Wednesday, December 10, 2014

How did we make that happen?

Yes, it's true.  After playing some shockingly poor football for 5 games, getting lucky in the last 10 minutes of the 5th game to pull out a win, City put on a fine performance in Rome to qualify for the next round of the Champions League.

I really can't believe it and am sure that many of the readers of this blog feel the same way.  This match against Rome was the first one where we looked like we even belonged on the pitch in this competition.  Not that we didn't have a rough start.

AS Roma had two chances within the first five minutes, one requiring a fine save from Hart, the other a last second clear by the defense.  Surely, falling behind early AGAIN would have been fatal.  Again in the 71st and 73rd minute, it looked like Roma could have equalized, getting as close as the woodwork, but it was not to be.

And we did it without Aguero.  Nasri's goal was a stunner, finding the one place where it could have gone in.  And the play between Jovetic, Nasri and Zabaletta for the second goal was beautiful.

It's true that this was a great team effort.  And that's what it's going to take until we can get someone who can regularly put the ball in the net in the absence of Kun.

For me, the best part is watching Hart really step up his game, and getting our first CL clean sheet.  Hopefully, its the face of things to come.

Now, about the draw.  It's been very, very unlucky to us.  Let's see if we can get some luck swinging back the other way.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Great TEAM performance

Today's win against Southampton was the best performance by City this season.  Everything from
  • the key save by Hart in the 20th minute
  • the clean sheet
  • holding their opponents to four shots on target
  • scoring three goals on a team that had only allowed one at home
  • Clichy's first goal in a City shirt
  • Goals by Yaya and Lampard
  • Overcoming some questionable officiating
  • Scoring two goals down to 10 men
  • Aguero with two great assists
I could go on and on and on.  City played great foot ball, usually doing an excellent job of keeping possession and keeping the Saints away from goal.

But the best part?  the very best part?  the VERY best part?  The complete joy shown by the entire team after Yaya's goal.  They knew how important it was,  and they knew they had to get it done.  And the did.

Completely awesome.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

City vs. Bayern

Kun Aguero is my shepherd and I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pitches: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of Europe, I will fear no opponent : for thou art with me; thy foot and thy head they comfort me.
 Thou score a goal for me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my City scarf with oil; my beer runneth over.
 Surely goals and trophies shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Aguero for ever.

With apologies to the religious, Psalm 23 is about how it feels right now. Once again, the little one has saved our bacon.  Where would we be without him?  Not that we deserved it mind you.  The two late goals in particular came on mistakes by Bayern, not because City was going something good and creative.

In fact, we looked terrible against a team with 10 men.  We did not win balls in the open field.  When we did deflect or intercept a pass, it went right back to Bayern.  When we were in the box, we allowed ourselves to be surrounded by multiple defenders and instead of passing to an open man, we allowed the defenders to take the ball from us.  And when we did have the ball, we had no one in the box to pass it to.  Absolutely woeful.

Can we expect that kind of luck in Rome?  I doubt it, I very seriously doubt it.  But, who knows?  As Mick was saying for the entire match today, it's not over yet.  And he was completely right.  Remember: that's why they play the games.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Luck and Quality

On Feb 23, 2014 I shared a post called 'Edin Dzeko'.  In it, I compared him to Yaya, Kun, and Alvaro and made the argument that he came up lacking because while 42% of his shots were on target, only 37% of those went in, which was not very good compared to others who were scoring goals for us.

I've run some numbers this year.  Not for individuals, but for the entire team (so far).  First, we are dominating play.  Our average possession is 60%.

But our quality is way, way down.  The numbers in that other post were for our strikers plus Yaya, so you would expect them to be better than the team as a whole, but not too many player shoot besides those up front.

So far this season, only a third of our shots are on target, and only a third of those go in.  As argued in the 'luck' posts, we were having a lot of luck go our way.  Right now, it is not.  We don't have any problems that 10 more goals wouldn't have solved, and we've been a cumulative 2 yards from 10 more goals.  My advice: stay the course, the luck will turn.

But I do miss Negredo....

Monday, November 10, 2014

Too Many Brazilians?

Elano, Geovanni, Glauber, Jo, Robinho, Sylvinho

According to Wikipedia, these players all played for Manchester City from approximately 2008-2010.  While I don't remember all the names, individually, there is a lot of talent in that list.  Together, they were frightful.

The theory was that by themselves, they would focus on football.  But bringing them together made them reminisce about Brazil, Samba, Sun, Fun, Rum, etc and that the football fell to the wayside.

Last year, we made a great acquisition of a Brazilian: Fernandinho.  He had played in the Ukraine with told us at least two things: the physical play of the Premier League would not bother him.  Neither would the cold weather.

This year, we acquired another: Fernandinho.  While NOT from the Ukraine or some other frozen land, he gives us two Brazilians.  Are they plotting in Portuguese to slip out late at night for Caipirinha?  

We'll probably never know.  But one thing can not be denied:  Neither of these Brazilians is

having the season he had last year.  Why?  Perhaps the national disgrace of the World Cup defeat to 
Germany is weighing on their souls.  Perhaps it's just bad luck.  Perhaps it's not even true.  Or perhaps its the Caipirinha's....

Sunday, November 9, 2014

What luck? or What does RAG stand for?

I've written about luck before in this blog.  Here for example.  But at the moment, the luck seems to be going against us.  Yaya's shots are curling just wide of the corner instead of into the corner.  Silva is hurt.  We can't buy a penalty against United, the referee books the wrong man against CSKA Moscow and a penalty (Kolorov) and second yellow (Fernandino) against CSKA Moscow for our guys pretty much just standing there.

Regardless of the bad luck, our overall form is not that good.  The loss to Newcastle in the League Cup was embarrassing.  But there are bright spots.  As Pellegrini keeps saying, we are ahead of last year in points.  Joe Hart is playing quite well, and Aguero is playing out of his mind, scoring along against first two then three defenders against QPR.  

When I became a Citizen, someone had to explain to me what RAG meant.  The 'A' was for Arrogant for those that don't know.  If Chelsea was not playing out of their minds right now, we wouldn't look so far off the pace.  If Chelsea falter, we'll catch them.  And if they repeat the Arsenal 'invincibles' of 2003-2004 we won't.  But we have to go out and PLAY each game.  No one, particularly in the Premier League is going to 'give' us a win.  So, we should not arrogantly expect the team to win every match, or even to play well every match.  I do guarantee that if we stop believing in the players, and allow them to succumb to the attacks from the press, they will stop believing in themselves.  And then we'll be in REAL trouble.  Don't go there.  It won't do us any good.

Personally, I think our poor form is due to our lack of pressing in transition.  Even last year with all the goals scored, many of them were in transition.  This year, we seem willing to wait for the defense to set up and try to shove the ball down their throat.  Our advantage is speed and we're not using it.  Another problem is our one person attack.  As I write this, Sergio has 14 goals, 12 in the Premier League.  No one else has more than 4.  Total.  The rest of the team has 19 goal in total.  It's only a matter of time before someone figures out how to stop him.  Or he gets injured.

Let's not get Arrogant.  Let's get lucky.  

Monday, November 3, 2014

Halloween Special

For the Manchester Derby, we got a Halloween treat!

Howard Web has taken possession of Michael Oliver's whistle!  It was spooooooky.......!

Obviously, it was not as if we didn't get ANY calls.  Certainly, Smalling getting sent off was huge.  But even if United had all eleven, you could argue that if we had scored on the AT LEAST three penalties.......

And while Sergio Aguero again got man of the match, for this commentator, Joe Hart was again what it was all about.

First: he forced the issue with Smalling to get him the first yellow.  Another keeper would have held the ball and waited for Smalling to walk away.  By forcing the issue with Smalling, he got him the first card.

Second, while United only had a couple of shots, they were quality, particularly the effort from DiMaria.  Not only did Hart deflect that shot wide, but he did so out of the way of a waiting Wayne Rooney.  BTW, thank Rooney for being the cheating footballer you are.  Watch the extended highlights at the MCFC.CO.UK web site.  At 9:37, Wayne RUNS INTO Demichelis and simply flops to the ground.  What a cheating piece of crap.  As usual, he spent the entire match with his arm in the air calling for penalties.  Perhaps he should spend more time regretting the fact that his team is crap and less complaining.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

This season vs. Last Season: Part II

Well, this time I will be 'analytical'.  The following applies to the Premier League:

Last season after nine games, we has scored 21 goals and conceded 10.  We had 5 wins, 3 losses, and 1 draw.

This season after nine games, we have scored we have scored 19 goals and conceded 9.  We have 5 wins, 2 draws and 2 losses.

That puts us one point ahead of last year with one less goal conceded.  Our inconsistent form going forward mimics last season.

Looking at it this way, we're not that different than last year.  And, to be honest, I think at this point last year my opinion was there was no way we were going to win the league.  Particularly since that loss in the 9th game was that horrible loss to Chelsea where Hart made that inexcusable error.

On the bright side, Hart has been brilliant making a number of fine saves this season.

On the downside, Chelsea is playing out of their minds this season.  As was Arsenal last season.

The Premier League season is a long one.  Remember that before you start to panic.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

This season vs. last season

Ok, I'll be honest.  I'm not going to get analytical on this on.  Just impressions.  Impressions that could be wrong.  But...

1) Where is the defense?  Captain Vinny continues to bail out the back left and right.  No problem there.  But the fullbacks seem to have gone missing, at least as far as defensive duty goes.  We seem to be alright if everyone is back, but on the defensive break, we are terrible.  Yes, only two teams have let in fewer goals.  They happen to be ahead of us in the table.
2) Joe Hart has played really well.  He's made a lot of great stops.  I can't think of one goal that's gone in where he's made a mistake.
3) Last season, we scored a lot on the break, taking advantage of players out of position on the defense and the creativity of our midfield and attackers.  This season, we seam to purposely be slowing down, as if this is the desired tactic.  The terrible pace is leaving us to try to ram the ball down the throat of 10 defenders, something we are not quite built to do.
4) Last season, Pelligrini was always focused on the next game, meaning the game at hand.  We don't appear to be doing that this year.  I'm not sure if its an overall lack of focus or if we are just starting to peek ahead at the calendar.  Either way, it's a disaster.
5) The midfield last year was making great passes and taking the ball from attackers.  This year, we seems to be making the bad pass and giving the ball away. Stats might prove me wrong, but that's what it 'feels' like.

Technically, you could say we are a better team this year with upgrades in midfield and the back line.  Just not seeing it.  Yet.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Man of the Match

Sergio Aguero was voted man of the match for his incredible four goal performance against Spurs.  And who can blame him?  Despite missing a penalty kick, Sergio showed why he is the danger in the Manchester City attack.  His ability to create space for himself with the ball left Spurs defenders gasping for air and swinging at shadows the entire match.

But to be honest, I don't think he was man of the match.  For me, it was Joe Hart.  Why?  Well, you would not know it from the outcome, but Spurs only had one less shot than City (19 vs. 20).  While they only had seven on target, each one of them required a fine save.  Even the goal was one that Joe got a piece of and almost kept the clean sheet.

But what really got my attention was the save on the penalty.  If that ball goes in, the score is 2-2 and it is an entirely different match.  I don't know if it was pure luck or a great read, but Hart was all over the ball and made a great save to a ball going into a bottom corner.  Pure class.

I'm sure that Spurs goal keeper Hugo Lloris will not be looking forward to the next City match.  Over the last three matches, City has completely lit up Spurs.  Despite the City tally, Lloris has accounted well for himself and has made a number of fine saves.  But the City goals have been well earned.

One person not in the running for the man of the match was Fernando.  His performance so far this year has been ok, but he's definitely the most disappointing signing City have made this season.  Particularly early in this match, Spurs were getting in front of Hart much too easily and most of it was his fault.  It was his turnover that allowed the goal.  Let's hope that he gets stronger as the season moves on.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

City in Europe

As I write this, City have one point from six in their Champions League campaign.

After almost wining the group last year, one could rightfully hope that City would be treated more kindly in the group draw this time.  But lady luck seems to abandon the squad that day, as once again, City were matched in a group of death.

Due to some brilliant Joe Hart goal keeping we almost stole a point in Munich and despite a fast start by the Blues, many think that the draw against Roma was a fair result.

The mystifying piece seems to me that a squad that had won the premier league two of the past three years (and finished second the other year), should feel like it can do better.  Certainly, England has the most challenging league.

So, why are we not doing better?  Certainly, part of the problem is bad luck.  We end up in very difficult groups, and play teams that are recent winners of the tournament.  But I don't think that is an excuse.  Certainly, every team competing will have to find a way to beat a recent winner if they are to go far in the competition.

Instead, the problem looks like one of confidence.  Week in and week out, the team play quite well in the Premier League and show a fine attacking spirit.  This spirit is evidenced even when a man down.  However, in Europe, the play is much more tentative and it shows up in lower passing percentages.  This seems to deny the 'go forward' mentality of Pellegrini.

But all hope is not lost.  Six points from CSKA Moscow and draws between Roma and Bayern will put us right in the thick of things.  Perhaps one lucky goal is all we need to turn it around.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

THANK YOU, uh...., Frank Lampard?


It feels really, really weird to say that.

Really, really weird.

But that's the way it is, and all things considered, I'll take the result.  It's been a difficult week.  Two draws and a heart breaking loss.

The Arsenal match seemed like a draw was a fair result.  The loss at Bayern was tough the way it happened, but we were not the better team that night.

But the Chelsea match.....

58% possession.  Shots 16 to 6. Corners 14 to 2.  And that's after having Zabs sent off after 66 minutes.  Chelsea did not have a shot on net until the 71st minute.  But it went in.  Other than that counter attack, we completely dominated the match.

The referee gave nine yellow cards.  Nine.  Two went to Zabs of the five that went to City.

Five weeks in, and we've played three of the top teams.  It seems really, really different this year vs. last.  Certainly, our away form is better.  But our plan of attack seems different.  Chelsea scored on a break.  Last year, we scored a lot of goals.  And a lot of those goals were scored on the break.  In our matches so far this year, we are playing a much more measured pace, waiting for the defense to set up and then trying to break them down.  Last year, we pushed the ball up the pitch much harder and took advantage of creativity to dominate defenders that were not yet in the right place.  Is this part of the plan or is the opposition holding more back?  I'm not sure, but certainly our goal scoring is way, way down.

Chelsea will be a tough team this year.  There is a lot of talent.  We didn't want to let them start with five wins.  Frank Lampard scored an important goal for us.  Only time will tell how important.

Two comments on the officiating today.  Dzeko is driving me a little crazy with his flopping.  The refs have seen it and he's not getting away with it.  It is causing the refs not to give him fouls when he earns them.  Like when he was manhandled by Diego Costa in the box in the 34th minute today.  Mike Dean really missed that one.  A goal at that point could have made a significant difference in the match.  The other comment has to do with Zabs.  His cards were not completely out of like, but certainly at least a little harsh.  But really, you can grab someone by the throat in this league and not get punished for it?

C'mon CITY!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Another Derby!

Well folks, it's time to shake off the miserable home result against Stoke and look forward to another Maggie McGarry's derby.

The Arsenal fans have the trophy due to their win at the Community Shield.   But now that the matches really count, we'll be looking forward to winning it back.

Speaking of Stoke, they had not beaten us since Feb, 2010.  But it seems that every match against that team is a tough one.  They are a defensive marvel.  In the calendar year 2014 (I write this in early September), they have only two matches where they have given up more than one goal.  And one of those ended in a draw!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Group of death, meh!

We have several treats this week:

1) Sergio scoring within seconds of coming on to put a nail in the Scousers coffin
2) A completely OUTSTANDING performance by the Milton Keynes Don's battering United
3) The group of death draw in the Champions League.
4) United breaking the all time English transfer fee record for a player that can't break into the starting lineup in Spain.

Regarding 3), I don't think there is another group that is close to as tough as ours.  Chelsea and perhaps Liverpool are definitely beneficiaries of the draw.  The good news is that we KNOW we can beat Bayern! One wag posited that we would win the group!  Wouldn't that be special! 

There is also a great post about United having the first GBP 400M team.  It makes you think of the New York Yankees baseball team, who keep needing pitching and buying batting.  We certainly hope that DiMaria has the same effect on the team that Mata did.  Zilch!

Personally, I continue to like Pellegrini 's approach.  This week and THIS week only.  We won't have to worry about future weeks if we loose this week!

In Pellegrini we trust!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Nice way to start the season!

There were a LOT of positives to take away for the performance at St James Park today.  A few of the important ones (in no particular order):

  1. Great defensive performances by Komany and Fernando
  2. Silva scoring the first goal of the season (just like he did last year, against the same team!)
  3. Aguero getting back to his scoring ways.
  4. I liked that Aguero got 10 minutes.  After the injuries he had last year, he needs some rest and some playing time to get fit.  Let's not rush him back.
  5. A monster performance by Edin Dzeko, who was channeling his inner Silva.  If you want to clone a player, it's Silva!  and I hope Dzeko keeps it up.
  6. Beautiful passing by Yaya and Dzeko on the first goal
  7. Great patience with the ball
  8. Great resilience against a Newcastle side that showed great poise in attack in the last 15 minutes.
  9. We (so far) are the only team to go up by two goals, putting us at the top of the table!
While Newcastle didn't have a shot on net, it was because they didn't take advantage of some good opportunities and put the ball over and wide.  Some slick finishing could have had the match turn out differently.

It's going to be a tough season with several teams fighting for the top four spots.  Let the games begin!

Friday, August 8, 2014

And a new season begins!

Hello and welcome to a new season of the official blog of the San Francisco Man City Blues!

To be honest: still recovering from the great finish to last season and exciting World Cup.  Germany 7-1 over Brazil?!  Did that really happen?!

Our season kickoff will be interesting.  First the Community Shield:  It's against the Gunners, which makes it a Maggie McGarry's Derby!  We get at least 3 this year!  And looking forward to winning them all!

Hope you can make it to Maggies on Sunday!

Monday, May 12, 2014

That's the way to end the season!

Wow!  Two domestic trophies!  Incredible team efforts all around.  WONDERFUL!

Thanks for following us and looking forward to hearing/seeing more on MCFC next season.  If anything happens off season worth blogging about, I'll be sure to let you know!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

This is it!

In less than 12 hours, we'll know if we are Champions again

It has been a long title race, and we've been in it, but behind, for much of the time.  But you only need to be top of the table on one day to be the champs, and that day is the last day:  Tomorrow!

It's been a funny season: the slow start for away matches, the meltdown at Old Trafford, the series of errors that first took away, then handed back the initiative to us to be Champions.

We've already had success this year in the League Cup, and known a bitter defeat at the hands of Wigan (Wigan!) again.

Should we be lucky enough to be crowned Champions tomorrow, I think a lot of credit will have to go to the boss, who has always pointed out that all efforts need to be focused on the next match.  And ONLY the next match.  Because you get to the top by winning them one at a time.

Let's go win tomorrow!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Two Matches Left!


Nice result today versus Everton!  The team played well but it was unfortunate that Aguero is apparently hurt again.  It did not seems clear how he hurt himself, but apparently did it in the process of scoring our first goal.

A few (more) words about Edin Dzeko.  Him scoring two goals today make all the difference.  But my comments about Dzeko stand:  The third goal was put right on his foot from three yards out.  Any of us could have done it.  And the second goal was an unchallenged header.  The second goal looked more of a mistake by Tim Howard to this commentator.  Replays show that he was very slow to react to the ball which didn't have much pace on it.

Dzeko has scored a lot of goals for us this season, but with the service he has been getting, it has been hard for him not too.

And the type of goal that he doesn't score is the goal like Yaya had last week with a run from the half way line, fighting off defenders with a clinical finish despite the challenges.  As a whole, he doesn't 'make' goals but instead is the guy in front to receive the perfect pass and head/deflect it in.  I don't see him with too many goals like the wonderful one from Barkley of Everton.

One complaint I had was his disgraceful delay of match in the 88th minute.  To see him on the ground because he slipped was terrible.  That's not the City I want to see.  Please, Please, PLEASE let's leave that type of football to Ashley Young, Suarez and the Spanish.

Again, I am not a hater.  I just think we can do better.

I just rewatched the the video of our first 100 goals this season.  Dzeko scored 16 of them.  2 of them were headers.  Goal 41 was a really nice "touch, turn, shot".  Goal 16 is a nice flick in.  In a total of 4 of these goals, is he in any way or shape marked.  For the other 12, he is completely unmarked.  One of these 16 goals is from outside the box.  None of the goals required him to make more than one touch before shooting.  Only 3 shots did he touch once before shooting.  So, if you or I was standing in the box, unmarked, would we be able to put the ball at our feet into the net?  Just saying.....

Sunday, April 27, 2014

We are not title favorites

So says the boss:

But a little math shows us that two teams can end up with 86 points.  If both of those teams slip, another can end up with 84.  That's a pretty darn close title race, on that is sure to go down to the wire.

Of the two teams that can reach 86 points, one has (as I write this) an 8 goal edge in differential, and three remaining games.  Assuming they win all three of those games, that differential would be up to (at least) 11, meaning the other team would have to be at least +11 i their remaining two games.  Not impossible, but not likely, either.

The next match is away at Everton who are desperately trying to make Champions League, and will be at home.  It's going to be a very, very difficult match.  But as we know, they almost all are.

C'mon CITY!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Luck Running Out. Or: a game of inches

I wrote earlier about some luck that went our way earlier in the season.

Now, the ball is bouncing the other way.

Think of it this way:  Just a few inches: In the Liverpool match, Aguero puts the ball slightly out of the reach of Silva, who barely gets a toe on it and his attempt goes wide by a few inches.  Two minutes later, against the run of play Kompany muffs a clearance and the Liverpool midfielder puts in a perfect shot.

After the Sunderland keeper muffs a shot right at him from Nasri, in extra time Nasri has a wide open shot from within the box go over by a few inches.

If Silva was able to get more foot on the ball and Nasri a little less, we'd be crowing about how we were going to be top of the table.  Instead, we're praying for some luck.  All because of a few inches.

C'mon CITY!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

The Match that May Decide the Title

The season has come to this:  There are two teams that, if they can win the rest of their games, will win the title.

One of these teams was expected to be in this spot: OUR CITY!

One of these teams was not expected to be in this spot at the beginning of the season - Liverpool!

Riding a wave of amazing goals by Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge, Liverpool has had quite a run these last two months.  But, they still have to play us and Chelsea.  Please note that they lost to both these teams over the holiday season.

If we draw, we are still in the drivers seat as (as I write this) we are one point behind them with a game at hand and we (again, at the moment) have the goal differential.

Really, really looking forward to the match next week.  Hopefully, we can get a good crowd to meet the scousers at Maggies!

C'mon CITY!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Celebrate the Maggie McGarry's Derby!!!

This week's match against Arsenal will feature the unveiling of the Maggie McGarry's derby trophy!

In cooperation with the Arsenal fan club, we'll have the plaque ready for the match, winner take all!  Of course, we know who we want to win! :-)

Come out and feel free to belt out a song to let the Arsenal fans know we are there and we're going to be number 1!!!

C'mon CITY!!!!!

As we all know the result, :-) here is Mark from the Arsenal Club presenting the trophy to Dave!  A good time was had by all!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

this is the week!

two big matches this week, the outcome of which may determine the outcome of the league. 

City are in control of its destiny.  With three matches at hand on the leaders, IF we win those games, then we are the leaders!

This is a tough week against two key rivals.  First: Saturday vs. Arsenal.  We have not defeated Arsenal at home for quite some time, so picking up three points there will be key.  And they were crushed this weekend by Chelsea, so they will not be in a 'good mood."

Tuesday is the Derby.  Hopefully, many of you will be able to take a "long lunch" and see us at Maggies for what will certainly be an interesting match!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Being Positive

After today's match against Hull, I'm going to take the high road and make a POSITIVE top 10!

1) Three important points
2) Three points closer to the top
3) Silva was brilliant
4) One of our strikers scored a goal
5) The back line showed a lot of discipline causing Hull to be caught off side a number of times
6) See number 3)
7) Silva scored a great goal
8) Silva put the ball on a plate for Dzeko.  Twice.
9) The team showed a LOT of spirit
10) See number 3).  Again.

Friday, March 14, 2014

One Trophy left.....

After the lack of revenge against Wigan, and the not too unexpected loss to Barcelona, we have one thing left to focus on: Premier League!!!

The good news is if we win the three games we are behind, we are at the top of the table.  The bad news is that we have to win those three games!

It's particularly difficult given the lack of production from the front line.  Aguero and Negrego have been hurt, I've discussed Dzeko in another post.  This drought sounds familiar: two years ago, we were ahead in goals scored and as we approached spring the goals dried up.  The difference this year is that we are NOT at the top of the table.

The current league leader has been able to grind out three points consistently, without scoring a lot of goals.  I don't care if we do it by scoring a lot or a little.  We just need the three points.  Unfortunately, our slip ups early in the season mean we don't have a lot of wiggle room.  Let's see if we can make up for it.

One other point on the lack of goals.  When you score a LOT of goals like we have, your competition learns to adapt.  Our competition has learned to adapt.  We need to adapt back.......!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Now that's QUALITY!

Great, great comeback by City in the League Cup!

It was tough to go down so early.  And there was a lot of cause for concern that we couldn't put the ball in the net in the first half.

But that was all forgotten given the quality of our first two goals.  To see Yaya look at the goalie, call for the ball, and put a pinpoint precision shot into the net from 30 yards was an incredible experience.  And Nasri's goal was just as brilliant from a volley at that distance.  The keeper didn't even have a chance to move.  But even if he did, there was not way he was going to get it.

Respect to Sunderland, who really appear to have gotten their act together compared to earlier in the season.  They were ahead for much of the match, and when they went down, they still looked dangerous.  It took two incredible goals from an incredibly talented team to take the Cup from them.  Fortunately, City was just that team!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Edin Dzeko

lately on the fb page, there has been a lot of discussion about Edin Dzeko.  A LOT of discussion.  Not all of it good.  The miss he had yesterday was terrible.  But all players have an occasional miss.  Right?  That is a very true statement.

So, I thought I'd look at some statistics.  I looked at on 23 Feb 14, and copied them into a spreadsheet, doing some quick math.  Please find the spreadsheet attached.  I can not tell when ESPN last updated this, but it does seem slightly out of date.

First, let me say that I am NOT a hater.  He's done a few clutch things for the team.  I WANT him to succeed.  But anyone who makes it to Maggies on a regular basis has seen me in the moan zone going on about him shooting wide, and over, and at the keeper.  It seems to me he does it a lot.  But what do the stats say?

For as many goals as City have scored this year, there are 4 players that lead the way: Sergio Agüero, Álvaro Negredo, Edin Dzeko and Yaya Touré.  Between these four, I've done some quick math and found the following:

% of shots on goal % of SG that go in % of shots that go in Assists/game started
50% 54% 27% 0.364 Sergio Agüero
42% 62% 26% 0.231 Álvaro Negredo
32% 45% 14% 0.240 Edin Dzeko
37% 73% 27% 0.152 Yaya Touré

Compared to the others scoring goals on the team (I did not include Jovetic because he hasn't played much, but he beats Dzeko in everything but assists), Edin doesn't look so good.  What's not in the table is the number of shots he takes.  He's got 20%+ more than Sergio or the Beast and almost double the shots of Yaya.  If his shooting percentage was that of Yaya or Sergio, he'd have 32 goals!

As a baseball fan, I have one thing to suggest.  That Edin get his eyes checked.  I mean that seriously, not maliciously.  In baseball, players who's batting average has slumped frequently find that their eyesight has gotten worse without them knowing it.  Contact lenses have added 30-50 points to a players batting average.  Perhaps they can help Edin?

If Jovetic can get and stay healthy, I'd much rather see Edin on the bench.  He's received a lot of minutes this year and much of it is due to injuries.  Certainly, he's better than some of the strikers in City's not so distant past.  But he doesn't seem up to par with the current bunch.  And unless that changes, I hope we can find someone who can make better use of the chances they get on the pitch.

Soooo, in light of the upcoming Liverpool vs. City match, I thought I'd update this table to reflect some updated stats and some interesting compares:

G/Shot G/Shot on Goal Sh/SH
Sergio Agüero 0.28 0.54 0.52
Álvaro Negredo 0.27 0.63 0.42
Edin Dzeko 0.15 0.41 0.36
Yaya Touré 0.3 0.71 0.42
Luis Suárez 0.16 0.36 0.44
Daniel Sturridge 0.22 0.51 0.44

Edin compares favorably to the Liverpool strikers, except in the category of shots/shots on goal.  In other words, if he could hit the net he'd have more goals than Suarez, because he's playing more games.

C'mon CITY!!!!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Bogie Vanquished

Chelsea had definitely gotten the better of us in our Premiership meeting this year, but the FA Cup match was definitely all City.  Chelsea didn't even have an attempt on goal!

Although he had a good match, we were surprised to see that David Silva got man of the match.  Most of the support was for Javier Garcia.  Personally, I thought it should have gone to Vincent Kompany.  The captain was everywhere: blocking shots, clearing crosses, intercepting passes, moving up into the midfield to break up passes and pushing the ball forward.  A truly awesome display.

One surprising downside was the substitute of Jesus Navas.  Whenever he touched the ball, his defender (not sure who it was) stuffed him.  We'll have to keep an eye on that.

The good news is that we know we CAN beat anyone else in this competition.  Of course, that does not mean we will.

For now, even the bosses' eyes can focus on one thing: BARCELONA!  They looked in fine form Saturday, winning 6-0.  A lot will be on the line for MCFC as to our aspirations as a world class team.  Samir Nasri has been quoted as saying we can beat them.  I hope he's right, and that we do.  I think the biggest risk right now is that we get nervous and look like we did in the first match against Bayern.  If we play with confidence, this will be a great match!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Bump in the road

Well, as hard as it is to say this, Chelsea played better than we did.

What they did well was WANT every ball.  We were dispossessed too many times.  They did not allow us to break and it is on the break that we are very dangerous.  When we had the ball in the box, they had 8 men there, blocking almost every shot.

The most telling statistic for me:  65% possession, 25 shots, only 3 on goal.  One was a dribbler, the other two were the free kick from David Silva and the curler from Jovetic.  Unfortunately, Czek made some fine saves.  On the plus side, Joe Hart made some fine saves.

But it was not our day.

The good news is that there are still 42 points to play for.  May we get more than everyone else!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Mind Games

Well, a top of the table to you everyone!

We only have a few days before the Chelsea match on Monday, but you can count on our friend Jose trying to play some head games between now and then.

We should have had a draw at Chelsea, and only a terrible mistake by Hart handed the match to Chelsea.  This time, we will be at home, where our form has been formidable.  Let the games begin!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Are we getting lucky?

Lescott kicks an attacker in the shins, knocking him over in the box.

Kolarov shoots right at the keeper from 30 yard.  An easy shot.  But somehow is squirrels in between his legs.

Would these incidents change the ultimate outcome of the game?  Who knows?!

There is an old saying:  I'd rather be lucky than good.  As far as City is concerned, I'd rather by lucky AND good.  Let's hope the luck continues to fall our way.

After the Spurs Match:  Again, I don't think it affected the final outcome, but Dzecko was not fouled in the box.  The replay showed it was a great defensive play, and he clearly got the ball from behind.  Rose should not have gotten a red card for that, and we should not have gotten the penalty.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

keep winning!

According to Wikipedia, Arsenal have the longest win streak in English football, winning 14 consecutive matches across two seasons between 2001 and 2003.

The way things are at the top of the Premier League this season, that record may fall.  Arsenal and Chelsea have each won 5 consecutive matches.  The one before that they played each other and drew.  City, Chelsea and Arsenal "control their own destiny".  If they win every match (including the one where they play each  other), they win the league.  But with 16 matches to go, that would require a record or two to be broken. 

City have already broken the record for fastest to 100 goals.  But we find our selves in second place due to some sloppy early away form.  100 goals isn't a 'record' as much as it is an amazing feat.  Why don't we celebrate fastest to 50 goals?  Or fastest to 58?  It's just a round number. 

But to be the champion this year, we'll have to keep extracting 3 points from every match.  Until someone falters.  I just hope it is not us!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

City Style

Do I dare say it:  Manchester City are playing the beautiful game that the Spanish prefer. Lots of passing and long balls to the front line.  This is leading to lots of goals!  The Italian defending style of Mancini is no more!

I don't know if Roberto has the time to watch any of our matches this season, but I'm pretty sure he's shocked if he is.

Obviously, there is nothing wrong with this style.  Particularly if it keeps extracting three points from every match!

And it increasingly looks like that is what is going to be required to win the Premier League this year, as Arsenal and Chelsea are keeping up with our fine form.

Extracting Revenge?

Well, we just beat Cardiff City. 

It was this person's fervent hope and desire that the MCFC scoring machine would extract revenge for loosing on the road early in the season.  But it was not to be.  The final score makes the casual viewer think we were in control the entire match, but we were not.  Noone gave our defense fits.  I think the announcer put it best: during the course of the match, he beat Kompany, Demichelis, Kolarov and Clichy.  The only defender he didn't beat was Zabaletta, and I think that was only for the lack of opportunity.

I just looked him up on Wikipedia.  His overall stats do not look impressive.  Maybe yesterday was the match of his life.  But he looked good doing it!

Dzeko scored our 100th goal of the season.  He had some nice shots, but in my opinion, there is a certain "justice" to the fact that he did it on a muffed shot.  Overall, he had a great game yesterday.  He should have been awarded two penalties for clumsy tackles by Cardiff in the box, but none were given.

At heart, I am a defender.  But I wonder where the City defense was on the crosses and why Cardiff gives us such a hard time on them.  Their late goal was on a cross.  The City team seemed to want to give Cardiff the goal.  Demichelis is clearly clearing the way for the attacker, without trying to go for the ball himself.

On the bright side, Joe Hart continues his fine form and made some very nice saves.

Three points is three points!  :-)

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Police Report: 3 Points Stolen at Newcastle

Wow, just a little bit of controversy there, eh?

While Hart watched it sail by him, Newcastle had a leveling goal disallowed for offsides.  Clearly, 2 Newcastle players were offsides, but neither was affecting the play.  At least in my opinion. We got very, very lucky on that.

The controversy really fired up the home side.  Our forward play was terrible as we tried to push the ball too much instead of slowing it down.  The result was a number of giveaways that gave the opposition a lot of chances.  My man of the match is Kompany.  He must have cleared 20 crosses/passes into the box and very reliably.

As I write this, we don't know the condition of Samir Nasri.  I can't believe the Newcastle player was not given a red card.  He may not have been trying to injure, but the second kick was surely reckless and high.  Nasri has been playing great.  Let's hope that his injury is minor.

Newcastle deserved a draw (at least!) and we took the points.  If you are going to win championships, occasional thievery will be required.  We got one there.

Monday, January 6, 2014

A nice holiday

well, we got all the points from the holiday season.

Not a bad gift at all!

A quick look at the BBC color coded table tells us that our favorite club is the "hottest" team in the Premier League right now, dropping 5 points out of the possible 30 in the last 10 matches.

A little more worrying is our inconsistent play and the lack of goals in the last couple of games.  Sounds reminiscent of a season 2 years ago where January was very rough on us.  Well, we know how that turned out!

Hopefully, we keep taking those points!  It will be interesting to see what the transfer window brings, for us AND the competition.  For example Chelsea are one point behind us, having scored 19 fewer goals.  Personally, I wouldn't be surprised to see United spend 40-50M this January.  Hopefully, a case of too little, too late for them!