Manchester City 3 West Brom 1: Some Thoughts
Job done. Can’t ask for more than that at the “business end” of the season.
I hate that phrase.
There was predictably a downbeat approach to the match, not only due to the feeling that the title had slipped away but also due to the ridiculous scheduling over a bank holiday weekend of a game at 8pm on a Monday night.
The day started on a bad note with the news breaking that David Moyes was on the verge of being sacked. Devastating news, but it was good whilst it lasted. As City fans we had always joked that we needed Moyes to do a bit better so that he did just enough to keep his job – hence he needed to win at Everton and he needed to qualify for the Europa League to mess up next season for them too. He has failed on all counts. Still, surely it’s the United way that Moyes now gets to choose his successor? Let’s hope Ian Holloway’s phone is ringing as we speak.
Let’s also not forget that United have a proud history of standing by one manager. It turns out they’re not any better than the rest of us after all. Who knew?
But back to City. The team had few surprises with the rumour that Silva was fit enough to play one game a week, but Navas, Toure and of course Nastastic were still injured. As per usual, it was a team more than capable of winning, comfortably.
And like Sunderland the week before, a quick start, an early goal and everything looked fine. City’s attitude seemed better than the previous home match and the team were well on top. A second soon followed after the ball fell nicely for Aguero, but the sloppiness of recent weeks was still there as shown by West Brom’s goal, all resulting from an appalling free-kick routine from City that certainly hadn’t perfected on the training ground.
After that though, City were generally dominant. They were extremely dominant in possession and generally comfortable and dangerous in attacking areas, though West Brom were always a threat on the break. After Demichelis became the third Argentinean to score on the night, there was little threat from the away team thereafter, though City wobbled in the minutes after Silva was stretchered off, their focus temporarily gone.
It’s just a shame that City saw to see out the match rather than go for more goals, as goal difference could still be a factor at the end of the season, unlikely as that seems. As is often the case, there was a reluctance to shoot but instead the frustrating tactic of trying to walk the ball into the net.
As for the atmosphere, it was better than against Sunderland (it couldn’t be any worse) as there was a reaction by some of the crowd to the lethargy of the previous week. It was hardly brilliant, but at least there were occasional attempts by pockets of the crowd to fire things up. Still, for a team still in with a chance of winning the title it was generally poor and whilst the kick-off time will have prevented some people attending, it is rather pathetic of those who have just given up on the season and stopped going. It’s a free world though, they can of course do what they want and those that did go can leave when they want (more on that later).
As for the away supporters, they could have come in a taxi etc etc. Their boycott of the game due to exorbitant ticket prices has been well documented and should be applauded. Boycotting is the only way to get things to change in my opinion. Prices are way too high, we all know it, and something needs to be done. Financial Fair Play rules, which result in clubs seeking to squeeze every penny of income they can out of fans, have only made matters worse.
So for such an underwhelming season, it seems barely possible that with three goals last night, City broke the all-time goal-scoring record for a top-level side in all competitions in a season.
More redemption for Martin Demichelis, who has shown his worth over the past couple of months and once more proves that it is best to give players a chance occasionally rather than writing them off after a few months. In the first half he completed 100% of the 26 passes he attempted.
The injury to David Silva however pretty much summed up City’s season. I had hoped we could have got a 4th goal and subbed him, but it wasn’t to be and another player joins the injury list. My concerns as he was stretchered off was not mainly for City but for the player himself – it would be cruel if he were to miss the World Cup. It’s all speculation, but it seems he may be only out for a few weeks, as a scan is carried out. Either way, he surely won’t figure for City again this season and without the one player who has made City tick over recent weeks, the job of catching Liverpool has just got even tougher.
And for once, I left early, for which the blame lay squarely in one place – Metrolink, the laughing stock of all transport systems. To be sure of getting home I had to leave as the injury time board went up, all because our wonderful tram operators think it perfectly acceptable to be running a bank holiday service on the night of a football match, leaving me 40 minutes from match-end to get a tram from St. Peters Square (because, just to make things even more fun, Metrolink had also decided not to run any Altrincham trams through Piccadilly for the second match in a row). They are really are a shambles on a daily basis.
And so on to another Super Sunday, where the season could effectively end. It’s time to change the habit of a lifetime and root for Chelsea, though I cannot see them winning myself. I am not sure City will either to be honest, but here’s to a summer of consolidation and a good crack at it all again next season. Chin(s) up.