A disappointed and fatigued blues side ensured the Champions League is firmly in our grasp as a push for fourth spot continues.
Goals from Adebayor and Kompany helped a mediocre City side defeat a luckless but battling Portsmouth.
With the misfortune of a midweek derby defeat behind us, the attention turned to the Premier League and fourth spot where the challengers Portsmouth`s money woes continued.
A bedraggled home side started slowly as Portsmouth began as the dominant force. The blistering pace of Utaka was causing the blues defence problems. Pompey’s self realisation of playing every game as if it’s their last and playing for their future was creating greater determination and urgency in their play.
A late afternoon saunter across the Eastlands turn was frustrating for the home fans whose patience was wearing thin. The frustration was quickly converted into serious concern and anxiety as the bewildered away side created two excellent opportunities falling to Utaka and Van der Borre. The former wasted a fantastic open-net opportunity as Given had previously flapped at a deep cross. The striker, off balance, swung hopelessly over the bar. Van der Borre was next as his rebounded shot struck the underside of Manchester City`s cross bar. Ireland and Kompany were late arriving but both were at hand to finally clear danger.
An added sign of expectation and belief for the away side proved there downfall. After previously providing strong determination and a pressing nature, Pompey were caught with a delightful chipped pass from Ireland. The through-ball allowed Adebayor to end his disappointing month, after an exquisite first touch the Togolese striker volleyed superbly into the roof of David James`s net.
After failing to create any serious openings before this goal it was only expected that two would come along promptly. A Martin Petrov corner was met with a powerful header and a well timed jump from Kompany. Recent superb performances end in a well deserved goal.
Expectation levels grew as a repeat of last years heavy pounded looked to emerge. However, more lack-lustre passages of play and weak entertainment levels only created more motivation for Pompey.
The unimpressive nature of the home performance could be expected and forgiven due to the mental exhaustion faced recently. City again failed to leave 3rd gear and the best performers were unsurprisingly in defensive positions. Rearguard actions proved just enough as several away attacks were thwarted by strong tackling and brilliant awareness. This continued even when Kompany was replaced by the talented compatriot Boyata.
A laborious encounter that was truly endured rather than watched with great pleasure continued to muster up little. Portsmouth were the side who obviously had a greater incentive to attack and a stronger frontline could have caused greater problems.
Both sides had a fantastic opportunity each before the final whistle and Webber would have been cursing his luck as he swung majestically at a loose ball only to be left in a heap, completely missing it.
Carlos Tevez, one performer who played with enthusiasm and determination, was unlucky to add an undeserved third when Bellamy created havoc down the Pompey right. After neat skill and technical ability the goal was at his mercy, his right footed shot unfortunately struck the foot of the post.
A Premier League win would have been greatly appreciated as our stranglehold across the major forces in the League grew tighter. The manner of the performance wasn’t pleasing but it was a much needed and in the end deserved win.
Given – 7
With little to do in terms of saves Shay performed his usual high performance
Zabaleta – 6
Played well before injured.
Toure – 9
Back from the ACN Toure put in a defensive masterclass. Strong challenges and great composure helped prevent any goals.
Kompany – 8
Another extremely strong performance before injured. Added to his defensive excellence with a goal.
Garrido – 6
Nothing spectacular nothing pathetic. Some good some bad. A curate’s egg.
De Jong – 8
Performed very well. Good strong tackled and good distribution. Level-headed and very influential.
Barry – 6
Performed to a standard probably below his best. Needs to be more influential to be involved in South Africa.
Petrov – 5
Poor. Captain obvious never created any real openings and the Pompey defence had no problems denying his obvious track back runs as he operated down the right. Slowed the ball down.
Ireland – 5
Forgot he was playing. Deserved his chance but didn’t take it. Performs much better in the advanced role.
Adebayor – 6
Offered very little in terms of a target man. Needs to operate more centrally rather than drifting out wide. Scored a well taken goal.
Tevez – 7
Great determination and effort and was unfortunate not to score at the end. Probably fatigued and needs a deserved rest.
Onuoha – 7
Good defensive performance. Poor crossing but good tackling.
Boyata – 7
Stepped in well for Kompany. Another promising academy graduate.
Offered more in 5 minutes than Petrov did in 85. Two good attacking breaks. Needed the rest.