MAN CITY 0 – 0 Birmingham – MY THOUGHTS

14 Nov

Football fans are notoriously fickle. Two years ago, Man City were in the relegation zone at Christmas, fighting for their Premier League survival. In the end, we managed to remain in the division and have been improving ever since. But then comes the change in mentality. Just because we spend vast amounts of money, so-called ‘supporters’ seems to think that we deserve success. They need to realise it takes time to build and gel a side. City are a club that has lurched between mediocrity and ridicule in recent years. Money is a great catalyst for success, but it won’t cure problems overnight.

At the end of this game, a dour, lifeless and intensely frustrating 0-0 draw at home to Birmingham, the fans booed the side, they booed the manager and called for his sacking. Now whether it’s because I’m perhaps more realistic than most or whether I realise that patience is a virtue, I’m fuming at those fans. We lie fourth in the Premier League, a full three points ahead of our closest challengers. The owner set the manager the target of fourth: we are achieving that target, and yet people are still unhappy!

With regards to team selection, my good friend opted to make just the pair of changes from midweek, despite suggesting during the week that he would replace a number of the side. Summer signing Aleksandar Kolarov replaced Pablo Zabaleta at left-back, whilst the crowd were no doubt delighted to learn that Adam Johnson started, although it was in place of Gareth Barry as opposed to Yaya Touré.

Following the soporific Manchester derby, I’m sure everyone was expecting a slightly more open and entertaining affair this time around, but unfortunately, the first half resembled a continuation of Wednesday’s struggle, neither side able to offer up servings of attractive football. City were attempting to be more offensive, with David Silva handed a floating role in order to control the tempo, but as I predicted in the preview, Birmingham were superbly disciplined and managed to stifle any City efforts to impose themselves.

It was a first half devoid of any real excitement, with both goalkeepers hardly called into action. The visiting one, Ben Foster, saved comfortably from one long-range Kolarov shot, as the Serbian settled in impressively in only his second Premier League start. The only brief frisson of drama was when City thought they had scored late in the half, only for Carlos Tévez’s to be correctly penalised for handball.

The second half called for a major improvement from City and they started like a house on fire, James Milner seeing his shot brilliantly cleared off the line by Stephen Carr after just twenty seconds. City were fully in the ascendancy, dominating possession but lacking that killer final touch. Kolarov and Tévez saw their shots saved easily by Foster, whilst Hart had to be on his guard, stopping well from Fahey.

Forgotten man Roque Santa Cruz replaced the hard-working James Milner shortly after the hour mark and immediately conjured up a great chance for Tévez, but the captain dragged his left-footed effort wide. Carlos was having a terrible match, his greediness on show throughout, as he failed to pass to better placed teammates until he himself had run out of all options. Tévez has been our matchwinner on so many occasions that it would be wrong to criticise him too heavily, but he really does need to learn to pass to others and not try and do everything himself.

City pressed and pressed, but to no avail, as a combination of poor finishing and a resilient Birmingham rearguard meant that the Blues failed to score at home again. The crowd turned on Mancini when he replaced Tévez with Gareth Barry with just over five minutes remaining and displayed their nasty side by singing in favour of Craig Bellamy, whom Mancini sent on loan to Cardiff for causing mass disruption behind the scenes.

Overall, it certainly wasn’t a pretty performance and not one that any fan would like us to repeat, but for those fans demanding that the manager be removed from his position, I’m utterly bewildered. These people need to realise that City are planning for the long-term, not just the near future. Yes, it would be lovely to win every game at the moment, but Mancini, and all the other senior figures at the club, are laying the foundations for our future successes. And if that involves drawing at home to Birmingham in the meantime, then so be it.

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18 Responses to “MAN CITY 0 – 0 Birmingham – MY THOUGHTS”

  1. Garry Johnson 14/11/2010 at 6:47 pm #

    The media has recently generated a frenzy of emotive criticism of the team and the highly professional work Mancini is undertaking at City. At last an article that is honest about a poor performance, but objective, accurate and dare I say it concerned with digging out a bit of truth! Chelsea lost 0-3 at home today to Sunderland – a team City were criticised for losing 1 -0 to due to a 94th minute penalty. Will Ancelloti’s head now be sought on a platter?

  2. Melon Man 14/11/2010 at 6:50 pm #

    Totally agree.

    Mancini is building a proper team in stages, the first being a strong defensive unit.

    The next stage will most likely kick in after purchasing replacements for Crocky, Jo and Ade in January.

    until then, we should at the least keep quiet rather than foolishly playing into our enemies hands by joining in with the ridiculous nit-picking.

    Chelsea in crisis now anyone?

  3. ian butterworth 14/11/2010 at 7:03 pm #

    Hi,
    All very interesting and well thought out, however, you seem to be missing a key ingredient.
    Many supporters (me included) enjoy football and pay to be entertained. For me its first and foremost about enjoying the game, being entertained and hopefully getting the consequential results and success.
    When faced with the dire and boring football we’ve had to swallow in the last two games i’ve gone home feeling as though i’ve been swindled and find it even harder to face a weeks work!.
    Surely, with the talent we have at our disposal we should ‘expect’ both entertainment as well as success. be

  4. l0ngwayfr0mh0me 14/11/2010 at 7:06 pm #

    After having a quiet chuckle at the fickleness of Spuds fans and their booing of their team I was AGHAST to hear that the same was happening at Eastlands. To all those doubting where we now stand, take a look through the history books over the past 34 years, and take a bleeding reality check! Sforza Mancini!

  5. longsightcity 14/11/2010 at 7:08 pm #

    I think a manager lives and breathes by his transfer dealings..as well as results..james milner 26 million is an absolute robbery..villa must be laughing there tripe off..this player can’t score,can’t pass,can’t cross and definately can’t go past players..he has got to be citys worst buy ever for that amount of money..boateng is a centre half playing at full back..ya ya toure is just a poor mans de jong and barry is too slow to have any influence on a game..the midfield is pedestrian..too slow and has no creativity or invention,hence tevez and silva coming that deep to pick the ball up..for me city need a top class right back,a creative midfielder ..not 3 holding,pedestrian,sideways passers that we already have..and finally a big,strong 30 goals a season centre forward..mancini is running on borrowed time for me with his negative tactics…the reason we are still in fourth is more down to spurs dropping silly points coz they are definately a better team than us…5th place we will finish at best this season..and we are already out of the only cup we could win this season because of mancini and his tactics..frank rijkaard for me all day long..

  6. Siamack 14/11/2010 at 7:13 pm #

    A very well written article. Once our team gels over time the “entertainment” element will be added to the mix. But till then fans should practice some longer lasting patience that spans more than a just a few games. All ingredients of success are there: great investment, supportive and rich owners, quality players, experienced manager and best fans in the world. So let us rush things and I am positive we will be above all soon.

  7. John 14/11/2010 at 7:31 pm #

    I went to the game with a Brum fan, he was astonished that after an outlay of £300m that we didn’t seem to have a striker on the pitch. Our team is too slow and we were very predictable yesterday, with an entertainment value of near zero. I don’t expect to win every week, I’m well used to watching poor football at City, but I do expect us to have a go at the opposition in home games.

    All season we’ve been creating way too few chances, so we rely on a super finishing ratio and some good luck for victories. These aren’t winning tactics.

    • rat 15/11/2010 at 4:56 am #

      Are you even a city fan?

  8. JOHN GUIDETTI IS MY HERO!! 14/11/2010 at 7:35 pm #

    “The owner set the manager the target of fourth: we are achieving that target, and yet people are still unhappy!”

    >>> People want to be entertained though…

    “City were attempting to be more offensive, with David Silva handed a floating role in order to control the tempo, but as I predicted in the preview, Birmingham were superbly disciplined and managed to stifle any City efforts to impose themselves.”

    >> Could not agree more. Although it was nice to see Silva moving everywhere, ti did result in anything and he didnt really get into the game. A fixed role would help him big time. As for Birmingham, they came for a point and got one – defended fairly well I thought?

    “The visiting one, Ben Foster, saved comfortably from one long-range Kolarov shot, as the Serbian settled in impressively in only his second Premier League start”

    >>> I thought Kolarov had a very good game actually, looked settled and good to see him get forward. His corners were good too and he could be a threat from set pieces. SO much so I had a bet on him to score the first at 25/1….I lost it….but I had a bet on 0-0 at 12/1 and won that one, shame I only put 50p on it!

    “Forgotten man Roque Santa Cruz replaced the hard-working James Milner shortly after the hour mark”

    >>> Big mistake once again by your good friend, Milner was looking the most promising threat.

    “displayed their nasty side by singing in favour of Craig Bellamy, whom Mancini sent on loan to Cardiff for causing mass disruption behind the scenes.”

    >>> I think this was good – we need him back and it was a way to show Mancini that…we do need him?

  9. marco 14/11/2010 at 8:25 pm #

    Well written peice, I was at the game & as you say some of the fans just don’t understand football or tactics. I was as disappointed as everyone else at not winning,but look at Chelsea’s result!!
    The only thing I disagree with is James Milner’s performance, did’nt see him do anything in the first half

  10. Citysince77 14/11/2010 at 9:20 pm #

    To the so called fans who yesterday booed the team off at half time, you have absolutely no idea how to support a sucessful team. To the fans who booed and sang Bellamy’s name when Barry was brought on for Tevez your arrogance is nauseating, (are you a physio as well?) and you also have no idea how to support a sucessful team. To the fans who left the stadium early while we were pressing and the score was 0-0, please stay away as you also do not have a clue how to support a sucessful team. Could these ‘fans’ also tell me when we last arrived at mid November, 3 points behind the Rags and 6 points behind the leaders, after also having played our five biggest rivals and been unbeaten against four of them. Not to mention that we also currently sit in fourth position on merit, with a better goal difference than our nearest challengers who have both lost within their last two games. Absolutely shameful. I am actually livid. The game was not good, but we are notoriously bad after a derby even if we win it. Couple that with five players on the field who had the average of 8 Premier League games each under their belt and the boo boys become less than pointless. Special mention goes to the clown behind me who spent his afternoon singing for Bellamy, taking the p*ss out of the City players as they warmed up, and spent the last ten minutes shouting to Mancini he’d been sacked already. We call ourselves the best fans in the world, don’t make me sick. Please genuine City fans who have found themselves agreeing with these absolute jokers, have a think, realise where we are at and support the team and manager.

  11. rat 15/11/2010 at 4:53 am #

    Thank you so much. You have written what I have been thinking for so long. Great article and a great blog. keep up the good work.

    Genuine city fans have heart and passion, citysince77 mate spot on. I was absolutley disgusted with the fans. We have such a fantastic team, a manager who can win us the champions league, and the best owners in the entire world. All of this we did not have 3 years ago, but we had real fans. For all the money and stars we might just have lost our fan spirit. I beg you fellow citizens give mancini time, a 0-0 draw v a very defensive Birmingham is an average result but have we not experienced so much worse?

    And whats with all the Barry bashing he is an England internation who gives 110% for city what more can you ask.

    CTID

  12. Richard Cooke (The Grumpy Old Git) 15/11/2010 at 9:12 am #

    Birmingham City fan in peace. I wish my team were in 4th place in The Premiership at the moment, I would be happier than being in the relegation area!! Some Man City fans’ comments make a lot of sense, Rome is not built in a day, just because of two 0-0 draws there is no need to press the panic button. I can think of worse times to have been a Citizen supporter, just after John Bond took charge, at Maine Road against Birmingham, Archie Gemmill scored an 88th minute penalty to give Birmingham a 1-0 win. And Man. City were relegated that season. Look at what you have now in comparison!!

    • longsightcity 15/11/2010 at 11:21 am #

      Richard cooke..city were not relegated that season..in fact after that birmingham game we went on a fantastic run off the bottom of the league and finished mid table comfortably that season..reaching the league cup semis and the fa cup final as well that season..

      • Richard Cooke (The Grumpy Old Git) 15/11/2010 at 3:02 pm #

        My apologies, I was referring to the game and what followed from memory, and after all it was a long time ago!!
        May I wish Man City every success for the rest of this season, I just wish we still had Joe Hart at St. Andrews!!

  13. Josh Davies 15/11/2010 at 10:30 pm #

    Steven, I must firstly say that I thoroughly enjoy your articles and that they are entertaining and of a great quality (unlike the recent city performances!)

    I do not want Mancini sacked, I think it would be a foolish move for the club to make. However, we do need to improve.

    ” Just because we spend vast amounts of money, so-called ‘supporters’ seems to think that we deserve success.”

    I really disagree with this, we dont deserve success, and i dont think anybody believes that, but expectations have changed due to the money. We are one of, if not the most, expensively assembled squads ever, and we should be playing decent football. We are not though. We are not comparable with Mourinhos Chelsea or George Graham’s “Boring Boring Arsenal” because we arent even winning. In our last six games we have won just one. Four out of our last five league games we have not scored, and we have not scored in our last three home games! These statistics are bewildering considering we are in fourth place. But we have been lucky. We were lucky against Blackpool, and also against Newcastle who should of been awarded a penalty. Before that was the dismal performance against Juventus and previous to that was our fantastic win against Chelsea and our embarrassing cup loss to West Brom. Now, our win against chelsea was our last very good performance and that was in September and we are now half way through November.

    We are far too reliant on Tevez, and the manager concedes this so surely he should of done something about it in the summer. Its not like we were short of the transfer funds! Nevertheless our squad should be scoring a lot more than it is doing. Miraculously Milner has not broken his duck for us, which after watching him last season for villa is very suprising. Silva looks rather more like a creator than a finisher and none of Barry, YaYa nor De Jong look like they will offer goals. Mancini needs to get more out of these players. Particularly YaYa Toure, who has been a huge let down for me and many other fans.

    We should be winning games against the likes of Birmingham at home, or at least scoring goals!

    I think at the moment we are lacking ambition and imagination.

    We have not played well for a long time and our form is suffering. We attack slowly and in small numbers. Many times against Birmingham we had only Tevez, Johnson, Silva and Milner attacking while the other 6 ourfielders sat back and its just too cautious.

    Mancini needs to improve and he needs to get more out of the team. Fulham, Stoke, Bolton, West Ham, Everton, Newcastle, Aston Villa and Blackpool are our next 8 fixtures and it will be make or break time for Mancini. These are all teams that we are capable of beating. But we must start by scoring some goals…

  14. Ryan Engledow 17/11/2010 at 2:38 pm #

    This blog is the best Manchester city blog in the world

  15. Robbie Davids 18/11/2010 at 3:41 pm #

    piece on balotelli, in agreement?

    http://postmatchpint.wordpress.com/2010/11/18/blatter-and-platinis-african-hypocrisy/

    cheers, great mcfc blog keep it up!

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