City tune up The Toon…now bring on Barca!

Manchester City’s past and present personnel combined to brighten Manuel Pellegrini’s immediate future, as his team strives to retain their Premier League title.

Enigmatic Edin - Dzeko put in a super show as City blitzed Newcastle 5-0. Courtesy@MCFC

Enigmatic Edin – Dzeko put in a super show as City blitzed Newcastle 5-0. Courtesy@MCFC

The Etihad superstars of the here and now duly murdered Newcastle’s visiting Magpies – as they have done for nearly a decade – after the unheralded City youngsters of yesteryear did their former employers a massive modern day favour.

A five star showing and a 5-0 roasting of the Geordies was made all the sweeter after City ‘old boys’ Kieran Trippier and Ben Mee combined to deprive Chelsea of two precious points.

Double strike - Silva boosted his goal haul to nine in the Premier League this season. Courtesy@MCFC

Double strike – Silva boosted his goal haul to nine in the Premier League this season. Courtesy@MCFC

The duo who helped City win the FA Youth Cup Final in 2008 – ironically against Chelsea – were at it again as Mee headed home Trippier’s cross, to give Burnley a late equaliser in the 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge.

It only added to the sense of the occasion as City, replenished and rejuvenated by a returning Yaya Toure and newly acquired Wilfried Bony, prepared to embark on a run of 13 league games designed to signal ‘unlucky for some’ – namely Maureen and the Neanderthals who pass as Chelsea fans.

Warm welcome back - Yaya swapped Africa for Manchester. Courtesy@MCFC

Warm welcome back – Yaya swapped Africa for Manchester. Courtesy@MCFC

With the £25m new boy consigned to the bench, the enigmatic Edin Dzeko was given a chance to kick start his season and set City en-route to another ‘Fight ‘Till the End’ title triumph.

He did so in just 27 seconds.

The big Bosnian was sent sprawling in the visitor’s 18-yard area by a clumsy Anita challenge and Sergio Aguero dispatched the ensuing penalty. 1-0 to City with 72 seconds showing on the clock.

600 seconds later and Edin was once again the provider, crossing a low ball into the path of Samir Nasri inside the Newcastle box. Super Sami carried on from where he left off in the 4-1 stuffing of Stoke, calmly controlling the ball, taking his time and picking his spot past Tim Krul.

Spot on - Sergio scored his second penalty in two games. Courtesy@MCFC

Spot on – Sergio scored his second penalty in two games. Courtesy@MCFC

By the 21st minute it was time for Dzeko to take centre stage, cushioning a sublime David Silva pass on his chest, before effortlessly volleying beyond the despairing reach of the Newcastle keeper.

If Edin displayed the same level of desire, determination and skill on a regular basis, the arguments about his ability and application to the job would cease to exist.

It shouldn’t take the signing of Bony to ‘coax’ Edin into fulfilling the fundamentals of his job description. That said, if he were to sustain it, he could be yet another positive element in firing City to back-to-back titles.

Good influence - The presence of Wilfried Bony coincides with Edin Dzeko putting in a great performance against Newcastle. Courtesy@MCFC

Good influence – The presence of Wilfried Bony coincides with Edin Dzeko putting in a great performance against Newcastle. Courtesy@MCFC

At 3-0 down Krul – in his garish orange strip – and the rest of his Toon team mates had been well and truly ‘tango-ed’. The only question was, how far could City go in narrowing not just the gap in points, but also the goal difference on Chelsea?

It had started the day as a seven point and eight goal differentiator. It ended it at five and three, as the best player ever to wear City blue, bagged a second half brace.

David Silva has the same self-effacing, low key persona as the man he’s superseded as City’s finest.

Merlin has magically surpassed Colin The King as the greatest talent ever to grace Manchester City Football Club…and long may he continue so to do.

Of course it’s a highly subjective topic, but with Silva now adding goals to his game, the argument is done and dusted in many quarters.

Flying wizard - David Silva is THE best player in City's history. Courtesy@MCFC

Flying wizard – David Silva is THE best player in City’s history. Courtesy@MCFC

Two well taken left foot shots in the 51st and 53rd minutes, boosted the Spaniard’s season tally to nine in the PL and iced this comprehensive win – the 11th consecutive City league victory over the now well swiped Barcodes.

Such was the speed of Newcastle’s annual capitulation Pellegrini had the luxury of first withdrawing Silva and Aguero from harm’s way on the hour, before bringing his other main creative force – Nasri – off 10 minutes later.

Magnifique - Samir is in top form with two brilliant goals in his last two outings. Courtesy@MCFC

Magnifique – Samir is in top form with two brilliant goals in his last two outings. Courtesy@MCFC

Bony replaced Sergio to a rapturous welcome and soon looked the part, narrowly missing out on a debut goal, as his low shot deflected over the bar via Krul’s left leg.

High tempo, quick passing and purposeful off-the-ball movement – this was as far removed from the turgidity of recent home performances as could be imagined.

Yaya’s return and the presence of Bony seemed to imbue the whole team with confidence and re-assert the fact that City were indeed the Champions of England.

It helped that Newcastle were light years away from the incisive, fearless and lightning quick counter-attacking outfit who had sent City reeling out of the Capital One Cup, last October.

Up for the fight - Edin showed why he made it into City's Champions League squad with a great display. Courtesy@MCFC

Up for the fight – Edin showed why he made it into City’s Champions League squad with a great display. Courtesy@MCFC

Joe Hart was only called upon to make one stunning save from Cisse, just after the half time interval, which meant a long overdue clean sheet – City’s first in 11 league and cup games since December 20th.

With Barcelona and Liverpool as their next two opponents, the welcome return to top form could not have been better timed.

Both will present a much more formidable challenge than the Geordies in what could be a pivotal week for Pellegrini and City’s silverware aspirations in 2015.

Red card at night, not a delight - Demichelis was sent off in the 1st leg against Barcelona in 2014. Courtesy @MCFC

Red card at night, not a delight – Demichelis was sent off in the 1st leg against Barcelona in 2014. Courtesy @MCFC

With Messi, Neymar and El Rodento (sorry, Suarez), chomping at the bit to achieve a repeat of last season’s 2-0 1st leg win, City will need to be at their best.

If they are, there’s no reason why they can’t be heading off to the Catalan capital next month, holding an advantage.

Last season’s 4-1 aggregate defeat in the Round of 16, will have given the majority of the City squad an invaluable, albeit painful, experience of the Nou Camp and what it’s like to compete at the highest levels of European club football.

Idiot ref - Zaba was sent off at the Nou Camp by extremely annoying French ref Stephen Lannoy. Courtesy @MCFC

Idiot ref – Zaba was sent off at the Nou Camp by extremely annoying French ref Stephen Lannoy. Courtesy @MCFC

Two very dodgy referees and the sendings off of Demichelis and Zabaleta, hardly aided the cause. Neither did having Pellegrini banished from the touchline in the second leg, after he justifiably queried the abilities of the referee Jonas Eriksson– a Swede who performed like a turnip.

Only time will tell if Pellegrini should take heart from his former charges at Malaga, inflicting a 1-0 defeat on Messi & Co in La Liga this weekend.

James Milner should be the only player ruled out with injury, so it’s a case of trusting the City boss to get his tactics right.

Downcast - Vincent Kompany was cheered to the rafters by City's vocal following in Barcelona last season. Courtesy @MCFC

Downcast – Vincent Kompany was cheered to the rafters by City’s vocal following in Barcelona last season. Courtesy @MCFC

Will the temptation to play Aguero and Bony up front in a 4-4-2 leave City’s midfield open to exploitation? Could City, once again, be at risk of being over-run if Luis Enrique deploys five men in the middle of the park?

It’s as fascinating as it’s glamorous, despite the inevitable sense of déjà vu that accompanies the tie, almost 12 months to the day since the first ever competitive game between the clubs.

Keep it clean - if Joe Hart and City can hold Barcelona at bay on Tuesday night, Manuel Pellegrini could oversee a famous win at the Etihad. Courtesy@MCFC

Keep it clean – if Joe Hart and City can hold Barcelona at bay on Tuesday night, Manuel Pellegrini could oversee a famous win at the Etihad. Courtesy@MCFC

There’s now a perverse wave of optimism flowing through City after a wretched January.

