City come a ‘kroppkakor’ – MAN CITY 0 BARCELONA 2

Manchester City’s Champions League hopes were mashed to a pulp by a Swede masquerading as a turnip.

Calm before not so 'swede' pickings - City line-up  Courtesy @MCFC

Calm before not so ‘swede’ pickings – City line-up Courtesy @MCFC

Multi-millionaire referee Jonas Eriksson – a former journalist from the picturesque town of Sigtuna, north of Stockholm – is a man who seems to revel in the spotlight.

He made his money when he sold his share in a sports media rights business seven years ago, so one assumes there’s no problems when it comes to his banking department!

So, if he doesn’t need the dosh and isn’t receptive to bribery there’s only one conclusion – he’s an egotistical prat who craves controversy to pump up his own sense of self importance.

Arrogance doesn’t come close when observing this scandalous Scandinavian at the Etihad. The rangy 40-year old did more damage to City’s CL aspirations than Messi, Xavi, Iniesta and Neymar combined.

High flyer - Messi was kept quiet...but not quiet enough  Courtesy @MCFC

High flyer – Messi was kept quiet…but not quiet enough Courtesy @MCFC

Aided by his side helping of ‘vegetables’, namely the quartet of assistants and additional assistants, Eriksson cooked up a casserole of rank incompetence that incensed the normally placid Manuel Pellegrini.

The City boss, usually cool, composed and unruffled, let rip with a swingeing swipe at the Swede’s ‘lack of impartiality’ and alleged favouritism towards Messi & Co.

Pellegrini had a point. The Swede was pedantic to an extent where it appeared Champions League football had been re-categorised as a non-contact sport.

Paradoxically, Eriksson deemed it ok for Sergio Busquets to foul Jesus Navas, immediately preceding the penalty that should never have been.

Illuminating - After all the anticipation City could quite light up the Etihad against Barcelona  Courtesy @MCFC

Illuminating – After all the anticipation City could NOT quite light up the Etihad against Barcelona Courtesy @MCFC

The crescendo of noise from the so-called ‘experts’ claiming it was a bona fide spot kick is as lamentable as it is indefensible.

Martin Demichelis was rightly shown the red card for his desperate lunge at Messi in the 53rd minute, but contact was clearly initiated outside of City’s 18-yard box. It wasn’t a penalty – period.

Maybe the veteran Argentine defender thought it was worth ‘taking one for the team’, as he saw the magical Messi pulling away from him, on the basis it would be a free kick, NOT a penalty.

Red card at night, not a delight - Demichelis was sent off   Courtesy @MCFC

Red card at night, not a delight – Demichelis was sent off Courtesy @MCFC

For all of their neat tippy-tappy passing and overwhelming possession statistics, Barcelona had hardly threatened Joe Hart’s goal, the notable exception being Xavi’s speculative pile driver that the England keeper did well to parry to safety.

It would be churlish to suggest City deserved to win – they didn’t – but one wonders if they hadn’t conceded at that stage, whether Pellegrini’s tactics would have born fruit.

Conversely, Manchester United-loving Gerard Piques’ disallowed goal should have stood, but would it have occurred if City hadn’t been pressing for an equaliser?

Prima facie it was a very un-Pellegrini selection, one whereby he DID for once, alter City’s all out attacking mantra. Many questioned the selection of Kolarov as a left midfielder and Demichelis, even in his preferred centre back position.

Tamed Beast - Negredo toiled but to no avail  Courtesy @MCFC

Tamed Beast – Negredo toiled but to no avail Courtesy @MCFC

The tactical change up, to match Barcelona’s midfield manpower and leave Negredo as a sole frontman, had merit.

Sadly it all went to pot as Messi executed the penalty and Demichelis went for his early shower.

For the best part of 40-plus minutes, City manfully defended with 10 men, but also created more chances than with the full complement of 11.

The standout opportunity was created down the right flank with Pablo Zabaleta passing through to the sublime David Silva, whose rasping RIGHT FOOT drive drew a brilliant save from Victor Valdes in the Barca goal.

Damn that was close - David Silva cannot believe Victor Valdes has saved his right foot volley  Courtesy @MCFC

Damn that was close – David Silva cannot believe Victor Valdes has saved his right foot volley Courtesy @MCFC

Now we know Merlin has a right foot that isn’t just for standing, we might see more of it in the future. The one and only criticism of Silva is that he doesn’t shoot often enough.

