City v Arsenal 1-2 August 31st
the teams came out for this clash with Arsenal all the horrible memories of the
past few seasons came flooding back.
Could we get to twenty minutes without
conceding a goal I wondered! I noticed that the scoreboard failed to start the
45 minutes countdown so was that a premonition of things to come. KK had picked
a team with only striker - Annelka OK for away games perhaps but how would it
work at home. Fowler was fit and on the bench but Macken (injured) and Wanchope
(away in Costa Rica) were absent. A packed COMS saw the City defence contain the
early Arsenal pressure and to the delight of the City crowd a gift goal gave City
the lead. A long ball from Distin in defence was being covered by Lauren with
Sinclair in hot pursuit. As Lauren approached his own goal, bustled by Sinclair,
he belted the ball past his own keeper. Keep it up Lauren!- below
celebrations began in the blue section of the ground - two pictures! Well we don't
take the lead against Arsenal very often.
Distin and Wiltord take to the air. City easily took the honours in the first
half with the Arsenal attack well held for the most part by the City defence.
after a few hiccups the scoreboard came to life. A new structure in the stadium
was the 'TV centre'. I wonder why a proper media centre ( and video screen) was
not designed from day 1 in this ' state of the art' stadium. Surely the designers
must have known the requirement. Perhaps a question to raise at the next shareholders
Graham Poll who controlled a difficult game well talked to a number of players
before showing the yellow cards. Above Bosvelt is given a quiet word while KK
walks back to the dugout and Arsene Wenger looks on.
eyes on the ball following a City corner.
Distin in action against Freddie Ljungberg.
Sun who was having a good game clears an Arsenal attack
about a game of two halves! No doubt the Arsenal manager gave his troops a good
talking too at half time as they started to play with more purpose and the City
bliss did not last for long. The miracle was not to be despite the PA call for
a Reverent during the game! Three minutes into the second half and Shawn Wright-Phillips
tried a really stupid trick in his own half and gave the ball away. This was followed
by appalling covering and non existent tackling before Wiltord slotted the ball
home past a rather slow to react Seaman to make it 1-1. When will Wright -Phillips
learn the percentages! Tricks are great in their penalty area. He was not
entirely to blame however. KK must have been fuming. A golden lead was thrown
all wondered how long it would take for Tiatto to get booked. Not long - 7 minutes
to be exact - a really poor tackle. A total lack of control.
was to come. No sooner had Tiatto replaced Sibierski with twenty minutes to go
than the Australian gave the ball away in his own half. Criminal! Arsenal were
away again and then there was a lack of communication between Sun and Seaman and
Freddie Ljungberg nipped in to score. 2-1 down. On came Berkovic and Fowler for
Wright Phillips and Bosvelt but it was all too late.
could have been three for Arsenal late on when Henry broke through but Sun saved
on the line. A giveaway pass by Barton this time.
many smiles as the City faithful left the Stadium down COM Way. City ruled the
first half but Arsenal had the last laugh with City gifting the visitors with
two defensive errors. Seaman had less difficult saves to make than their keeper
who kept them in the game in the second half. Several City players looked knackered
late on. Particularly Tarnat who could hardly kick the ball. It was a fast game
and City supporters should not be too disheartened. Remember these Arsenal players
have been together for several seasons and their passing and understanding showed
it. It will take time for the new City players to settle and there was a lot to
admire in their play in the first half. However in the Premiership mistakes are
pounced upon and limited chances must be taken.
Team : Seaman 6: Sun 7,
Sommeil 6, Distin 7, Tarnat 6.5: Wright-Phillips 6 (Berkovic 6), Bosvelt 7 (Fowler
5), Barton 6.5, Sinclair 7, Sibierski 6 (Tiatto 5), Annelka 7:
v Aston Villa 4-1 Sept 14th
know it is an old cliché but this was definitely a game of two halves!
