Today it truly is City, City, Top of the League and the pressure turns itself towards White Hart Lane tomorrow.
This was an amazing match and very much a game of two halves.
City are going through a phase of relinquishing early goals at times when the defence don’t look to have woken up.
Today’s offering was a poor attempted clearance from Kolo Toure rebounding of another City defender to present Milijas with his chance which he took at the second attempt after a brave save by Hart. So eleven minutes in and City trail 0-1.
The rest of the first half looked a bit scrappy, with Wolves perhaps shading it until fortune smiled on Kolo Toure, whose shot rebounded off the Wolves keeper, then a defender before creeping over the goal line to send us into the break at 1-1.
Mancini’s half time natter certainly had an effect with goals raining into the Wolves net over the next twenty minutes.
First on 49 minutes the maestro Tevez received the ball 25 yards from goal in the inside right position. He weaved his way around 4 Wolves defenders, before calmly slotting the ball between the keeper’s legs and into the net.
On 54 minutes debut boy Edin Dzeko, shielded the ball well before placing a quality pass into Yaya’s stride as he made a blistering run into the box. His thunderous shot was unstoppable.
Finally after 66 minutes Zabaleta’s right wing cross was right on the money as Tevez rose above the Wolves defence to head in off the bar. 4-1. Done and dusted..or was it?
Well no it wasn’t.
Two minutes later Wolves were delivered a rather soft-looking penalty, although I can see why it was given. Doyle got up from the scruffy defensive challenge and struck home from the spot.
Wolves were now stepping up their game. City were becoming ineffective out wide and were struggling to keep the ball. Chances were squandered by Tevez, Yaya and Johnson so Mancini was prompted to stick with what he thought he had and took off Tevez. His majestic second half performance received its due applause but this also removed City’s main goal threat from the contest.
So enter Milner, this bundle of energy, whose duracells seem to be on the wain since he rolled up at Eastlands. For me this was a nothing substitution. He did nothing, he squandered a golden chance and also gave the ball away an awful lot for someone introduced so late in the game. If Milner was able to replace the energy he showed in abundance at Villa Park, he would be able to take over where Tevez leaves off. But no he doesn’t. He holds width, I suppose but for me not a lot else.
So it was little surprise that, on 86 minutes, from another dead ball situation Zubar’s goal attempt may or may not have crossed the line, but it did enough to convince the nearside linesman to flag for the half way line.
This set up the kind of 9 minute ending that we thought we had started to leave behind, but on this occasion we did manage to see the time out and win 4-3.
What a second half and a full tribute to Wolves for not shutting up shop at 1-0 and loading the penalty box with bodies. Maybe that turned into their undoing, but they contributed to a very entertaining afternoon. I for one would much rather see Wolves than those football deserters Everton and Blackburn stay in the Premier League and full marks to Mick McCarthy for sending out his team to have a go.
Today was a bit of an off day for a number of players but Tevez was once again outstanding and it was pleasing to see Dzeko make his debut and be effective even though he didn’t trouble the scorers. He did tell us though that he was a creator as well as scorer and Yaya will testify to that. I like the look of this lad. I have followed him a bit on ESPN since he was first connected with City. He looks the ticket and will make a difference. He will probably be the trigger for Balotelli in the same way as he sparked up Tevez today.
Yaya is starting to look formidable in bounding forward to support the attack and we know he can ‘hold’ as well. The Aston Villa contingent don’t look in the same league and neither are in the league of David Silva. If he was fit he should have started maybe subjecting Barry to the bench.
Edin Dzeko is screaming out for passes from Silva. He will bang in goals galore if he gets on the end of some of those laser passes.
A shaky day at the back. Kompany was pretty good but Kolo looked out of sorts although his goal did restore some pride. Kolarov looked a bit exposed in defence but linked up well out wide. Johnson seems to be showing some kind of form and for me should stay in the team ahead of Milner or Barry.
We move on to the Cup Replay with Sven’s boys next..another crazy night at Eastlands.
For today we are top of the league and tomorrow’s match between Stretford and Spuds is a win, win, win match for us. If Spuds win we stay top of the league and a Stretford game in hand has got out of hand. A division of the points puts them back on top but dilutes Spuds challenge. A Streford win also puts them back top and severely dents Spuds aspirations at least for the time being and puts more space between them and us.
As far as City is concered this is the first time that in needing to win to achive something, in this case go top of the league, we have done so in recent times. We remember losing to Hamburg when we thought the UEFA Cup was there for the taking. We remember losing against Spurs when we could have attained Champions League football. We remember losing against Everton when we had the chance to be top of the league for Christmas.
Today we won. Today we are top of the league.
CITY IN THE FA CUP ON VMC :
Head for the VMC Match Day Experience Forum for the build up and beyond to Tuesday night’s important FA Cup replay showdown with Svennis and Leicester.
Vital Man City on:
Vital Man City on: