Birmingham 2 – 2 MAN CITY – MY THOUGHTS

3 Feb

Last year, that result would have been deemed a good one. However, this year, in our current situation, it’s less than acceptable. The overwhelming feeling as I write this is of utter despondency, a prevailing sense of despair at letting a lead slip twice, at letting our rivals gain momentum as we falter. Normally, I take positives from a game, but this draw felt like a defeat. Perhaps I’m being overly critical, as St Andrews remains a tough place to go, but with all our closest challengers picking up three points, it was essential for us to do the same.

An early goal from Carlos Tévez should have settled the nerves, but Birmingham impressed with their workrate and battling spirit, fully deserving of their share of the spoils. A poorly defended set-piece (our worrying Achilles Heel) allowed Nikola Žigić to grab an equaliser, before Aleks Kolarov expertly curled home a free-kick. But then, just when we should have been closing out the game, a clumsy challenge inside the box from Patrick Vieira gifted Birmingham a penalty, which Craig Gardner clinically dispatched.

 

I have no complaints at all with Roberto Mancini’s team selection, as he opted to name the side I had been calling for. Micah Richards recovered from injury and took his place at right-back, with Jérome Boateng being preferred to Kolo Touré to partner the irrepressible Vincent Kompany. Belittling his 6’4″ frame, Yaya Touré couldn’t shrug off a sore throat (he seriously needs to get a grip) so James Milner operated in his favoured central role.

And at the start, everything went swimmingly well. Typically quick feet from the majestic David Silva fed Tévez in a tight spot in the box, but he managed to squeeze his shot home to send us into raptures. At that moment, we were in complete control, dominating possession and conveying the impression that we could score at any given moment. But then our nemesis struck.

It’s something which made Mancini fume and by all accounts, the players felt his wrath in the dressing room. So strong defensively at the start of the season, we now seem vulnerable every time the opposition has a set-piece. This time, it was a free-kick from Bentley, drilled low into the box, which caused us trouble. With no defender covering the near post area, Žigić had the freedom of our penalty box to poke the ball home. Our lead was restored moments later when Kolarov guided the ball powerfully into the net from a free-kick, confirming his reputation as a dead-ball specialist.

Richards, after surprisingly recovering from his injury against Notts County in time for this game, then suffered what at the time, looked a sickening blow. Leaping bravely to head the ball clear, he collided with Nigel de Jong as he fell and as the physio, stretcher and paramedics hurried to him, everyone feared the worst. TV refused to show close-up replays due to the emotional nature of the pictures and seven minutes later,  he was carried off, unconscious. Fortunately,  he recovered consciousness soon afterwards and was seen chatting with his teammates after the game. It doesn’t seem as bad as first feared, and I wish Micah all the best for a quick recovery.

That incident also deprived City of de Jong, who was replaced at half-time by Vieira after not fully recovering from his blow in the clash. Hindsight is a great tool, and we all recognise now that the better change would have been to introduce Pablo Zabaleta instead of the experienced Frenchman, but Mancini opted for his trusted lieutenant. In reality, this cost us the game, as Vieira’s clumsy challenge on Kevin Phillips inside the box resulted in Craig Gardner smashing the penalty home. It was reckless by Vieira and was a perfect example of why he should retire in the summer with dignity. Great in the dressing room, but a liability on the pitch.

Kolarov nearly secured the three points with the last kick of the game, but truth be told, we didn’t deserve to win. A home match against West Brom at the weekend offers us the perfect opportunity to get back on track and gain some momentum heading into the Manchester derby. We have bounced back before and we now need to show our character again.

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13 Responses to “Birmingham 2 – 2 MAN CITY – MY THOUGHTS”

  1. Siamack 03/02/2011 at 6:26 pm #

    This is absolutely unacceptable. Mancini is one responsible for this. I have never criticized Mancini but I think he has a serious issue for playing Vieira and Jo week-in and week-out. Jo is an absolute waste and Vieira is not a shadow of what he was. People may say Micheal Johnson is unfit or our Youth players are not upto it. But my question is what is the worst they can do? Cost us points! Well Jo and Vieira are already doing it with no prospect of improving. On the other hand, playing anyone other than these two goofs would give our Youth (including Micheal Johnson) a chance to improve by leaps and bounds. I was absolutely disgusted after the game and I strongly believe if we make 4th, it would most likely be because of Spurs’ screw-up and not because of taking advantage of our chances.

