Wednesday, August 12, 2015

What does Noel know that the rest of us don't?

I've meant to write about this all summer, but life got in the way.   Sigh.....

In the spring, when things were looking grim, Noel Gallagher gave an extended interview to the Men in Blazers crew.  You can watch it here:

What I find amazing happens between 27:12 and 30:15, when Noel talks about Manuel Pellegrini's future with City.

At 28:00, he compares him negatively to Jose, at 29:00 he starts discussing that he'd have Klop or Angelotti.  But what's really amazing is that Noel predicts that if we don't sign Klop or Angelotti, it means that Pep Guardiola has been "tapped up" to replace Manuel.

I realize that at the time Noel predicts this, a lot of people were saying it was time for a change.  But Gallagher's takes it to another level.  There is a twinkle in his eye, sort of telling us that City would be stupid to do leave Pellegrini at the helm with Klop or Angelotti available.

While there are probably only 2 people who know if Guardiola has been "tapped up", the situation is a lot more complicated.  Suppose we win a trophy or two?  Suppose we make good progress in the Champions League?  Do we still replace Pellegrini?  It doesn't make sense to me.

We're riding high after a great win at West Brom.  But it's a long season.  We won't look that sharp for the length of the season.  That's when the talk will start.

Since the interview, we know that Pellegrini did get a contract extension, which Gallagher said would not happen.

Only time will tell......

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Baggies v City 10th August, 2015

Nice sunny day in San Francisco as City kicked off at the Hawthorns.  Patrick, Maggie’s beloved barkeep, was uncharacteristically sullen probably due to being reminded that Arsenal were bottom of the league. He soon brightened though up to inform all 16-plus of the attending  SF Blues that we should be careful lest we bring worse things onto ourselves. Personally, I kept my trap shut.  Dr. Adrian Rawlinson offered to write us all sick notes as we had skived off work to watch which showed ultimate compassion from one who has uttered the Hippocratic Oath . Dave Brogan was off like a rocket towards the moan zone as the game began, complaining about the fullback pairing of Saghna and Kolorav but really!! why begin the season like this when we have 37 more glorious opportunities to vent our spleens?  What’s this? City started brightly, bossing the game as Silva buzzed around, playing through Yaya as West Brom watched like stand-ins from ‘Dawn of the Dead’. George A. Romero aka Tony Pulis stood impassively on the sidelines projecting his thought-waves, ‘4-4-2 wtf was I thinking? and these West Brom boxers are very tight around the nether regions’. Nine minutes in Silva shot across the face of goal, Navas retrieved and brought it back for Toure to scuff a shot through Dawson’s  lanky legs into the side of the net, a lucky dribbler –WE LOVE SCABBY GOALS! Cue a loud  Rob, Kyle (and bro) and  Jeffrey-led chorus of Yaya, Yaya Yaya…  It got better, 25 minutes on the clock a languid one-two with Bony for Toure to curl one in to the Myhill’s left top corner. City continued in similar fashion as the half ran out, Sterling should have scored but no matter; his 6 out of 10 performance,  though bright,  was  below the rest of the rampant City players. West Brom improved in the second half (it was hard not to) and had a few chances to score but not even Gino Fortunato,  who has a morbid fear of 2-0 score lines, looked not the slightest bit worried. The killer blow came as Silva whipped in a corner to Vinnie in similar fashion to his (almost) league winning goal against Man Utd in 2012,  glanced powerfully past the goalkeeper. Jose and Jacq Ferreira, Zack, Ajay, Simon P,  were up and Mick Graham started to enjoy the game. Kudos to Mike and Sue from Oz who attended and we didn’t mention the cricket once.  Great result! bring on Chelski and the ‘Cheating One’.

SF Blues Man of the Match: Kyle Cook for his rousing rendition of Manuel Pellegrini’s Lamborghini.

West Bromwich Albion
    13 Myhill
    04 Chester Booked
    25 Dawson
    06 Lescott
    11 Brunt
    08 Gardner Booked
    24 Fletcher Booked
    07 Morrison
    14 McClean (Yacob - 45' Booked )
    17 Lambert (Anichebe - 74' )
    18 Berahino (McManaman - 80' )
    03 Olsson
    05 Yacob
    09 Ideye
    10 Anichebe
    19 McManaman
    29 Sessegnon
    38 Rose
    01 Hart
    03 Sagna
    04 Kompany
    20 Mangala
    11 Kolarov
    42 Y Touré (Demichelis - 80' )
    25 Fernandinho Booked
    15 Jesús Navas
    21 Silva
    07 Sterling (Nasri - 74' )
    14 Bony (Agüero - 63' )
    05 Zabaleta
    08 Nasri

    10 Agüero

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Making the home field advantage

City lost a few home games this season.  Well, you might say, every one loses sometimes.  This is true.  So why should we pay attention?

Did you know that City's away form was exactly the same this year and last?  EXACTLY.  So that means the difference between our potential 79 points this season and the 86 we won the league with last year was the difference in our home points.  The max Chelsea can finish with is 87, so our 86 might have won this year, and certainly would have made the last day more exciting.

What caused this difference?  Who knows.  Whats' clear is that after surviving a stretch with no strikers and playing well during it, City lost and drew against some teams that we would have crushed last season.

Last season, we started the season with a poor run away, and then became terrors on the road and at home.  This season, we started well and went on a mid season slump both home and away.  But in the last 8 games, only Leicester City has more points.  We've found our form and are playing well again.  Unfortunately, it cost us the league, although did assure us a second place finish.

It's a long season and every team will have it's ups and downs.  Let's see if we can even out the lows next season.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Well, it's official. We are crap.

On new years day, City were tied with Chelsea on points.  Now, the Blues are a distant second, and Arsenal are tied with City on points, with a game at hand.  We lost to United, to Burnley for gods sake.  We've been eliminated from all the Cup competitions, by the likes of Middlesbrough and Barcelona.  Hell, we even drew with Hull.

We're crap!  Everyone says so, everyone knows it.  Pelligrini is on his way out the door, as are a number of top players such as Yaya and Nasri.  And of course Milner is leaving too.

In particular, Yaya is crap.  He doesn't run, he doesn't defend.  He wants too many birthday cakes.  And his agent is moaning that he's getting too much heat for City's poor performance in the second half of the season.

We're crap.  Crap, crap, crap.

Or are we?  Pablo Zabaletta is quoted in the papers today, saying that Pelligrini deserves more respect. He points out that City had a number of players in the World Cup, and that there was not a lot of rest over the summer.  Further, you can't always fire a manager just because he didn't win a trophy this season.  Several players have not had great seasons, and it's not clear that you should be blaming the manager for the poor performance of key players.

Further, we're in the top couple of places in what many consider to be the most competitive league in the world.  If we are crap, and we're second, what does that say about the rest of the league?  Is the entire league crap?  If so, why are we wasting our time watching it?

There are a number of players having seasons that they probably want to forget.  No, Yaya has not played great.  He's also on a World Cup and Africa's Cup hangover, never mind the birthday cake incident or the fact that his brother passed away.  Silva's assists are down, although he has scored more this year.  Navas is down in the goals department, and given the time he spends with the ball, you could easily expect more.  We went over 300 corners without scoring!  The flowing, attacking, push it forward football that served us so well last season is gone and the large gobs of possession the statistics show City have are spent knocking the ball back and forth between the half way line and the 18 yard box, looking for an opening that never seems to come.

Will we see changes over the summer?  I expect so.  There are changes every summer.  But if we can play this poorly, and still finish in a champions league spot, perhaps we're not the crap we think we are.

We are City!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

What a difference a half makes....

Well, what a tale of two halfs?!

The first half was more of the Hull match: slow, pathetic, without a trace of effort or loveliness.  The defense was in complete disarray, and we were lucky to not be down 3 nil.  Our goal was a one man effort from Kun, who really made a go of it, being brought down at the half way line but got up and kept going.  I don't often criticize David Silva, but the worst defensive spot we were in was caused by him being stripped of the ball, and then STOPPING INSTEAD OF GOING AFTER THE ATTACKER.  Play the whistle, men.

I suspect that there was a bit of a 'team meeting' at the half, because the team that came out looked full of fire.  Not every effort was spot on, but they were working on it, and the rewards were there.  That was the most goals in a City match since Sunderland on December 3.

Someone posted a skills video featuring the match at Old Trafford that City won 6-1.  It was a thing of beauty.  Where are those guys?  Where is the fire?  If we are going to catch Chelsea, or look respectable against Barcelona, that team is going to have to show up.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015


It's not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.

I want to start with three good things about the last performance:

1) Wasn't that a cracker of a goal by Milner?  No keeper in the world was going to get that!
2) Nasri was back.
3) Joe Hart had a great save on the play before Hull scored.

Ok.  That's out of the way.

Another PATHETIC performance.

I'm just going to come out and say it. I'm going to tell the ENTIRE WORLD how to beat City.  Here it is:  Play at least six in the box.  Intercept our passes when we try to make pretty passes within the box, and beat us on the counter.

There.  It's out.  No longer a secret.  But it appears our squad is the only one who don't know the formula.  I like the 'flowing football' we are trying to play.  But like any other team, we should be making ADJUSTMENTS.  And we're not.

Our possession against Hull was 75%!  But to show for it we have one goal on a free kick?  Our tactics are exactly the same every match:  Wait for the defenders to set up.  Make sure they have all 10 behind the ball.  Try to pass it between them.

I have a couple of suggestions:  MAKE AN ADJUSTMENT.  Maybe we don't have to wait for ALL 10 to get behind the ball.  Maybe we attack, even if we are outnumbered and catch the defense in motion, instead of built up like a brick wall.

Here is another:  Let's have a cross (or, heaven forbid: a CORNER) that makes it more than half way past the goal.  And have someone waiting for it at the far post.

This one is a doozy: How about if our TALL striker plays in the box instead of 25 yards out trying to set up a play like a midfielder.

Since Aguero always draws 3 defenders, but him on one side and attack on the other, where we might outnumber the defenders.

I'm a TACTICAL GENIUS!!!  This is rocket science, I know.  No one on the planet could think of it beside the writer of this blog, right?

Please, please, please.  Let's have an adjustment.  :-)

Saturday, January 24, 2015

out of the FA Cup

Wow.  Two home losses in a row.

Not a goal scored in either.

Even with Kun on the pitch.

Next game away at Stamford Bridge

Do you feel the pressure mounting?  Today's competition played us well.  We were very unlucky on the first goal, even though a defensive mistake led to the play.  But we had luck other times in the day.  I can't say we were officiated fairly, because we were not.  Two clear penalties were waved away.

But against competition like that, we should not have to worry about the officiating.  We should have put the ball in the back of the net 6 times early, but didn't.  If we had, I would not even have to mention Mr. Doud's performance.  But so it goes.  We were worried before the match about the trip to the middle east.  Change of weather, change of time zones.  Flying back the day before was not a good idea.

It's a long season, and its a long season for a reason.  As fans, we like it that way.  The ups and downs of particular weeks are what keep us interested in the game.  It's not just being a glory hunter.

I hope that management still has faith in Manuel.  I hope the players do, too.  Official pronouncements about his predecessor leaving had to do with lack of progress in the Champions League.  If we don't look respectable against Barcelona, we'll be in that same spot.

It's a long season.  Lets see what time brings us.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

goal difference

Last year at this time, we had were closing in on 100 BPL goals, this year, we are at 45. 

Some might say that this is due to our strikers being injured.  While it's true we went a few games without a recognized striker on the pitch, we managed to win those games and score quite a few goals in the process.

What I find different between this year and last year was the ability to break up the pitch, even when outnumbered and get a good chance.  This season, we are more likely than not to stop and wait for reinforcements, which gives the defense a chance to set up.

Breaking down a well drilled defense can be done, and we're generally pretty good at it.  But it's a lot harder, takes a lot more time and will lead to lower goal totals.

While we've complained a lot about the defense, we've let in 3 fewer goals than this point last season.  But the defensive issues become more obvious when you are not scoring 4 and 5 goals a match.

Taking advantage of our speed on the break would bring us a lot of good.  Hopefully, we start doing it.

Monday, January 5, 2015

The 'festive' holiday period


On Saturday, November 29th, City was 9 points behind Chelsea.  Today, we are even.  You can't ask for too much more than that.  The manager had laid down the law and told the team they needed to win the next 10 games.  And City would have except for 45 sub par minutes and a poor offside call against Burnley, they would have, too.

It's minor, but I'm not sure why Chelsea are listed as first place and City second.  Same points, same goal differential, same goals scored and conceded.  It does not get closer than that!  I think both teams should be listed as first place and no team listed as second place.  But they don't seem to do that.

Eighteen matches to go including away games at Arsenal (the next Maggie McGarry's derby!) and Chelsea.  City and Chelsea will both drop points between now and the end of the season.  The question is: who will drop fewer?  We will know in May, just the way Pellegrini has been telling us since September.

Stay tuned!