Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Manchester City v Liverpool: Post Match

I said it would be one of the toughest games of the season and despite the score I think it was. Playing a game against one of the top teams in the country only 2 days after playing another game was never going to be a walk in the park.

City never really got into any sort of rhythm at any point in the 90 minutes and the possession and passing stats show just that as Liverpool had around 2/3 of it with City completing only 77% of their passes. Going down to 10 men after 73 minutes didn't help but the pattern had already been set. It was never a 2nd yellow either.

Mike Jones is just another in a line of referees who don't appear to be up to the standard required of a Premier League official. Gareth Barry received 2 yellow cards and was given his marching orders, while Adam and Skrtel was free to do pretty much whatever they like for the majority of the game. Even Skrtel giving away a penalty straight after Barry got sent off couldn't get Mike Jones to dip his hand in his pocket to give Liverpool a card after Glenn Johnson's solitary 55th minute booking for quite clearly pulling back Aguero.

I have complained about City's poor finishing in their recent few games as a number of good chances have gone begging, but imagine how Liverpool fans feel? They've had to put up with it from the very start of the season and now Liverpool and Suarez have accepted the ban (if not his guilt) the task of converting the majority of chances falls to Andy Carroll.

Unfortunately for Liverpool, Carroll is almost totally one dimensional, simply asking for the ball to be whipped into the box for him to try and stick his head onto. That was the plan against City anyway. Unfortunately again for Liverpool is that they came up against a Vincent Kompany that has regained his best form in recent weeks and 10 of Kompany's 14 clearances came from crosses aimed at Carroll. In fact, Carroll may as well have not been on the pitch for all he offered. Kompany on the other hand was awarded man of the match.

Although not the kind of game people have come to expect from City, it was a great defensive display with everyone mucking in. Even the forwards stuck a few tackles in albeit with rather mixed results, they are forwards after all. A lot of players had to put a shift in, and although it was rarely spectacular it was full of grit and determination. Not exactly the performance you would expect from a group of over payed, uninterested mercenaries on a cold and wet Manchester evening.

City did concede more chances than they would have liked but Joe Hart rarely looked out of his comfort zone as he put in another commanding performance. The players in front of him handled themselves well, and Joe mopped up any mistakes they did make.

Yaya had possibly his best performance of the season as he gave City a driving force on the counter attack on a number of occasions, one surge won the penalty after going down to 10 men which James Milner converted His goal to make it 2-0 was my goal of the match. It was a fantastic header that went in off the bar, not only for how it went in, but because he was moving backwards at the times and managed to get decent power on it as well as direction.

Aguero's opportunistic shot from the edge of the box was also quite stunning as he hit the ball with enough top spin which made the ball dip very quickly in front of Pepe Reina. The Spanish keeper, who has had a very good season so far, couldn't get down quick enough and the ball shot underneath him into the ball of the net.

All in all it was a solid performance from the squad and full of the determination that was required to silence the growing number of critics all too ready to write off City's season. City proved they can grind out results despite not playing particularly well. I say 'grind out results' but 3-0 isn't really what I'd call a close result. So much for City's season falling apart eh?

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

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