Super Dzeks

Balotelli, the grumpy, hugely talented but ultimately overrated Italian or Edin Dzeko, the hard working, not as skilful but of a sound temperament? That is the question, sort of. I’ve been to about 5 City games in the past year and coincidentally, despite neither striker being an automatic start these days for the club, both have played in every match at some point, for significant parts.

Personally, I’ve been impressed by Mario at times. When you see him in the flesh, as opposed to on the telly, he’s very quick and very strong and makes some very good runs off the ball, he makes himself available. That’s the good bit but unfortunately the bad bits are equally obvious. He only seems to score at home, he’s moody and at times you just think that when he’s not in the mood he just doesn’t give two hoots. I get a bit fed up seeing him skulking about the pitch, gesticulating at the bench or team mates. It’s annoying to see someone who is obviously very talented, at times not making full use of their ability.

Edin, on the other hand, can look clumsy, be off the pace and he can get some stick from the crowd but he does score goals, home and away and you know that he’s going to work very hard. He perhaps doesn’t have the natural talent of others, like Balotelli, but he causes less trouble and has a scoring record that is better than him. There was talk in the summer of City trying to move him on and you never know with these rumours how close they are to being true, I suspect that if City had managed to bring in Van Persie, then one of the 4 strikers would have had to have left and as Mancini obviously sees Tevez and Aguero as his first picks that would have made it a straight shoot out, pardon the pun, between Edin and Mario. The suspicion exists that Mancini has invested a lot of himself and faith in Balotelli and to sell him on would be seen as an admission of failure on his part, especially as the “Special One” himself described Balotelli as “unmanageable”, and Roberto seems to have taken it on as some personal crusade to show the world otherwise.

I hope Edin is here for a while. I’m not convinced he has been given a fair crack of the whip to date nor has he had a decent run in the team to bed in. He started like a house on fire last season and banged 4 goals in a 5-1 win at Spurs, his reward being to be banished to the bench for the very next match. Many say that was a mistake as he is a confidence player (who isn’t though?) and he struggled for a period after that. City don’t exactly play to his strengths either, we don’t really play with wingers at the moment and thus he doesn’t get the sort of cross ball supply that he would probably thrive on.


Real Madrid 3 City 2

Ouch. This was painful, really painful. A few minutes away from an astonishing but admittedly fortunate result, City managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory thanks to some good old fashioned, rank rotten defending. Poor old Maicon got a bit of a metaphorical roasting in the press today but fact of the matter is he was on the pitch for 76 minutes and in that time we’d kept a clean sheet, 14 minutes later we had lost three going on six. Not sure what has happened to our leader, Kompany, so far this season, the previously dependable rock of last season has been a tad erratic this season and the overall loss of confidence in defence has proven costly so far. I think teams now realise that if they come at us then they can put us under pressure and we can crack at the back. The last 4 minutes of the match last night were shambolic and we got what we deserved in the end, nowt.

Plus marks for Ya Ya as usual, Tevez, Dzeko, Hart for his first half show and the new young defender, Nastacic but the rest were iffy. In many respects, for a supporter, you’re as well losing 4-0 than 3-2 in the last minute as the latter leaves a terrible sense of “what if”, the hurt can linger for days after. Another downer was having to watch the game on ITV and listen to the blustering but amiable Adrian Chils as well as self-proclaimed expert Roy “chopper” Keane, watching their patchy before and after coverage made me yearn for Jeff Stelling and his Sky Sports cronies, say what you like about Sky but they don’t half do a good job building up matches to fever pitch.

Stoke 1 City 1

Well, another 1-1 draw at their place and as usual it was a bit of a battle. You don’t get much there with the hostile home crowd. After the match Mr Baseball Cap himself, Tony Pullis, said it was nice for a small club like them to get a decision against a big club. This, after Crouch juggled the ball with his left hand a couple times, enabling him to manoeuvre himself into the position where he could score from about 4 yards unchallenged.

Now, there is something I need to point out to Mr Baseball Cap. A “decision”, as he called it, is something, like for example, being given the benefit of the doubt over a tight offside decision which goes in your favour. Handling the ball to gain an unfair advantage is cheating, plain and simple. We can only deduce then that Mr Baseball Cap condones cheating. I wonder how he would have felt had City scored their equaliser in the same fashion?

Anyway, we battered their goal near the end and Javi Garcia had a pretty impressive debut so there are positives to be taken from today.


Financial Fair Play – as long as it helps Man Utd

Manchester United want cash curbs because they are scared of City: Martin Samuel | Mail Online.

Interesting article this from a very decent sports writer but not exactly surprising. Odd how FPP doesn’t pay any attention to how much debt a club is in which is just as well for the likes of Utd and Arsenal.

Man Utd 2 Man City 1

Oh the pain, the pain…will it ever end? I thought it might end up until about 2.30 on Saturday afternoon but alas there was a depressingly familiar outcome. I suppose I could take some limited solace from the fact that City more than held their own for most of this match and could consider themselves a tad unlucky not to come away with a point. We certainly played a heck of a lot better than the corresponding fixture earlier this season at Eastlands.

Of course what made it even worse was that a few hours later I had to sit through a dodgy Spurs win at Sunderland which makes a big dent on City’s chances of even finishing in the top four. I can’t understand it, for the last few weeks City and their staff have been talking about continuing to challenge for the league title, a feat I believe to be well out of their reach, certainly this season anyway, whilst they’ve only ever been a couple of poor results away from slipping out of the Champions League places. Now, if Spurs win at Blackpool in their game in hand and Chelsea win both their games in hand we’ll be fifth. A not exactly improbable scenario. City’s form of late has been mediocre and hardly that of aspiring champs….losing 1-0 to Villa when they were in the bottom 3, drawing 2-2 with Birmingham when they were in the bottom 3 and scraping a draw with that acknowledged super power of European footie, Notts County.

CZ 1 Scotland 0…an apology

Not sure where to start with this one except to say, what an embarassment. Not in terms of the result, which was quite respectable only losing 1-0 away to a team who are higher ranked than us and clearly were a better team, but in the manner of the way we played…or rather didn’t play or even worse, never really attempted to play.

Some of the post-match comments from the manager and some of the players are disturbing”

“I thought it worked very well,” he (Caldwell) said. “They looked very frustrated, you could see that in their play and I don’t think they had many chances……..the Czech Republic the hosts’ team manager, former Liverpool midfielder Vladimir Smicer, said he remembered playing a Scots team that played “normal” football. “We were containing them and I thought, if the game had gone on a bit longer, we could maybe have opened them up and got back into it…(David Weir)

Ho hum…it’s a sad and rather pitiful day when we go abroad and start with a 4-6-0 formation in the hope of boring everyone to death and escape with a 0-0 draw. We might have one or two decent players in our side but the way we approach games these days, we’ll never know because we never give them the chance to show what they can do. Just what is the extent of our ambition these days? We set our stall out as if we are San Marino, that is to say, to try and avoid an absolute cuffing which sends out a great message about how we view our own ability.

Following Scotland used to be a bit of a laugh. Invariably we had promise, used to have a few good wins, had a team with a load of exciting but generally undisciplined mavericks and qualified for loads of the big tournaments – World Cup 74,78,82,86,90,98 and Euro 92 and 96. Inevitably we’d struggle when we got there but we had a go, played some football and used to earn a bit of praise into the bargain. We certainly didn’t set our stall out in the 4-6-0 formation with the intention of boring the arse of everyone watching.

Nowadays, we don’t qualify for any major tourneys, fair enough, but we seemed to have accepted our roles as a 4th tier nation whose only hope of gaining decent results is to play a horrendously defensive and cautious style in the slim hope of absorbing 80 odd minutes of opposition pressure and then sneaking upfield and poaching a goal from what is likely to be our only attacking move of the match. Personally, as it is fairly inevitable that we will lose more games than we will win, I’d like to see us go out in a blaze of glory, get shot down in style and have a go and I imagine that also applies to the majority of Scotland supporters. If we’re going to lose might as well lose having had a decent stab at trying to win the match in the first place, at least the opposition might then have a bit more respect for us afterwards.

Football round up

Well, quite enjoyed the Man Utd Liverpool clash yesterday although it was a bit of an odd match. The visitors were never really in it as an attacking sense but then again, Utd didn’t show much in the first half either yet still scored before half time. Second half looked like a formality after Utd’s 2nd but Liverpool grabbed a lifeline with the pen and then equalized and then really should have gone on to put further pressure on Utd’s increasingly flaky defence. Instead, Dimitar Barelyhadashot ended up with a hat trick that makes it sound like he had turned in some Pele-like performance when in actuality the reality was a mite different.

As for Fergie…..what he was on about over Torres? He should zip it and zip it good and have a look at his own players first before accusing anyone of play acting, Nani being a prime example of how to embarrass yourself with his falling over at every available opportunity….twat.

Anyway, enough about Manchester’s second club. City managed to get their season back on track with a first ever win at Wigan in the Premiership in what sounded like pretty poor conditions. Should keep Mancini in a job for another couple of weeks until they lose at West Brom in midweek and get beaten at home by Chelsea on Saturday. Nah, only kidding… City had to win this win as losing to a stupid 94th minute penalty at Sunderland and drawing at home with Blackburn are not indicators of a side capable of challenging for 3rd/4th spot in the league. Despite this pretty iffy start to the season City’s win lifted them up to 4th by tea-time on Sunday and the current top 5 in that league are the same five clubs who finished there at the seasons end last season.

As for the mighty Dons? The last couple of weeks have restored some sanity after our first two league games ended in wins. A point at Motherwell on Saturday was actually okay as it sounded like we could easily have lost. Depressingly, the 3rd placed team in the SPL is already a whopping 7 points behind the 2nd placed Old Firm team after only 5 games. Doesn’t augur well for the rest of the season but is unfortunately familiar.