Saturday, 29 October 2011 least we won!

Manchester City 3 Wolves 1 doesn't really tell the story of a game ruined by a referee clearly out of his depth.  Stuart Attwell (he of the phantom goal fame) turned in quite possibly the most inept and incompetent performance I've ever seen in 26 years of attending football matches.

You can understand a referee making one or two bad calls in a game but Attwell made so many I lost count.  During the first half of every 50-50 challenge resulting in a free kick to Wolves (Matchday centre on the City website shows 18 fouls by City to Wolves 6 in total)  This lead to Vincent Kompany questioning what was going on in his role as captain  There were some challenges of equal force made on City players only for play on to be the decision.  Apparently throttling a player is ok...well as long as you are Mr Stearman of Wolves as he did to Edin Dzeko  in what should have been a penalty to City.  Half time came with a chorus of boos ringing out directed at the official.

The second half started well for City  going 2-0 up and it must have been eating at Attwell he hadn't be centre of attention for 15-20 minutes as suddenly the decisions started again. 

To be fair to Mr Attwell the decision of penalty and red card for Kompany were spot on.  However just before Yaya Toure was fouled he then went into a challenge which resulted in a free kick for Wolves an obviously frustrated Toure screamed out his disgust at the decision.  we've all heard and understand the "Respect" campaign but seriously?? respect should be earned by at least having officials who are competent and able to do the job sadly Stuart Attwell simply isn't up to the job and could have cost Manchester City vital points today. It's also lucky David Silva wasn't seriously hurt by some of the challenges that were dished out (none of which were punished) As luck would have it a great strike by Adam Johnson sealed the points for City late on but surely the FA or Premier League will have to act and remove this joker from it's lists he isn't fit to referee a WWE No Disqualification  match (there are no rules) he'd still get it wrong!

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Imagine if time travel was possible

The last 6 months have been incredible now just imagine if time travel was possible when would you go back to?  I have my own theory it would have to be back to perhaps the darkest hour in City's recent past.

I'd go back exactly 13 years to October 1998 it had been 6 months since City's relegation to what is now League One and we'd hardly started well hanging around mid table.  Despite it all crowds at Maine Road were pretty healthy smashing the average for the division.

Now just imagine telling your 1998 self that City have just annihilated United 6-1 imagine telling them that we were in the Champions League and that we'd won the FA Cup in May.  Following that up by informing yourself that there would be an amazing afternoon at Wembley the next May in the playoffs and I'm almost certain my 1998 self would ask for some of what I was smoking.  Either that or calling for "those nice young men in their clean white coats"

With all the positive things happening at the moment sometimes a bad result causes a barrage of abuse from critics and the snipers are out in force.  For me I tend to think back to how I felt back in 1998 "CITY TILL I DIE" I cried then, I still cry it now no matter what I am always will be a proud blue just like many people happy to take my children to watch the club if a little jealous they won't suffer the lows we felt!

A lot has changed since 1998 I have loved "the journey" I'm hoping for many more highs!

Monday, 24 October 2011

"Mad Mario" Derby Day star

Unless you've been living under a rock for the last 24 hours it's obvious you will be aware of City thrashing United 6-1 at Old Trafford yesterday.  A results which Sir Alex described as his worst defeat ever as a Manager or a player.

In the build up to the game City fans had to endure most of the pundits and ex pro's predicting a close game but United's "big game experience" seeing them to a victory.  Now to be brutally honest as the game kicked off had you offered me a draw I would have took it.  Much like the FA Cup Semi Final United did start the brighter City soaked up the pressure though Joe Hart was rarely troubled.  And you just knew after all the silly press his firework display from his bathroom generated Mario Balotelli would be involved his delicious pass into the net for the first goal was then followed by him revealing a T-Shirt with the words "WHY ALWAYS ME?"...Pass Mario but you weren't finished there.
 2 minutes into the second half he burst through and was pulled back by Jonny Evans who was rightly sent off by Referee Mark Clattenburg.  15 Minutes later City fans were in dream land when Balotelli tapped in at the far post after brilliant work by Silva and Milner laid it on a plate.  When it was 3-0 Roberto Mancini decided to give Balotelli well earned rest subbing him for Edin Dzeko who would go on to get a brace of goals as well.

Many people were upset by Balotelli's stupid red card against Kiev which killed any hope of City progressing in last seasons Europa League.  That appears to have been a watershed moment as since then Balotelli has turned in stunning performances in a lot of key games including being man of the match in the FA Cup final having already played a key role in the Semi Final against United.  Yes there has been the odd "Mad Mario" moment including the back flick against La Galaxy which caused a lot of grief (honestly I believe he thought he was offside he stopped then span round)
 BUT when it's mattered he has been a key player scoring goals and even celebrating some which I think surprised many of us who saw his run to hug Mancini.  There can be little doubt the man has talent it appears bar some moments of pure madness (like the fireworks or the darts incident)  City do have a player capable of doing anything he cares to try.  City fans have come up with a comical song for their flawed genius which was heard loudly being sang by 3,000 blues at Old Trafford  and has been aired a fair few times at The Etihad Stadium as well as on route to games.  Long may he be a striker and I hope Roberto Mancini continues to get the very best out of Mario.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Aston Villa Preview

After the International break Roberto Mancini will be looking for the blues to continue their red hot form at the Etihad Stadium when Alex McLeish brings his Aston Villa side this Saturday.  The Villa side include 3 former City stars in their squad with Shay Given, Richard Dunne bound to feature Stephen Ireland has also seen action in 4 of Villa's games so far this season. 