In defeat, City tend not to announce a Man of The Match, but Silva was probably it. Either the Spaniard or Vincent Kompany, who was a man on a mission playing to world class standards and taking no prisoners.

He had Messi in his pocket most of the night. Tellingly, the only exception coming when the Argentine master scurried away from Demichelis.

This was a night when City, perhaps adapting to a strategy of more restraint than usual, seemed strangely timid in the opening 25 minutes.

Scramble - City just couldn't get across the line  Courtesy @MCFC

Scramble – City just couldn’t get across the line Courtesy @MCFC

The term ‘showing them too much respect’ jumps out of the book of football clichés, but whatever it was, it wasn’t easy on the eye and took an initially boisterous Etihad crowd, out of the equation.

Undoubtedly there is an aura that accompanies FC Barcelona wherever they go. How many of last night’s City support would have seen Messi ‘in the flesh’ – a small minority, and it was as if City were playing the occasion rather than the match.

Over the years – the Guardiola period especially – Barcelona were revered as THE best club side in living memory. But, close up and personal, they were nowhere near as awesome as Bayern Munich

With hindsight, one wonders if Pellegrini’s deliberate blunting of the City attack was pre-curser for the Catalonian club controlling the play.

Welcome return - Fernandinho battled all the way against Barcelona  Courtesy @MCFC

Welcome return – Fernandinho battled all the way against Barcelona Courtesy @MCFC

The Beast was too often an isolated figure up front and, given the welcome return of Fernandinho, it was strange seeing Yaya lying so deep when City are more productive with the Ivorian leading the charge.

It was an energy sapping experience for City and to hear misguided criticism of the likes of Negredo and Clichy, in particular, seems harsh. They, and the team as a whole, were dead on their feet in the closing stages, hence Dani Alves’ late strike.

Alves had been a pain both before and during the game, running his mouth in the run-up and then letting his play do the talking. Rather like a shaved or waxed area of the female form, Senor Alves was a very irritating Brazilian.

Inches away - Yaya thwarted by the massed Barcelona defence  Courtesy @MCFC

Inches away – Yaya thwarted by the massed Barcelona defence Courtesy @MCFC

Barcelona’s second goal appears to have killed off the tie according to esteemed football experts of the calibre of ex-Manure assassin Roy Keane.

One large pinch of salt later, who is to say that a Sergio Aguero-inspired City can’t snatch the lead at the Nou Camp in 21 days time, and go on to test a potentially rocky Barca back four?

The ‘outspoken’ Pellegrini will probably be banned from the touch line if UEFA penalise the mild-mannered City manager for simply echoing the thoughts of 45,000 fans on the night. Operation ‘Comeback’ can still go ahead on March 12 with Pellegrini in the stand.

Down but not out - City have it all to do at the Nou Camp...but they can!Courtesy @MCFC

Down but not out – City have it all to do at the Nou Camp…but they can!
Courtesy @MCFC

Travelling City fans may find time to enrich their lives with the architectural works of Catalan genius Antoni Gaudi,who created stunning buildings, including the Sagrada Familia and Park Güell.

Tragically, Gaudi was killed in 1926 after being hit by a tram.

Similarly, if Manuel’s marauders can get up a head of steam who’s to say City cannot send Barca careering into the buffers,  confound all the critics and make a turnip look a right ‘Kroppkakor’ …that’s a Swedish dumpling for you non-international culinary types!


By David Walker



  1. February 20, 2014  1:01 am by Paul Reply

    Just excellent, a masterpiece.

    • February 20, 2014  4:35 am by David Walker Reply

      Well, painting by numbers maybe! Thanks buddy #MCFCBLUEBROS!

  2. February 20, 2014  1:53 am by Toby Teasdale Reply

    No wonder the old boy is seething. They (he and Di Michelis) were stiffed last year when Malaga played Dortmund in the quarter finals.

    I thought the team that finished against Chelsea (with Fernandinho in for the unavailable Milner) would have beaten the Barca we saw last night comfortably. But would the Turnip from Sweden have allowed that? No!

    Incredibly Eriksson hadn't refereed a game for 3 months prior to lasts nights appearance, who's palm is he greasing or grasping?

