What a game, what a result eh?
We lined up with the same starting eleven that battered Tottenham Hotspur, a good omen?
As the game got underway, early touches by Clichy were greeted with jeers from our home fans, somewhat surprising I thought, especially as many fans were glad to see the back of him when he left. He’d been loyal to us over the years, he’d got stale and it just happened to be that the club willing to pay the money for his was Citeh. Not his fault….
Not quite the same can be said about Nasri though, he deserved all the boos he received but I often wonder why fans bother wasting their energy, why not use that same energy to support our team?
It wasn’t too long into the game before he fouled Song to give us a free kick. Shortly after, Yaya Toure is the first to see yellow after hauling back Tomas Rosicky.
Then came the first moment of controversy, one of many we witnessed throughout the ninety minutes.
Manchester City went on the break but Balotelli had strayed offside, after the whistle went, the spiky Italian blasted a shot into the North Bank.
Had that been done by one of ours, I bet your bottom dollar a yellow card would have been produced, but nothing given by Mr Atkinson!
Rosicky had a chance but his volley was deflected wide, the subsequent corner came to nothing.
Next foul was Song on Yaya Toure, the latter looked to be making a bit of a meal of the incident and maybe Song deserved a yellow card for the little trip, but he didn’t get one…
Balotelli then had another little naughty one on Song.
Another moment that will no doubt be talked about today is the penalty shout after Robin went over following a big shove by Kompany. Again, we got nothing, other than a corner…
On the quarter of an hour mark, Citeh got really lucky, Robin got his head on the end of a wonderful corner, the ball looked destined for the net until it hit Thomas Vermaelen…
Yaya Toure finally left the field injured and Pizarro came on in his place.
Then a massive moment in the match, Balotelli raked his studs right down Alex Songs shin, a leg breaking tackle that sees our man left in a lot of pain.
How Atkinson missed that was unbelievable. That tackle alone deserved a straight red card!
Shocking tackle, shocking refereeing!
Kos was the next to have a chance for us but he couldn’t quite get his header over the ball and then Song did what we all wish he would do more often, he made a perfect timed sliding tackle on Nasri, kept the ball and then held off a few more Citeh players to keep the possession. Shortly after though, he did what we see too much of and plays a sloppy pass which Citeh intercepted with ease.
Citeh earned a rare corner which saw Lescott beat Sagna to get his header in on goal, but Lescott is crap and his chance went wide!
Robin, Yossi and Tomas all then took turns in trying to get a shot in on goal, but none saw us break the deadlock.
Balotelli finally picked up his first yellow card of the day for a nasty tackle on Sagna, jeez, the guy should have been bathed, changed and long gone by this time!!
That was about it until the half time whistle went. We’d had a lot of possession but hadn’t been able to make it count. We were flying crosses in with ease, but Citeh were finding it all bit too easy to clear any danger.
The second half got going with no changes made by either manager which was a bit of a shock really, I thought Balotelli may have been replaced; it was inevitable that he was going to be sent off at some stage.
Nasri was the next City player to clatter into one of ours, this one was on Arteta!
We were struggling to get going and City had a good chance with a header from Aguero/Zabaleta, who went for the same ball, but Szczesny tipped the ball over the bar for a corner.
Milner then joined in on the dirty play, his very late tackle on Rosicky earned him a place in Atkinson’s book!
It wasn’t too long into the second half and the first change took place, Santos came on for Gibbs. Chamberlain had also been warming up, but it wasn’t his time yet.
Sloppy defending allowed Zabaleta to break down the right and cut into the penalty area but from nowhere came Yossi who slid in with perfect timing to clear. Great tackle…
Santos is the next into the referee’s book after a stupid bit of pushing and shoving on Balotelli!
Milner took the resulting free kick but Song made a good headed clearance, we had lost our way a bit!
Yossi then showed class, he jinked past two City players with ease down our left, cut inside and took his shot, sadly it was weak and Hart collected the ball with ease. Just after the hour mark, Alex Song became Songinho again, he chipped in a wonderful cross to Robin, his header left Joe Hart stranded but somehow the post jumped out of the ground and hit the ball!
Koscielny was the next one in the book which sees him miss our next two games against Wolves and Wigan.
Silly booking to give away, after yesterday the yellow card tally goes back to zero!
Balotelli then had a chance for City, but his attempted overhead kick was so bad it was funny!
Then came the moment we thought we’d broken the deadlock, Robin’s chance beat Joe Hart all ends up, but was denied by the offside flag. Really good piece of play by us and Robin should have done better.
We then managed to naff up another chance to take the lead, Robin’s shot is saved by Hart, the ball hit the post and came back to Vermaelen, but he couldn’t find the net either, Walcott had the third chance but somehow Lescott cleared it off the line.
Yossi’s afternoon was over, he was replaced by Ramsey just before the 80 minute mark.
City had a couple of half chances, but they were no more than that.
Tevez was the next change, he came on for Aguero who had been kept pretty quiet!
With minutes left on the clock, Chamberlain was on in place of Theo..
Then came the moment of sheer magic, 87 mins and Arteta got hold of the ball in midfield and unleashed a low and powerful shot which left Joe Hart stranded. It was a stunning strike and we had finally broken the deadlock.
Just before the 90 minute mark, Zabaleta joined the City players in Atkinson’s little book!
Nasri was subbed before the end, he had a lovely send off from the fans and shortly after, the inevitable happened. After another late challenge of Song, Balotelli finally got what he deserved, only an hour too late! Second yellow and off he went.
That was pretty much it really, well, other than Ramsey totally mucking up a chance for us to win the game 2-0. Rosicky played the ball out to the left, he had all the time in the world, he had to score but just when it seemed the best option was to pass to his captain who was in acres of space, he blasted a shot very high and very very wide.
No wonder he stood with his head in his hands, good job really as he wouldn’t have wanted to see the look on Robin’s face….
Back up to third, two points clear of the Totts.
Now it really is time to keep looking up and aim to overtake City, don’t look back anymore.
Manchester City may have all the cash, but yesterday we really showed that we have the class….
Have a good day all….