Archive for September 12th, 2009

Man City 4 – 2 Arsenal: Four games, two defeats

1 comment September 12th, 2009

Man City 4 – 2 Arsenal (Almunia (og) 20, Van Persie 62, Bellamy 74, Adebayor 80, Wright-Phillips 84, Rosicky 88)
Match report here; Goals @

It doesn’t read prettily, does it?

We knew our start to the season would be difficult, and that we’d need to perform at a level beyond national expectation.  For the most part, we’ve done so.  And yet here we sit, with six points dropped barely a few weeks into the season.

There is a major difference from last season though.  Rather than losing to Fulham and Hull, it’s a vibrant Manchester City and the old foe, United.  What is a hangover from last season is a sense that whilst we dominate games for long periods that is often not enough to secure a positive result.

And yet I’m not filled with despair.  Looking at United last week and City today, the main thing I extracted from their celebrations was relief: they knew they had got away with it.  City fans will doubtless point to their goals for column (and with some justification), though the more honest among their contingent will, perhaps in a quieter moment amidst all the hullabaloo about their imagined “title chances”, admit they got the breaks today.

The ref seemed to call most things in their favour, including failing to give a penalty for a Gareth Barry handball and allowing Micah Richards’ opening goal when he appeared to be offside.  And what of the antics of Emmanuel Adebayor?  Since leaving Arsenal, Adebayor has morphed from mild irritant to detestable supervillain.  It’s like he fell in a big vat of c*ntishness which reacted with his inherent peskiness to create a living nightmare.  His partnership with Craig Bellamy is quite the axis of evil.

Adebayor went in over the top on Fabregas, stamped on Robin van Persie’s head (deliberately or otherwise), and celebrated his all too predictable goal by charging the length of the pitch to incite the Arsenal fans with a hugely provocative celebration.  Arsene said it lacked “elegance”.  That’s putting it lightly.

Of course, there were flaws to our game.  Almunia continued his poor start to the season with dodgy footwork on the opening goal, Clichy looked erratic at full-back, and the front three were uninspiring in the absence of Arshavin, Nasri, and Walcott.

By far the most positive thing to come of today was the return of Tomas Rosicky, who bagged a goal and an assist in his half hour on the pitch.

Much needs to be studied in more depth about this game – principally how we managed to concede four goals to a side who didn’t play all that well – and that process will begin in earnest tomorrow.  For now though, my message is clear: Don’t Panic.

This nascent season has a long way to run before City come to the Emirates in April.  Let’s see where we are then.

Today feels bigger than the United game

1 comment September 12th, 2009

Perhaps it’s only because we lost last week and now a victory is more pressing, but going into today’s game at the City of Manchester Stadium it seems there is an even greater desire to win this game than there was seven days ago.

There are plenty of reasons for that.  City against Arsenal is not only a clash of football teams, but of philosophies.  Whilst we have decided to build through Arsene’s three-fold strategy of promotion, education and integration, cash-flushed City have opted simply for accumulation.  Stories this morning that they paid £47m for Carlos Tevez are indicative of just how much money they’ve been prepared to throw around.

Still, we can’t complain, having received some £40m from City for the services of Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Adebayor.  Both players have started well, with Toure inheriting the captain’s armband and Adebayor netting three in three.

And there the similarities end, really.  There are chasmic differences between the two men, and that’ll be reflected in the Arsenal fans’ response to them: Kolo Toure will be cheered as the loyal warrior he has always been; Adebayor would be advised to play wearing ear plugs.  And one of these.

This morning’s interview with Adebayor in the Telegraph is an extraordinary read: justifying the spat with Bendtner; claiming Arsene told him that he was being sold to ease financial troubles; castigating our international fanbase.  Adebayor is a great player on his day, but the circumstances required for it to be “his day” are so specific as to render the player dehabilitatingly flakey.  A warning to City fans excited by his start: just wait until it all stops going his way.

Personally, I hope that process starts today.  Thomas Vermaelen and William Gallas are in great form, and if anyone can put a stop to the Togolese’s impressive start then those two should be well equipped to do so.  They’ll be flanked by Sagna and Clichy with Manuel Almunia making his first appearance since conceding that penalty at Old Trafford.

In midfield, Cesc Fabregas returns, and he’ll be joined by Alex Song and most likely Denilson as Arsene persists with the 4-3-3.  Upfront, Robin van Persie will play with Nicklas Bendtner and one from Eduardo, Diaby or even Eboue.  Many will expect Eduardo to play, but after he put in an eighty-odd minute shift against England midweek, I wouldn’t be surprised if Arsene opts for one of the others.  Tomas Rosicky could be on the bench, which’d be a fantastic landmark in itself.

The absence of Andrey Arshavin will be keenly felt, though City could say the same about their missing South American pair of Robinho and Tevez.

The 3-0 defeat at Eastlands last season was one of the most horrendous games I’ve had the displeasure of watching.  We were an absolute shambles that day.  Today, many of those players will take to the field hoping for an entirely different result.

Today is a clash of opposities; a meeting of old friends and new enemies.  Winning would mean an awful lot.  And losing would hurt a similar amount.

Let’s not let that happen – Come On You Reds.

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