It is bound to be a tough test for City as Villa are unbeaten away this season having drawn all 3 games scoring and conceding 3 goals.  Villa will also feature a in Darren Bent a man who managed to score twice last season against the Blues adding to the threat of Gabriel Agbonlahor who is great goal scoring form it could be a big test for Joe Hart and his defense that haven't let a goal past them in the last 5 league games at home.

City should welcome back Sergio Aguero who went off with a muscle strain midway through the first half at Ewood Park two weeks ago.  Added to this David Silva, Edin Dzeko and Samir Nasri all found the net for their Countries midweek confidence will have remained high amongst City's attack minded players.  Indeed at Blackburn Mario Balotelli  looked at his dangerous best Roberto Mancini certainly has a welcome selection headache.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

"Honest Kia" strikes again

Well without speaking to Carlos his "advisor" not agent Kia Joorabchian has in an interview denied Carlos Tevez refused to take to the field when Manchester City were away at Bayern Munich.  Yes apparently not only was it a misunderstanding on the bench between Tevez and Mancini, the interpreter who Carlos used in his after match interview to sky also got it wrong when Tevez appeared to admit he did indeed refuse to come. 

Now lets look at the man I like to call "Honest Kia" a man banned by Manchester City from the Etihad Stadium a man who gets round FIFA's agent licencing laws by calling himself an advisor.  A man who claimed Manchester United tried to angle for a reduced fee when his loan ended despite David Gill and Sir Alex Ferguson claiming the total opposite was the case.

Sky Sports looked at the tape and got two spanish speakers to re-translate and yes Tevez does indeed say he wasn't mentally prepared.  Sorry "Honest Kia" despite your very best efforts Tevez's own words do seem to confirm the guilt  and if FIFA do act as Vice President Boyce indicated your meal ticket could be heading for a ban.

Despite Tevez issuing a statement the next day claiming it was all a mix up and he enjoyed a good relationship with the Manchester City faithful,  the 7,000 fans at Blackburn Rovers last Saturday singing in support of Roberto Mancini for me sum up the feelings of most blues sorry Carlos we've forgiven and forgotten once too often you refused to play you can face the music.

Me commenting on You're On Sky Sports

Monday, 3 October 2011

UEFA Financial Fair Play...A problem at home for Platini??

Many people suspect that UEFA'S Financial Fair Play Regulations were introduced to stop clubs with rich owners like Manchester City and Chelsea being able to simply buy their way to the Champions League title.  It has also created a set up where clubs in smaller domestic leagues face never being able to qualify as to challenge for a title does require some investment.

Indeed The Daily Mail's Martin Samuel indicated this in his regular article when he highlighted Bate Borisov of Belarus due to getting into the group stages twice in recent years they have become almost unstoppable at home winning the title 5 times on the spin and are 11 points clear this season.

That situation is being repeated in a fair few of the smaller league round Europe with the same names at least getting into the qualifying rounds year on year.  How can this be "fair play" and the more important thing how can that be healthy?  There is also a real chance the Champions League could stagnate with the same old same old year in year out.

As I mentioned earlier Manchester City and Chelsea are just the sort of teams the rules appear to target but UEFA President Michel Platini faces a headache a lot closer to home in the shape of Paris Saint Germain.  The famous Parisian club were bought in the summer by The Qatar Investment Authority who are owned by Sheikh Hamad.  PSG do have a rich history but haven't had a top 3 finish in Ligue 1 since 03-04  and it was 10 years before that since their last title, with only 3 sides getting a Champions League place they face a fight to break into the top 3 and get that coverted spot and that will cost money. 

Added to the fact Parc Des Princes has on average seen crowds of just over 33,000, the french league also only recieves €668 million over four seasons for it's TV rights compared to The Premier League's £1.7 Billion deal for 3 years with Sky and ESPN it's clear PSG face a battle to get the monies in place to meet FFP and even get into the Champions League.  I could only imagine that Mr Platini would be made to feel very welcome in his nations capital if PSG did qualify only to fall foul of his brain child.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Blackburn Rovers 0 Manchester City 4

After making headlines for all the wrong reasons midweek Manchester City needed a good performance to get rid of the storm clouds the media had hanging over the Etihad Stadium.  Roberto Mancini certainly picked an attacking side with Mario Balotelli up front with Kun Aguero.

After a quiet start things appeared to be going wrong in the 25th minute when Aguero sat down on the pitch having pulled up with what looked like a groin injury.  He was replaced by Samir Nasri and the first half petered out a few alarms but no major scares in either box.

The second half started and it was obvious City has upped the tempo Balotelli was unlucky with a delicious shot that clipped the post and even tried an overhead kick that was just wide.  Then in the 56th minute as a corner came out of the box Adam Johnson controlled the ball before bending a shot into the top corner of Paul Robinson's net.  Just two minutes later great work from Samir Nasri on the left and a good cross was met by Mario Balotelli who did well to beat Robinson with a great flick making it 3 goals in 10 days for the Italian.

Mancini had previously called for City to be more like local rivals United and keep scoring and that's exactly what City did when after setting up so many goals previously Samir Nasri swapped passes with David Silva before hitting a goal bound shot that deflected passed a helpless Robinson.  Stiill that wasn't enough for goal hungry City as near the end from a corner Stefan Savic rose well to bury a header in the net meaning a 4-0 scoreline that in truth after 19 attempts on goal to Rovers 7 did not flatter the men in Red and Black and sent 7,000 fans home very happy.

Rovers owners Venky will have been aware of the protests against Steve Kean with 3 wins in 21 games it does seem a case of him being on borrowed time.  But that should take nothing away from a very good performance from Manchester City whom sit a proud second in the League only on goal difference.