In the first half City could do little right - misplaced passes poor marking to
mention just a couple of points. Villa looked the better side and their two strikers
were causing the usually reliable Sommeil and Distin plenty of concern. City did
have the odd attack but Sorensen was rarely troubled. The second half was a different
matter and within minutes of the restart City were two one up. A penalty and a
free kick left Villa in disarray and City went on to win 4-1. Last season we hardly
won a penalty all season. Today we won two! Annelka scored a hat-trick and McManaman
made an impressive debut . It was difficult to believe he had not played with
his colleagues before. City moved into third place just below the PLC down the
Allback gets the close attention of Sun and Sommeil.
excellent debut of Steve McManaman
the recent experiences with crosses the City defence managed to keep the Villa
attack at bay at this corner
just over the half hour Villa took the lead. A long cross from Lee Hendrie found
Angel suspiciously offside and alas completely unmarked. He easily headed past
the left Michael Tarnat tries some unusual gymnastics in defence.
time Tarnat indulges in a heart to heart with Gavin McCann- no doubt discussing
weapons of mass destruction - with referee Halsey listening in.
after half time McManaman attacked down the left and Delaney handled in the area.
There was a pause before the referee gave a penalty and Annelka drove the ball
to Sorensen's left to equalise.
minute or so later City won a free kick on the left well outside the area. Tarnat
who had scored that wonder goal at Blackburn earlier in the season again took
the kick and smashed it past Sorensen into the top right hand corner of the goal
just over 20 minutes to go and with City well on top playing really good possession
football attacked down the right with right-Phillips and Jihai Sun. Their interchange
ended with Sun being upended in the box - left. This time referee Halsey
immediately pointed to the spot - above
time Annelka smashed it to Sorensen's right to make it 3-1 for City and the home
side were well in control. Shortly after Sibierski replaced Barton then Reyna
made his debut taking over from Wanchope who had had his first start for many
a month. Fowler remained on the bench!
continued to attack and Sorensen was kept really busy while Seaman had a quiet
83 minutes to go Annelka got his third with a solo effort and kicked the ball
high into the stand to the supporters. No doubt the kitman will forgive him!
supporters started to leave well before the end no doubt a little peeved with
their teams second half display!
trouble started with police and stewards there to keep the peace. It looked like
handbags at 6 feet!
had been a good open game controlled with a great deal of common sense by referee
Halsey. He talked to players instead of showing yellow cards willy nilly!
and in the end an excellent display by City. The setup now looks very promising
with a healthy squad and a top 6 place in May a distinct prospect. A good run
in Europe is certainly a possibility and we should get past Lockeren in the next
Seaman 6: Sun 7: Sommeil 6, Distin 6, Tarnat 7: Wright-Philips
7 ,Barton 6 ( Sibierski 7), Sinclair 6, McManaman 8, Annelka 8, Wanchope 7 ( Reyna
v City 2-2 Sept 20th
was my first venture away with City for many years and my very first visit to
Loftus Road , the temporary home of Fulham. The journey down by coach from Eastlands
was uneventful with an early arrival at the compact stadium. I was one of the
first in the Upper Stand and one was immediately aware of the compactness of the
ground. The seats left little room for comfort and it was impossible to see the
near goal line while seated. Now I really began to appreciate the seating at our
new stadium! City had made one important change as Danny Tiatto took the place
of Tarnat who was injured. Alas the P.A. system here is really poor so it was
almost impossible to hear the names of the City subs so I had to wait until they
was amusing to see Fulham chairman join in their teams warm-up. Mohammed Fayed
soaked in the applause given by the home supporters to their benefactor.
clear an early City attack.
you can see from this shot of a City wall being set up for a free kick it was
difficult to see the goal at the visitors end.
Saha breaks through after an error by Distin, shoots at goal but direct at Seaman
Barton who continues to impress clears a Fulham attack.
Tiatto attempts to clear down the line with Distin in support. I must admit City
missed Tarnat's presence especially when City won a couple of free kicks in dangerous
the half time ' entertainment' at Loftus Road was this group of girls who gyrated
for the Fulham supporters at the far end. I wonder whether Moonchester would have
joined in had he been there.
players had an usual welcome back after half time. Not quite the Beswick Brass
Band we used to have at Maine Road!
