Manchester City 5 CSKA Moscow 2: Some Thoughts
- Sometimes, there are more important things than a football match. Sometimes there are wider issues that need dealing with, that cannot be swept under the carpet, that cannot be forgotten by covering our eyes and ears and pretending that everything is ok. There is a cause at stake here, there is a persecution against a group of people that shames the government of Russia and shames also its people.
Free Pussy Riot.
- So City are thRough to the knockout stage of the Champions League, and with two games to spare. Naturally, the pro-Mancini camp will argue that he would have qualified from this group, but let’s forget the past and just acknowledge a job professionally done. Mancini struggled against Ajax and even at home to Villareal, but what’s done is done.
- And let’s not forget that City can still win the group. This may seem unlikely, but the game against Bayern Munich will be a dead-rubber of sorts, and there may be some reserve players on show. It may well resemble a glorified friendly, but City will be keen to avenge the defeat in the Audi Cup final (and that other game).
- But looming on the horizon is the distinct possibility, perhaps a probability, that City will face a top, top team in the last 16. Should they lose, will the team be considered failures once more? Probably by some.
- Qualification with games to spare though is a huge plus considering the log-jam of games in December.
- So questions remain over the defence, but perhaps we should just accept a more adventurous style that in conjunction with a high defensive line may lead to more nervy moments.
- With that in mind, it seems to have got to the point that we are so spoiled as City fans that an opposition team actually having some chances, or scoring a goal is now unacceptable and a sign of our frailty. Of course the defence has made some poor decisions this year, but sometimes other teams construct a good move, a player does something brilliant, and balls fall their way. Quality players will sometimes get past our full back or win a header in the six-yard box. It happens. And to state the obvious, a more adventurous style leaves gaps at the back and works the defence that little bit harder.
- How humorous to observe the debate in the media over the past fortnight or so as to which was the superior front two – Van Persie and Rooney or Suarez and Sturridge – well who cares, because there is no one better than beauty and the beast (a cringeworthy description even if it is actually quite accurate). Add a revitalised Nasri and Silva and that is a front four of supreme talent, that can score 12 goals in 2 matches without even appearing to break sweat (more than an entire season under Stuart Pearce). And into that mix will come Jovetic. If Aguero can stay fit (if), he should break records galore.
- And well done to Kun, City’s leading ever European goal scorer. He does alright.
- The Beast of the Match? No, just no. It’s not big and it’s not clever. Stop it now.
- And whilst we’re at it, I do not want to feed the beast, or watch Merlin.
- We still can’t take corners. There must be someone better at them than David Silva.
- Another underwhelming atmosphere. I have commented before that the Champions League has not captured the imagination of City fans, but this is not helped by Group games. It can be guaranteed that the atmosphere for the knockout stage(s) will be somewhat different. And to go over old ground, the lack of a full stadium is not an opportunity for playground taunts, but a damning indictment of the cost of modern football, the tipping point already reached for many.
- Of course Alex Ferguson probably saw it slightly different.
“Aye, CSKA battered City. Battered them. They could have had four or five by half-time. That Brazilian lad kept fouling Tosic, five times, got away with it. If CSKA could have got to half-time level, they would have won that game. City were a wee bit lucky, no doubt about that.”
- Though that’s probably better than how the tabloids might describe it – The beast slayed the royally routed Russian rejects as Sergio soared, scored and skewered the compliant cowering commies.
- Jamie Jackson managed to get SHEIKH MANSOUR’S BILLIONAIRES into his match report. Again. Impressive work.
- The racism issue hung in the air all night. I might have a Russian GCSE but I can’t understand a word of it anymore to be honest (I couldn’t then either), but there seems to have been little incident on the night, bar some vile cards left on public transport and the dreaded lighting of a flare, a crime worse than GBH. The CSKA fans before the match seemed more interested in taking photos of their pints of bitter – I guess they don’t have Robinsons’ Dizzy Blonde in Moscow.
- I didn’t quite understand the booing when the Russian announcement came over the tannoy. Do City fans now hate the Russian language too?
Down with the Cyrillic alphabet!! Death to the funny letters, especially the B that is pronounced like a V!
- For the first time I got the tram back to town, and it wasn’t bad at all. Apart that is for the fact that there were no trams waiting at the stop after the match, or for some time afterwards, but let’s not be harsh on Metrolink. After all, how could they possibly have anticipated a thousand people suddenly needing a tram at 09:40pm on a Tuesday night?
But once trams appeared, it took 12 minutes from queue to Piccadilly station. Not bad at all.
- Ashley Young, you are an utter disgrace of a man.
(for the record, Gordon Strachan thought it WAS a penalty to United.)