Today looked like a routine three points for Mancini and his charges as Blackburn Rovers came to town. A win for City would equal Newcastle`s thirteen win streak from the start of the season and would mean the Blues would have gone a full twelve months with an eighteen game win streak that was looking like it could go on and on.
The match predictably began with City on the offensive and even more predictably went on with City on the offensive. After Balotelli`s opening goal and his declaration under his shirt didn`t read why always me this time, it read ‘Raffaella ti amo`, in reference to Raffaella Fico the ex Italian Big Brother Contestant and Balotelli`s current squeeze.
For a team that had only failed to score three or more goals at home on two occasions, City duly increased their amazing goal difference and look to be heading for one hundred goals and close to one hundred points.
Blackburn looked a shadow of the team that used to come to City and kick us off the park. They hardly put in a shift and if not for goal keeper Paul Robinson, the result could have been even more one sided. Whilst Steve Kean stood stoicly on the side lines, his team capitulated as I have never seen a team capitulate.
City showed patience for the first thirty minutes, passing the ball around with class and ability and the break, when it came was quick and decisive. After a rare Blackburn attack, Toure picked out Silva with a wonderful pass. The diminutive magician played the ball on to the advancing Kolarov, whose cut back cross from the by line was put into the net by Balotelli.
Blackburn had few chances and held onto the ball for only eighteen per cent of the game. City were their usual profligate selves for the rest of the first half, but the second half was a different story. Robinson, saviour for much of the opening forty five minutes was villain in the second. A corner on the City right from Silva seemed destined for Robinsons arms until the keeper flapped at the cross and ended up pushing into the path of Aguero who duly finished.
City then played the patient football they had in the first half until ten minutes before the end when substitute Edin Dzeko was heading the ball into the back of the net after a beautiful left wing cross.
I have never seen a poorer side come to The Etihad and a sign of this was the fact that Blackburn’s first shot on target came in the ninety second minute. If City continue to play like this, with the magnificent Toure back in the team, the league looks like it won`t go to the wire and dare we dream that United will have to give City an honour procession at the Derby match in a few week`s time?
Joe Hart – 7
I can’t really give Joe more than a 7 today as he was a spectator for the entire match. When he did have something to do he was as ever brilliant but he just didn’t have much to do. Did make a couple of poor kicks.
Pablo Zabaleta – 8
Similar to Kolarov, he enjoyed excellent and prolonged forays into attack and was given little defensive work to do.
Vincent Kompany – 8
Imperious in the air, cool calm and collected on the ground. Quite possibly the best centre half in the premier league and one of the top five in the world.
Joleon Lescott – 8
Playing the best football of his career and then some.
Aleksander Kolarov – 8.5
Had no defensive duties to attend to and excelled in the freedom he was offered by Blackburn.
Nigel De Jong – 8
Out of favour for so long he looked like he had never missed a game and unusually played some of his football in the opposition half (with the rest of the Blackburn team).
Yaya Toure – 8.5
Played some amazing cross field passes that dropped perfectly on their target and was at the thick of everything.
David Silva – 7.5
Whilst still brilliant and seemingly having glue on his feet, Silva was out-shone today by a number of his team mates, which isn’t a bad thing as it just means they were brilliant too.
Adam Johnson – 7
Hmmm not sure what to make of Johno. He drives a nice car and has the footballer lifestyle, but he bottles it in tackles and can’t really cross with his right foot and never lasts 90 minutes.
Sergio Aguero – 8
Had a great game today, ran his heart out, scored a cracker and looked every inch a world class player. If Hulk has an £85m release clause, Aguero’s should be £170m.
Mario Balotelli – 8
Scored a great goal, kept his mouth shut when cropped and was generally a massive improvement on the early season Balotelli.
Pizzaro – 7.5
Played a couple of wonderful passes and looks quite good.
Edin Dzeko – 8
Scored with his second touch of the game and that’s what he is paid to do.
Too late to mark.
Bobby Manc – 8
Won again….nuff said.