Tuned in City on a different wavelength

The Merseybeat was dancing to a different tune as Manchester City continued to hit all the right notes and stay at Number One.

Top of the Pops - City are in pole position in the Premier League after their 2-0 win at Everton.

Top of the Pops – City are in pole position in the Premier League after their 2-0 win at Everton.

Merseyside’s finest –The Beatles – had a chart-topping single ‘Eight Days a Week’ in the 1960s, but it’d have to go some to better City’s last 192 hours – six points won, five goals scored, none conceded and one of the world’s finest defenders recruited.

Having demolished champions Chelsea 3-0, acquired Nicolas Otamendi for £30m+ from Valencia, City rounded off a memorable week with the 2-0 slaying of their age old nemesis at Goodison Park.

The accomplished, albeit hard-earned, win over Everton was City’s ninth on the spin in the Premier League, equalling the club’s finest ever winning streak dating back to 1912.

From Good to Great - Nicolas Otamendi is hoping he can help take City to new heights this season. Courtesy@MCFC

From Good to Great – Nicolas Otamendi is hoping he can help take City to new heights this season. Courtesy@MCFC

Swashbuckling City will be going for a record-breaking 10/10 wins when they take on PL newcomers Watford this Saturday, but they had to wait 60 minutes before finally breaking through Everton’s dogged resistance.

Cometh the hour, cometh the man and ‘AK47’ Aleksander Kolarov fired home City’s opener from an acute angle, beating Tourettes-afflicted Tim Howard at the keeper’s near post.

City 1-2 - Kolarov and Nasri punished Everton with their clinical finishing. Courtesy@MCFC

City 1-2 – Kolarov and Nasri punished Everton with their clinical finishing. Courtesy@MCFC

The air may well have turned blue as the Serbian sniper hit the target, but it was no more than City’s play deserved.

In a revitalised Kolarov and an effervescent Raheem Sterling, City have their left wing faction functioning even better than Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour leadership campaign.

An equally potent combination of Samir Nasri and Yaya Toure linked in a neat one-two passing movement, concluding with the Frenchman’s deft touch over the advancing Howard in the 88th minute.

Sublime - Yaya's perfectly weighted pass set up Nasri's goal and clinched City's win.

Sublime – Yaya’s perfectly weighted pass set up Nasri’s goal and clinched City’s win.

Game over and the Everton bogeymen held at bay for a third successive season at Goodison, following last season’s 1-1 draw and the 3-2 win in the run-in to City’s 2013/14 title success.

These are fruitful times, but it hasn’t always been that way when trekking down the East Lancs Road. Prior to 2014, City had won just one of the previous dozen Premier League visits dating back to the onset of the new millennium.

It could even have all gone pear-shaped for Manuel Pellegrini’s men on Sunday, had Everton danger man Romelu Lukaku had a slice of luck.

Belgian Battle - Kompany had to work hard to keep his countryman Lukaku at bay.

Belgian Battle – Kompany had to work hard to keep his countryman Lukaku at bay.

The big Belgian striker was fractionally offside when he put the ball in City’s net in the first half, before later shaving the crossbar with a free kick that had Joe Hart beaten.

All of City’s opponents have had goals disallowed for offside this season, as an unchanged and well-drilled defence of Sagna, Kolarov, Kompany and Mangala has gelled.

Three clean sheets is a great return, especially when contrasted with Chelsea’s much lauded backline who have leaked 7 goals in 3 games.

Show of strength - Mangala faired much better against Lukaku on his second visit to Goodison Park.

Show of strength – Mangala faired much better against Lukaku on his second visit to Goodison Park.

With Otamendi waiting in the wings and Zabaleta still to recover from injury, it provides a dilemma, albeit a welcome one, for the City boss.

Player rotation is an integral part of modern football. We’re always told that it’s a ‘squad as opposed to just a team’ game – but why tinker with a settled back four that functions well?

Injuries, suspensions, form, fatigue and tactical requirements will inevitably be factors of change, but ‘keeping players happy’ should be way down the list of considerations.

The Edge - MP ensured Roberto Martinez has still to notch up a league victory over City.

The Edge – MP ensured Roberto Martinez has still to notch up a league victory over City.

Pellegrini has stated his team will be chosen on form and not reputations – long may that continue.

The sudden glut of centre back talent looks like seeing Jason Denayer going on loan to Galatasaray for a season, but the young Belgian international, is surely destined to return. He’s one for the future.