One can only hope and pray it isn’t as badly misplaced as that of The Toon Army who, having enjoyed Capital One Cup success at the Etihad, thought they were in for more of the same in the league.

And look how that turned out – gone in 27 seconds!

 

#TrustOurMP

By David Walker

A special mention in dispatches for my friend Mark Williamson – a lifelong Newcastle United fan who suffered for the umpteenth time – through the annual massacre of the Magpies. He took the 5-0 defeat in good heart because, as he stated pre-match, he’s getting used to it after 15 losses and two draws in the last 17 league encounters.

Top man & top fan!

NOTE TO READERS: Due to technical difficulties we were unable to download images from City’s 5-0 victory over Newcastle. Apologies if this diminishes your enjoyment of our coverage.

 

COMPETITION TIME

In conjunction with our friends at CampoRetro we are delighted to offer Read But Never Red readers the opportunity to win one of two special edition MCFC T-shirts.

The Made In Manchester and Made in Argentina T-shirts are available at £15 each or two for £20 via the website at http://www.camporetro.com/

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Argentina or Manchester - which T-shirt from CampoRetro do you prefer?

Argentina or Manchester – which T-shirt from CampoRetro do you prefer?

http://www.camporetro.com/Shop-By-Collection/Graphic-T-Shirts/Graphic-Tees/3654_Man-City-Made-In-Manchester-Tee-WhiteSky.html

To win one of the T-shirts all you have to do is one or more of the following:

Email: competitions@camporetro.com with your choice #ARGENTINA or #MANCHESTER

JOINTLY TWEET BOTH @ReadButNeverRed & @CampoRetro with either #ARGENTINA or #MANCHESTER

Comment in the reply section of Read But Never Red at http://rbnr.co.uk/ with either #ARGENTINA or #MANCHESTER

The competition runs until the end of February and CampoRetro will select a winner at random. The winner will be contacted and the choice of T-shirt and size arranged.

 

www.readbutneverred.com @ReadButNeverRed @djwskyblu

 

20 Comments

  1. February 23, 2015  10:00 am by GeorgeInIsrael Reply

    I'm still pessimistic about beating Barcelona over two legs, but a pessimist is never disappointed :-)

    #MANCHESTER

    • February 23, 2015  10:50 am by David Walker Reply

      I hope you'll be extraordinarily and happily surprised ;-)

  2. February 23, 2015  10:24 am by JamesHouseOlogy Reply

    That's more like it David, the kind of report we got used to last season... and this was a great all round display and this will be a huge boost to our season..... let's see how we fair Tuesday :-)

  3. February 23, 2015  11:24 am by Toby Teasdale Reply

    I nearly had an apoplexy when swedish fracker ‘Jonas Eriksson’s’ name popped up after I googled ‘Manchester City Barcelona referee’, then I realised I had got the wrong date.

    In fact we’ve got Germany’s number one referee, the highly rated Felix Brych. Felix is no pussy but firm like many German referees. During January’s Barcelona v. Atletico Madrid Champions League game, he flashed 8 cards! He appears to be level headed and likes to keep the game flowing. Pulling out red only as a last resort.

    Dzeko had a good game on Saturday, but who knows how much of that was down to him or due to the paucity of Newcastle’s defence? I think that might let Pellegrini follow his natural inclination and start with 2 up front. Which may be a mistake, because we will be without Yaya and Barcelona will probably load their midfield.

    Fingers crossed and with a little good fortune, 1:0 is well within our grasp.

    • February 23, 2015  12:05 pm by David Walker Reply

      With you all the way TT - any clean sheet & City win would give us a helluva chance going back to Catalonia.

  4. February 23, 2015  11:33 am by Richard Cooper Reply

    That was the home game performance we have all been waiting for.
    It would take a long time to identify all the good performances on Saturday but should mention the David Silva "Masterclass". What a player he is ! and also the "new" player in the number 10 shirt who put in a superb performance especially in the 1st half.
    I do dislike the current journalistic expression - "Won a penalty". You get a penalty for an infringement as with Edin (Should have had another one ). You win a penalty as I think Mr Rooney did last week at Preston. There is a difference.
    And now Barca. It is a pity the rejuvenated Ya Ya is out but I am hopeful we can put in a performance that will give City a decent chance at the 2nd game in Barcelona.
    Will think only of one game at a time but the fixture next weekend at the daft time of 1200 will be a a hell of lot harder than the demolition of Newcastle.

