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.
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.
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