v Spurs 0-1
December 11th att 45,805
is coming but there were no early presents for City supporters at this drab listless
error strewn game between City and Spurs. Spurs under Bill Nicholson were well
known for their attacking policy but times have changed and defensive tactics
have dramatically changed since those great joyous footballing days. Now Spurs
came for a point and defended in depth. City's last game at Middlesbrough was
a disappointing affair with poor passing and one was hoping for an improvement
- there was .... for 15 minutes!
were unchanged from their last game yet again despite the return to the squad
of Anelka from injury. Anelka, who had made the news with extracts from an interview
giving the impression he wanted a move, was on the bench. With the January sales
almost upon us the sale of Anelka would require a transfer fee in access of 10
million as we already owe 6 million from his original move to City. It would be
pointless selling him unless there was some spare to buy a new striker and creative
the first minute or so of the start City should have had a penalty which would
have changed the course of the game. Fowler put Macken through and as the City
striker was about to shoot Ledly King trod on his foot (above left) bringing Macken
down. The referee , well behind play waved play on. As King was the last defender
he would have been sent off. It would have been a brave referee indeed to have
given a penalty and sent a player off in the first minute. Alas Dermot Gallagher
was not a brave man.
the first 15 minutes City passed well , hassled the Tottenham players and gave
a good overall impression that the goals would come.
was called into action on the 15 minute mark when he saved a good effort by Joey
Ricketts nearly gave Spurs the lead when he broke down the left and shot just
past the post.
25 minutes Fowler was brought down at the edge of the area and despite the protestations
of the Spurs players the referee gave a free kick
Sibierski's kick rebounded off the wall and City's efforts then really began to
minutes before half time and the City goal had another narrow escape. A long ball
found Robby Keane clear of Dunne and as James came out his shot went just wide.
before half time we had the miss of the season. A long cross from Jordan found
an unmarked Sibierski on the edge of the six yard box. With the goal at his mercy
he headed well wide. Unbelievable!
failed to make any impact shortly after so the first half ended goalless.
57 minutes Spurs struck. A City attack broke down and a long clearance found Kanoute
who had done little earlier. He made a run into the area and just as Dunne reached
him he let fly an unstoppable shot that just flew like a rocket into the top corner.
visiting supporters went mad with joy. As the poor relations of North London any
success is a triumph!
fought back and Robinson just held onto this shot from Fowler despite the attentions
had a narrow escape when Carrick found Keane who evaded the attentions of James
but his final shot was stopped on the line by Distin
70 minutes Keegan made a double substitution bringing on Anelka and BWP for Fowler
and Macken. It failed to make any impression on the Spurs defence.
missed another chance when put through by Brown.
piled on the pressure in the final moments and even David James came up to help
at a corner but it was to no avail. Again City's inability to carve out chances
was there for all to see. The lack of creativity is worrying. With Sibierski playing
out of position the lack of a left footed creative midfielder is causing problems.
Even Sibierski's heading ability is coming into question and as he often slows
down as the game progresses we need new blood here. There is no plan B if SWP
is off the boil and he certainly was in both the Middlesbrough game and this.
His crossing today was very poor at times. Macken and Fowler had their moments
together but they need support. Much of City's passing after the first 15 minutes
lacked conviction. I will be paying a first visit to Boltons new stadium next
week. Its a long time since I last visited Burnden Park. A tough game is in prospect.
5: Mills 5 , Dunne 6, Distin 6, Jordan 5: Shaun Wright-Phillips 5, Bosvelt 5,
Barton 5, Sibierski 4: Fowler 6 (Anelka 5) Macken 5 (Bradley Wright-Phillips 5)
were always eager to put their point of view to the referee
0 City 1
December 18th att. 27,271
was my first visit to the Reebok Stadium and having mortgaged three holiday homes
and the cat for the ticket it wasn't a bad view! The last time I watched City
play at Bolton was way back in November 1962 when a young 18 year old winger scored
twice against us in a 3-1 Bolton win. He was a thorn in the side of City that
day - his name - Francis Lee . How time flies. The City side that day was - Dowd,
Kennedy,Sear: Benson Lievers Oakes: Young,Dobing Harley,Hannah and Wagstaffe.
Alan Oakes scored for City.
Well the Reebok is certainly a change from Burnden
Park. Bolton were on a bad run but are a difficult side to beat so City would
have to improve on their last performance to get a point today
the teams came out they were greeted with fireworks and as we shall see they were
the only fireworks to be seen all day. City made one change - Anelka returning
Barton and a Bolton player practice for 'Come Dancing'
Jay Okocha lets fly but the ball goes wide in the first five minutes
Davies gets a word of warning from referee Rennie after a hefty tackle on Barton
18 minutes Jaaskalainen makes a good save from Robbie Fowler who was continuing
his improved form
20 minutes James is forced to save low down from a long distance shot by Cesar
City corner comes to naught as the Bolton defence clear
are always dangerous from dead ball situations so David James had plenty of practice
perfecting his punching technique. I hope a certain local Bolton Olympic boxing
hero who was introduced to the crowd was taking notes!
Barton shot goes just wide.
