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Manchester City 6 (SIX) Tottenham Hotspur 0: Some Thoughts

November 25, 2013
  • Wow, and once more – wow.
  • What I thought would be a tight game, settled by one moment, either of genius or perhaps one ghastly mistake, proved to be just that for a good 14 seconds.
  • As usual the team line-up provided plenty of ammunition for the Pellegrini doubters, due to the big issue of the month – the goalkeeping spot. I, like many others, presumed Hart would be back in the team after the international break, especially after his strong performance against Germany. However I have since seen some logic in Pellegrini’s actions. Whoever was picked did not significantly alter City’s chances of victory, and it can be seen as quite clever from the manager to draft Hart back in for a game of less significance on Wednesday. Thus, Hart can find his feet without the media spotlight that would have accompanied him at the weekend, and what’s more, by sticking with the same keeper for the Spurs match, the game was about the football, and was not clouded by other issues. Hart will start on Wednesday, and after that, who knows?
  • So City scored after 14 seconds with their second shot after Spurs had kicked off. And it wasn’t a bad goal celebration from Navas either, after what was probably the earliest goal I have ever seen at a football match. That’s one way to settle the nerves.
  • Spurs threatened only briefly, between the first and second goal, but they looked dangerous and it was important that City came through that period without conceding. Once the second goal had gone in however, there was little to worry about thereafter.
  • But fear is ingrained into my psyche, and I was still worried at half-time. I don’t think I truly relaxed until the 5th goal went in, but I think I celebrated the 4th goal more than any other as deep down I knew that that was the goal that had sealed the match once and for all.
  • But for City’s dynamic duo upfront, new heights were hit yesterday. Aguero was undoubtedly the best player on the pitch, often unplayable, always a nightmare for Tottenham’s defence. Negredo was not far behind, and the understanding between the two is as good as anything I have seen. By the time Negredo smashed in the fifth goal, I had run out of words to describe the attacking display. And it could, and perhaps should have been more than six. Cue the song.
  • In fact, the attacking players were so good, I forgot David Silva existed. Sorry David.
  • Navas was superb from beginning to end, showing us exactly what he can offer. Some of his crosses were sublime, precise and deserving of more goals. For a player who supposedly cannot shoot, a brace of goals is very welcome indeed. He should start again next week.
  • A shout out too for Fernandinho, who continues to be magnificent, and Joleon Lescott, who did well when he came on. Demichelis too was fine, a player already getting plenty of criticism for reasons that escape me as he is a squad player filling in and doing his job.
  • As we all know by now, Yaya Toure is twice the player when bombing forward than when he is lying deep. He was poor in the early stages, sloppy in possession and seemingly well off the pace. But he slowly improved, and was predictably at his best when surging forward, when he is almost impossible to dispossess. He really is wasted anywhere else.
  • Did Nasri mean that chip onto the crossbar? Well he didn’t look up and seemed genuinely upset it didn’t go in, so I will give him the benefit of the doubt.
  • This side lost at Sunderland. Repeat that to yourself, as it really does beggar belief. This is surely a psychological or tactical problem. City need to approach their away games in an identical matter to those at home. Perhaps some form of hypnosis would help?
  • Some stats: Sergio Aguero has scored more goals than the entire Spurs side. Manchester City have scored more goals at home than any other side has home AND away, a record total at this stage of the season for the top division in England. That cherished “scored most goals after 6 home games” trophy is the one piece of silverware that has continually eluded City, so that’s another monkey off our backs. It should also be noted that City have scored an average of 2.7 goals per game over the past fifty home league games and have now scored in 56 consecutive home league games. City also have the best home defence.
  • But proof that stats are sometimes irrelevant can be seen by the fact that Spurs had 53% possession yesterday. What’s more, away from home, City have made more passes than at home, have a better passing accuracy, on average 6% more possession, and only 2 fewer shots than at home. Go figure.
  • Sandro, when he wasn’t vomiting on the pitch or conceding own goals was busy tugging players at will, and can be considered very fortunate to have remained on the pitch. Especially when you consider…..
  • The Nasri penalty appeal. There’s no doubt in my mind it was a penalty and a red card. Of course Sandro did get the ball cleanly at first, and it can be construed as a good tackle – and every referee will see it that way to avoid making a tough decision. But touching the ball is irrelevant if he takes the player as well, and as far as I can see that is precisely what he did. If that had happened outside the area a free-kick could be guaranteed, but I will say that if it had happened the other way round I’d probably be applauding a fine tackle, so perhaps I should move on.
  • Personally, I wouldn’t have minded Guidetti getting a run-out. Aguero will have been disappointed to have been hauled off when on for a hat trick, but the logic from Pellegrini in subbing him and then Nasri is obvious – he can ill-afford them to get injured right now. Though knowing City, one of them would tear his cruciate ligament walking down the tunnel.
  • James Milner’s pass for the 6th goal – the pass of the week, possibly month.
  • How Kyle Walker gets into the England squad remains a mystery, even in a squad as underwhelming as the current one. It’s just increases the shame that Micah Richards is made of glass, and to think that Walker beat Aguero to Young Player of the Year remains one of the most ridiculous decisions ever.
  • Cardiff City ensured a perfect day with their late equaliser against Manchester United, and City suddenly find themselves in the top four. Wayne Rooney has got away with it again, but does that really surprise anyone anymore?
  • Bloody Match of the Day: win 6-0 and we’re the penultimate game. #topbantz
  • Oh, and for balance, Alan Shearer did something approaching analysis on Soldado. See Alan, it CAN be done. And do try and check out Soldado’s “heat map” for the game. As he takes kick-offs, there is a huge glow in the centre circle.
  • Just the one player in Garth Crooks’ team of the week. I wonder what we’d have to do to get two players in there?
  • So nothing to moan about after thrashing key rivals 6-0, right? Ha, don’t be ridiculous! Whinging at the line-up, whinging afterwards on radio phone-ins and message boards at our defence (half of which is now injured/ill), Jason Manford’s singing, and the substitutions, the WIFI or even the tram queue. It’s what we do.
  • I’m not sure how Messi’s going to get in this team.

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One Comment
  1. Graham Ward permalink

    Agree with all points made here. In that spell Spurs had (we should have been 2 up in 6 minutes), Lennon looked as though he would give Clichy a difficult afternoon, but the full back came through it quite well.
    For all that possession, Spurs didn’t create a great deal, and how many of their season’s goals have come from a set piece?
    My relaxation point was the third, I think!

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