0 F.C.Porto 1 - Thomas Cook Trophy
Aug 12th 2006 att. 20,000
was a pretty poor game as friendlies go with a poor crowd- little atmosphere -
and little sparkle from City. I suppose from City's point of view it is a useful
exercise to check all the facilities and safety precautions before the season
starts and it gave some of the players more match fitness but there were some
worrying aspects that will be needed to be sorted before the season starts in
sudden start of the sprinklers gave the visitors an early shower as they were
had Reyna as captain and there were home debuts for Dabo and Corradi. Weaver was
in goal with Onuoha making a return after his injury.
playing in a 4-3-3 formation with Vassell Corradi and Samaras upfront got a few
corners early on but failed to hit the target.
had the best of the early chances when Adriano put the ball wide when he should
after City had a chance when Samaras broke down the right after a defensive error
but his final shot hit the side netting
City had a fair amount of the play the Portuguese side with a good sprinkling
of Brazilian players were passing the ball better and often looked dangerous.
Distin and Onuoha were kept busy - the latter looking as though he has 'thickened
out' since his last appearance.
was unusual to see Steve Wrigley and not Stuart Pearce directing operations on
the touchline but there he is up in the stand pointing something out to injured
skipper Richard Dunne. He was back on the touchline after half time.
tries to get past Distin
City corner fails to achieve a chance
attempts to head at a corner
is tackled with Corradi looking on
saves at the foot of the post from a free kick
Porto shot - fortunately it goes wide
before half time Porto scored. . A good corner was headed in by Adriano who did
not appear to be marked!
A lesson here I think.
of the few good things to watch in this game was the half time display of ball
skills by this chap who was watched and applauded by the Porto subs. I would like
to say who it was but the P.A. system was indistinct and there was nothing in
embarrassing moment for Richards when he completely missed his kick.
Samaras shot hit the post after beating the keeper
Porto free kick is blocked by the wall. Hart replaced Weaver in goal after 60
takes on a couple of defenders.
Dickov enlivened the forward line when he came on for Reyna after 70 minutes.
spectator in the third tier was Moonbeam .
had to make a couple of saves at the feet of opposing forwards
did have some chances at the end of the game but a save by their keeper thwarted
am not too sure whether a 4-3-3 formation will suit our team and there is a big
question mark about the left midfield position. Miller came on for a short period
but I am not convinced he is ready yet and though Samaras played on both flanks
I think he is better upfront with Corradi. Vassell appears to have lost something
since he arrived and there were time when we badly needed someone going down the
right wing. Perhaps new signing Hatem Trabelsi will fill the bill as an attacking
right back. There will be more competition in midfield where nobody is certain
of his place. I hope Distin stays as the combination of Dunne and Distin generally
works quite well and I was not convinced of Onuoha's fitness. I feel the team
and formation will be selected on a match by match basis depending on the opposition
and whether it is home or away.
6 (Hart 6): Richards 6 - Onuoha 5 ( Mills 6) - Distin 7 - Thatcher 6: Reyna 6
( Dickov 6) - Barton 7 - Vassell 5 (Miller 5) Corradi 6 - Samaras 6
0 Portsmouth 0
Aug 23rd 2006 att. 37,214
first game of the season will be remembered by many for the wrong reasons. The
only major incident was the horrendous tackle ( and I use the term tackle advisedly)
by Thatcher on Mendes. All the spectators round me thought it should have been
an instant red card and were astonished to see Mr Gallacher only dish out a yellow.
I can only think he gave it for dangerous play as he was some distance away and
could not have seen the deliberate elbowing by Thatcher who had ran at the Portsmouth
player at speed and from some distance. The replays later on TV confirmed my worst
suspicions at the time. I don't want to see Thatcher play again in City's team.
He has already blotted his copybook this season with giving away a needless free-kick
to give Chelsea the lead last week and in China he was guilty of some bad tackles.
I cannot understand what Pearce sees in this player, especially when he has got
Jordan for that position. It was one of the worst tackles I have seen in many
years of watching football and if it had taken place out in the street Thatcher
would have been spending the night in a police cell.
The game itself was a
non event. City rarely threatened the visitors goal with James on his return to
City having little to do. The efforts in the final third by City were pathetic
at times and the passing really poor. What is the point of hoofing the ball in
the air with tiny Vassell and Dickov upfront. Why does Barton take all the corners
and most free-kicks. Is there nobody else capable? It would not be too bad if
they were any good. When did we last score from a dead ball situation? Portsmouth
were not much good either and this should have been three points and the Chelsea
game last week forgotten. I am afraid the end of last season continues.
put early pressure on the Pompey goal but it all came to naught and even at this
early stage it was obvious that Samaras is out of position and we badly need a
left sided midfielder with some creativity.
Dickov was his usual self hounding the visitors defence and in this clash with
Sol Campbell rescued the ball from the line and created a half chance from nothing
another City corner is cleared.
gets some stick from Barton after kicking the ball out when one of the Pompey
players was injured. Had the club not informed all the players of the change in
the rules? Samaras probably thought it was all Greek to him!
goes down to save from Barton but the shot was right at him.
and Distin track Benjani Mwaruwari .
Davis takes cover as Richard Dunne lets fly from long range but the shot goes
defend a free -kick. Good to see Nicky Weaver back in action after so long an
Samaras header from a Dunne pass goes harmlessly over the bar
O'Neil missed a good chance for Portsmouth after 33 minutes when he mishit his
shot from a good position
managed to get plenty of corners but there as little variety in them and James
was rarely troubled.
Dickov and Vassell worked hard upfront it was rare that chances were made and
the lack of a creative player with the skills to beat a defender and open up more
space was very evident. Often City players would be waiting for a pass instead
of going to meet the ball. The lack of an increase in tempo in the opposing last
third gave their defenders ample time to get organized.
pressure from Dunne James makes good catch at a corner
has to go down at the feet of O'Neil to save
blank result from City corner.
is the result of the 'tackle' by Thatcher I mentioned earlier.
Mendes had to go to hospital after being knocked unconscious by a blow by Thatchers
arm which appeared to be raised just before he clashed with the Portsmouth player.
falls in the area but there was no foul
Dickov did his best for 90 minutes and could not be faulted for effort.
saved the day after almost 70 minutes when he blocked a shot by Taylor who was
the referee adding four minutes of extra time neither City nor Portsmouth looked
capable of scoring and this dire game came to an end.How Portsmouth beat Blackburn
three nil last weekend is a mystery. City have yet to score this season and with
Arsenal here on Saturday that may continue on this form. Europe seems million
miles away and so does a full house with City's lowest attendance for a premier
League game at Eastlands.
7: Richards 6. Dunne 7. Distin 6.5. Thatcher 4: Sinclair 6. Barton 6.5. Reyna
6 ( Ireland 6) Samaras 6 (Miller 6): Dickov 6.5. Vassell 6: