It’s becoming a bit of a habit this, Manchester City making life hard for themselves at Hull before ultimately pulling through.
An interesting team sheet. The main talking point was of course the choice of goalkeeper, with Willy Caballero somewhat surprisingly given the nod over Joe Hart. There was no past incident with Hart to trigger this decision from Pellegrini, but as I have mentioned before he did not sign Caballero, a man he knows well, to sit on the bench as a clear Number 2. He is competition for the main jersey and Pellegrini feels he needs match time as much as Hart does. I would guess Hart starts on Tuesday, but we will see.
So it was two up front and another outing for Milner, which is always good to see. Hopefully this game time is linked to the desire to tie him down on a new contract. He needs to feel loved.
And so it was an electric start from City and after ten minutes it seemed like it was almost job done. The finish from Aguero was sublime, the finish from Dzeko even better, whipped in with such power it didn’t have to be in the top corner to beat the keeper. My only surprise was that the first goal wasn’t disallowed for a foul by Zabaleta when he won the header. It wasn’t a foul, but was just the kind of thing a referee blows up for.
But where’s the fun in coasting to victory? Enter Mangala, and a performance in stark contrast to his debut against Chelsea. As Phil Neville commented, his body shape was all wrong to firstly head in a cross that Kompany probably would have dealt with otherwise, then a rash, high challenge gave away the clearest of penalties. It was a stupid way to lose our grasp on the game. Maybe three games in a week was too much for the man.
Nevertheless, and despite the shakiness that Mangala displayed thereafter, City persevered. Whilst Hull had their moments and fashioned the odd chance, there’s no doubt that City were largely dominant and threatened often. No surprise therefore that they scored their 10th and 11th goals in just over two hours of football.
Cometh the hour, cometh the man as Edin Dzeko did what he does best and scored when the team most needed it. It was a lovely finish to put City back in the lead, precision over power that saw the ball just evade defender and keeper. Then to cap it off with three minutes left and allowing us all to finally relax, Frank Lampard did what he does best and that was that. A much-needed three points to keep on the tails of Chelsea after a tough run of games.
A comical moment for the 4th goal. I watched the game in the <NAME OF PUB REMOVED FOR LEGAL REASONS> and as Zabaleta drove into the box the feed froze only to return a few seconds later to show Lampard hugging his teammates, a moment greeted by the loudest cheers of the day.
That’s four goals in a week for Lampard now, and he has been of far more value than I could possibly have anticipated. His past value is undoubtable – he was/is one of the greatest Premier League players. Even at his advanced age (I wish I was at that advanced age) he has still got that magic touch. A great addition to the squad, for however long it may turn out to be.
And let’s hope he stays for five years, just to wind-up chief voyeur and king of the whingers Arsene Wenger.
Once more, there was a great use of the substitutes by Pellegrini. Navas freshened up the attack even if it meant exposing the midfield a bit by removing Fernandinho, whilst Lampard’s introduction for Aguero speaks for itself, and helped City take a stranglehold on the game.
Alan ******* Green as the Match of the Day commentator? I DEMAND my licence fee back.
And so back to the Champions League, and another “must-win” game. Well, not quite, but defeat is not an option.
That Ronaldo banner fly-by – dear oh dear. Beyond parody.