Monday, 23 August 2010

City v Liverpool (2000 GMT)

24/08/2010 Venue: City of Manchester Stadium Att: 47,087

Starting Line up
Man City: Hart, Richards, Toure, Kompany, Lescott, De Jong, Toure Yaya, Barry, Milner, Adam Johnson, Tevez. Subs: Given, Zabaleta, Wright-Phillips, Adebayor, Silva, Vieira, Jo.
Liverpool: Reina, Johnson, Skrtel, Carragher, Agger, Jovanovic, Gerrard, Lucas, Kuyt, Torres, Ngog. Subs: Jones, Aurelio, Pacheco, Kyrgiakos, Maxi, Babel, Poulsen.
Referee: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire)

It was many worries that City play against Liverpool, as they drew 5 times against them in 7 encounters. Especially after a poor performance against Spurs last weekend, I really did not expect today's comprehensive performance.

City, as starting line above shows, were without Balotelli, due to his foot injury and Kolarov and Boateng, who still to make his debut, missing due to ankle and foot injuries. Liverpool were unchanged, apart from Mascherano, who is speculated to move away from the Kops.

It was the performance I never expected. Throughout the game, City were more creative and willing to get the ball. Right from the start, City dominated and, on 13th minutes, Gareth Barry scored after clever works from Adam Johnson and James Milner in the right wing, which made the goal possible.

Despite some efforts from Liverpool, they continued to struggle to dominate. After some tremendous midfield display from our 3 "defensive midfielders" Liverpool weren't able to challenge Joe Hart during the 1st half. Complete turnaround from Spurs match.

City continued to break in the second half and after absorbing Liverpool's possession, it was Tevez, who scored from the corner, which was initially headed towards the net by Micah Richards. 2-0 and it seemed Liverpool were done at City of Manchester Stadium.

Not quite though. After 2nd goal, Liverpool moved with more urgency and they almost found back of the net via their talisman Steven Gerrard, David N'gog and Fernando Torres but their shot put away by either the post or Hart's brilliance. City's defense held Liverpool at bay, whereas our attack came up once against through tip-toeing feet of Johnson, who earned the penalty via Skrtel's clumsiness. Tevez converted it and it was game over from that point. Sheikh Mansour. Did you enjoy that?

Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al Nahyan and Khaldoon Al Mubarak - Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al Nahyan makes Eastlands debut

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Spurs v MCFC (1245 GMT)

14/08/2010 Venue: White Hart Lane Att: 35928

Starting Line up
Gomes, Corluka, Dawson, King, Assou-Ekotto, Lennon, Modric, Huddlestone, Bale, Crouch, Defoe. Subs: Cudicini, Kaboul, Pavlyuchenko, Keane, Palacios, Giovani, Bassong.
Man City: Hart, Richards, Toure, Kompany, Kolarov, Wright-Phillips, Toure Yaya, De Jong, Barry, Silva, Tevez. Subs: Given, Zabaleta, Adebayor, Adam Johnson, Lescott, Vieira, Jo.
Referee: Andre Marriner (W Midlands)

Joe Hart - Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester City

Quite a crucial match for Manchester City at the start of season. It was just a few months ago that they were lost out in Champions League qualifying spots by Tottenham Hotspur. In the past seasons, City looked vulnerable against Spurs side in general and especially at away match, City were unable to beat Spurs since 2003.

As expected, there were three débutantes from City (Silva, Kolarov and Y. Toure) and it was only Jerome Boateng who missed the match due to injury. The most surprising inclusion in the starting line-up was Joe Hart, who had an excellent loan spell with Birmingham City. As poor form of Shay Given continued from January onwards, I guess Roberto Mancini had to give Hart a try. Two other things that which came a shock to me was three defensive midfielders and playing SWP instead of Adam Johnson.


First half was completely dominated by Spurs and City was lucky to finish the half without conceding a single goal. After possessing the ball from the start of the match, Jermaine Defoe came close to score after receiving pass from Aaron Lennon but it was turned away by Hart and it was only the start of Hart's brilliance. Between 11th minute and 32th minute, Hart had to make six excellent saves to keep City in the game.

So what was wrong with City? Personally, Micah Richards was the villain, as he showed too much space to flying Gareth Bale. Also, squad as a whole did not do any pressing when Spurs were in possession throughout the first half.

Second half was slightly better and City should've scored in the opening minute when SWP had clear chance in front of keeper but he squandered it badly. After that, there were some glimpse of hopes on goals from either side (Roman Pavlyuchenko in particular) but none of them overcome Hart.

Arabian Job: Season 3

So here it is people. Just a few hours away from the kick off and I am sitting in my room, enjoying the sound of rainfall.

1245 kick off was never my favourite when I was in England because it meant I had to wake up 9 o'clock in the weekend to prepare myself for the match. But this does not bother me anymore, as I am in 8 hours ahead from England.

City finally got who they want and I am not sure what Mario will bring into the squad that is struggling to blend at the moment. Never doubt his ability though. Once everything settles, i.e. after transfer deadline and submitting 25 men squad list, I am sure he will show what he got.

Four players set to make a debut today (Kolarov, Silva, Boateng and Y.Toure) and they all expect to play pivotal role for the team. Especially, Kolarov and Boateng will strengthen City's poor full back position.

Expected line-up: Given, Boateng, K.Toure, Kompany, Kolarov, Y.Toure, Barry, Silva, Johnson, Tevez and Adebayor

P.S. It will be 400th appearances for Gareth Barry, if he makes appearance today. Many congratulation on his achievement.