West Ham 0 City 0

I was really nervous watching this one on Saturday teatime. They came out of the blocks like a house on fire, scored a decent goal that was chalked off for a dubious offside and it was a while before we could settle down and start passing the ball around. Once we did, we started to get on top without really fashioning any clear cut scoring opps, aside from Mario’s up and over the bar from 2 yards.

On the subject of Super Mario, I thought he was having a decent game but was hooked halfway through the 2nd half whereas Dzeko should have been the one making way as he was having a shocker. His touch was awry and his passing was pretty poor too, every time we give the lad a chance to show he’s far more worthy of just being a super-sub then he just goes and blows it. Ah well, back to the bench for you young Edin and zip it.

2nd half we were well on top but there was too much tiki without the taki and we carried little threat. Nobody seemed to want to take the chance to actually have a bloody shot at goal. Still, it’s a tough place to go at times and we came away with a useful point from a game we could have lost. Good performances from the defence, in particular Nastasic and Clichy, Nasri and Tevev worked hard and kept the ball well but Ya Ya looked a bit out of sorts, he doesn’t look fit to me.

Craig Levein: results cost him Scotland job – Kevin Gallacher

No shit! Really? Thanks for that expert insight Kevin, thank goodness there are the ex-pro’s out there able to enlighten us thickos as to why certain things in football happen. I, for example, would never have realised that winning 3 competitive matches in 3 years (including 2 victories over duffers like Leichenstein) might lead a manager to lose his job but now I see how it works…..if you show that you’re basically a crap manager then you run the risk of getting sacked…ahhhh, it all makes sense now.

City 1 Swansea 0

Ouch. Another major league struggle this for the faltering blues who keep having to dig deep to dredge out results. Swansea played well, they stifled us in midfield in the first half, broke with menace and we couldn’t have argued had they gone in at half time a goal up. We were laborious in our build up play and are becoming serial side passers. To me, Nastasic is beginning to look like Savic Mk 2. We paid a lot of dosh for this guy, he’s only 19 and is relatively unproven and perhaps we should have paid a bit more to get a bit more experience.

Second half we improved and began to show a bit of urgency which culminated in a fine but slightly unusual strike from Tevez which somehow found its way into the bottom corner, confounding their keeper to the extent that he was twisting and turning and caused himself an injury in the process. After that I thought we should have pushed on and won it more comfortably but the 5 minute delay whist their keeper was removed from the pitch seemed to stop us dead in our tracks again and any momentum built up, was lost.

This was a really odd match with a flat atmosphere, played in the dark as the onset of winter approaches and which had its second half momentum rudely interrupted by several nasty looking injuries, not the usual types caused by scything challenges but self inflicted ones. Swansea, for all their neat passing and possession lack a killer touch up front which was lucky for us. “The stuff of champions” they cried after on the Bluemoon forums but some may interpret City’s inability to play with any particular degree of flair as symptomatic of more worrying matters. We can’t keep on scraping wins with last minute winners or riding our luck in this manner and seriously need to pick up the pace, quite literally, sooner, rather than later.

Ajax 3 City 1

Ouch. Another CL evening and another disappointing performance and result. Where was the power and pace last night? There were warning signs early on last night as we seemed to surrender midfield  and found it hard to string more than a couple of passes together, our ball retention in Europe is sorely lacking. Each of the goals we conceded was avoidable.

The first, we had numerous chances in the build up to hoof the ball away and use up the seconds before half time but the last culprit was Nasri, gifting the ball in midfield and then Barry and Milner failed to track back. The second was poor marking at a corner and even then Clichy was caught in no mans land, had he taken a couple of steps back he’d have been on the goal line and could have cleared it easily but instead he just chose to stand there, doing nothing.

Goal number 3 was down to Barry, who had an overal lamentable performance, gifting the ball away, not for the first time in Europe. Mancini must realise by now that Barry is too slow and too cumbersome, too predictable at this level. Most others can see it…

Poor Edin up front, every time he gets the chance to start and show that he deserves more than the  super sub tag he turns in a performance that suggests he is in fact best suited to the super sub tag. I think we are fielding teams in Europe, obviously based around our squad, who are big and powerful but a tad slow and cumbersome and against teams like Ajax and Dortmund (and Napoli, last season), who are quick, nimble and technically very proficient, we struggle big time. Our strength and size are suited to doing well at home, which we do, but not ideal for Europe.

Let’s not beat about the bush here, Ajax were good but not a great side and after scoring first and quietening their home support, we should have gone on and killed them off instead of sitting back and thinking we could hold them off.  Our ball retention, when we are pressed, is suspect.

And another thing. Ajax were very vocal last night about our “oil money” with numerous chants and banners around the ground chastising us for having the money and having bought the ability to compete in the Champions League. Fair enough but Ajax shouldn’t forget that they are big boys in Holland themselves and have for a good long time enjoyed superior financial clout over most other Dutch clubs, with the exception of Philips backed PSV. Therefore they are being two faced themselves, they’re saying it’s okay to enjoy the benefits of having more cash than your rivals at home but not, for some reason, in Europe.

EE data prices for LTE

Garbage. That’s really all there is to say about the prices and the data limits. Cheapest “offer”, using the term loosely, provides a miserly 500mb of data whilst the maximum amount of data per month is capped at 8gb.

Think about that for a second or two. This is the new super fast EE network, with purported broadband like downloading speeds which is meant to encourage people to download more stuff presumably and there are caps on usage that just about negate any advantage of having the faster download speeds. You’d have thought that the whole point of the service would be so that people could download and/or stream films, music HD quality streams etc…how much of that can they do with 500mb or 1gb of data allowance each month?

iPhone 5 returning home

Well, the little ding that was on the iPhone 5 when it arrived and which must have been done when it was being made over in happy Foxconn land began to irritate me more and more. Its placement, right at the top under the power button meant I couldn’t really miss it, had it been hidden away round the back, out of sight when being held in the hand then I probably wouldn’t have bothered too much but……darn it I thought, this is a £500 plus phone which arrived with a noticeable scratch on it, in the box plus it still makes that irritating rattling noise when it is held in a certain way or placed down on a table or when shaken lightly. Plus, there are now a couple more bits of paint flaking off near the original mark and I began to think, how crap will this thing look in 6 months time if that carries on?

So, I was just going to do a return on the Apple website but discovered that you only have 14 days to do that which is poor, I’m sure it used to be 30. I then had to call Apple, spoke to 3 different people including a lovely girl who sounded like Holly Hunter, she was from Kentucky and was very sympathetic to my slightly “enhanced” tale of woe re the marks and rattling. Forty minutes later and having spoken firmly to her “supervisor” and some other lady nearer home I had a swop out email from Apple with return instructions and a delivery date for the new one of early November, not ideal but not disastrous either. I felt so much better afterwards too, it was like a big weight had been lifted off me as the little marks and rattling had been riling me since I first got it and I was never really happy. I could have taken it through to the Apple Store in Glasgow for them to have a look but that would mean a 100 mile round trip and I couldn’t see myself having the time to do that for a few weeks…..and I wanted this sorted before then.

The only slight concern was that the nice lady from Apple Europe, who authorised the return, wanted me to send a photo of the marks on the phone so I took a couple of pics with my HTC One S and emailed them through within an hour or so. I heard nothing back from her that evening but the next morning I received a further email from Apple saying that I’d get my replacement “within 3-5 business days” and would receive delivery details nearer the time.

Fingers crossed.

WBA 1 City 2

Glory Glory Edin Dzeko…….ah yes, another late show from the Blues to snatch victory from the plucky Baggies after a right royal ding dong battle. That twerp Curbishley, on Match Choice on Sky, claimed that Albion deserved a draw despite having a man extra for over an hour, less possession than City, less shots at goal than City, less corners than City…you get the picture. And they had the benefit of going in front with a somewhat fortunate break of the ball after their sub guy scuffed a shot into Long’s path.

Still, City showed their battling qualities again away from home and as some were saying in the media  afterwards, albeit in a predictably cliched fashion, ’tis the stuff of Champions. All credit to Albion’s manager after the match, praising City right away. This was a tough match for us and a bad time to play them what with them sitting in 5th before the match started and looking for a 5th successive home win.

Downsides were Kompany leaving Milner high and dry for the sending off, Mario virtually begging the ref to send him off near the end of the first half and an extremely nervy last couple of minutes after going in front.