In my preview I did earlier, I said the score would be 2-1 to Man City. For a while I was right, however Eck is still feeding them their weetabix because once AGAIN we have come from behind to gain a valuable point.
I had a long conversation earlier with Bazza and Will, (he of View From the South fame!). Will said he wanted us to play 442 and not 4411 or 451. I said the problem is down to Hleb. His best position is DEFINITELY in the “hole.” Hence if he is playing, we have to play either of the latter two formations. Interestingly he didn’t play tonight, and we played 442.
In yer face Will! (Only joking mate!)
Up front were Zigic and Jerome. I know Zigic has had his critics, but I think he has begun to settle and we are beginning to benefit from his presence. I thought that he did well again tonight. His strength got him ahead of the Man City defence to touch in a Bentley free kick from the left.
Either side of that Man City scored from Tevez and a lovely free kick from Kolarov. The first half also had a long stoppage when De-Jong and Richards had a really nasty clash of heads when challenging to clear Blues pressure. De-Jong seemed to come out of it ok, but Richards lay on the floor for a long time with very little movement. There was a tweet later which indicated that he was on the way to hospital but was conscious. Everyone at Joys and Sorrows wishes him a speedy recovery. Viera came on for Richards and he was to play his part in the game later.
We started the 2nd half well, and actually the game really came to life. It was end to end with both sides playing some lovely football. We were creating the better chances, and Jerome was unfortunate not to score, when his header was cleared off the line.
On 70 minutes, Alex bought Kevin Phillips on for Jerome. Bearing in mind KP is 37, he seemed to frighten Viera every time he was in the box and just 5 or so minutes later he went into the box and while he tried to control the ball Viera appeared to tumble him over. It was a very soft penalty, and to be fair to Man City could well be harsh. However as a balance, that was our 1st in the season on the Premier League, over half way through. So we were due one. Craig Gardner dispatched it past Hart to make it 2-2.
After that it appeared there would only be one winner as we pressed. Unfortunately we couldn’t go one better, and actually could have lost when Kolarov had a similar free kick right at the end to the one he scored from in the 1st half. Thankfully it went just wide, and the point was secured.
Once again a very good performance, and once again not giving up. Good performances from Bentley, Zigic, Jiranek and Phillips when he came on. I also thought Jean Beausejour did better when he came on.
We have some important games coming up, including this weekend v West Ham. We have games in hand over the teams all around us though.
Well played Blues.
Over to you Bazza for the View from the South!