Here is Bazza’s take on yesterdays game.
There is no doubt that once again most of the so-called experts of the beautiful game had this one down as a nice comfortable away win. It had the sort of comfort to it that one associates with the old sofa in the living room, a fat, longstanding girlfriend or the slippers that were bought for you by Auntie May four years ago and are now so threadbare and smelly that they should have been confined to the circular filing cabinet a while back but hey they feel so comfy. The compelling thing about the beautiful game however is its unpredictability. On paper the smart betting slips were all being filled out Man City to win with a prediction of Tevez to notch the first goal at odds of 3/1 (it was 4/7 for the win alone) because of the vast array of talent that they rolled into town with. Adding up the money paid for the players in the respective teams the difference was a staggering £123 million and it is perhaps not unreasonable to expect that the classier side would prevail.
I wasn’t able to travel to the game for a number of reasons so I had to console myself with my feet up in front of the telly. Don’t get me wrong I would much sooner have been at the game but sadly it was not possible. Mrs Bazza knew she wasn’t going to get any sense out of me or my youngest son for over two hours so sensibly made herself scarce from 3.30 onwards. I was gratified to see that we had set up 4-4-2 for the second week running with Jerome and Chucho up front. The team looks settled and balanced and went at their more illustrious opponents from the off. The commentary team, although impressed, doubted our ability to continue pressing for the full 90 minutes and with the pace the game was being played at so did I. They and I were to be proved wrong and this has to go down as one of our best Premier League performances to date. Blues were unlucky not to win this game, the penalty miss by McFadden aside. When a team containing Zabaletta, Tevez, Barry, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Santa Cruz, Lescott, Kompany, Bridge, Bellamy and the truly fabulous Shay Given turn up to play and depart relieved at having escaped with a point one has to conclude that Blues played well. Shay Given received the man of the match award and rightly so for three tremendous saves and I don’t include the penalty in this. The spot kick by McFadden was lamentable. It was hesitant, too close to the keeper and hit with not enough pace but it is questionable whether Blues would have gone on to win even if it had been converted. Goals change games and not necessarily in the way one expects sometimes. Ron from ‘Singing the Blues’ makes a valid comment in his report this morning that with half and hour plus to go at that point that the likelihood was that the dynamics of the game would have changed and Manchester City would undoubtedly have changed things earlier than they did and knowing us we would have started to defend deeper and deeper with the likely outcome of at least an equaliser. In a way I agree with Ron that the miss kept the game on an even keel as we were far more likely to have won this game with a late goal than one scored on 55 minutes.
Blues were the better side for most of the match and a point from this one is an excellent result. Not many teams are going to take anything from Manchester City home or away this season and they will be vying for a top four finish this year. Scott Dann and Roger Johnson were immense once again in the centre of defence and Ridgewell dealt admirably with the pacy Wright-Phillips at left back. Stephen Carr showed all his experience against Bellamy and it meant that the returning Maik Taylor in goal had relatively little to do. The midfield functioned well with the industrious Larsson the pick. Ferguson put in an excellent shift but marred his performance by stupidly getting a second yellow card for deliberate hand ball from a throw in the fourth minute of time added on. McFadden played beautifully despite the penalty miss and was rightly substituted not long after as he was on a yellow card and likely to get a second with overzealous attempts to make amends. Good management on the part of Big Eck I thought. Bowyer worked hard throughout. Chucho was unlucky not to score with a shot that deflected to be then finger tipped onto the post by Given in the first half. A goal is due from that young man and it will be soon readers; very soon, trust me but he should have scored not long after this when put through one on one with the keeper who saved brilliantly nevertheless with his feet. Jerome played much better than last week and was substituted near the end by the evergreen Kevin Phillips who so nearly snatched all three points with his first touch. A clean strike with his swivelling volley eight yards out would surely have netted.
This performance and all the ones before it apart from the game at Burnley indicate that Blues are not out of place in this league. The aim remains to simply survive and build from there. Two or three quality additions in January with the promised money will I believe cement that aim. Regardless, if we continue to perform like this Blues will be all right.