Date: 24th August 2008 at 7:21pm
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I’ll bet Thaksin Shinawatra and Garry Cook are breathing seriously huge sighs of much needed relief tonight after a torrid summer. Those two would do well to take note of today’s below par attendance and consider the embarrassment and head shaking their unhelpful actions and out of touch statements have triggered.

Then there’s the football.

Above all else credit where’s it’s overdue to Mark Hughes for sticking to his guns and pushing his squad on while the City ship veered from one iceberg to another.

Bluesy said: ‘I think it was important that we won today, not only with the result, but the manner of the performance as well.

“I thought there was real determination in our play and we weren’t to be denied.”

Our thoughts and concerns tonight will be for City’s Captain Fantastic Micah Richards who at the time of going to press is in Manchester Royal Infirmary undergoing tests having been knocked unconscious and treated by medical teams on the pitch for 8 minutes after a sickening clash of heads with Tal Ben Haim.

In Richards’ absence, his team mates did him proud. Persevering with breaking down a stubborn West Ham rearguard whose over reliance on Dean Ashton to take on City singlehandedly up front reminded us of Sven’s tactics last season.

It was an absolute delight for Blues worldwide to see MCFC Academy graduates Johnson, Ireland, Sturridge and Evans toying with a beleaguered West Ham defence towards the end of a pulsating encounter.

I have justifiably accused this young City side of naiivety this season but they needed to dig deep with Richards absent and West Ham’s 10 men getting behind the ball. Mentally too, having shipped 16 goals in their previous 4 Premier League outings, character was required in shedloads and in the end shone through.

The enormity of turning that shocking statistic around and blanking out the baying media closing in for the ‘City implosion’ in front of an anxious home support should not be underestimated, no matter who or what quality of opposition the side faced. Kelvin Etuhu and Richard’s injuries reminded us how wafer thin the squad is however, and it is hoped that will be addressed over the next 8 days.

Crucial to City’s win was the impressive 22 yr old Vincent Kompany who has the makings of the calm holding midfielder with pace and presence that we have not seen the like of since the late Marc Vivien-Foe. Furthermore, Didi Hamman’s calming influence steadied the rattled ship after Richards was stretchered off.

One player many of us have savaged in recent months has been Stephen ‘Daddy Dick’ Ireland. He was top drawer today and like the cool finishing Elano, looks to have beefed up, crucially getting in behind the Hammers at will.

City are beginning to look a stronger and fitter side with each game and this bodes well for the massive game in Denmark on thursday night. I predict that FC Midtjylland will be welcoming a very different Manchester City.

 

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