*City’s 1st home Saturday 3pm match in 7 months, and it seemed like an age since I had been at the stadium, after 4 away games on the bounce.
*As always with results like this, the question will be asked whether City were great or Norwich were terrible and as is usually the case it’s a mixture of the two. Norwich were the worst side to tip up to the Etihad since United came to town (a few even argued that they were worse!). It’s always nice to see your team’s score spelled out in brackets.
*It’s not a good pointer for the future of the Norwich manager’s future though. His players did not seem up for the battle, and after heavy investment in the summer, their season has been a huge disappointment.
*So the story about Hart being dropped turned out to be true. City seem to have more leaks than a Welsh farm (I haven’t thought that through if I’m honest), as all newspapers led with the story immediately after City’s press conference on Sunday.
*The debate over whether Hart should have been dropped has been done to death now. There is no right or wrong answer of course, and the most tedious element of the week was the expert opinions from ex-players, which naturally contradicted each other. By the weekend, it was clear that dropping Hart would be the making of him, whilst at the same time it would destroy his confidence. I didn’t want to tempt fate by saying it, but this was always probably the best time to do it anyway, and the decision was never going to make much difference to the game itself, with City’s Romanian stopper having little to do bar the odd bowl-out, kick, one save and the odd plucked cross. One last thing I will say though is that I have seen many argue that for all his mistakes, Hart has saved City on many occasions too – but that is his job, and no team can afford a keeper who regularly makes mistakes. Perhaps Hart has been unlucky – all goalkeepers make mistakes, but his inevitably lead to goals.
*Even Sky couldn’t give Pantilimon man of the match for this game.
*Dwight Yorke may be the most inept commentator in the history of the game (some going that), but his rather bizarre comment that the score line somewhat flattered City had an small element of truth in it. It was one of those days where everything went City’s way, including for once a couple of flukey goals early on to destroy Norwich’s confidence, but it was also one of those days where it was clear from the start that City were going to win.
*With a game like this, there is little point in individual assessments. Silva and Aguero were sublime once more, and the rest of the team did their job efficiently. Martin Demichelis had a much easier second game compared to his debut.
*Match of the Day – as usual, a pitiful level of analysis followed the highlights, as expected. City’s biggest ever Premier League victory received scant praise, and Alan Shearer took the human race back 200 years with his insight. I only watch the programme for the football so it’s not that big a deal, but it’s worth noting that Gary Lineker was vociferous on Twitter last month defending the programme after a scathing review from the Guardian’s Barney Ronay. He pointed out the ever-healthy viewing figures, but he missed the point completely – the only terrestrial TV football highlights programme for the Premier League will always have good viewing figures, irrespective of the banal punditry that accompanies it.
*Still, the press thankfully had a “Dzeko slates ex-manager” story up their sleeve to help break the good mood. Paranoid, me?
*For all the talent in the squad, for Yaya’s wonderful free-kicks, for the dazzling play and sublime goals, why can we still not field a player who can take a good corner? It seems to have been this way for a generation.
*OMG! OMG! Wifi in the ground! Amazeballs. Well not quite – the Wifi was trialled for the first time, and worked some of the time for me, and some of the time it did not – which is still a huge improvement on what went before.
*The problem with knee-jerk reactions is that they can quickly look stupid. From last week’s widespread disappointment at the Pellegrini regime and the oft-quoted fact that we were only 2 points ahead of the widely-slated Moyes-led United team, this week City find themselves a single point behind Chelsea. And without the Hart blooper last week, we’d be two points ahead of them. City are still two points ahead of United, but they were always being written off far too early, and are sadly still going to be contenders.
*Jamie Carragher honoured us with his opinions on Pellegrini this weekend. Thankfully Carragher’s thoughts were in print, so I can report everything he said, even if it did require visiting the Daily Mail website. Carragher argued that City have gone backwards under our new manager. It’s this sort of knee-jerk reaction that will slowly drive me to insanity. Ten games in and with two so-far successful cup competitions in progress, it’s hard to see how we have gone backwards, apart from some recent issues in defence. By this time last season, City had already put in 5 poor performances, and under Mancini we conceded at least three goals on 8 occasions last season (ok seven, I can’t put the last day defeat to Norwich down to him), and 2 goals on 6 other occasions. Some people will pine for Mancini until the day they die. It continues to stagger me that our new manager is supposed to implement a successful blueprint on the club immediately, and that the inevitable comparisons with his predecessor are done using results alone when it was widely reported that Mancini was not sacked for poor results, and that his successor was brought in to prevent a rerun of such problems within the club. But hey, we lost to Cardiff, so that means it was a huge mistake sacking Mancini. <sigh>
9 years ago
Agree with almost all that, and it’s well written.
Disagree with the score flattering us because in truth we could have had 4 or 5 more with better finishing
9 years ago
“Going backwards” by Carragher…
How I love this splendid punditry.
Everyone who watched us last season know we had a huge problem with scoring goals now we have the best goal difference in league and we scored 6 goals more than any team. If we can sort out of defensive problems (while, to be honest, most of our dropped points so far were due to Hart mistakes/inability) there is nothing, I imagine, to complain about. How this is going backwards is beyond me.
9 years ago
Another good read, Howard. I wonder how much of Jamie Carragher’s column is his work, or is it a staff journalist, with the ex-footballer’s name attached for it to be credible?