MAN CITY 2 CHELSEA 0 – Fat lady struck dumb in Manchester

There’s a fat lady known to sing when all is lost…well, according to Roberto Mancini she hasn’t even found her song sheet at the Etihad Stadium.

Manchester City’s boss is adamant that with 11 Premier League wins to play for, the 12 point divide between City and Manchester United could yet be bridged.

It’d take a very brave man to wager a substantial sum on City somehow retaining their PL crown but, on this comprehensive beating of third placed Chelsea, you never know.

Mancini and City’s problem is that even if they somehow harvest the final 33 points up for grabs, they know that Fergie’s bunch need only another 22 and any herculean sky blue efforts will be in vain.

But you have to start somewhere and City did just that – with style – in one of their most convincing performances of the season. The City haters in the media had this one down as the game that marked the beginning of the end of Roberto Mancini’s reign…well think again poisonous pen-pushers.

Mark Ogden of the Telegraph was typical. A 3-1 Chelsea win and City imploding amid a cauldron of bickering football mercenaries, just in it for the Abu Dhabi dollars.

How wrong can you be when blinded by bile, envy and vitriol?

This was better than the walk in the park FA Cup win against lower league Leeds United – this was a dismantling of the reigning European champions – who managed just one solitary attempt on target.

This was a cohesive Manchester City, a combative Manchester City, a Manchester City who remembered they are still Champions of England and performed accordingly.

It was as far removed from the abject negativity of the loss at Southampton as can be imagined, so what does that say about Mancini the motivator, Mancini the man manager and Mancini the master tactician?

Even the formidable ‘Forza Mancini’ following were questioning the decision to leave Carlos Tevez on the bench, facilitating a first team return for Jack Rodwell and enabling Yaya Toure a free roaming role.

The answer was duly delivered. Yaya, back to his brilliant best scored an exquisite opening goal, Rodwell had his most effective game as a City player and Tevez broke his goal drought with a scintillating strike to ice the victory.

City were in the ascendancy with their aggressive attacking style, creating numerous opportunities. A half time lead of 3-0 would not have flattered the hosts.

Petr Cech was all that stood between Rafa Benitez’ men and a proper hammering. The giant Chelsea keeper made stunning stops from Nastasic and Rodwell headers, as well as tipping a dipping 30 yard Rodwell drive over the bar in the first half.

Zabaleta’s cracking volley cannoned off Gary Cahill’s cranium as City laid siege to the Londoner’s goal. With Torres, Oscar and Moses on the bench, Chelsea’s offensive threat rested on Hazard, Mata and Ba.

In three outings against City this season Hazard has failed to live up to his billing or his name – he hasn’t even proven himself a minor inconvenience. Ba – complete with Phantom of the Opera protective mask was at least theatrical – especially when diving to get Chelsea a debateable penalty. I say face mask – they could have been diving goggles.

The Senegalese striker took a splendid pass from Ivanovic, managed to get goal side of Kolo Toure and then make the very most of a touch by the onrushing Hart. In real time it looked a penalty. In replay Hart hardly touched him and was pulling his arms out of the way rather than hauling the striker down.

Amazingly, the abysmal referee Andre Marriner, who was stinking the place out worse than a bucket of severed cod heads, showed neither a yellow or red card to Hart. It wasn’t warranted but, having incorrectly awarded the penalty, the City stopper could have walked.

Redemption or karma – call it what you will – was on hand in the shape of Hart’s right palm as he saved Lampard’s free kick in spectacular fashion. Kolo, eager to atone for his original lapse, was first to react and clear the rebound.

Hart – mobbed by his team mates – was ecstatic, adrenalin fuelled and fist pumping. It meant a lot, especially after recent criticism.

At the other end, the indefatigable Aguero latched onto slide rule precision passes from Silva and Milner but to no avail.

It was the same Anglo-Spanish supply line which created City’s breakthrough just after the hour. Silva and Milner exchanged a trio of passes before Yaya sculptured a creation through Chelsea’s massed defence. His curved shot eluded Cahill and Cech and City were one up.

The Ivorian talisman collected Silva – one armed as if carrying a small child – in the goal celebration.

Chelsea were all huff and puff and even a £90m triple substitution of Torres, Oscar and Moses failed to ignite anything resembling a fightback.

It fell, somewhat majestically, to the irrepressible Tevez to break his eight game PL goal drought and clinch the win. Aguero and Silva combined down the left flank and the Spanish playmaker rolled the ball to Tevez who drilled an unstoppable shot past Cech from the edge of the 18 yard box.

City were still up for the PL fight and looking bang in form. The large lady was told to hold back on the lyrics and not a song was heard.







  1. February 25, 2013  4:16 pm by Graham Ward Reply

    A nice mixture of defiant optimism, and honest realism, in this report, David.
    The "hack" you mention is the principal reason why the paper he writes for has had one less subscriber since April of 2012.
    From the highlights I saw, Sergio Aguero should have been on the scoresheet at least twice; chances that, I think, he wouldn't have wasted last season.
    Two cracking goals to win the game; Toure's placement reminded me of his first last season at Newcastle, and Tevez the power of his FA Cup goal earlier this year against Watford.
    Things just seem to be falling nicely into place at the moment.

  2. February 25, 2013  5:08 pm by David Walker Reply

    Hope springs eternal Graham - you never know!

  3. February 25, 2013  5:33 pm by Steve White Reply

    Enjoyed a riveting read once again. Rodwell certainly made a difference. Nice one

    • February 25, 2013  9:39 pm by David Walker Reply

      Sorry Bro - managed to post my reply to you to Big Brian below! Sad innit can't work my own website

  4. February 25, 2013  5:45 pm by Brian Entwistle Reply

    Very good,as usual David,very good indeed!!

    • February 25, 2013  9:36 pm by David Walker Reply

      JR's best game yet - huge potential - cheers bro #BluesBrothers

    • February 25, 2013  9:37 pm by David Walker Reply

      Thanks Big Fella - a great win #FORZAMANCINI

  5. February 25, 2013  5:49 pm by carol main Reply

    we were almost back to our best and in spite of the utterly dismal refereeing, it was a great game!
    love it Davy, rbnr has become a part of my football ritual now, dare we dream.....again?

    • February 25, 2013  9:40 pm by David Walker Reply

      Why not Blondie let's have a great big beautiful sky blue dream

  6. February 25, 2013  6:37 pm by Chris Williams Reply

    Must admit I felt a touch of smugness to all the fan's who have ridiculously started to round on Joe Hart, they forget that he has saved us 100 more points than he's cost us over the years. Great to see wonderful support for Mancini from all ends of the Stadium, and I failed to notice the players revolt.
    I wonder when the Media will stop trying to destabilise our great football club ? They wonder why Mancini gets the hump with them at press conferences, well show the man the respect he deserves !

    • February 25, 2013  9:43 pm by David Walker Reply

      It's monotonous hearing the pundits, so-called experts and press constantly attempting to undermine us. Well scew them we're #together #MCFCFamily

  7. February 25, 2013  7:42 pm by Fifthcolumnblue Reply

    It will take a collapse of EPIC proportions for the rags to lose their current lead, but as Mancini has pointed out, they have been incredibly lucky thus far this season, so I guess you never know. My best guess is that we'll pull things back to within 5/6 points of them to make things interesting, but the moment they feel threatened, the diving goggles, ref-beating and nasty challenges will put in a major reappearance and they'll creep over the line.

    On a separate note, I thought Tevez was particularly poor prior to his goal, giving the ball away needlessly on several occasions. Here's hoping the goal has reinvigorated him, as for much of the season he has appeared to be merely going through the motions. He's been a good servant to the club, but if he refuses to sign an extension (which I'm not certain he deserves) then we have to hope the rumours about Monaco wanting him (and Nasri!!!) are not just too good to be true.

    Another great read mate!

    • February 25, 2013  9:49 pm by David Walker Reply

      Funny I had only just remarked to wifey @debijwalker that Tevez was having a stinker & low & behold he hammered that beauty home. Tevez may still have a role to play but I'll drive Nasri to Monaco - no problem.

