Monday, 29 August 2011

Four-Midable Dzeko

So a good start to the season, 2 games and 2 wins with 7 goals scored, and since the win away at Bolton we have also managed to bring in Samir Nasri (at last) from Arsenal. Also since the Bolton game I have seen something that i have never ever seen before. Manchester City in the draw for the Champions league group stage. City were drawn from pot 3 and drew Villareal, Napoli and Bayern Munich. Not the easiest group but could have been a lot worse. Confident that we can navigate through that group into the knock out stages and failing that there is always the drop from 3rd into the Europa league (again). My wife has signed me up to the Champions League cup scheme for my birthday so I'm sorted now for all our home matches, let's hope it's quite a few.

This weekend though we were away to Spurs. City don't have the best record against Spurs, especially at White heart lane. Spurs were our closest rivals for fourth place for a while last season, worrying because they'd pipped us to Champions League football the previous season, but a late good run, including beating them at home with a Peter Crouch own goal pushed us, not only into 4th but into 3rd and automatic qualification. I expected this game to be our first test of the season, it didn't turn out that way, in fact it became one of those results that you talk about for a while. Before the kick off, all the talk was about Modrick starting for Spurs, the midfielder linked with a move to Chelsea all summer long, now apparently staying and making his first start for Spurs this season. The team news for City fans was Nasri finally making his City debut. For the first 35 minutes of the game, it actually looked like it was going to be a contest, but as previously said, it didn't turn out that way.

Now, i hate to say i told you so, and maybe it's to early to do so, but if you refer back to my previous blogs i stated that i believed this would be Edin Dzeko's season, and after today's showing, i will say, I told you so. Dzeko opened the scoring on 35 minutes, with an assist from debutant Samir Nasri, an excellent cross and Dzeko steals in between the Spurs defenders to prod home his and City's first, with his left foot. Just before half time Nasri provided yet another pin point cross and Dzeko scored his second, how, I don't know, as he seemed to have his back to goal when he somehow guided the ball home with a brilliant header. So it was 2-0 at the break, but being a City fan you never think it's over, and i was fully expecting the Spurs fight back in the second half.

Now as a football fan, 2-0 up at halftime, you'd be quite confident, but as a City fan you are never confident. Sitting watching the match with Darren Bailey (a Spurs fan) i must admit i did fear the spurs backlash a little but that soon subsided when Dzeko hit his hatrick, this time Yaya crossed the ball for him to score with a right foot tap in, to complete the perfect hatrick and pretty much end the match as a contest. Sergio Aguero hit his 3rd for City to make it 4-0. Spurs did manage a consolation from a corner but the demolition was complete when Dzeko scored the pick of the bunch in time added on. A pass into Barry, perfectly laid off for Edin to curl an excellent goal into the top corner, a goal every bit as good as Aguero's strike vs swansea and Barry's goal vs Bolton. It was a brilliant result and a brilliant day for Edin Dzeko, looking worth every single penny of his transfer fee.

The most striking thing about this result is not only the fact that we hammered a full strength Totenham side, in their own back yard, but the difference between this performance and the one we got slated for last season was amazing. Last year we parked the bus and were lucky to grind out a draw, this season we looked unstoppable. Spurs were out played and blown away. Nasri looked like he'd always played for us, and the movement of the front 4 of Dzeko, Aguero, Silva and Nasri was brilliant to watch. Keegan, commentating for ESPN said "It was like watching Barcelona". Now i wouldn't go that far, but it was very nice to watch. Dare i start to dream now ? It's only been 3 games, but i am more than impressed with how we have started, but, and again there is ALWAYS a but, Chelsea started in awesome form last season and then dropped off the pace, so maybe it is still to early to dream. What i will say is it's nice to be a City fan right now and as we go into an international break I just can't wait for our next home game Vs Wigan on September 10th, At this moment in time i feel like we are Edin in the right direction.....see what i did there ?

Sunday, 21 August 2011

First away day

I've been a City fan since i was 9 years old, been going to games since i was 21 (ish). At first i went when i could afford it, a game here and a game there up until about 5 years ago, then i started going quite regular, enough to make me invest in a season ticket and this is my third season holding that ticket. In all that time though i have never really done away games. I have been to some over the years but an amount you could probably count on one hand so obviously i didn't attend our game at Bolton.

