MAN CITY 2 HULL CITY 0 – Negredo attracts the ‘ire’ of the tigers

It wasn’t pretty or overly entertaining, but in the end it was enough as Manchester City ambushed Hull’s Tigers and bagged three vital points, putting their title ambitions back on track.

Wounded by the rabid criticism following the Cardiff defeat, City were expected to return to winning ways against Premier League newbies, after all, it had been three years and 106 games since the men in sky blue suffered back-to-back top flight losses.

Nonetheless, an anxious near capacity Etihad crowd, had to wait until the dying seconds before Yaya Toure’s exquisite 20 yard free kick eluded Allan McGregor in Hull’s goal to confirm the victory.

With new City boss Manuel Pellegrini still getting to grips with the demands of the PL, this was a win lacking the fast flowing fluency of the annihilation of Newcastle.

No, this was entirely different as a somewhat staccato City stumbled past a vigorous Hull who, surprisingly, came to play. Credit to Hull manager, Steve Bruce – the ex-Manure skipper loathed and duly taunted by the City faithful – for leaving his bus parking manual on the team coach.

The evidence could have been damning by the interval because the Humbersiders could and should have been 2-0 up.

Clean sheet - Joe Hart helped shut-out a hungry Hull attack

Clean sheet – Joe Hart helped shut-out a hungry Hull attack

Nigerian international striker Sone Aluko missed a sitter after completely wrong-footing Joleon Lescott, bursting through the centre of City’s fragile defence and bearing down on Joe Hart, only to scuff his attempt.

Bruce buried his head in his hands and City fans breathed a sigh of relief. The much maligned Hart deserves great credit for narrowing Aluko’s options having sped from his goal line.

Aluko’s strike partner, Danny Graham had a ‘goal’ correctly disallowed for offside but the on-loan Sunderland striker was only marginally so. City’s third and final escape of the first 45 minutes came when Robert Koren’s well struck 20 yard drive was an inch the right side of goal with Hart well beaten.

With Nastasic and Kolarov selected ahead of Garcia and Clichy, City’s defence continued to look less than resolute.

Lescott is the new Kolo Toure – capable of brilliance and blunders in equal measure. Admittedly being played out of position on the right, Joleon is a Jekyll and Hyde character at present.

Having given Aluko the earlier opportunity, he so nearly went from villain to hero as McGregor finger-tipped a bullet-like header over the bar. Lescott was everywhere – centre back, centre forward, right back, left back – even right winger – but, at times,  worryingly vulnerable.

City’s ineffectual play stemmed from Pellegrini’s puzzling deployment of key players in arguably the wrong roles.

Why, for instance play Yaya as the holding midfielder and Fernandinho behind the front pairing. Surely the Brazilian was bought to release Yaya upfield to optimise his tendency to steamroller opposing defences?

Back to front - should Yaya Toure be played further upfield?

Back to front – should Yaya Toure be played further upfield?

Silva was suitably subdued out wide left, whereas he wreaks havoc from the centre of the park. There was palpable disappointment at Dzeko’s selection ahead of Negredo and thus the first half was instantly forgettable from an attacking City perspective.

Above all else, why do City persist in playing at a pedestrian pace, thereby negating the fundamental weaponry in their armoury? It was obvious last season, as it is obvious now, when City deliver dynamic, fluent, precision passing they can tear opponents apart – Negredo’s 65th minute goal being the perfect example.

The swift four man inter-play between Silva, Aguero, Navas and Zabaleta, created the opening for City’s Player of the Year to send a right wing cross onto the Beast of Sevilla’s forehead and the resultant 1-0 advantage.

The goal came 15 minutes after a horrible howler from the Spanish forward when he displayed the heading technique of a 50p coin. The words banjo and cow’s backside spring to mind!

Spanish hitman - Alvaro Negredo opened the scoring in the 65th minute

Spanish hitman – Alvaro Negredo opened the scoring in the 65th minute

But – and it’s a big but – Negredo is the type of player who will get up, dust himself down and go again and again and again.

He looks perfectly suited to the PL and don’t be surprised if he has a 20+ goal haul by next May. This contrasts with Dzeko who, despite decent looking goals-to-games statistics, simply is NOT top drawer.

His first touch, close control and all round contribution will, I fear, be forever found wanting.

The fact City were able to gain a measure of control and eventually win the match owed much to Pellegrini’s change of tactics in the second half. Negredo replaced Dzeko and Silva moved – productively – to centre stage, opening up the supply lines with great aplomb.

Sergio, for all his obvious enthusiasm, industry and tenacity, was still holding onto the ball a fraction too long and being stifled by a swarming Hull defence in their orange and black stripes.

When substituted for Milner, Aguero seemed downcast, but the Argentinian pocket battleship will have far better days than this and be integral to City’s successes.

Nasri, brought on for Silva, was instrumental in securing the victory. The Frenchman’s surge forward saw him unceremoniously felled by ex-Man Utd defender James Chester on the edge of the Hull 18-yard box.