      • February 26, 2013  7:36 pm by Fifthcolumnblue Reply

        Sure you'll have no problems getting volunteers to pay for the petrol

  8. February 25, 2013  8:09 pm by Cathie Huntet Reply

    Well David, you may wear sky blue spectacles, but then don't we all - and it doesn't seem to stop you from producing an honest and enjoyable read!! Excellent once again - keep em coming!!

  9. February 25, 2013  8:25 pm by Doug Sharp Reply

    Not only the Team played a stormer so did Bobby Manc. I thought his team selection was going to give us a bad day, but hey what do i know. A lot more than The Guardian hack who must have been to a different match. The press are hell bent on stirring muck. Mancini is playing them brilliantly - long may he reign. Another excellent read Dave.

    • February 25, 2013  9:51 pm by David Walker Reply

      Long may he reign indeed Majestic Mancini! Cheers Doug

  10. February 25, 2013  8:34 pm by Andy Devereux Reply

    Top quality read again David,insightful and unbiased as usual,nice one.

    • February 25, 2013  9:52 pm by David Walker Reply

      Well perhaps a bit - make that a lot - biased towards #MCFCChampions!

  11. February 25, 2013  8:44 pm by Dave Bones Reply

    Fantastic match summary David,as for Ogden,well Hashtag Tosser comes to mind,spot on about the(non)penalty decision.
    Keep up the great work ScribeKing

    • February 25, 2013  9:54 pm by David Walker Reply

      I thinks yours is the general consensus among #MCFC fans on young Ogden!
      Cheers Bonebreaker!

  12. February 25, 2013  8:54 pm by Mark Turner Reply

    Wonderful, inspiring and passionate read. Interesting how quiet the media have been about the cheating BA.STAR Defender for us was Nastasic - top class as always!

    • February 25, 2013  9:58 pm by David Walker Reply

      Nastasic is a prodigious talent and at just 19 years could be a world beater...& he's ours! Rumours of him going out on loan next season must surely be nonsense - this boy is the real deal right here right now!

  13. February 25, 2013  9:36 pm by Lisa Royle Reply

    thanks David-shared my thoughts "Why Jack and not Carlos paragraph" within 10 mins of kick off...we all knew #inbobbywetrust

    • February 25, 2013  10:10 pm by David Walker Reply

      Mancini is an accomplished tactician #FORZAMANCINI 2013/14 #MCFCOK
      Thanks for feedback.

  14. February 25, 2013  10:01 pm by Russell Carson Reply

    Excellent piece David, great team performance especially enjoyed Rodwell's 60 mins, shows great promise. Ref was a disgrace but I expected nothing less once I saw the officials dressed in red!

    • February 25, 2013  10:11 pm by David Walker Reply

      Marriner was sooooooo bad it wasn't discreet, nor subtle in his red shirt. What is it with our refs - corrupt or inept?

  15. February 26, 2013  12:36 am by Kev Russell Reply

    Wow you've got enough comments to deserve a place on the Sunday Supp & get rid of that Ray Rearden lookalike P Smith. Agree ref journo but there is a more biased one. Tommy Smith on Press Pass. He hates us & Mancini even more. Can't wait for his comments now!! Great read David that is a must for all us blues. What price Mr Bale after tonight's Mega show v West Ham. #TopScriber

    • February 26, 2013  6:51 am by David Walker Reply

      Mr Bale would be very welcome at the Etihad in a sky blue shirt but I think he'll still be wearing white next Madrid. Thanks as ever do your feedback Kev - #TopCityBlue #Together

    • February 26, 2013  6:53 am by David Walker Reply

      ...*for your feedback not * do your feedback!

  16. February 26, 2013  10:40 pm by Evelyn Spence Reply

    So look forward to reading RBNR. It seemed like a very tough fight to the end for our boys against Chelsea and poor refereeing decisions. Herculean efforts indeed.
    I always love the sometimes outrageous humour in your writing... 'diving goggles' and ' severed cod heads' :D
    The only singing to be heard was the fantastic support for Mancini.
    In the end I wanted the fat lady silenced but the RBNR scribe to continue. I hope your writing gets the recognition it deserves.
    Fantastic read again Dave.

    • February 26, 2013  11:27 pm by David Walker Reply

      Thanks for your comments Ev - let's hope this win sets the team up for one more big push to see if City can yet have a crack at defending the title.

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