I have spoke to my son about attending a few more away games and we'd even discussed buying tickets for this game until we realized that my Grand daughter was being Christened on the same day so it soon became apparent that it wasn't going to be allowed. To make things worse i didn't even get to see most of the game as i was DJ for the party after the church. Eventually though, the crowd did begin to thin and  I was able to bang on a play list and catch the majority of the second half.

As i mentioned in my first blog, it was good to see Silva shooting and getting on the score sheet so it was pleasing again when he scored vs Bolton, this time getting a bit of luck that he hadn't got in the first half vs Swansea, when his shot from the edge of the box was spilled  by the usually very dependable Jaaskelainen. Silva reminds me a lot of my very favourite City player, Gio Kinkladze. The way he runs with the ball as if attached to his feet and leaves players dizzy when he ties them in knots brings back memories of THAT goal at main road vs Southampton, so David Silva having a good season and scoring goals will make me very happy.

Another player in City blue that i think gets unnecessary stick from some city fans is Gareth Barry. I don't understand why, his passing is great and he breaks up play in midfield like he's supposed to. You don't become a regular in the England team if you are as crap as some fans try to make him out . He is also very versatile as he can play left midfield or even left back. Anyway, i just hope his long range screamer of a goal today changes the mind set of the said fans. It was every bit as amazing as Aguero's vs Swansea but unless you are an expensive foreign signing or you play in red you don't get the same sort of plaudits that this goal really does deserve.

Bolton at the reebok is always going to be a hard game and despite City having a lot of possession, The home team are always going to make chances and have spells and they managed to pull one back before the break to make it 2-1. The second half started well though and Edin Dzeko fired City's third goal, his second in as many games ( four in the last four if you count the last two pre season friendlies vs Inter and United). Fueling even more my belief that this is going to be Dzeko's season. 3-1 now and maybe Mancini's comments after the match about us "not concentrating" are right as we switched off and allowed Davis to get a second for Bolton and make it 3-2 and also make me a little bit nervy. Again the "we're gonna mess this up" feeling surfaced, but we didn't, we managed to grind out this result and make it two in two and six points from six and put us at the top of the premier league.

Now again i'm not going to get carried away. We need to be getting results against the "top four" teams before we start to do that, but this is a pleasing start and Bolton away is a different game to Swansea at home, but the old saying "you can only beat what is put in front of you" comes to mind and we've done that now, twice."You're only as good as your last game" is another saying and City and Bolton both won their opening fixture 4-0 so this was always going to be interesting. 4-0 or 3-2 i don't mind either way, as long as we win and come away with the points I'm not to bothered in what fashion we do it.

Another player who deserves a special mention from this game (from what I've now seen and read) is James Milner. Another under achiever in Blue since his arrival, but that's more down to lack of playing time than anything else maybe, but i thought he pushed Silva for the man of the match award today. Plus Tevez made an appearance from the bench today so maybe we won't "Miss him to much" or "depend on him" to much as the gutter press tries to make out we do. Our first "real" test comes next week, away to spurs. This fixture last season bought the very best from Joe Hart who kept the scoreline (somehow) 0-0. Last season we pipped them to top four, the season before they pipped us to top four, so spurs away is probably a different proposition to what we've played so far, but for now, for the second game running, I am a happy blue.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

First game of the season

Waiting through the summer for the football season to starts always seems like forever, so when announced that we'd have to wait until the Monday for our first game it didn't go down so well, but the bonus of a first game at home for a change was a consolation. So it was August 15th 2011 when the Premier league finally got underway for us Manchester fans when the boys took on Swansea.

This was my Third season as a season ticket holder and i went to the game with all those hopes and dreams for a new season stronger than ever after we actually managed to win a trophy last season, but (aint there always a but ?) I just had this bad feeling that we would manage to make a mess of it somehow. Facing a newly promoted side in our first game, after spending millions again in the transfer market, i could practically hear the gutter press drooling at the prospect of plunging the knife into Manchester City again. Maybe it's just built into us City fans now and we are just naturally pessimistic.

The ground was full, a sell out, as it should be i guess for the first game back after so long without a football fix, the away fans were in good form, welsh flags hanging from the stands, never seen that before. Seemed like forever waiting for kick off and when it finally came the first 20 minutes didn't do anything to help my "bad feeling" go away. Swansea played some good football and were probably the better team if I'm completely honest. I couldn't help but think of how we hadn't turned up for our last pre season friendly at Wembley last weekend and my bad feeling began to feel a little worse, but then we settled. We started to come into the game a little more and by the time we reached half time we were very unlucky not to be in front. David (Merlin) Silva & Gaz Baz hitting the bar, and Swansea's debutante keeper performing brilliantly meant that the 2 teams were level at the break

So the second half started and now the boys were attacking the goal which i sat behind. I love sitting behind the goal, always have, don't know if that goes back to me playing as a keeper when i still had the energy to play or just the fact i sat behind the goal at my first game at main road all those years ago, but that is my preferred position. I got to see close up the Swansea keeper carry on his good performance and although you sensed a goal was coming, I always had that "they may nick one here" feeling in the pit of my stomach. But then, around 57 minutes in, the breakthrough came.


Johnson's shot, saved and pushed a side, but only to fall at the feet of Edin Dzeko and he tapped in the opener. Dzeko had been getting some stick from certain sections of the city fan base last season but i personally think (and hope) that he will come good and i think (and hope) that this could be his season, so it was pleasing to see him get on the score sheet. I was happy now and that "Bad feeling" had subsided. I began to relax, and then a substitution was made. Nigel De Jong made way for our record signing, the little Argentinian took to the pitch. No not Tevez, But a certain Sergio "Kun" Aguero made his Manchester City bow, and the rest, as they say, Is history.

BOOM ! 2-0 Aguero stealing in at the far post onto a fantastic Micah Richards ball across the front of goal to score on his debut and send the City faithful wild. A new City hero ? Lets hope so. My 14 year old son was defiantly very happy as i turned to see him jumping up and down and beaming like a Cheshire cat, as it was only last week he'd had Aguero put on the back of his new home shirt.

BOOM ! 3-0 A great ball from Dzeko to play Aguero in again, this time he dinks it over the oncoming keeper and then just manages to keep the ball in play with a nice over head pass to the in coming Silva who scores. Nice to see Silva get on the score sheet, he was unlucky not to be already. It was also nice to see Silva shooting a bit more. He runs midfield brilliantly and makes things happen, but i thought last season he needed to shoot a little more often rather than look to play people in.

BOOM 4-0 Aguero completes his dream debut in injury time with a 20 yard strike that i'm not even going to try and find words to describe. If you are a city fan you've seen it anyway, and won't mind seeing it again and again i imagine. It was amazing !

Now I'm not going to get carried away, as great a result as this was, I'm not gonna say that we are going to win this and we are going to win that because at the end of the day, No disrespect to Swansea, but it was Swansea. A newly promoted side trying to find their feet at this level, and from what i saw i think they will be ok, they play some good stuff and have some pace in the team to so i don't think they will struggle (guess that remains to be seen though) but i remember days when City wouldn't have put teams like this away like we did. Only last season we went to Villa and dominated, only to lose 1-0, so it was good to see us be patient, and get the result that we deserved. I hope that we can finally start to shake the "typical City" tag that we've had to live with all these years. I'm a happy blue this week though. Seen my team win their opener and I got to watch an amazing half an hour cameo by one of the worlds most gifted footballers in Sergio Aguero. The quality of player I've seen play in blue has been slowly improving since the investment, but this guy looked like something else. Hopefully he'll maintain that all season and bring the best out of Dzeko, silva and Mario and by the time January rolls around, i can be talking about winning this and that and who knows, with a bit of luck, the best player i get to see play at the Etihad stadium this year will be THE best player in the world, Messi, when we are drawn against Barcelona in the champions league. How nice will that be ?

So i shall end this first blog in good mood, as i said, a happy blue. Lets see how this mood changes as the blogs keep coming.  

Thanks for reading........