WBA 0 – 2 MAN CITY – My Thoughts

8 Nov

Where do I start? The superb team performance, the battling qualities we showed, the electric atmosphere, the support for Mancini, the display of Mario Balotelli or the total ineptitude of the referee. Fortunately the final one of that concatenation didn’t cost us the match, but it’s a point I will address later.

The media, so desperate it seemed for Mancini and City to fail, had put immense pressure on the Italian before the game by declaring it as a must-win. Although it wasn’t quite that important, it felt necessary to acquire the three points and receive a much-needed confidence boost before the Manchester derby on Wednesday. And thanks to a courageous, passionate and most crucially, team, performance,, the Blues escaped from the Hawthorns with a fully deserved win and retained their place in the top four.

Instead of giving a normal, routine post match review, listing detail by detail, I’ll just highlight some of what I felt were the key moments and factors in the game.

FINE PERFORMANCE: David Silva in action against the Baggies

Battling Qualities

After all the stick that the club has received for supposedly lacking unity, it was so pleasing to see each and every one of the players battling for the team. From Carlos Tévez up-front, right through to the defence, via a sterling effort from the midfield, it was a performance that demonstrated the qualities we possess. We totally dominated the first half with easy-on-the-eye passing football, controlling the game and playing it at our own tempo. We knew that a visit to the Hawthorns, a ground where we never seem to do well, would not be easy, but the Blues fought as a team and look to be in good stead for the United fixture.

Atmosphere

Heading into the game, I wasn’t overly optimistic. In my preview, I had predicted a City win, but that was more in hope than expectation. However, in the first half, among the fans, there was a real belief that we could do it. The crowd got behind the team, urging them on at every opportunity, and showing undying support for our manager. As I stood in the away end at the ground, I counted five times in the first half when my fellow Blues’ supporters started singing ‘He comes from Italy, to manage Man City, Mancini’. Following all the criticism hurled in his direction by the press, it was fantastic to see the City fans back the manager. Throughout the game, the atmosphere from the City end was electric and this can only serve as a promising sign for the future.

Yaya Toure

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of Mario Balotelli

Well, well, well. Craig Bellamy was once described as ‘The Nutter With A Putter’, and if you take off the final three words from that, you have what I believe is an adequate description of Mario. Judging from Balotelli’s rather interesting history, this was a typical performance from the Italian. We saw him at his majestic best, scoring two goals and looking the world class player we had been led to believe he was. He tracked back well, supporting Boateng when needed, but does occasional shirk out of the challenge.

And then descended the red mist. Live, at the ground, I thought it was a straight red. He seemed to lash out at Mulumbu, rashly swinging his left leg. But after seeing the replays, I’m certainly not convinced he deserved the colour of card he received. Unfortunately, he will miss the derby, as City have appealed the severity of punishment handed out as opposed to a card at all. In other terms, City feel that Balotelli deserved a yellow not a red, meaning that since he was already booked, it would still constitute a one-match ban.

MARCHING ORDERS: Mario Balotelli is shown red at The Hawthorns

The Defence

Our much vaunted back-line has been looking shaky in recent weeks, but was back to its best against WBA. Former captain Kolo Touré was fully-fit and it made a real difference as he partnered Vincent Kompany. Fortunately for the Blues, that duo, along with Jérome Boateng and Pablo Zabaleta, were back to their impenetrable best. When City were under pressure after Mario went for an early bath, Kolo, with a very dodgy barnet, and Vincent were outstanding. They were more than ably supported by Boateng and Zabaleta, the latter of whom was sensational in an unfamiliar left-back position. I’m sure Mancini would like to have introduced Aleksandar Kolarov earlier than he did, but the Argentine has staked a real claim for the left-back spot in the derby.

The Referee

Lee Probert. Anyone who reads this blog on a regular basis will know that I don’t hold too many grudges against referees. They have a very tricky job and are under a huge amount of pressure. But I’m sorry Mr Probert, that simply wasn’t good enough. Fortunately, we won the game despite the best efforts of the referee, but he was so wrong, so many times. Such inconsistency cannot be tolerated. Booking Nigel de Jong was justified, as was his decision to take Gareth Barry’s name, but why not hand a yellow card to Nicky Shorey, Chris Brunt or Paul Scharner for equally, if not worse, tackles.

Every foul by a City man was rewarded with a card, and every one by a WBA player was let off with carefree abandon. When Yaya Touré was bursting through the middle in the second half, he was taken out by Shorey, but managed to haul himself up and continue, albeit from a wider, and therefore less threatening position. Yet the referee played advantage, and to the bewilderment of City fans, didn’t even speak with Shorey afterwards.

I must at this point mention a couple of quotes form the man stood behind me, whose anger towards Probert was quite a scene! At one point, he kindly offered these words to the man in charge, ‘You f***ing pink fluorescent t*sser’ and while I partially agreed with the sentiment, I hesitated to point out that his shirt was in fact orange. Later, he offered these kind words to Probert. ‘Your parents wanted a girl, and they got one!’ Ah, the joys of criticising the referee…

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2 Responses to “WBA 0 – 2 MAN CITY – My Thoughts”

  1. JOHN GUIDETTI IS MY HERO!! 09/11/2010 at 5:34 pm #

    “I must at this point mention a couple of quotes form the man stood behind me, whose anger towards Probert was quite a scene! At one point, he kindly offered these words to the man in charge, ‘You f***ing pink fluorescent t*sser’ and while I partially agreed with the sentiment, I hesitated to point out that his shirt was in fact orange. Later, he offered these kind words to Probert. ‘Your parents wanted a girl, and they got one!’ Ah, the joys of criticising the referee…!”

    ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT!

    Great article, I like how the different sections are all slpit up, it adds to the easy read which i like. The Balotelli section is good and I like the comparison in temprament to Bellamy. However, as stated, the paragraph above superseeds all! I love it!

    Please do more articles split into sections like this – it makes it much more enjoyable. The atmosphere section is also a nice little one off feature, because as we can say, we cant get to all the games, but something like that would be a welcome addition in the derby review and is something I can help you with if you wish 🙂

  2. JOHN GUIDETTI IS MY HERO!! 09/11/2010 at 5:35 pm #

    p.s the best part of that paragraph was when you hesitated as to correct him or not…i’m guessing you didnt or else i doubt you’d have managed to write this blog!

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