    • ALEKSANDER KOLAROV IS MY HERO!!! 04/02/2011 at 11:31 am #

      I spoke to Cheesy…he’s not sure its a guarantee we will finish top four anymore…shame…but i tend to agree…

  2. Bring Bellamy back 03/02/2011 at 7:06 pm #

    You are right to be despondant.This game was a chance to get oursleves back on track after the villa defeat and the nott’s county fiasco, but now there is more cause for concern. Mancini has so many winning attributes and the cohesion he has brought to the side can only be admired in this short space of time. However- his stubborn nature in my belief seriously undermines the team at times. Examples of this are his continued trust of Jo and habit of insisting upon zonal marking. Clearly these are areas of grave concern that need to be remedied.

  3. bobbiessilkscarf 03/02/2011 at 7:53 pm #

    mancini was at fault relying on Viera and the team dropped points as a result. City have always been admired for bringing on young players and not being afraid to give them a go. Bobby Manc has done it in the past. Zabaleta, Toure X2,Viera, Jo, Lescott, Not good enough although Zab at least works his ass off. Boatang looks uncomfortable and sloppy as does Kolorov at times being too clever. Kompany, De Jong, Silva, and most importantly Tevez really are carrying the load. Zonal marking=crap. Only ever close to being worthwhile if you have a big dominating headerer of the ball. (Dave Watson where are you?) We do not posses such a player currently. Dzeko has arrived and now we want to hoof hopeful balls or alternatively pass so slowly as to allow teams to have 11 behind the ball and narrow. The team are where they are because let face it we have some really good players however do not seem to be playing to a system.
    Micah looked like a world beater against Notts county but gave away 2 needless fouls on the edge of the 18 before his injury. (get better soon MR) One resulted in the first Bham goal. He has to learn.
    4th? I would take it now….its a lot better than the days of Macc Town away!!!
    C’mon city

    • Siamack 03/02/2011 at 8:41 pm #

      We should not fall into complacency and “take it for now” not after all the money spent and the so called time to gel. It is understandable to lose/draw a few games because of “bad day in office” but there is a unanimous consensus across all fan spectrum [or anyone who cares for City] that Vieira and JO are big liabilities and are costing the team. And if Mancini fails to realize this, then he is darn blind to the facts. Last season, the distance between City and Championship league was just a “win”!

    • ALEKSANDER KOLAROV IS MY HERO!!! 04/02/2011 at 11:33 am #

      Zabaleta not good enough? I dont think you watch the games. He’s our second best defender behind Vinnie and super in midfield too?

  4. Kaptain Kompany 03/02/2011 at 9:59 pm #

    Permanent Lineup

    Hart

    Richards/Boateng- Richards/Boateng- Kompany- Kolarov

    Milner- Barry- De Jong- Silva

    Tevez- Dzeko

    • ALEKSANDER KOLAROV IS MY HERO!!! 04/02/2011 at 11:34 am #

      Agreed although I would play Zaba RB and Richards CB. Bench of Given, Boateng, Lescott, Toure, Toure, Johnson, Guidetti

      • View From A Blue 04/02/2011 at 11:46 am #

        Balotelli? And Richards is not a centre-back.

        • ALEKSANDER KOLAROV IS MY HERO!!! 04/02/2011 at 12:00 pm #

          I only put Guidetti in as a joke to wind you up 🙂 Yes, Balotelli on the bench. But i’d play both Richards and Zaba…..hence why I said “I would play…” 😉

  5. Chilson 04/02/2011 at 12:55 am #

    Since a MC player boasted about City being the best attack force in the world, more superior than Barcelona’s even, there wasn’t even a win to show from 3 matches .. all against lowly opponents.

    On the other hand, Barcelona continued with its high-scoring victories.

    Did that player score any goal during the 3 matches? It’s time he faces reality and apologise to football fans all over the world!

    • Siamack 04/02/2011 at 2:15 pm #

      Does it mean if you believe you are superman thus superior to all men, you have to apologize to people all over the world!

      • Chilson 05/02/2011 at 1:14 am #

        I won’t say I am a superman unless I have shown superhuman feats. Even then, I won’t say that I am the best .. let others say so.

        Message is not to be cocky, even if you are the best.

        Thanks, buddy!

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