the first 15 seconds of the second half Annelka won a loose ball just inside the
Fulham half - beat a couple of defenders and his shot at goal - left -was
deflected wide of Van der Sar by Knight. One nil to City . For his overzealous
celebrations with the City supporters Annelka got a yellow card from referee Phil
Dowd who had a poor game generally. Far too many yellow cards - very little common
Barton rushes over to congratulate Annelka
3000 visiting City faithful applaud the goal
Annelka takes on Junichi Inamoto
Barton battles with Sylvain Legwinski
Wanchope in action - on the left in a heading duel with Goma: above
taking on three defenders, Goma, Bonnissel and Knight. The forward partnership
of Annelka and Wanchope certainly will give defences more to worry about than
Fowler and Wanchope. However today the duo did not get the best of support from
midfield. I still think Berkovic is City's most creative player and should be
70 minutes Annelka was substituted by Sibierski . Presumably for an injury. Three
minutes later the City defence fell apart and Fulham scored twice in 6 minutes
. Both questioned the form of Seaman but
he wasn't the only one at fault. The first was the result of a pass from Volz
that caught the City defence napping and the second came as a result of a pass
from Malbranque that saw Seaman slow to react.
were just 30 seconds left of the three minutes extra time when Jihai Sun crossed
the ball into the Fulham area. Up soared Paulo Wanchope above far left to
head past the Fulham keeper to give City a deserved point. Phew that was close!
Above right -Paulo celebrates his last gasp goal.
Just before, Bosvelt
had hit the outside of the post with a magnificent volley. It had not been the
best of City displays. Again there was the loss of concentration in defence to
give away two goals and City failed to give the two attackers the support they
needed. Fulham worked hard in midfield and deserved a point
5: Sun 6, Sommeil 5, Distin 5, Tiatto 6: Wright-Phillips 5, Barton 5, McManaman
6, Sinclair 5: Wanchope 6, Annelka 6: subs Sibierski 6, Bosvelt 6, Fowler 5:
v Lokeren 3-2 Sept 24th
CUP att. 29,067
City's lack lustre performance at the weekend against Fulham expectations were
high for a few goals against a Belgium side in poor form after their third place
last season. City rested several players and we saw the full debut of Claudio
Reyna. Tarnat was still injured so Danny Tiatto continued at left back. Robbie
Fowler came in for Wanchope who was rested. Barton, Wright-Phillips and Sinclair
were also on the bench. Sibierski was preferred to Berkovic.
thousand or so visiting supporters made themselves heard and their enthusiasm
earned the applause of the home fans
teams enter the arena for this first round proper tie in the UEFA Cup.
just 8 minutes City took the lead. A great swerving free kick by Sibierski beat
Dabanovic in the Lokeren goal after Annelka had been fouled. Just when I thought
we were missing Tarnat's shooting ability!
minutes later and City conceded a really stupid goal and I hate to say it but
I am afraid David Seaman must take a lot of the blame. A long high ball was left
by Jihai Sun and as Seaman dithered Zoundi kept on running and clipped it past
the City keeper to level the scores.
had much of the play in the first half but with Lokeren defending in depth City
rarely made easy chances. Reyna was making a good debut. City failed to raise
the speed and creativity of their attacks and left the field at half time to a
chorus of boos.
changes at half time but early corners put pressure on the Lokeren goal. After
65 minutes City made some changes. Wright-Phillips came on for Bosvelt and immediately
City improved. Dunne replaced the injured Tiatto after 70 minutes.
just under 14 minutes to go Robbie Fowler who had not had the best of games flicked
the ball in from close range - above following a cross from Sun.
is congratulated by his colleagues after scoring the penalty - below.
is upended in the box - a similar position to the Villa match - and a penalty
again scored from the spot to give City a welcome 3-2 win but the away two goals
will give City problems in the second leg.
It was a typical City performance
- they came on the field thinking they could go through the motions and barely
raised a sweat in the first half. It was only when Wright -Phillips came on did
the thought occur to them that their UEFA hopes might be lost at this early stage.
Now it is going to be tough going in the away game.
was also disappointing that the lack of a Berkovic to create the chances continues.
minutes before half time City fell behind when Distin missed a cross from Sory
and Kristinsson swept it in past Seamans right hand. Two one for the visitors
and the City Crowd were stunned-let alone the City bench!
5: Sun 6, Sommeil 6, Distin 6 Tiatto 6 ( Dunne 6): Boswelt 6 (Wright-Phillips
7 ), Sibierski 6, Reyna7 , McManaman 7 : Fowler 5, Annelka 6: