Tuesday, 27 December 2011

West Bromwich Albion v Manchester City: Post Match

0-0 was not the result anyone quite expected, but that's how it ended at the final whistle. After saying I hope West Brom have a go but suspected they wouldn't, I wasn't surprised when they didn't. But that result was certainly a positive one for West Brom and their main aim of not getting beat was achieved. 

City were left ruing a couple of fine chances that went begging which would have opened the game up and played into City's strengths. In the majority of previous games these chances haven't mattered as City have gone on to score several goals anyway, but not in this game. 

The first of these chances fell to David Silva on 24 minutes. Toure gave the ball away outside West Brom's 18 yard box, but as the Baggies played the ball forward Kompany intercepted the ball and hit a wonderfully weighted pass to Aguero who then put it on a plate for Silva in the middle of the box. Silva, with plenty of space, hoofed the ball over the bar. 

City had the ball in the net 10 minutes later but Balotelli's shot was flagged offside. The ball was initially played to Aguero who was marginally offside, however Aguero never touched the ball as a defender got to it first. The ball then looped to Balotelli who then volleyed it into the back of the net. As the ball was played initially, Balo was onside.

It's another instance of the offside rule either being misunderstood or mis-applied with all this first phase, second phase nonsense. It's high time it was simplified and cleared up once and for all. But anyway...

Balotelli came close to scoring in the 53rd minute. After receiving the ball from Clichy on the left wing, Mario struck a curling shot from 25 yards which beat the keeper but unfortunately for City, it didn't beat the cross bar. 

Perhaps City's best chance of the game came just after an hour as the ball was cleared from another City attack, Clichy lofted the ball to James Milner who headed it back into the box. The ball fell for Aguero who had the opportunity to toe poke it into the net but hit it wide from 7 yards out. Sergio actually thought he was offside as he hadn't seen the defender behind him playing him onside as the ball was played. Even so, as I was taught in school, always play to the whistle.

You have to give some credit to West Brom though, they're the first domestic team to stop City scoring so far this season. They created a few chances for themselves too, unlike the hapless Stoke in game prior to this.

The real reason as to why City didn't score (other than the goal that was given offside) is that City didn't have enough chances on target. Out of the 17 shots, only 4 were heading for the back of the net. Not a very good day for City on the attacking front and Mancini will have to watch for complacency setting in and weed it out should it appear. 

On the plus side though, it's the 3rd clean sheet in a row. Although I doubt anyone will be mentioning this despite creaming themselves over United's clean sheets on so long ago. 

Just short of the half way point of the season with 18 games played, City are still top of the table with a superior goal difference to Manchester United. City have also already played United, Liverpool, Spurs, and Chelsea away from home.The only team in the title and top 4 hunt that City have yet to play away is Arsenal. Everyone else has to come to the Etihad stadium where City haven't lost for over a year.

Strap yourselves in for one hell of a ride.

Twitter: @MikeWalsh1880
Facebook: David Silva's Left Foot

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