Monthly Archives: April 2011

Though there has not been any football to report on this week has seen Roberto Mancini come out with some classic comments to keep us entertained. Inoculated City can’t help but wonder whether he is having a laugh and playing with the press which love to exert pressure on him.

Following Mancini’s comments after the Sunderland game last week where he put football in its place by suggesting that real pressure is only experienced by those who go to war, not those who play football (see last week’s blog), he has taken a different tact this week and is seemingly having fun with the media.

The big news this week is Manchester United player, Wayne Rooney’s two match ban as a result of swearing to a camera after scoring a hat-trick against West Ham. Whether the punishment is right or wrong is open to debate but it seems a little far fetched for Mancini to suggest that he is “disappointed” that Rooney will miss the FA Cup Semi-Final clash between City and United. Although, Mancini explained he felt this way because in the big games you want the biggest players’ playing which, on reflection, is true. It may be a disappointment for the neutral that Rooney will be absent. Yet, surely for Mancini he must be delighted that such a potentially threatening footballer is going to be absent. Isn’t Mancini just having a laugh with press and trying to wind up a few people in the process?

Are You Having a Laugh?

What was astounding was the way in which the media pounced on Mancini’s comments as if they were deadly serious. The BBC boldly splashing headlines on their website to give the effect that war had just broken out. Having said that, that is one of the beauties of foreign football managers in English press conferences: the manager often doesn’t fully understand the press and vice versa. The miscommunications can often be comical as proven on this occasion.

Mancini also spared some time to put Joey Barton in his place this week. In response to Joey Barton’s rant about the state of the England team and, in particular, the branding of Gareth Barry as a “teacher’s pet”, Mancini simply stated “Joey Barton is a good player but Gareth Barry is a fantastic player.” Though opinion is divided on Barry amongst the City faithful he is definitely a fantastic player compared to Barton.

Prize buffoon Robbie Savage also got in on the act on Match of the Day 2 as he carefully scrutinised Barton’s every move against Aston Villa on Sunday. Savage was clearly unhappy with Barton’s comments and simply demonstrated that Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Jack Wilshire, the players Barton singled out, are in fact better than Barton. Whether you agree or not is really not the point but you have to admit it was funny.

So in a week with no football, Roberto Mancini has ensured that he has kept the City fans entertained with some strange but wonderful commentary. For a refreshing insight into the irritatingly monotonous Wayne Rooney ban saga I strongly recommend watching Charlie Brooker’s take on it all from last week’s 10 O’Clock Live.

Next week: it gets serious again. City take on Liverpool on Monday night in the league and then it is the big one: the eagerly anticipated FA Cup Semi-Final against United. At least you can rest assured there will not be any swearing as foul mouthed tyrant, Wayne Rooney, will be watching from the stands.

Words by Rob Toole


This week provides a summary the last two weeks of the key events in the life of Manchester City. Last time out Inoculated City was eagerly anticipating the return leg of the last sixteen Europa League tie against Dynamo Kiev in Manchester and the trip to London to take on the slightly resurgent Chelsea. What a disappointment both games turned out to be. Nevertheless, the misery was cut short by an international break and City announced their return to Premier League action with a thumping win over Sunderland on Sunday.

Prior to last week City failed to overcome the deficit against Dynamo Kiev after trailing two-nil after the first leg. After the game the spotlight fell on Mario Balotelli who did little to help his team. Balotelli missed a sitter from three yards after three minutes and received a straight red card for a reckless kick to the opposition just before Aleks Kolarov put City into a one-nil lead on the night.

Balotelli seeing red against Kiev

Inoculated City can’t help but think that had Balotelli remained on the pitch City would have won. The post match scrutiny was, on the whole, harsh but fair, yet in some quarters represented vicious, mindless journalism. You would be forgiven for thinking that Balotelli had started a war. It is worth pointing out that after the sending off City performed admirably as a team and at times you may not have realised that City had ten men. It was not to be City’s night though and it could well be a blessing in disguise in the sense that the team can recover some energy to put on a real fight to earn a top four position in the league and perhaps even win the FA Cup.

Following the disappointment of the Kiev game City did little to resurrect confidence amongst their supporters with an ultra negative performance against Chelsea. City did not deserve anything from the game and made it far too easy for Chelsea to claim the points. This performance coupled with the Kiev, or perhaps Mario Balotelli performance, led to intense scrutiny which quite frankly made me quite sick of football for a short while. Thankfully the international break came along to alleviate the pressure on City and the media’s attention fell on the running joke of Mr Fabio Capello.

After the international break City marked their return to league action with an emphatic victory over Sunderland in Manchester. City ran out five-nil winners thanks to goals from Adam Johnson, Carlos Tevez, David Silva, Patrick Vieira and Yaya Toure. The pick of the goals came early on as Johnson combined well with Yaya Toure to calve the Sunderland apart. Johnson, with plenty of space inside the penalty area, thumped City into the lead.

City’s refreshingly attacking approach allowed them to stroll through the game but it wasn’t until the second half that Sunderland truly fell apart. City added three after the break and the perhaps the most comical moment was Yaya Toure’s goal. Toure took advantage of a suicidal ball across the face of goal from meat head Lee Cattermole, to slot neatly past the despairing Sunderland stopper.

Johnson powers City into lead against Sunderland

Of the win over Sunderland, Roberto Mancini’s response to his team being under pressure was excellent and not only put the pressures on Manchester City into perspective but football in general. Mancini stated that “We play football, we don’t go into war. It’s impossible to have pressure.” Spot on!

All in all, the result has given City a real boost going into the climax of the season. There is a renewed air of confidence around City which is surely a good thing as City’s next challenge is an away trip to a resurgent Liverpool. Inoculated City strongly suspects this encounter will not be the stroll in the park that it was earlier in the season. On that occasion City ran out three-nil winners.

Next week there is no footballing action for City as they have to wait for a week to play Liverpool on the Monday night slot.

Words by Rob Toole