Shock, chic & awe as City win away – WBA 2 MAN CITY 3

A Manchester City First XI stacked full of international imports finally – finally – began to ‘export’ Etihad Stadium style football to other regions of England.

The only slight drawback was that there was not an Englishman in sight as City racked up a three goal advantage inside 75 minutes, before inflicting a thoroughly deserved 3-2 defeat on West Bromwich Albion.

Black Country Blues - City smash the Baggies at The Hawthorns Courtesy @MCFC

Black Country Blues – City smash the Baggies at The Hawthorns Courtesy @MCFC

James Milner and Jack Rodwell did appear as substitutes as the previously travel-sick sky blues took the battle to their Black Country hosts and blew them away.

This was what City fans – especially those who journey to away games – had been waiting all season to see, as City’s fluent flowing football simply washed West Brom resistance aside.

The narrow score line actually flatters the Baggies and will also serve as a warning to Premier League novice Manuel Pellegrini, that matches in the English top flight are not won with 15 minutes, plus added extras, to play.

A fluke own goal off Costel Pantilimon and a well executed finish by Victor Anichebe in the final five minutes, may give the impression Albion could have edged a point – but that would be wrong.

Unlucky Pants - Costel was the victim of an own goal deflection Courtesy @MCFC

Unlucky Pants – Costel was the victim of an own goal deflection Courtesy @MCFC

There was no boing boing to these Baggies, City’s meticulous and highly skilled approach had neutered any hint of bounce or spring. 3-0 could easily have been 6-0 but for some near misses and undue profligacy in front of Boas Myhill’s goal.

Even surgical Sergio Aguero missed a couple of chances. Of considerably more importance was his 17th goal of the campaign to set City on their winning ways.

A five-man passing movement involving Yaya Toure, Navas, Dzeko, Zabaleta and Aguero, saw the prolific striker crash home the opener in the 9th minute.

Edin Dzeko’s deft pass into the powerful overlapping run of Pablo Zabaleta meant Zaba could pull the ball back for Sergio to strike from 10 yards out.

Sergio salute - Sweet 17th goal Courtesy @MCFC

Sergio salute – Sweet 17th goal Courtesy @MCFC

Quarter-of-an-hour later, and a move of even greater elegance, saw Yaya steering the ball past Myhill following approach play by Aguero and Navas, before Kolarov fired a precision cross along the turf for Yaya to double City’s advantage.

Surely this couldn’t be happening. This was the team whose ‘disastrous’ record away from the Etihad would surely cost them dear – after all Mark ‘Lawro’ Lawrenson had said it, Martin Tyler had said it, Sky Sports News keep on saying it – City are rubbish and can’t win away from home!

What a cacophony of cretins!

Paying the penalty - Yaya punished the Baggies Courtesy @MCFC

Paying the penalty – Yaya punished the Baggies Courtesy @MCFC

Albion pressed and tried to take the initiative but City’s defence had a different look to it, one that suggested it would not be easily breached – cue Vincent Kompany back to his best tough tackling commanding self, instilling confidence via his leadership.

Yaya secured what had looked like a handsome goal advantage caressing win, with a 74th minute penalty. The Ivorian dispatched his kick with great aplomb because Aguero had been withdrawn and replaced with the combative Milner, five minutes earlier.

Nasri and Yaya were likewise ‘preserved’ to ensure their fitness against the Saints at St Mary’s in three day’s time, but Garcia and Rodwell were not adequate replacements.

Had West Brom had another five minutes to play with they could have secured a totally undeserved draw, such was the enormity of Pellegrini’s naivety or stupidity.

Beware of early substitutions - Manuel was nearly caught out as WBA scored tow late goals Courtesy @MCFC

Beware of early substitutions – Manuel was nearly caught out as WBA scored two late goals Courtesy @MCFC

I am a big supporter of City’s new manager but he would do well to win the match being played rather than move too swiftly to winning a match still to be played, and consequently drawing or losing a match seemingly won.

His non-selection of Negredo, whilst being respected was equally perplexing, if The Beast was fit and raring to go. It genuinely pains me to say Dzeko – ‘woe is me ‘Dzeko – is becoming an easy target for the average slightly agitated City fan.

Despite Pellegrini’s words of encouragement for the big Bosnian, Dzeko plays with all the conviction of a shrivelled Satsuma. His get up and go has long since got up and gone. It’s a real puzzler but his link play is poor, his general touch poorer still and his ball retention negligible.

Disappointing Dzeko - Edin's contribution was limited as City won at WBA Courtesy @MCFC

Disappointing Dzeko – Edin’s contribution was limited as City won at WBA Courtesy @MCFC

As things stand, Dzeko is more a liability than an asset.

The polar opposite is true of the unsung water carrier of the team. Fernandinho quietly goes about his business of tackling, winning possession and setting up opportunities for those around him.

He is now adjusting to the English game and he seems to improve with every passing week. The Brazilian will surely break into his country’s World Cup squad if he maintains and improves his performance levels, especially if City begin stockpiling silverware in 2014.

Once again City dominated possession but, unlike failed sorties earlier in the season, they backed it up with a goal winning advantage.

Welcome back Captain - Kompany commanded his backline Courtesy @MCFC

Welcome back Captain – Kompany commanded his backline Courtesy @MCFC

With 40 goals now scored in 14 games, City’s attack is by far the most potent in the league. The defence – that much maligned defence – was, just a few weeks ago 12th best – or worst – in the division.

What may now surprise, not quite delight, is that the often re-arranged back four, plus a change of goalkeeper, is now the 3rd best backline in the PL.

If Pellegrini wants his best right foot-left foot centre back combination he knows he must wait for the return of Matija Nastasic. That said, Martin Demichelis and his right foot, put in a more than adequate shift, apart from losing Anichebe when Albion came close at the conclusion.

Defence Minister - Demichelis played well alongside Vinny Courtesy @:MCFC

Defence Minister – Demichelis played well alongside Vinny Courtesy @:MCFC

It’s now imperative that City go to the Saints and exorcise the demons of that horror-fest of last February, when they slumped, inexplicably, to a shock 3-1 defeat in what was undeniably the worst showing of the season.

Manure’s defeat to Everton made a nightmare journey to Albion that little bit sweeter, but it’s beginning to look as if City’s main rivals reside in London – both North and West – and a considerable distance from Trafford Borough


By David Walker




  1. December 5, 2013  9:24 am by Eileen Fullen Reply

    Although slightly nervous finish the boys did well. The exception of course of Dzeko can't understand he wants to play and then puts in a poor display. So enjoy your summaries gives a novice like me a fuller insight to the game.

  2. December 5, 2013  10:49 am by Alan Baxter Reply

    Apart from what now appears (when we play away) to be the obligatory moment of "keystone cop" defending, I thought we were sublime at times last night.
    No mugs at home West Brom and with chances missed taken into consideration it really was a good hiding.
    Southampton appear to be wobbling at the moment, I think MP will go for a full strength team and hopefully we can push them over on Saturday. I'm not overly concerned about the Bayern result next week, MP seems to be pragmatic enough to rest our key players against them rather than SFC with the Arsenal game on the horizon.
    Excellent synopsis again and well done to you and all who travelled through the Fred Carno designed road network they call a motorway system in the midlands.

    • December 5, 2013  11:35 am by David Walker Reply

      Gratitude and agreement to all and on all points raised.

  3. December 5, 2013  10:51 am by carol Reply

    thanks for that Davy, couldn't even get to a radio last night (inconsiderate mother having her birthday on a match day pfffft) sounds like we done good, even if we did fall asleep for five minutes at the end there

    • December 5, 2013  11:36 am by David Walker Reply

      Brilliant synopsis...and Happy Birthday 'Mum' xxx

  4. December 5, 2013  11:03 am by Andy Devereux Reply

    Top stuff David, apart from the last few minutes I like you thought we were well worth our 3pts.Spot on about Fernandinho better and better with every game.Same again now against Southampton.

  5. December 5, 2013  11:05 am by Graham Ward Reply

    I, like you, sometimes feel uneasy when I see Dzeko in the starting XI, but, to be fair to him, he did some good work in the first half, along with the rest of his team mates - two lovely goals the evidence of that.
    It's just a pity that those standards couldn't be maintained for the rest of the game, and we could have paid a heavy price!
    Mind you, this was very encouraging. Southampton, more of the first half effort, please.

    • December 5, 2013  11:37 am by David Walker Reply

      If we win at Saints I think we can win every game this month and be top by NYD #KISSOFDEATH

  6. December 5, 2013  11:44 am by Guvnor Reply

    I am a big supporter of City’s new manager (your quote)
    Stu Brennan MUEN reporter thinks his press conferences are like watching paint dry.(his video said this)
    I think, MP tinkers too much with the substitutions. Don't touch it if it is not broken, 0-3 - 2-3.
    Your quote, Brennans quote, My quote, all makes for a nervous season.
    But one things for sure, your blogs are spot on, keep up the good work.

    • December 5, 2013  2:55 pm by David Walker Reply

      Cheque's in the post GUVNOR

  7. December 5, 2013  3:25 pm by Kev Russell Reply

    Another 5* report from our David. Spot on & we should have another couple of goals in favour of our goal difference. Could be telling come May. Yes, could be a battle with the cockneys this season & the head to head games will add even more significance. I hope our coaches have worked out how to stop Southampton. Villa showed the way last night & we NEED to take note. City normally get what they deserve & we did deserve that victory. This could shape how we play away for the rest of this season. Happy days. #TopScriber

    • December 5, 2013  5:31 pm by David Walker Reply

      Cheers as ever Kev - I was fortunate to be at WBA last night & I'm heading for St Mary's on Saturday with Debi. We really ought to be able to get 3pts at Southampton but you never know...

  8. December 5, 2013  6:46 pm by DOUGLAS HENSHAW Reply

    Another top notch report from the man on the spot.As you say Dave the scoreline flattered WBA it was never a 2-3 apart from last 10 mins the game was city's. I thought we looked good last night & hopefully we are sorting out the away form. I back MP but I agree he still on a learning curve I dont think he need to make any substitutions I understand why he did . but he got it wrong. As for Dezko I have championed this guy for a long time but he just dosent look interested & as you say his touch is awful sad to say it but it should be thank you &goodbye.

    • December 8, 2013  4:22 pm by Juliette Smith Reply

      I find it worrying that MP has stated that he will not sell Dzeko in January. I would much rather see Guidetti getting a try out and also give Jovetic a chance when he gets back from injury. I've watched too many cringe making performances from Dzeko. If we truly aspiring towards being CL challengers we can't afford to carry people of Dzeko's calibre. If he wants to play every week he should accept he isn't one of Europe's best strikers and transfer to maybe Serie A or back to one of the lesser German clubs. You'd never see the likes of Bayern, Real or Barcelon field a leaden footed donkey like him.

      • December 8, 2013  8:12 pm by David Walker Reply

        Possibly and surprisingly, Dortmund might have room at their donkey enclosure. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  9. December 5, 2013  8:11 pm by lghualways Reply

    Great read as always. Living how fernandino is growing in PL. He and yaya are a brick wall allowing other 4 to run havoc along with the rampaging full backs. More adventure to the play last night and I put that down to Vinnie as team feels more confident that the back is sorted. If we can win at Southampton the expectancy scale will blow up and those media cretins will fawn again.

  10. December 9, 2013  9:43 am by Mole Rocks Reply

    Two excellent goals for City and some excellent play.

    The two late goals flattered WBA, however shows how you have to stay focused for 93 minutes! :-)

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