Such a perfect day, drank sangria in the park. And later, when it got dark, we went home.
That went better than expected. To top it off, a red card for Joey Barton was the delicious cherry on a perfectly iced cake.
The big question was whether Bony would make his debut for City, but Pellegrini decided against it, despite starting with two upfront. Dzeko came in instead, and with Milner injured, I was surprised not to see Navas start against a team that were never going to park the bus. Yaya of course returned to the side.
So after an afternoon listening to James Stannage (correctly) deride jazz in the pub, it was time to see if City could reduce the gap once more.
Saturday evening kick offs may not be for everyone, but they do lead to a better atmosphere, along with the news of Chelsea’ s draw. And as Newcastle foolishly tried to play open football, as we all knew they would, this played nicely into City’s hands, and with the fastest penalty in Premier League history, their game plan, whatever it may have been, went out the window.
And so whilst I was still adjusting my coat zip, City were in front. A dreadful touch from Anita let in Dzeko and it was a clear penalty as the Newcastle defender bundled into the Bosnian. A sublime penalty from Aguero, who gave Krul “the eyes” saw City lead, and it was soon two after a sublime piece of patience from Nasri who waited for the right moment to shoot home, leaving Krul on the floor. A sublime pass from Silva saw Dzeko chest the ball down superbly and slot home for a third with under a quarter of the game gone. I suspected and still suspect a suspicion of handball in Dzeko’s control, but no one else seems to have mentioned it, so maybe not.
Either way, it was a rare opportunity to fully enjoy a match City were dominating and had in the bag by half-time. They toyed with the opposition, who were truly awful, for the rest of the half, but without adding any more goals, as they coasted to the interval. Newcastle’s coaches will surely have seen that City struggle against teams that pack the defence, so you have to wonder why they repeatedly don’t adapt for such games.
The second half was a similar procession. Joe Hart did his one thing superbly, saving a deflected shot excellently, and once the goal of the game, the 4th goal, went in, the game was truly over. Aguero showed sublime skill and strength on the left, and after a surging run supplied Nasri who cut back for Silva, who supplied an exquisite finish. That was the best goal of the game because of the move that proceeded it, but Silva finished even more sublimely soon after from an Aguero chest-down. The only shame on a near-perfect evening is that Bony, on as a substitute in the 2nd half, couldn’t grab a debut goal, Krul admittedly saving well from a low shot after Yaya Toure had superbly latched on a poor keeper clearance to set him up.
After that, Pellegrini wisely substituted some big names with Tuesday in mind and City cruised over the finishing line. At one point, the crowd was so giddy and full of optimism that some even ventured to discuss the possibility of a goal from a corner, but it wasn’t to be – one step at a time.
Man of the Match? Well David Silva of course, though everyone performed admirably. And having written off Edin Dzeko for the 37th and hopefully final time, once more he stepped up to the mark just as a new striker appeared on the scene. He likes 2nd halves of seasons, so we shall see…
As for Yaya, his control of the game and his effect on the team is just very obvious. Today his agent is talking about him now staying for the rest of his life, so god knows what’s going through his head right now, but his birthday is under three months away, so I suggest we start planning now.
“Where were you when you were shit?” asked the Newcastle fans of whom half left in the second half because their team was so shit. Apropos of nothing, in 1991, Newcastle’s average attendance was 16,834.
Elsewhere and United lost, Chelsea of course drew and Barcelona surprisingly lost at home to Malaga. Having watched them recently they had been totally back in form, and Tuesday’s match will be some challenge, and I consider City to be underdogs.
The next morning, we were subject to the Jose Mourinho show, on Goals on Sunday, a show that managed not to show any goals as Mourinho cried his way through the many conspiracies against his team this season. Things certainly went against the team against Burnley, but it happens, as we know all too well. With Ivanovic feigning injury and trying to prevent the referee issuing a red card, they are hardly blameless themselves, a team that perfectly mirrors their manager.
It really is quite pathetic if he truly thinks the world is against him, that his team is the only one getting bad decisions. I only have to think for 5 seconds to recall Aguero’s yellow card for being fouled in the penalty area at Southampton, or Burnley also getting lucky at the Etihad, with an offside first goal. Then of course there were the three non-penalties at home to United. Or the penalty not awarded for a push on David Silva that may have cost us two points at home to Hull. Hey, both of Arsenal’s goals at the Emirates shouldn’t have been allowed in my opinion, so perhaps there’s a conspiracy against us too? The reluctance of many a referee to give us clear penalties his season has been baffling.
Many of the Chelsea incidents were in games that were won anyway, so their influence has been negligible, whilst conveniently ignoring incidents that went in their favour, such as Gary Cahill’s recent lack of justice for a poor challenge on Alexis, or their diving, flailing-arm front-man.
Chelsea have also been fortunate with injuries -however that is not all down to luck. Mourinho has nursed the team well, especially Costa, and kept absences to a minimum. City’s endless muscle injuries and Arsenal’s wretched track record with absences is not all down to bad luck.
Still, we know all about Mourinho and how he acts. I’d be embarrassed if my club’s manager was sat on that sofa with tin foil on his head crying about decisions. Still, it’s an approach that will probably work with his players and that’s why he is doing it after all, and expect a few generous decisions in matches from now on. Job done really…
And so to a biggie, and the over-hyped Champions League (unless we do well, in case the hype is FULLY deserved). No Yaya and probably no Milner, I’ve no idea what the team will be, but expect one up-front and hope for a tad more ambition than the game last season. Fingers crossed…