    Controversy sticks to Eriksson like s**t to a blanket.

    2009 Rangers v Sevilla (1-4) Gordon Strachan suggested that "The referee shouldn't get another game in the Champions League - get him out of here he is not good enough." Same year Rooney awarded penalty after fouling Bostjan Cesar of Slovenia.

    2010 LIVERPOOL manager Rafael Benitez was left fuming by the performance of referee Jonas Eriksson in the controversial Europa League quarter-final first-leg 2-1 defeat to Benfica in Lisbon. However, Ryan Babel was sent off on the half-hour for pushing a hand in Luisao’s face in a melee sparked by the defender’s crunching tackle on Fernando Torres. In the second half two controversial penalty awards allowed Oscar Cardozo to score twice having earlier missed a host of chances.

    2012 sent off Marseille’s Jordan Ayew and later awarded the French side a penalty in their 3-0 victory over Borussia Dortmund in the group stages of the Champions League. He came under fire again upon taking charge of his first quarter-final in the competition in March when he dismissed two penalty claims from Barcelona in their goalless draw with AC Milan at San Siro.

    2014 Fails to send off Robert Lewandowski after he elbowed Laurent Koscielny during Borussia Dortmund's win against the Arsenal.

    Coincidentally I have come across this linked in profile for a Jonas Eriksson living in Stockholm.

    1) Jonas Eriksson Central Brand Manager, Betsson at Betsson Group.

    2) Betsson is owned by Lagardère the company who supposedly paid Eriksson €6m for his stake in IEC in Sports.

    3) Author at

    Surely this can’t be the same Jonas Eriksson who trousered €6m for the sale of his share of ‘IEC in Sports’. If so how the might are fallen?

    • February 20, 2014  5:29 am by David Walker Reply

      Whilst obviously NOT suggesting Mr Jonas Eriksson is in any way, shape or form doing anything even remotely illegal or immoral, perhaps the overwhelming majority of City fans, or judging by his sullied track record, football fans in general, might advise him to stay in Sweden, retire from refereeing and wash his kronor on laundry day. That way his many millions will stay nice and fresh - unlike his on field displays that stink to high heaven! Cheers TT.

    • February 20, 2014  5:33 am by David Walker Reply

      Better still, we should hire Lisbeth Salandar, the heroine from the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo book, to pop round with her Taser Gun and pay him a visit - that would be almost as shocking as Mr Eriksson's CV as a referee.

      • February 20, 2014  11:34 am by Toby Teasdale Reply

        I'm a Harry Hole (Holy) fan.

        This is some of what a Finnish friend '100% City fanatic ' emailed me yesterday.

        "Hi John, "Yes, your right, in Finland we dont like Swedish and that was a soft word for them (they are shite :) i agree fully that Eriksson`s had a very poor match! and it cost us quite.

        Think his motivation was to compensate to Barca some time ago when he referees Barca vs Milan game and he made an error against Barca, yesterday he`s rearranged it?

        I fear worst when i saw line up and Demi was starting line up?

        Little disappointed of course but we are not out yet and like you rightly sayed "we are wounded, but not yet dead"

        Those interested in the Eriksson family tree might take a look at the Jonas Eriksson (40 ish-Living in Stockholm) who was CEO of mineral Invest Intl until 2010 (had to leave in a hurry)

        C:\Users\John\Documents\Eriksson\MINERAL INVEST INTL (MNIVF_PK OTC) Insider Jonas Eriksson.htm

        The similarities are obviously coincidental.

  3. February 20, 2014  5:17 am by Pete Lynch Reply

    Only you vpuld squeeze in an educational element too! Am I paranoid or are the entire media on a mission to see us fall? Compare reviews of our efforts versus Arsenal!

    • February 20, 2014  5:23 am by David Walker Reply

      Don't tell me you weren't aware of Swedish dumplings and dodgy Catalonian tram drivers? Where have you been hiding all these years? Thanks as ever for your feedback, always appreciated.

  4. February 20, 2014  5:41 am by Mike Reply

    Not paranoid at all Pete, apparently Arsenal dominated Bayern in the first half playing their usual brand of breathtaking attacking football, Szchezny shouldn't have been sent off as Robben didn't have control of the ball and Arsenal only lost the game because they had 10 men. We on the other hand meekly surrendered after parking the bus, played anti football and were comprehensively battered by an extremely weak Barca side that were there for the taking. The majority of UK reports about our game do not mention that it shouldn't have been a penalty whatsoever rather they justify it and sympathise with the referee. They don't mention how Barca made relatively very few chances against City and how 10 man City still managed as many chances as our opponents even with 32% ball possession.

    • February 20, 2014  6:30 am by David Walker Reply

      And then people wonder why City fans truly believe there IS an agenda against the club from 'journalists' who despise us e.g. they support our rivals.

      • February 21, 2014  2:43 pm by Toby Teasdale Reply

        We have the 'kick racism out of football campaign' which most right minded people would support. How about a campaign to kick out the Media's Islamophobic cabal?

  5. February 20, 2014  5:48 am by Pete Lynch Reply

    Haha i have been Barcelona many times, one of my favourite european cities although swedish dumplings is a nww one!

    • February 20, 2014  5:52 am by David Walker Reply

      Barca is a beautiful city - we were fortunate enough to celebrate our wedding anniversary there recently. Hopefully we will be celebrating something that will surpass 25 years of marriage - a CITY WIN & into the QF!!!!?

  6. February 20, 2014  6:07 am by Mike Reply

    The independent are running with a headline "What caused Manchester City's grey man Manuel Pellegrini to explode so shamefully against Swedish referees?"

    Grey man? Since when does the appearance of a manager become something to attract readers? What does this have to do with football?

    Remarkably the author describes how over the last 6 months "So uneventful have his press conferences become that at least one international news agency has stopped showing up".

    Makes you wonder what this agency was ever there for in the first place doesn't it?

    Have you seen any headlines about the worst ever defence of a premier league title in the history of the division? No that was City last season wasn't it? oh wait.....

    • February 20, 2014  6:28 am by David Walker Reply

      Some of the football media are pathetic - simples!

  7. February 20, 2014  7:53 am by Chris Williams Reply

    Quite how ITV, Sky etc... Employ these so called Pundits to pontificate over other football teams / managers. You've got Roy Keane who 's been sacked from every managerial job he's ever had and then Didi Harmann a failed Stockport County Manager !! I ask you rediculous.

    Some of the Refs decisions were appalling, however I'd of preferred City to of contacted FIFA direct rather than bring our grievances into the press conference, but you have to make allowances for MP as it was moments after the match and he'd been clearly wronged and acted on emotions.

    I still can't help thinking that would of been different if we had procured a top draw Centre Half to play along side Kompany in January. Last season we didn't strengthen in the Jan window and it cost us and unfortunately we didn't learn from that.

    • February 20, 2014  8:32 am by David Walker Reply

      The irony is that had we bought Mangala he would have been cup tied for ECL. It'll be a key position to address in the summer & I expect we'll pay £35m for the right player. I still think this tie isn't over BUT if I had to settle for a domestic treble this season I most certainly would.

  8. February 20, 2014  9:11 am by GeorgeInIsrael Reply

    I still don't understand why Roy Keane is allowed to earn a living from anything to do with football. A man who by his own admission deliberately injured a fellow player, should have been banned for life for anything to do with football anywhere. they should even let him coach his kids primary school team. On top of that, his comments are not particularly intelligent.

    • February 20, 2014  10:14 am by David Walker Reply

      Bit 'tik' is Roy! But look at ITV coverage - diabolical. Sky not any better - Dwight Yorke - what the hell is that all about?

      • February 20, 2014  11:42 am by Toby Teasdale Reply

        They all pale into insignificance when compared to the mezzo soprano git that is Michael Owen (shouldn't his testicles have dropped by now?).

  9. February 20, 2014  9:59 am by Graham Ward Reply

    Great effort on Tuesday night, but that second goal has taken the game away from us, I think.
    The Catalans were still favourites either way, I feel.....but an early goal in the Nou Camp, and who knows?
    Personally, I'd focus on the Wigan FA Cup tie, especially as there are rumours of a Sunday 4pm kick off .

    • February 20, 2014  10:25 am by David Walker Reply

      Domestic treble & a sterling performance in the Nou Camp and see where it gets us!