Captain Toure produced an almost carbon copy killer of his goal against Newcastle in the season’s opening match. It was a thing of beauty that belied another sub-standard performance from the big Ivorian.

Back of the net - yes yes Yaya - Captain Toure secured City's win

Back of the net – yes yes Yaya – Captain Toure secured City’s win

So that’s maximum points, six goals scored and none conceded at Fortress Etihad -all well and good. Pellegrini knows his team needs to improve and there’s every reason to believe they will.

Defensive signings are imminent. Argentine veteran Martin Demichelis is coming from Atletico Madrid and rumours persist of a big-money move for Porto’s young French centre back Eliaquim Mangala.

A fit Matija Nastasic and the prospect of Kompany’s return in time for the Manchester derby will stiffen City’s wobbly resistance to incoming fire.

Up front City fans have still to see the introduction of the exciting Stevan Jovetic, so there’s plenty of reason for optimism.

As Pellegrini explores his tactical options and player permutations, logic suggests City will become more cohesive at the back and more potent up front. All will be revealed starting at Stoke when a malevolent Mark Hughes would love nothing more than inflicting damage on his former employers.



At the risk of dedication overdrive this report falls on my son, Jack’s, 24th birthday, and the day after my 28th wedding anniversary, following marriage to Debi back in 1985. It comes two days and 17 years since my Dad died, so every year we have a three-day emotional rollercoaster.

I love Debi for so many reasons, none more so than for the creation of Jack, and for giving me the two happiest days of my life – the Aguerrrrrooooo moment comes a close third!

City don’t play next week, so Read But Never Red readers will be spared a dollop of ‘puppy love’ and a doggone dedication to Mollie Zaba – cockapoo Cityhound who has the ‘Big 1’ year celebration a week today




By David Walker










  1. September 1, 2013  2:09 pm by Graham Ward Reply

    Thank you to Hull for their poor finishing, but as you say, David, balanced out by Negredo before his goal. He is certainly making his case to start the game against Stoke in a fortnight.
    On yesterday's evidence, Hull may give a few PL teams food for thought. Huddlestone, when he is on his game, is a good PL player...good signing there.
    The defensive uncertainty is a concern, but, no goals conceded....bonus!
    Your anniversaries are like the proverbial buses, aren't they? No excuses ;-)

    • September 1, 2013  2:11 pm by David Walker Reply

      Indded they are - and hope to have many many more...

  2. September 1, 2013  4:08 pm by Fred Nelson Reply

    Great read as ever Dave. A more cohesive defence would be very welcome indeed, very wobbly in the last two matches. My patience with Dzeko has all but run out, a start for Negredo is surely imminent. I like Fernandinho a lot, no worries in the middle of the park. I reckon ergot away with that one yesterday, but playing poorly and winning is something our Rag neighbours have managed for years! Happy Birthday Jack, Happy Anniversary Dave & Debi and as I mentioned yesterday, they were lovely words about your Dad. Keep up the good work Dave, I look forward to the next instalment.

    • September 1, 2013  8:58 pm by David Walker Reply

      Thank you Fred - very generous comments - agree on the defence but help will soon be at hand and yes, Fernandinho should be a star - he'd better bloody be at £30m! As for Dzeko if he's wearing the shirt of course we back him, but he's simply not good enough for where we want to go.

  3. September 1, 2013  4:31 pm by Frank Reply

    I don't need to say again how dead on you are every time, David.

    We are too soft, especially without Tevez. There's no balance of sheer Zaba-style force in other areas to get through the box. Negredo and Milner were game changers because of their strength. They balanced the team out (IMHO) and got us through. Yaya needs to be set free. The second half team was what will win us games.

    • September 1, 2013  5:05 pm by David Walker Reply

      And let's see what Jovetic brings to the party - thanks for encouraging feedback.

  4. September 1, 2013  5:07 pm by mark james Reply

    negrado has to start v stoke which is a game we must win so we the fans will start to realize the cardiff game was a one off blip on our relentless march to the title !!!!

    • September 1, 2013  5:12 pm by David Walker Reply

      Couldn't agree more - you don't get the nickname ' The Beast of Sevilla' & not be able to mix it. Dzeko doesn't like the physical stuff & is too lightweight.

    • September 1, 2013  6:50 pm by Phill Reply

      Agree Negrado needs to be in the starting 11.

  5. September 1, 2013  5:41 pm by Mole Rocks Reply

    I'm very happy that Negredo has settled in so quickly. He has the tenacity that City often seem to lack at times.

    It is still early days in the Pellegrini era and with potentially a few ins and outs over the next 30+ hours, we could see quite a different line up against Stoke.

    Expectations are building and hopefully City can keep improving. The only concern is the apparent inability to play without Kompany on the pitch, lets hope Demichales provides that steadying influence if the Captain is out of action.

    Season so far B+

    • September 1, 2013  7:09 pm by David Walker Reply

      A couple of defensive recruits wouldn't go amiss & along with the return of Kompany and Richards it gives MP sound options. Don't know what's happening with Lescott but he seems to have shot his bolt somewhat. Can't see many outgoings other than Gareth Barry at this late stage.

  6. September 1, 2013  6:31 pm by Nev Artingstall Reply

    Spot on David. Really hope Negredo starts next game. Dzeko is very frustrating. Replace lescott and we'll be OK.
    Cheers. Nev Artingstall

    • September 1, 2013  7:14 pm by David Walker Reply

      Out of choice I'd have sold Lescott, Kolarov & Dzeko and brought better players to replace them but MP is going for evolution not revolution. Thanks for commenting.

  7. September 1, 2013  7:13 pm by Grant Mills Reply

    Only saw the highlights so can't offer too much. From what Negredo has shown so far he must start. Gives a great option which Dzeko should but doesn't (I'm sure he's a great bloke despite my constant criticism of him).
    Looking forward to seeing Jovetic hopefully his arrival will up the games of the others in similar roles. I'd really like Toure to get back to his marauding best as well.
    Step it up City we've got a big game coming up!

    • September 1, 2013  9:00 pm by David Walker Reply

      Yes, Yaya to push forward and also give Negredo the starting berth. Edin has had countless opportunities but his all round game is not as good as that of his rivals for the frontline role.

  8. September 1, 2013  7:59 pm by Andy Devereux Reply

    Great read David spot on in your observations as always.Negredo must start against Stoke and with luck we might get to see a bit of Jovetic.All in all yesterday not the best but 3pts is 3pts and sometimes you have to win ugly.

    • September 1, 2013  9:02 pm by David Walker Reply

      Ugly works for me - to a degree. However, at this stage of the season with Pellegrini and players adapting to new surroundings and formations then yes, take the points and the hell with it. Thanks Andy.

  9. September 1, 2013  8:31 pm by Michael griffiths Reply

    Do you think ferdie will improve david not been to impressed so far

    • September 1, 2013  9:04 pm by David Walker Reply

      Yes I do - he's played brilliantly for Shakhtar and destroyed Chelsea home and way in the CL last season. Give him time - it's a big change and I think we as fans sometimes under estimate the demands placed on players as human beings, with families and a change of environment. Yes. they get obscenely rewarded, but they still have to be afforded some time to adapt.

  10. September 1, 2013  8:31 pm by Mark Turner Reply

    Thanks David, another brilliantly incisive and witty report on City's matchday endeavours. As always, I agree with you completely. I think MP was right to try and boost Dzeko's confidence after the battering it must have taken, but Edin has still not shown us that he truly has that thing which scares the pants off opposition defenders. Negredo is a must first choice start for me going forwards and with a few late additions I still believe we will regain our title. Trust in our MP

    • September 1, 2013  9:06 pm by David Walker Reply

      When you say the thing that truly scares opposing defenders - do you mean the Playgirl pic of Phil Jones and his Muppet soft toy collection - freekin frightening indeed!

  11. September 1, 2013  8:49 pm by Barry Handley Reply

    Dan, Another great read agreed we do seem to have a number of fans who press the panic button at the first sign of trouble. Miss Kompany big time though and the defence needs some strengthing.Rumours tonight we may be in for EL'Shaarawy from Milan who has bags of pace..but I doubt that will happen at this late stage. Meanwhile looking forward to transfer deadline day and seeing whoelse tells yernited "NO THANKS".

    • September 1, 2013  9:10 pm by David Walker Reply

      Dan works for me - no problems - call me what you want as long as you keep on reading :-)

      Haven't heard anything about recruiting forwards, the emphasis appears to be on shoring up the backline. I think Manure WILL get Fellaini and possibly Baines. They appear to be after a playmaker from Bilbao ( name eludes me) but there are those who say that Manure don't have the big budget this summer and that it's a lot of smoke and mirrors. We should know in just under 26 hours. Cheers fella.

  12. September 2, 2013  3:48 pm by Kev Russell Reply

    Spot on with another comprehensive report David. The fluency will come with time & as long as the points keep mounting up we will be in the mix at the business end. Yes another central defender should be sorted out today but we've topped that defensive league table the last 2 seasons so we are doing something correct. Congratulations to you, Debi & Jack & i look forward to reading your next thorough instalment. #TopScriber

    • September 2, 2013  10:37 pm by DAVID WALKER Reply

      Cheers Kev - I remember when I first started doing the #MCFC writing you were my number one advocate on twitter - more than my bleedin' wife! Never forgotten.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.

Point taken - ARSENAL 1 MAN CITY 1

The disappointment that engulfed Manchester City’s 1-1 draw at Arsenal is a paradoxical measure of the club’s progress under Manuel Pellegrini. As the City players trooped off [...]

The team with no nine

Long before a heart condition threatened to curtail Sergio Aguero’s career, it was conventional wisdom that Manchester City required a world class replacement for their legendary [...]