Nolan practices his goalkeeping skills as City clear
all hands to the pump as the City defence strive to clear another corner
the most part City kept Bolton at bay and James was rarely troubled and it was
obvious one goal would decide the issue
tried to put the City goal under pressure after they had gone behind but the City
defence held firm and showed just why we had conceded so few goals
ten minutes to go before half time David James made a brilliant stop to deny Barness
Fortunately his block ran out to Distin who cleared
Wright-Phillips who had been pretty anonymous in attack had a run down the left
shortly after the break but the move broke down
minute later- in the 52nd minute City got what proved to be the winner. Fowler
started the move putting the ball through to Anelka who beat the keeper only to
be brought down. Before the referee could blow for a penalty the loose ball ran
to Barton who easily scored .Alas my images of the event were blocked by an arm
and a body infront of me! So the image on the left is from the Bolton replay screen.
Why can't we have one of these at COMS!
the last seconds ticking away Joey Barton took the ball to the corner flag to
keep it safe.
was not a pretty game to watch but I didn't think it would be. Though Mills didn't
have one of his best games, Distin and Dunne were magnificent at the centre of
defence and young Jordan should now hold onto his place with his displays. The
midfield though not all that creative defended well with Barton and Bosvelt excellent.
Shaun Wright-Phillips was earned his keep today as a defender leaving Sibierski
to try and link up with Fowler - now playing much better and a rather lazy Anelka
( perhaps dreaming of a Sangria on the Ramblas in Barcelona ). So it was a good
start to the Christmas period with City moving into the top half of the table
with games against Everton and West Brom to come. This was a tough game certainly
not for the purists and most likely well down the 'Match-of-the-Day' list but
full marks to the referee for once who kept the game flowing - talked to playing
instead of dishing out yellow cards willy nilly and used his discretion well.
7: Mills 5, Dunne 8, Distin 7, Jordan 6: Wright-Phillips 5, Bosvelt 6, Barton
7, Sibierski 6: Fowler 7, Anelka 5:
1 West Brom 1
December 28th att. 47,177
could only happen with Manchester City. A team with ten men who had no shots at
goal at all score to take a point. Unbelievable - well not really. If you have
supported City as long as I have, you know nothing is certain. It was the highest
home crowd of the season but there was a stange lack of atmosphere. Perhaps it
was the cold weather or the spectators just knew what was going to happen. What
is certain is that Chairman John Wardle must give KK some cash to add to the bare
bones squad hit by the long term injuries to key players.
made one change from the Everton game - naughty boy Barton returning for Mackin
end of years minute silence was as usual impeccably held.
was clobbered by Johnson early on and though he returned after treatment and managed
to play until half time he was later substituted.
took control from the start and it looked as it was only a matter of time before
we would score - here Sibierski having an effort blocked.
!7 minutes Anelka put Fowler through on goal. He was impeded by Gaardsoe just
outside the area -above left . Referee Andy D'Urso gave a free kick and a red
card for the Albion defender who was deemed the last man. A somewhat harsh but
rulebook correct decision.
curled the free kick just over the bar
Thomas made his lonely way off the field, manager Bryan Robson looks away from
time Anelka ,off a short run curled it beautifully into the top corner to put
City into the lead after 33 minutes.
celebrated his first goal since the Chelsea game in October
hand ball by Andy Johnson was right in front of the referee and Anelka had another
chance to score
good shot by Anelka is heading for the corner but is well saved by Russell Hoult
continued to dominate with Fowler and Anelka combining well and Sibierski had
several efforts blocked or saved.
effort by the City attack ends with heroics from goalkeeper Hoult who once again
saves the day for West Brom
heavy wintery showers failed to interrupt play in the second half
the first time I noticed the under- turf heating on the pitch. You can just make
out the dark outlines.
tries all his skills to try and break through the massed West Brom defence.
Wright-Phillips put through by Barton has his effort saved .
Fowler who was in great form had this chance from a narrow angle but his fierce
shot was brilliantly blocked by Russell Hoult
only a single goal ahead against the ten men of Albion City had most of the play
but failed to kill the game off. The West Brom goal had a charmed life at times
and the longer the game went on the more frustrating it got.
85 minutes West Brom equalized with a bizarre own goal. Earnshaw who had just
come on for Greening chased a long ball down the middle. Dunne and James lost
communication and the ball hit Dunne and rolled past the advancing James to roll
over the line with an exultant Earnshaw in attendance.Oh what a Christmas present
for the visiting supporters who had earlier called for Robsons exit. Unbelievable
! West Brom without one shot on goal had scored.
the closing minutes City piled on the pressure but Hoult once again saved well
from Fowler and yet another two points were thrown away at home. If we had won
the games at home we should have City would be in the top 6. As it is we are likely
to finish in the middle. Full marks to the Albion keeper who had a blinder but
the lack of form by Shaun Wright-Phillips is a mystery. Since his 'rise to fame'
defences have been more aware of him but he appears to have lost the confidence
to run at defences with purpose. Questions must be asked of the tactics. Keegan
was asked at the AGM why Anelka was taking corners - the answer was that Anelka
was the best dead ball taker and he was not renowned for his headers so why are
we now having Fowler taking some. Why did Onuoha who came on for Jordan in the
second half play at left back when he is best in central defence and Distin could
easily play at left back. With the midfield so packed with West Brom players why
could we not use the width of the pitch more.
5: Mills 5, Dunne 6, Distin 6, Jordan 6 (Onouha 6 ): Wright-Phillips 5, Bosvelt
7, Barton 5, Sibierski 6: Anelka 7, Fowler 8: