Manchester United a dangerous area. Robin van Persie stepped up, swung his immense left boot at the ball, curled it around City’s “two and a half men” wall, the ball took a deflection off of “half a man” Samir Nasri, deceived the footwork of Joe Hart and the ball nestled in the bottom corner. As an Arsenal myself, watching Nasri take a dump in his shorts as he dodged the flight of van Persie’s free-kick was hilarious, though less so when I realised the Dutchman had done it again for United. Not that I’m bitter Arsenal consistently fail to sign their best players to contracts or anything.
Manchester United walk away with the three points, end City’s unbeaten run and give themselves a six point lead over their rivals as we head into the Christmas period. If United can avoid defeat through the upcoming busy period, then they will put themselves in a heavily fortified position as the season begins to enter the final stages. Fixtures against Swansea, Newcastle United, Sunderland, West Brom and Wigan gives Sir Alex Ferguson’s team a great chance to stake a big claim on first place. Manchester City themselves have a fairly comfortable period and by no means is the Premier League title race over, but the team to emerge first in January will be my favourites for the title.
Right, my chicken is nearly done, West Ham are losing 1-0 to Liverpool as I speak and Glen Johnson is playing so well he’s looking like Cafu… WAIT! THE REFEREE HAS GIVEN A PENALTY!! Joe Allen judged to have handled in the area. Mark Noble steps up… GOAL! 1-1.
Yeah, I was surprised to see this headline on NewsNow this morning as well. Delving further into the article, featured on the ‘Give Me Football‘ website, Guillem Ballague revealed on his Sulia page, that Yaya Touré has big-money offers from Anzhi Mackhachkala and Paris-Saint Germain (obviously) and unless Touré obtains the contract he wants from Manchester City, where he is already extremely well paid, then it’s thought by Ballague that the Ivory Coast international could leave the Etihad.
As Ballague states, Touré issued an ultimatum to Barcelona over his contract with them, saying he wanted a new one or he was off. He didn’t get that contract offer he wanted from Barcelona, despite not really wanting to leave, so winded up at Manchester City. Read more
During his tenure as manager at Internazionale, Roberto Mancini built a dominant force who won three consecutive Serie A titles, (under fortuitous circumstances, granted) two Coppa Italia trophies and an Italian Super Cup. Despite all this, what really rankled with Massimo Moratti, the Inter owner, was Mancini’s consistent failure to perform well in Europe.
Now at Manchester City, Mancini has ended the hoodoo of City not having won a Premier League title, as he did when he won Inter’s first Serie A title since 1989, (winning his first in 2005, although legitimately in 2006) but it was success in the Champions League that really determined Mancini’s future at the club and now, with Manchester City stuttering as Inter did under Mancini, is history repeating itself? Last season, City had quite a favourable group despite what some might have said. Yes, they were newcomers to the Champions League, but Napoli, also in City’s group, were also inexperienced in Champions League football, whilst Villareal were barely recognisable from the side that performed so well in Europe just a few years before. On paper at least, Manchester City should have qualified from that group along with Bayern Munich. Read more
Last season, the gap between Manchester City and Arsenal in the league was nineteen points, yet the matches played between the two were settled by a singular goal. In spite of that large gap, the quality of both teams was very evenly matched. It took a scrappy goal from David Silva to earn City a win at the Etihad Stadium, and Arsenal needed a late strike from Mikel Arteta to claim three points at the Emirates, despite dominating the match. Recently, matches concerning the two clubs have been very closely fought, and yesterday was no exception as a tight match was settled by a draw.
Arsenal started the match brighter than City, bossing the midfield as Santi Cazorla, Aaron Ramsey and Abou Diaby overwhelmed Javi Garcia and Yaya Touré. Both City midfielders were largely ineffectual, Touré in particular wasn’t having the influence on a match that he would normally enjoy, though I think that he was babysitting Garcia throughout the ninety minutes. Garcia just couldn’t keep track of Cazorla’s ability and was indecisive of quite how to deal with him and it gave Cazorla the license to wreak havoc and his intelligence in the final third was a joy to watch. Read more
Olivier failed to score against his former employers.
I’m going to start with Manchester City this morning on the premise that I didn’t watch the game, as being an Arsenal fan, I was glued to Sky Sports 2 and our match with Montpellier. Naturally, my report on City is going to be a little shorter based on the fact I saw nothing of that match.
Real Madrid have made a torrid start to the new La Liga campaign, Cristiano Ronaldo is ‘sad’, as he puts it, and Jose Mourinho is acting like a manager with the weight of the world cascading on his shoulders. If Manchester City were to have a great chance of defeating Real Madrid at the Bernabeu, then last night was as good a chance as anybody is going to get, and having taken the lead twice, they’ll be kicking themselves for weeks that they let such a good opportunity slip. Despite Real Madrid’s failings so far in La Liga however, Manchester City haven’t looked so convincing themselves, despite churning out the results.Read more
I’m writing this post whilst I run back and forth to the toilet. For some reason, I’m ill, which doesn’t please me a great deal if I’m honest.
Right, lets get this started before I fall asleep on the job, otherwise nothing will get done today!
A few weeks back, when Arsenal defeated Manchester City at the Emirates Stadium 1-0 thanks to a late Mikel Arteta strike, I, and everybody else in football struck Manchester City off as done for this season. Unless you were of a blue persuasion, and a very stubborn blue at that, it would have been hard for most Manchester City fans to contemplate lifting the Premier League title. I actually got a telling off from a nine year old City fan on my travels yesterday. I met a family of Manchester City fans who were on their way to the game and I said how impressed I was with City as I’d written them off after losing to Arsenal, with the nine year old stating I clearly didn’t know what I was on about. The little kid verbally flattened me and had I been a little sharper on my toes, I should have offered him a guest column on here.
I’m joking, obviously.
In my defence of the little nine year old, it did seem for a very long time that Manchester City would mess up their golden chance of winning the Premier League title.
Manchester City were dominant throughout, but never were they fluent, a lot of their play was disjointed and more often than not they tried to force the issue. A total of 35 shots and only 3 goals to show for it gives a good measure of how poor City were yesterday. Of course, there were bound to be nerves, they’d never been in this position before yesterday and were naturally going to stumble over the finish line, I never expected them to trample all over QPR.
After a lot of huffing and puffing, it was Pablo Zabaleta who blew QPR’s house down, receiving a pass from Tevez inside the area and striking high in to the net, past a helpless Paddy Kenny. That goal made it 1-0 at the Etihad Stadium as Manchester United were winning at the Stadium of Light in their fixture with Sunderland, Wayne Rooney having given United the lead nineteen minutes before Zabaleta put Manchester City back in the driving seat.
Over in Sunderland, Manchester United never looked in any danger of doing anything other winning. Sunderland’s official Twitter feed said it all for me, simultaneously updating with the Manchester City score rather than worrying about their own team’s performance. Nobody at the Stadium of Light could be bothered with the game, it was the final outcome everyone was looking forward to seeing.
Just after half-time in Manchester, a Joleon Lescott blunder gave Djibril Cissé ample room in which he could pick his spot and rifle home past Joe Hart. A seemingly hopeless long ball forward was headed backwards by Lescott and Cissé stole on his error, equalising for QPR who had their own troubles to deal with.
Eighteen minutes later, City were met with disaster. QPR broke on Manchester City, Samir Nasri failed to track Jamie Mackie and the Scottish striker met a cross at the far post, putting QPR 2-1 ahead in unbelievable circumstances, what with being down to ten men and all after Joey Barton lost his mind once more.
I’ll touch briefly on Barton. On his Twitter feed, Barton claims he never once lost his head yesterday, that he was of clear mind when he elbowed Carlos Tevez in the throat and proceeded to knee Sergio Aguero. Does Barton really think it was a good idea to do what he did? If so, having claimed he was of rational mind, then that makes him a bit of an idiot and despite his own claims, not very clever at all. I’m sure if Barton had a Wikipedia page available to him at the time, he’d have better controlled himself.
Anyway, City somehow found themselves 2-1 behind and that’s what happens when you think. As far as a game of football goes, yesterday was poor, I mean really poor. It just goes to prove that winning is 70% mentality, the rest is skill etc. I’d say that for most of yesterday, City were operating at 50% winning mentality, they looked as if they could throw it away.
As a chain of controversial events, yesterday was the best match you’ll ever see. At 2-1 down, City had thrown away the title to their city rivals and in the 90th minute, Edin Dzeko equalised for Manchester City. Dzeko had been a little bit of a forgotten man since Carlos Tevez returned to the side and to be honest, I feel very sorry for Dzeko. The big Bosnian isn’t a striker like Sergio Aguero or Tevez is, but one who needs to be the focal point of attacks, feeding on crosses. I’m not entirely sure that Roberto Mancini did all of his homework on Dzeko, I feel he rushed it a little and at the best of times, Dzeko looks like a fish up a tree for City.
I’ve never seen a fish up a tree, but that’s what Dzeko looks like for City at times. All the same, Dzeko had equalised for City and they had just a few minutes in which to find one goal which would give them the Premier League title.
In the final minute, City got their goal. Applying mountains of pressure on QPR, Balotelli flicked on the ball for Aguero whilst the Italian was grounded inside the area. Without panicking, Aguero positioned his body as if he were about to shoot, feigned his shot, dragged the ball to his right and them hammered the ball past Paddy Kenny. Aguero had done very well to work the room and score.
Mike Dean blew up shortly afterwards, declaring time on the match, thus meaning Manchester City had won their first Premier League title.
In Stoke, Bolton had only managed a 2-2 draw, meaning QPR were safe due to their superior goal difference.
Manchester City have shown immense character to come back from that eight point deficit, they looked broken at the Emirates when they played Arsenal and were extremely fortunate to lose by ony the one goal. That match was City’s turning point and they’ve been immense in the final few matches when it mattered.
That’s your lot from me today, I’ll be looking at both Manchester City and United’s seasons over the next few days, today is all about the match report. Sorry if you found this post lacklustre, I’m off to go throw up again.