Aris Thessoloniki 0 – 0 MAN CITY – MY THOUGHTS

16 Feb

In an electric atmosphere complete with a remarkable pre-match firework display, Man City produced a professional performance away to Aris Thessoloniki in Greece, recording a draw and leaving a good chance of progressing to the next round. Although an away goal would have been preferable to take into the second leg, a draw away at the intimidating Kleanthis Vikelidis Stadium, where Aris have not been beaten in European competition for 42 years, is a more than respectable result.

It wasn’t the most exhilarating game, with chances few and far between, and although I feel satisfied with a draw, there were signs from Aris that they could cause us problems next Thursday. Whilst we were mindful of keeping possession, building attacks slowly and exerting our authority, they counter-attacked with pace and urgency, yet didn’t truthfully look like scoring.

With regards to team selection, Roberto Mancini opted to name a virtually full-strength side for the first time in the Europa League this season. With both Nigel de Jong and James Milner missing through injury, only Vincent Kompany from the regulars was rested, meaning that Jérome Boateng and Kolo Touré were the central defensive partnership. A slightly concerning fact, as pointed out by Jack from TLDORC on Twitter, is that Mancini has now changed the centre-back pairing in ten successive games. In my opinion, he needs to settle on one pairing and let them gel. For me, this would be Boateng and Kompany.

The match itself, despite the feverish atmosphere, was a fairly dull encounter. During the first half, in which City dominated possession, Džeko wasted the best chance, shooting meekly at Aris’s Greek goalkeeper after being set up by Silva’s cushioned touch. The Bosnian was looked bright but was perhaps too eager to score and sometimes squandered decent positions due to his greed.

The acquisition of Džeko has forced Tévez to operate from slightly deeper and despite initially thinking this would suit the Argentine, he is not involved enough with play around the edge of the box. Dropping deep to pick up the ball is all well and good but we need our top scorer closer to goal.

Aris came more into the game in the second half as they harried us further up the pitch, but it was Džeko who squandered the best opportunity, heading straight at the goalkeeper from a sumptuous Gareth Barry cross. That was that as far as meaningful action went, and despite Mancini having a pop at SWP and Džeko in his post-match press conference, I guess he will be quietly pleased with the result. It is all set up to be a tense night at Eastlands.

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7 Responses to “Aris Thessoloniki 0 – 0 MAN CITY – MY THOUGHTS”

  1. Siamack 16/02/2011 at 7:04 pm #

    I think the reason Dzeko is under-performing is because of the pressure caused by high expectation from him. It is the responsibility of manager and those around him to ease the pressure. It is only then he can be the Dzeko we all want to see.

    I also wanted to say that you hit the nail on the head when you said Boateng and Kompany paring would be the best.

  2. Citysince77 16/02/2011 at 9:00 pm #

    Number one priority for this game was to avoid defeat and get back to keeping a clean sheet and we did that. I know it would have been good to record a comfortable win, and if you remember the Groclin games from a few years ago you will know we are far from an assured safe passage through just yet. But under the circumstance of yet another harsh derby defeat, I would have taken a clean sheet and a draw before the start of the game. Over the years, whether we win, lose or draw the derby it always seems like we are suffering some kind of hangover from it in the game after. But now, we have a possible, (and totally winnable might I add), five game streak at home where I am hoping we rediscover our cutting edge up front. In the majority of the games we have won this season I believe we made it easier for our defence to play as a unit by giving them something to hold on to by scoring goals in the first half. We must discover this again and if we do we will be in for one of the best ends to a season this club has had in a long time. I am hopeful that by the time we play our next away game, we will be the last sixteen of the Europa Cup, the quarter finals of the FA cup, and sitting comfortably in a Champions League spot. What happens after that, I cannot wait to find out.

  3. Sir Cecil 17/02/2011 at 8:32 am #

    I am very worried for City’s future. Yemen and Bahrain have followed the example of Egypt and other countries in the region, protesting the ways of the despots, and I fear our beloved sheik might soon fall foul of the rabble. I mean, he has wasted so much of his government purse on an overseas football club that his citizens are very likely to rise up in this political climate and punish him and his underlings severely. I don’t wish to be alarmist, but the prospect of the sheik being strung up by his populace is horrifying in terms of what would then happen to our team. Starved of his cash, our players would be off like a shot and only low-level replacements could be secured – always assuming we stay in business. It’s frightening to think of the bottomless pit of despair that Manchester City followers will experience if the sheik is forced to flee to Iran, with only the clothes on his back, while his people redirect the money he’s been wasting to more beneficial causes, like expanding dairy produce and creating more camel lanes on major thoroughfares. Please join with me in praying for our benefactor tonight and ask that he be kept safe from the mob that will soon be circling his palace. Amen.

    • Citysince77 17/02/2011 at 1:48 pm #

      This clown is having a laugh. I’m sure it is the same weirdo who used to spout his rubbish on a website called tribal football in a similar vein. The Sheikh is going nowhere pal, he married into the royal family and he made his money in the business world, not creaming it from the government. Believe me, this guy is pretending to be a City fan but he’s either a rag or one of those guy’s who stand around a shopping centre telling everyone ‘The end is nigh’. The bit about Camel Throughfares made me p*ss. What a PRAT!

    • Siamack 17/02/2011 at 2:21 pm #

      Though I do not like to get into politics. I would like to mention you an absolute idiot and your writing is a proof of your ignorance. First of all, If Sheikh were to flee, Iran would definitely not be his destination (not till hell freezes). Gulf rulers support Sunni Islam (Wahhabi version) while Iran supports Shi’ism, these are two extremely opposite ideologies that can not coexist. Secondly, issues in Egypt, Bahrain and Tunisia have everything to do with poor economic conditions as opposed democracy. And oil rich Gulf countries like Qatar, UAE and Saudi Arabia are extremely well off which will kill any hope of yours on downfall of Sheikh or Manchester city. Keep dreaming, it really turns me on to see how helpless you are!

      • Citysince77 17/02/2011 at 7:11 pm #

        Thank you for putting it far more eloquently than I ever could. Your knowledge on the subject leaves both of us very much in the shade. I just wish you would have got to him first as I probably wouldn’t have bothered. One things for sure, I think we both think he’s a crackpot.

  4. Dzecko Man City 17/02/2011 at 11:52 am #

    The problem with Dsecko is the same problem with almost nearly every big money striker. They are expected to come in and score goals straight away, no matter what.

    In reality no one can fit into that goal scoring roll so quickly at a massive club. Look at Torres now, Tevez at Man U, Shevshenko at Chelsea, even drogba at chelsea was shocking his first season….

    These guys are all great players, and they come good in the end, they just need to settle

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