    • February 23, 2015  12:07 pm by David Walker Reply

      As ever, agreed on all points RC.

    • February 23, 2015  3:54 pm by GeorgeInIsrael Reply

      You can also win penalties the way Franny Lee used to. You run hard at players in the box, sooner or later they miss a tackle and you have a penalty.

      • February 23, 2015  5:02 pm by David Walker Reply

        As Al Davis, the legendary owner of the Oakland Raiders in the NFL used to say: 'Just win baby...'

        That'll do for me when it comes to the Champions League, if only to see UEFA and Platini choke on their chips.

  5. February 23, 2015  12:25 pm by Eileen Fullen Reply

    Can't wait for the BARCA game we will have to be at our best - but yes we can do it
    After Saturday pride restored

    • February 23, 2015  1:28 pm by David Walker Reply

      A bit of Barack Obama's coming in to play - YES, WE CAN! ;-)

  6. February 23, 2015  3:58 pm by Guvnor Reply

    The blog is great, however I cannot agree with the following: Merlin has magically surpassed Colin The King as the greatest talent ever to grace Manchester City Football Club. I do think that David Sila is sublime however. King Colin Bell could do the following. Head a ball, take on others, Pass a ball. Defend and tackle. Start and finish off attacks, he could do this on mud baths, not the pristine pitches we have now.
    Siva tremendous, Colin The King.
    Great writing Mr Walker. Come on City, bring on Tuesday night.

    • February 23, 2015  4:58 pm by David Walker Reply

      You make a compelling case for Colin The King to remain on his throne BUT, if as we hope City will win Premier League titles on a 'regular' basis, David Silva could end up with four or five PL winner's medals, more domestic cup titles and even, dare it be whispered, a Champions League winner's medal. Colin & David were & are a joy to watch and there is no definitive answer. It's football, therefore it's all about opinions. Thanks for yours Guvnor, always valued and appreciated.

  7. February 23, 2015  5:29 pm by pete lynch Reply

    Cheers David usual high quality and we were certainly treated on Saturday to an excellent game. Roll onto tomorrow night and hopefully Barca put to the sword!

    • February 23, 2015  6:35 pm by David Walker Reply

      You'll hear no argument here. Thanks Pete.

  8. February 23, 2015  7:36 pm by Doug Henshaw Reply

    Well David here I am with a large piece of humble pie after watching the boys destroy Newcastle. I'm going to take some credit for the turn around as I did say we can't get any worse after the poor showing against Hull maybe I don't have to eat all the pie. Couldn't get to game & couldn't watch it live but boy did I enjoy it when I did watch it absolute superb, just hope its onwards & upwards from this game. I will be at Barcelona game so hope the boys can do them I will be cheering as loud as I can as I'm sure the rest of us will be. I think city fans should be fitted with a pacemaker at birth or fed drugs to help us through the many ups & downs we go thorough with our beloved club. On to Tues & Barcelona come on citdddddd. Nearly forgot Dave with my Ramblings great article hope I'm reading one just as good about Barcelona game.

    • February 23, 2015  8:31 pm by David Walker Reply

      Forget the pie - I'll buy the jelly and ice cream if we navigate our way past Barca over two legs.

  9. February 24, 2015  6:58 pm by Stephen Reply

    I always admire the newcastle away fans back to the souness era when pearce's city beat em 3-0 as their fans never stopped. However even they lost heart at such a limp display. City in 2nd gear were v good but hard to assess vs such mediocraty. Nasri was sublime and I cannot recall Dzeko being so influential. Did the heart good and made for a great night for us all but I hope we play smart vs barca as a better team would have exploited space on our left. Am done with kolarov now to be honest and not going to excuse his mediocore play again. However vinnie and zab looked to be coming back making me excited for tonight and jealous of you all. Enjoy it blues as we are not going to show too much respect anymore

    • February 26, 2015  8:04 am by David Walker Reply

      Saturday was a great night, Tuesday not so. C'est la vie. Thanks Stephen.

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