An even younger prospect, the prodigious 17-year old Cameron Humphreys, who saw First XI action on City’s pre-season tour in Australia has also just signed a new deal taking him through to 2018. All good stuff!

Look to the future - 16-year old Cameron Humphreys signed a 3-year deal at City this week. Courtesy@MCFC

Look to the future – 17-year old Cameron Humphreys signed a 3-year deal at City this week. Courtesy@MCFC

Rumoured interest in Martin Demichelis from River Plate in his native Argentina, will hopefully amount to nothing and ‘Demi’ will remain at the Etihad for a third and probably, final year.

‘Defences win you championships’ is a timeless football adage. Equally, it doesn’t hurt to have the most potent attack in the PL.

The highest scorers for the past two seasons, led by the best forward in the league, are about to get even better with the much vaunted, long awaited, but hitherto unseen, arrival of Kevin De Bruyne from Wolfsburg.

Man of the Match - El Mago was once again conducting City's attacking orchestra. Courtesy@MCFC

Man of the Match – El Mago was once again conducting City’s attacking orchestra. Courtesy@MCFC

The Bundesliga Player of The Year will surely, finally, sign for City this week after a painfully, protracted £50m pursuit.

It’s a longer running saga than Coronation Street and, as the days, weeks and months have gone by it’s become almost as boring – but that’ll be one adjective wholly non-applicable to Pellegrini’s City this season.

Under the cool Chilean, City have always strived for an expansive style of play but a brittle, ever rotating defence, a substantial injury list and a distinct lack of focus, proved their undoing last season.

Ministry of Defence - Kompany & Mangala are focused and much improved and both hungry and angry to rectify last season's shortcomings.

Ministry of Defence – Kompany & Mangala are focused and much improved and both hungry and angry to rectify last season’s shortcomings.

Pellegrini is on record saying his players are ‘hungry’ to reclaim the title and ‘angry’ at their collective shortcomings of 2014/15. As things stand, City are imperious.

Bit of a handful - Raheem Sterling is settling in well at City and troubling opposition defences. Courtesy @MCFC

Bit of a handful – Raheem Sterling is settling in well at City and troubling opposition defences. Courtesy @MCFC

The pundits and the media are extremely hard-pressed to find anything negative about the Sky Blues – even the ‘Liverpool Mafia’ have been silenced as Raheem Sterling’s playing currency rises.

Likewise, the Blue half of Merseyside has never been too keen on City either, apart from when wanting to ensure Manchester’s finest denied Brenda’s Bunch the PL crown in 2014.

Many bear a grudge that Sheikh Mansour chose City over their club when seeking a showcase for Abu Dhabi, and the consequent billion pound investment. Even without the money, Everton are always a stern test for City.

Concerned - Sergio Aguero tweeted his thoughts after an eventful afternoon at Everton.

Concerned – Sergio Aguero tweeted his thoughts after an eventful afternoon at Everton.

Hopefully, even the most hardened or bitter of Toffees would appreciate the humanity of Sergio Aguero and the subsequent show of warmth and sympathy from the travelling support towards an Evertonian in distress.

Sergio halted the taking of a corner kick, as he and Everton’s Seamus Coleman alerted pitch side medics to the plight of the fan, believed to have suffered an epileptic seizure.

The City fans applauded and called out messages of support when the man was stretchered past them en-route to hospital.

Good guys - Aguero and Coleman battled on the pitch but came together to alert medical staff. Courtesy@MCFC

Good guys – Aguero and Coleman battled on the pitch but came together to alert medical staff. Courtesy@MCFC

It prompted the man’s son to thank all concerned, via national radio, earlier today.

He said: “I wanted to thank not only the Everton fans and Aguero, but the City fans as well.

“When he (his father) got round to the away stand, they all stood up and clapped him off. The reception we got from them was amazing and really appreciated.”

It just serves to show that the tongue-in-cheek quote attributed to Liverpool’s legendary Bill Shankly, doesn’t pass muster.

Top man and World Class Striker - Aguerrroooo. Courtesy@MCFC

Top man and World Class Striker – Aguerrroooo. Courtesy@MCFC

“Some people believe football is a matter of life and death. I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.”

On present form it’ll be City’s opponents who need ‘Help’ as Pellegrini’s men move through the gears with a ‘Ticket to Ride’ all the way to a third Premier League crown in five attempts.

