Wednesday, 2 November 2011


November 2nd and it's back to must win Champions League action again, away to Villarreal. 2 Weeks ago, literally the last kick of the game had seen Sergio Aguero score a winner at home vs Villarreal to earn us our first Champions league win, so I'm sure that the opposition would be more than up for this one in front of their own fans. Mancini's team news again held some surprises. Hart started in net but Zabba and Savic joined Kompany and Clichy in the back 4. De Jong came into the midfield with Yaya, and Milner, Nasri and Silva backed up Mario Balotelli, returning from suspension to start his first Champions League game for Manchester City. Pantilimon, Lescott, Kolarov, AJ, Barry, Dzeko, & Aguero made up the very strong bench. The fact that Villarreal were missing a lot of their more experienced players through injury meant that this could be easier than expected.

The first half started and Villarreal, a team with no points and playing at home parked the bus and sat in waiting for us to break them down. City obviously saw a lot of the ball and were patient with the opposition rarely bothering the City defence. It took 30 minutes for the break through to come, Silva running at the defence plays the ball into Yaya just inside the box and as Silva ran through for the return ball, the defender guessed that would happen and stepped across to pick up Silva, but the return ball never came. The guess work from the defender opened up a big hole for Yaya to stroll into and curl a brilliant ball into the bottom corner, His first goal since he won us the FA cup.

The rest of the half played out as it started, City being patient in front of the Villarreal bus and it wasn't until the last minute of the half when Mario megged the defender to burst into the box. 2 defenders came across to cover and Mario went down. Penalty given, not sure why, and in all honestly it was a little soft, but penalty all the same. Mario stepped up, and in his usual care free, ultra cool way, he slotted it home to put us 2-0 up. Half time score from the other group game was Bayern 3 Napoli 1, a good score line for us if it stayed that way.

Second half started and to be honest it was a bit of a stroll, City just doing what they had to do, keeping the ball and limiting the Villarreal threat to the point that it was actually quite boring. David Silva went off on 65 minutes, holding his back in some pain (lets hope he is ok for Saturday) and he was replaced by Adam Johnson, 6 minutes later we were 3-0 up. A good team move, finished when Mario played the ball into the area for Yaya and he provided a nice bit of foot work before finishing Cooley for his second goal. Aguero came on for Yaya and Kolarov came on for Mario as we professionally saw the match out to pick up a vital win and a vital 3 points that moves us up into second place in our group with Bayern beating Napoli 3-2. This means that if we go to Napoli in 3 weeks time and win, we are through to the knock out stages.

Are we good enough to go through in Napoli ? I don't see why not. We seem to be growing into the competition now, and we have been playing better away from home than we have at home. The Napoli fans won't allow their team to sit in and counter like they did at the Etihad and if a team comes at us, United will tell you what we are capable of doing to them, so yes, i think we can qualify. Can we win the whole thing ? That's a different matter. With the likes of Barca and Real and even Bayern still in, it won't be easy, but with the quality we posses now, and on our best day, i think we can stand shoulder to shoulder with anyone. It won;t be easy, but when have City ever done anything easy ? Thanks for reading

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