Eastlands hosted our first league defeat of the season, which ended our 100% start. The lunchtime Kick Off was settled in the second half, with the goal coming from City captain Carlos Tevez on the hour mark.
JT, back for the first half in midweek, completed the full ninety minutes up in the north-west. Alex partnered him in the middle of defence, with Cole and Ivanovic as full backs. Carletto’s hopes that Lamps would return did not transpire so Ramires got the nod along with Mikel and Essien, with Malouda, Anelka and Drogba in the attacking line.
The game started with our fans in decent voice, which compensated for the tame half that both sets of fans had to endure. Our best chance came from a Malouda cross that Alex met and headed back to Ivanovic, with the Serbians effort coming back off the woodwork.
The formation we played seemed to suit Man City, with us having no right midfielder James Milner didn’t need to track back and defend, allowing him to get the wrong side of Ivanovic on numerous occasions, and being faster then the Serb it was always going to give him the space to operate.
Nigel De Jong and Michael Essien had a good tussle in the middle, but it seemed that we were too reliant on attacking down the middle of the field and resisted using the wings, keeping the Dutchman and Yaya Toure busy all game, a challenge they were ready for.
The first half led not much of incident, it was noted by some of our fans that City also had no right sided winger, and bringing on Adam Johnson would have stopped this. Silva was ineffective and showed that he has much to learn about the English game, having constantly got bullied off the ball only to complain to the ref.
There second half wasn’t much better, until a Man City break on the hour mark saw Tevez raced towards the goal with Silva running alongside him, both Terry and Cole were back, but had Cole have committed and been beaten, it’d have left Terry on two of them. Nevertheless, you’re always told to go to the man on the ball, and Tevez should have been closed quicker and earlier, the Argentines shot from the edge of the box went through Coles legs and in off the post, giving Petr Cech no chance.
Drogba had an effort minutes later to equalise, but the tame shot was easily dealt with by Hart. Mikel got subbed soon after his booking, with Yury Zhirkov replacing him.
With fifteen minutes left Drogba made way for Daniel Sturridge, Carlo says this was due to wanting more pace up front, radio speculation is that Drogba was failing to follow Carlo’s instructions. Drogba hadn’t been at his most effective up front, moreso when taking corners, and although he’s pretty decent at them, we needed him in there ready to get on the end of them. Sturridge’s introduction did little to change the game, although amusingly it lead to Man City singing that there’s only one greedy bastard, I think the other 21 players got off a bit lightly, special mention to Yaya Toure’s reported wages.
Minutes later Silva came off for Adam Johnson. Ramires misplaced a fair few passes and didn’t seem to have the best of matches, he got booked and then came off ten minutes from time, for 17 year old Josh McEachran. Josh came on away to Zilina and at home to Newcastle, but now made his first team debut, he was faultless but there’s not much of an impact he could have made on the match.
Adebayor came on for the last five minutes for Tevez, and Boateng came on for Boyata in the 88th minute.
Personally I felt that in a game of few chances we should have got a draw, we were poor in front of goal but City weren’t any better, except for when Tevez finished after a great run. As we know in football though, you need to take the chances, and we failed to do so.
Last season we dropped two points to West Ham, three to Wigan and three to Man City, so this season we’re already five points better then last season. News of Roberto Di Matteo steering West Brom to a 3-0 lead at the Fly Emirates, eventually winning 3-2 and having missed a penalty, reminded us that we can always laugh at Arsenal. Man United drew on Sunday, letting us off the hook.
After two matches we were the only team to have won them both, and ensuring that run was stretched to five has given us a great start, we may have faultered at our first real test, but all the clubs around us are faultering against weaker sides.