  10. February 20, 2014  10:23 am by Gary Derbyshire Reply

    Great read again, David. The darling media were all at it again yesterday! Against Bayern we were lambasted for going all out attack and then being somewhat played off the park. Then after we alter tactics against Barca they all say "well why didn't he (MP) just go all out attack!" Damned if he does and damned if he doesn't, but I'm getting used to the media experts and their use of hindsight pointing out just where we're going wrong! Still, very irritating. I presume they'll be calling for MP's head if we don't complete the quadruple, no doubt! Anyway, I'm still looking forward to my trip to Barca and although the 2nd goal was a killer, we can go over there at full strength and maybe surprise a few people!?

    • February 20, 2014  12:55 pm by David Walker Reply

      Likewise 4 days in a great City, 3 filled with anticipation & 1 stuffed full of celebration - here's hoping...

  11. February 20, 2014  4:53 pm by Ed Reply

    Is it too soon to admit that I thought the ref was right on both decisions? If shoe was on the other foot I would have said definite penalty for us and a Red card. Navas free kick not given was borderline to be honest could have gone either way.

    • February 20, 2014  11:16 pm by David Walker Reply

      Hey Ed you are, of course entitled to say it as you see it. Definite red for MDM in or outside the box, but TECHNICALLY not a pen but I can see your thinking. The frustration was born of Eriksson's persistent giving Barca the benefit of every 50/50 & letting them get away with fouls & basically kissing their Catalonian backsides.

  12. February 20, 2014  6:27 pm by DOUGLAS HENSHAW Reply

    Top read as always Dave & yes the Ref & his assistants were unbelievable utter crap & that's being polite. But while I understand MP frustration all that will come from his complaint is a fine or a ban or both does anyone think Platini & his crooked crew will admit tbe ref was rubbish I think not.I was in city sq when bthe team was announced & when Demi name was announced there was a collective sigh. After his performance on Sat Lescott deserved a
    start im not a fan of either player but if I had to choose Lescott over Dem every time Dem always dives in I think MP has a blind spot where hes concerned. Nasri should of started instead of AK as proved when he came on, for the first 15min we looked frightened of Barcelona we should of come out & gone for it.Down to 10 we put up a hell of a fight & nearly pulled it back proud of the boys for that. Can we do it over there who knows but I hope MP gets tactics & personal right I love the guy but for me he got it wrong on tactics & team selection. If this sounds like a moan I apologise but im blue hurting as im sure we all are we could & should of beat Barcelona.

    • February 20, 2014  11:20 pm by David Walker Reply

      No apologies Doug - that's your view. I agree on MDM & JL - get shot of both in summer. I can understand MP's thinking on AK over Nasri, but no, it basically didn't work. I for one will look at the generous odds on MCFC going through to QF & wager £25. If it happens then it's Sangrias all round if you can find me on Las Ramblas on March 12 at midnight!

  13. February 20, 2014  7:39 pm by stuart reed Reply

    Despite the criticism from people like Waddle, I think the cautious approach at the beginning was sensible. If we'd come out all guns blazing we might have been 2-0 down after 10 minutes. We grew into the game and held our own (oo-er, missus). I'll admit I'm not up on all the finer points but if the foul starts out side the box & continues into it (I'm assuming continuous contact) apparently its a penalty. Is this a City-only rule? coz I've never heard ANYONE apply it before. None of the commentators were questioning it was outside but almost implied that its deserved a penalty anyway. We were fantastic after the sending off & the second goal was a cruel blow though the press needed to change their nappies they were so delighted. No wonder poor Kompany was gutted. Also see that Richard Keys had a pop saying City fans were arrogant saying that we were expecting to win easily or words to that effect. And then Radio 5 interviewed fans outside and criticised them for not being confident enough (and if they had been then they'd have been accuse of arrogance!!) . I see however that Arsenal who got battered after their sending off were magnificent.

    • February 20, 2014  11:25 pm by David Walker Reply

      As an ex-journalist - although you never actually cease to be one in reality - the English football writers, prat like pundits & 'know-all' commentators are a heap of crap who try - and often succeed - to shape the public's perception of MCFC in a negative fashion. It's not subtle or even credible, but there's a lot of sheep out there who are easily influenced.
      That's why - he says immodestly - we have RBNR to counter balance all the bullshit!

  14. February 21, 2014  12:09 pm by carole Reply

    Great piece are my own observations for what they're worth!

    I thought Pellegrini got his tactics - and the personnel to execute them - absolutely right,. We more than matched them and but for the red card had as much chance of winning the match as Barca did ... It could have gone either way. They never looked like scoring and Vinny's handling of Messi @ianherbs of the Indy put it.. 'MAGISTERIAL'.

    Yes, they dominated possession. That's their speciality. It's an art form for them. But how many chances did they actually create as a result of it? It simply never came to anything until the sending off. They never looked like making their it count...we closed them down time after time and the entire back 4, including Demichelis, were excellent at containing them. I can only recall ONE defence-splitting pass...the one that led to the red card.

    I've watched the recording of the match twice now...and Pelle's game-plan looks better and better in retrospect. The commentators seemed to agree ( when they weren't distracted by Iniesta and Xavi's fascinating...but largely fruitless...footwork. ) it is only in hindsight that the critics have hit out at MP's tactics and so-called negativity. In the first half, and at half-time, ITV were extremely positive and we had a lot of praise from the poundits for our approach to the game.

    With 10 men we had the better chances for most of the second half and were dangerous on the break. Our work-rate against the purists was magnificent. Ultimately we were defeated by nothing more than fatigue.

    Many have laughed at Kompany's assertion that they' were there for the taking'. I don't. With 11 v 11 I honestly believe could have grabbed at least a 1-0 or 2-1 win. They hardly threatened us...the shots on goal and tackles won tell you that. We had several chances to score that unfortunately we didn't take...good chances too. Nothing negative about them!

    Arsenal played well against Bayern for 20 minutes but when THEY were down to 10 they were toothless. They just parked the bus whereas we put up a real fight. Look at the respective posssession stats at FT....#AFC 21%. #MCFC 39%. They tell you the real story!

    The more I watch the match, the more I players such as Nasri do....we CAN beat them at the Camp Nou.. We came back against Bayern and we can come back against Barca. We may not go through, but I think we'll surprise a lot of the criticsin the process.

    Well played lads. Well played Pellegrini. The highest praise possible from me is to say...Mancini couldn't have done better.

    • February 21, 2014  12:20 pm by David Walker Reply

      Thanks Carole for such an extensive, logical & correct analysis of what went on. Like you I think we can & will win in the Nou Camp it's a question by what margin. Moral victory would be great, actual outright victory would be sensational. We can do it.

      • February 21, 2014  12:54 pm by carole Reply

        Cheers David. By the way, did you see the story circulating on Twitter very late last night about Roy Keane apparently leaping from his seat in the ITV studio at the Etihad and cheering when Barca scored? Pretty sure it happened....think @IconicAutographs was the source..
        Bloody disgrace to have such a biased pundit covering our matches...wonder if City know about it?

        • February 21, 2014  5:30 pm by David Walker Reply

          It wouldn't surprise me - bit 'tik' is Roy!

  15. February 21, 2014  4:14 pm by blue boy Reply

    How is it possible Moussa Dembélé, can be put into a Youth Cup game at the age of 26? Scoring two goals knocking out City Youth in the process?
    The worlds gone mad, I'm sure a lot of Media would of been all over this if say Aguero would of been playing and banged in 2 Goals.
    Just found this article on the DailyFail.
    No wonder they suspended comments on this link below, after this I pointed out...

  16. February 21, 2014  11:50 pm by blue boy Reply

    Touchline ban it would seem heading our way, lets see if the only reason he managed City was because he was a Manchester lad Kidd, can prove why he warranted a stay of execution from our great club.
    As you can tell by my previous posts David, I'm not a fan of Kidd or Iscariot AkA Marwood at our club...

    • February 22, 2014  12:04 am by David Walker Reply

      It's all about opinions fella. I personally am glad MP spoke his mind - he cares when he sees an injustice and now, more than ever, I #TrustOurMP.

  17. February 22, 2014  9:44 am by blue boy Reply

    I also trust in MP, still think he got it wrong by showing too much respect the other day and not playing the game he always plays. Somebody in his ear maybe casting doubt in his tactics, making him be cautious this is what concerns me. I also liked his show of passion, lets just hope that was his last outburst because i think he is better than that...Lets get 3 points against agent Hughes and all will be well...

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