 

#TrustOurMP

 

By David Walker

Dedicated to the memory of Worthing United FC’s Jacob Schilt & Matthew Grimstone and all victims of the Shoreham Airshow Disaster. Our deepest condolences and sympathies to the family & friends of everyone affected by the tragedy.

www.readbutneverred.com @ReadButNeverRed @djwskyblu

 

20 Comments

  1. August 24, 2015  9:40 pm by Stephen Reply

    Missed start of game as son and I had flew into London to watch the oval test. Made it to a sports bar after first 20 mins and have to agree boy we were good. The link up play is frightening but it is the back 4 that has been the biggest difference. Great work as a unit so clearly loads of work gone in. Early days and I have to contain myself (lest I scud the team) but am so excited about how we are playing as a team. If KDB does sign tomorrow as I understand he will the sky might be the limit for this squad. Loved Nasri comments that such a good squad you have to make an impact when you get minutes. If all keep that attitude and commitment this might be one for the ages.

    • August 24, 2015  10:43 pm by David Walker Reply

      Can't fault it so far but we really do need to remember it's 3 down and 35 to go, sadly not the other way around. Mate of mine said to me today 'You look at the fixtures and you just can't see where we might lose one...' I remember a lot of City fans feeling the same way in the approach to Stoke City at home last August! That said there's a bit of steel about us, a renewed focus and intensity and with Sterling - KDB at long last (?) - El Mago, Sergio a rejuvenated Yaya etc we can smash the PL. Still fear we'll be short in the latter knockout stages of the Champions League.

      I wouldn't say no to a QF with FC Brugge ;-)

  2. August 24, 2015  9:57 pm by Dave Hughes Reply

    Excellent article as ever Dave

    • August 24, 2015  10:13 pm by David Walker Reply

      Thanks Dave - much appreciated. You keep on that road to health and strength mate - Manuel's going to need some help shifting all that silverware!

  3. August 24, 2015  10:02 pm by Glenn Kavanagh Reply

    Hi David, I haven't been on in a while.... very good job you do as well; your right about us getting the rub of the green & Barry's header too, will that midfield work in Europe at the business end? I'm not sure; great win just the same we played with patience & composure - I'm pleased for mangala that he's playing so well, I like the chap's honesty - the criticism he received was way ott....same with navas OK he's not the best of finishers but I think he's playing very well & is a valuable team member who deserves some respect.... far to many "haters" out there for me' with the media your either a clown or a genius, the m.e.n never have a decent word to say about navas - anyway I always had great time for a.k I love watching that swashbuckling swagger of his....for me alex is the business, I would like us to get a "solid" left back, I'd let Gael leave if I'm being honest, samir looks way over weight, am I seeing things here?? lovely skill, touch..etc etc but slows our game down to much for me. so samir gets the big boot from me (how many holidays does he take every summer??? unprofessional) nice to see raheem settle in so well' lucky bugger playing with Mr Silva & co everyday.

    • August 24, 2015  10:27 pm by David Walker Reply

      Nice to have you back GK. Yes, AK47 - the last of the Balkan Boys - is like a man re-born. Long may it continue. I'm with you on Navas but KDB will be an upgrade on the little fella, albeit Jesus still has his part to play. I could see Clichy, Nasri and maybe Fernando being shipped out before deadline if we have KDB and a second LB lined up. Delph, Dino & even Demi could play the DM role. Such a shame we're not getting Pogba - blimey we'd be in a different orbit had that deal come in as well.

      Otamendi, VK and Mangala suddenly sees us with a talented corps of CBs provided they're on form and focused. Denayer looks to be off for another loan spell but surely he comes back when Demi moves on.

      It's all very promising domestically, but I still don't think we have enough to get beyond the QF of the Champions League. That said, let's see if that draw can be a bit kinder this time around on Thursday.

  4. August 24, 2015  10:05 pm by GeorgeInIsrael Reply

    Excellent read, as usual. Obviously, MP has spent the summer fixing a hole in the defence. Let's hope that with a little help from their friends, the long and winding road that is the Premiership will lead City to further success and that moaning maureen ends up as either Nowhere Man or The Fool on the Hill.

    • August 24, 2015  10:18 pm by David Walker Reply

      If City are to win the title we've just got to Let It Be. Thanks George. I'm going to have to ditch this music thing after Madness and now The Beatles but, if City keep winning, the Etihad keeps rocking and the City away support keep on belting out the songs, I'll continue with the Good Vibrations. Life's a beach when City are on top - we've just gotta Roll With It ;-)

  5. August 24, 2015  10:46 pm by Stephen Reply

    On the Navas thing. He cost £14m. Nothing is todays terms. Always a squad player. His defensive work is outstanding. I know his crossing is frustrating at times but gets way too much stick. As for a LB with kolarov's outstanding form I think we stick with our 2 and hope the year on loan helps angelino kick on and make squad next yr. I think thats where the minds are of tiki etc but maybe i am being too optimistic about the kids chances

    • August 24, 2015  11:01 pm by David Walker Reply

      The question of when to promote the younger players from the CFA is one which gets many a City fan vexed. On the face of it we could have some very good youngsters coming through, but there's almost a lemming-like fervour to throw as many as the kids in as quickly as possible.

      Jason Denayer could be a top class CB for many moons to come. He's 20 years old having played one senior season at Celtic. What's the rush? He's on a 5-year deal, what's the problem if he's 22 or 23 before he starts making regular first team appearances at City? Iheanacho will have a role to play this season. Doubtless the likes of Barker, Ambrose, Garcia, Angelino, Humphreys etc could be stars of the future - saving City a fortune in fees and proving the worth of the CFA.

      The immediate dilemma lies with Rony Lopes with just a year left on his deal. Will he be good enough for City in a couple of years, will he slip away or will we at least get a few million for him? Who knows?

      One things for sure, the CFA will never be a White Elephant - HHSM & Khaldoon or savvy businessmen - they don't preside over £200m+ of window dressing! Like the fans they want to see a return on their investment for many years to come.

  6. August 24, 2015  10:54 pm by Guvnor Reply

    Great report, especially about Humphreys. Thanks for the updates whilst I was away Mr Walker.

    • August 24, 2015  11:02 pm by David Walker Reply

      Always a pleasure and never a chore.

  7. August 24, 2015  11:14 pm by Pete lynch Reply

    Thanks David, brilliant piece. Silva esque!

    • August 25, 2015  7:29 am by David Walker Reply

      It maybe good...but not THAT good! El Mago wins everytime ;-) Gracias.

  8. August 25, 2015  11:23 am by Richard Cooper Reply

    That was definately our hardest test so far and until Sterling's super pass to Aleks I thought it looked like a draw, but there is a determination and 'steel' about our game this season that augers very well .
    Very enjoyable game with both teams 'going for it'.
    Glad to see Navas getting a mention - he does make wrong decisions at times and should have scored but in the first half especially he caused the toffees more than a few problems
    It hardly seems worth mentioning Merlin again because again another super show.
    Like most blues we would like to see some of the youngsters make a breakthrough at some point this season but as you said our hierarchy don't make huge investment without reward - patience and it will happen
    With arms in the air, jumping up and down and the somewhat annoying (for short a---d folk like us) the standing on seats we had to watch bits on the big screen but that was not as annoying as having Mrs C singing "Ooh Aah Mangala' going home on the M62 !.

    • August 25, 2015  6:17 pm by David Walker Reply

      We await Mrs C's audition on the odious X-Factor upon it's return and an 'Ooh Aah Mangala' 12 inch version, picture disc! Funny, I always had you down as a six footer! This damn interweb stuff can be very misleading ;-) As ever, many thanks for your comments.

  9. August 25, 2015  12:17 pm by Philip Entwistle Reply

    On flying visit to Geneva for the week-end I could only catch snippets of the game via intermittent Internet access in a rather plush apartment in Divonne le Bain. The assembled throng at the party were made up off Servette and Olympic Marseille supporters but all 'Citizens' by default as I was constantly updating the match to them. Made even better when Samir got the second as they all cheered a favourite son playing for the league Champions elect! They only hope we draw them in the Champions League so they can see City and Samir in the flesh.
    KTF, this is going to be diamond of a season.

    • August 25, 2015  6:14 pm by David Walker Reply

      Merci Msr Entwistle - Magnifique MCFC - tres bien.

  10. August 25, 2015  7:30 pm by Doug Henshaw Reply

    Excellent read again Mr Super Scribe. We are looking very good at the moment I know there's a long way to go yet but so far so good. The ultimate compliment came from a utd fan & I quote "bloody glad we aren't playing you lot yet " haha brilliant.

    • August 25, 2015  9:07 pm by David Walker Reply

      Let's hope the 'yet' element remains true all season long and nobody wants to play us because we're beating the lot. Of course, we won't, but as long as we have one more point or even just a better goal difference than the team in 2nd place come next May, that'll do nicely. Thanks again Doug.

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