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Monthly Archives: August 2011

“Five to one baby, one in five, no one here, gets out alive”. The immortal words of Jim Morrison of The Doors have been ringing around my head ever since City’s 5-1 thumping of Tottenham Hotspur in London last Sunday. Whilst Morrison’s words can loosely be associated with the game, it is worth noting City came out of the tie alive and kicking! Tottenham, on the other hand, started the game dead on their feet and left the field of play flat on their arses, quick frankly.

Such was the immense force at which City took the game to Spurs, the Londoners never really stood a chance. Edin Dzeko’s four goal haul and an individual effort from Sergio Aguero ensured City maintained their 100% start to the season.

Dzeko heads in his second goal

Historically, Tottenham have been somewhat of a bogie team for City. In the past City have had an uncanny ability to lie down and surrender at Tottenham’s will. Even last May at Eastlands, Tottenham controlled the game despite City coming out 1-0 winners on the night. On that occasion, thanks can go to the greatest City player there never was, Peter Crouch, who confirmed City’s qualification to the Champions League with an own goal. However, the clash on Sunday was a different story entirely and perhaps signals a change in fortune for City against Tottenham.

The game was even for the first half hour with both teams finding half chances. However, City’s superior quality soon began to tell with debutant, Samir Nasri, blending in superbly with City’s slightly more established talents such as David Silva and Edin Dzeko. Some of the link up play was phenomenal and Dzeko was there, time and time again, to finish off the fine passages of play.

City’s second goal demonstrated the excellent aerial ability of Dzeko, but it was the Bosnian’s fourth goal (City’s fifth) which stole the show. After a neat one-two with Gareth Barry on the edge of 18 yard box, Dzeko glided a sweet left footed strike into the top left hand corner of the Tottenham goal.

Tottenham humbled by the irrepressible City

There were too many fine moments to mention all of which can be seen by clicking here. The manner of victory was seriously impressive. To beat one of the top five teams in England so emphatically away from home has sent a serious statement of intent to the rest of the Premier League. It really does look like City mean business this season. Whether they will go onto win the League remains to be seen but few could have asked for a better start to the season.

Words by Rob Toole

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City have spent the last week underling their determination to reach their lofty ambitions of football domination. Firstly, there was the exciting, if somewhat complacent, 3-2 victory over Bolton on Sunday afternoon. Just yesterday, City finally completed the signing of French silk merchant Samir Nasri from Arsenal. Today, one of City’s many dreams became a step closer to reality when the Champions League groups were announced.

The game against Bolton was an entertaining affair. City were, at times, outstanding with the likes of Edin Dzeko, David Silva, Sergio Aguero and James Milner shining brightly. The pick of goals came courtesy of a thunderbolt strike from Gareth Barry. City were most dominant and pleasing on the eye when the score was 3-1. However, City will rue to two rather sloppy goals they conceded which took the shine off an impressive performance. Credit should be given to Bolton manager, Owen Coyle, who clearly injected a dose of his passion for the game into his players, who never gave up.

Nice shorts - Bolton Manager, Owen Coyle

Roberto Mancini finally secured the services of creative midfielder Samir Nasri this week. Nasri’s protracted transfer should prove to be a great addition to the City squad, giving City an obvious alternative to David Silva. Nasri will become a valuable member of the team especially considering City will have a tough inauguration to Champions League life.

EA Sports' Crystal Ball - Nasri scoring for City

The tension of following the Champions League group stage draw on BBC live text coverage was, at times, too much to handle: it was feasible at one stage that City could have been drawn in the same group as Barcelona and AC Milan. With a strange sense of nervous excitement building and, rather aptly, Well I Wonder by The Smiths playing on my personal stereo the tension was relieved to a certain extent when City avoided Barcelona and AC Milan. Having said that, City will not have an easy ride. They were drawn against Champions League veterans Bayern Munich and Villarreal and fellow Champions League newcomers, Napoli. Nothing in the Champions League is going to be easy, especially when City are involved.

So, exciting times ahead for City! To see the match highlights of the Bolton game click here. The full Champions League group draw is below:

Group A: Bayern Munich, Villarreal, Manchester City, Napoli

Group B: Inter Milan, CSKA Moscow, Lille, Trabzonspor

Group C: Manchester United, Benfica, Basel, Otelul Galati

Group D: Real Madrid, Lyon, Ajax, Dinamo Zagreb

Group E: Chelsea, Valencia, Bayer Leverkusen, Genk

Group F: Arsenal, Marseille, Olympiakos, Borussia Dortmund

Group G: Porto, Shakhtar Donetsk, Zenit St Petersburg, APOEL Nicosia

Group H: Barcelona, AC Milan, BATE Borisov, Viktoria Plzen

Words by Rob Toole

Sergio Aguero ensured City flew out of the traps in their first Premier League game of the season against Swansea last night. City comfortably cruised to a 4-0 win over the newly promoted Welshmen.

Inoculated City had the pleasure of watching the game in 3D for the first time; a trivial experience and ultimately good fun. Initially it may have been a bad idea. As I sat in the local, bearing nerdish looking 3D glasses, Swansea took control of the early proceedings, rather embarrassingly. City’s multi-million pound team were mere spectators of the Premier League new boys for the first 20 minutes. The onlookers, including myself, were only able to hide their shame behind 3D glasses. Fortunately, the pub was sparsely populated so my personal misfortune was not too apparent. Getting an ear-bashing about the Community Shield from a United fan in tow didn’t do much to lighten the mood.

David Silva was influential against Swansea

Self consciousness aside, City finally woke up and went onto dominate the game. Edin Dzeko opened the scoring with a simple tap in after David Silva and Gareth Barry hit the woodwork earlier in the game.

It wasn’t until Sergio Aguero, son-in-law of Diego Maradona, was introduced that the show really started. Aguero, nicknamed Kun, almost immediately after coming off the bench swivelled and shot from the edge of the area troubling the Swansea keeper. Yaya Toure should have done better with the follow up.

Sergio Aguero celebrates his first goal for City

Moments later the debutant opened his City scoring account with a tap-in. Before Aguero’s introduction Silva ran the game with his wide array of skill and vision. Aguero somewhat took the spotlight off Silva by setting him up for a simple finish to make it three for the night. Aguero deftly lobbed the keeper and pulled the ball back for Silva to complete a fine move.

With the game drawing to a close Aguero fired a thunderbolt of a shot from 25 yards into the left of the goal leaving the crowd breathless. The quality of the strike cannot be overstated: to curve the ball up and down so quickly is a skill few possess.

With the embarrassment of the 3D glasses far from my mind, here’s one City fan that went to bed dreaming of a glorious future which seems surreally possible. With players like Aguero and Silva who can stop City now?

To see the match highlights click here.

Words by Rob Toole

The Premier League season starts this weekend and as always expectations for City are high. With a debut season in the Champions League, this will no doubt be City’s priority along with the Premier League. All in all, City will compete in four tournaments. Here are Inoculated City’s predictions for the season ahead.

Premier League:

City have strengthened their squad again this summer, the most notable addition being Sergio Aguero. The other additions have not been as seismic as in recent transfer windows which should benefit the team spirit which seemed to be growing towards the end of last season. Make no bones about it; City will endeavour to win the Premier League. They have the quality but whether they can balance the challenges of the Premier League and the Champions League remains to be seen. City will not win the League for one reason: they are Manchester City.

Prediction: 2nd

Champions League:

Progression from the group stage of the Champions League is imperative for City and they will achieve this. Quarter-Finals are a realistic goal but City’s inexperience of regularly playing top European teams will be their downfall. Few will expect City to win this competition but being in it next season is seen as inevitable which means pressure. It will be exciting to welcome top European teams to the right side of Manchester.

Prediction: Quarter-Finals

The "Promised Land" of the Champions League

FA Cup:

As FA Cup holders, City would love to retain this trophy. If City make a sustained push for the Premier League and are still involved in the Champions League, one would imagine that the FA Cup would fall by the wayside due to the nature of the English footballing calendar. City will give it everything but will not be lifting the FA Cup this season.

Prediction: 5th Round

League Cup:

City should try to win this trophy as this is their most realistic chance of silverware this season. The tournament is over by February and City will have success. Not many teams take this tournament seriously and City should take advance of this. After all, there are only so many trophies to win so City should go for broke.

Prediction: Winners

A word of caution: these predictions have been made with an air of optimism and may not reflect your own views. Trying to predict City’s next move is like trying to predict the weather; impossible. Sit back and enjoy the season ahead.

Words by Rob Toole

In light of the Community Shield tie between City and Manchester United last Sunday, Inoculated City was perhaps fortunate enough to be on a train in a foreign country during the game. It is not often one considers themselves fortunate to be a train but what transpired during the game sure makes me feel relieved to have missed it.

Whilst the last gasp 3-2 defeat to United is frustrating for numerous reasons it is not that bad. Of course, the City faithful would have loved to have got their hands on another piece of silverware and get one over on their fiercest rivals. The manner of the defeat (i.e. another last minute winner from United) only accentuated the pain.

City and United line up before the Community Shield clash

Having said that, if you view this in the wider context of the season it is not as dire as it is first seems. Whilst City have had a great pre-season with many positive performances it is important to note that we have not lost a game until the Community Shield clash. Euphoric from the FA Cup victory and the run-in last season City’s last defeat was against Everton on 7th May. Whilst winning is no bad thing, it seemed that City’s pre-season ties were all too easy. Floating into the beginning of the season full of the confidence is vital, yet knowing how to lose and, more importantly, how to respond from losing is an imperative trait that all top teams have, ‘bounce-back-ability’, if you like.

The defeat against United should act as a dose of reality for the City players and management ahead of the season proper. Losing on such an illustrious stage like Wembley to bitter rivals can only spur the team on further to succeed. Inoculated City cannot vouch for every City fan but I would much prefer to take 4 or preferably 6 points off United in the Premier League and lose the Community Shield instead of losing to United in the Premier League and winning the Community Shield. Besides, who actually remembers Community Shield winners? Ultimately, who cares?

Words by Rob Toole

Rather inevitably Joey Barton is in the headlines again, for the wrong reasons. In light of Barton’s latest episode in his controversial career in which he has been fined two weeks wages by Newcastle after criticising the hierarchy at the club, it has merely highlighted how far football as a whole and footballers themselves are detached from reality.

Barton has become the latest of many top professional footballers to use social networking site Twitter to vent his grievances. I use the word professional cautiously as venting ones misgivings on Twitter is anything but professional. Unless you are a moron, those of us in an every day job would think twice before criticising their employer in a public arena like Twitter or Facebook.

Joey Barton - doing what he does best

In spite of this Barton explained on the popular social networking site that “The inevitable – two week’s wages fine has just arrived.” It is not clear what the fine relates to but the fact that he sees a two week wage fine as inevitable is absurd. It clearly suggests that it has absolutely no impact on him in terms of finances and discipline. Will Barton change his ways because of this? I doubt it. Will he struggle to put food on the table because on this? Definitely not!

We all know footballers are paid handsomely so why don’t those at the top of the game introduce tougher sanctions to have a true impact to those, like Barton, who treat their profession farcically? Perhaps a six months wage fine and a six match ban may deter the likes of Barton from continuously getting into trouble?

Whilst Barton is no Samaritan, fair play to him because he knows how the system works and he probably suspects that the system is not going to change. The two week’s wage fine was inevitable, he is right. Many times before, footballers have been hit with fines that barely scratches the surface of their spare change. It is also inevitable that Barton will, at some point in the future, find himself at centre of another controversy. It is inevitable that someone like me, an honest everyday football fan, finds this whole episode disgusting. It is inevitable that the system will not change in light of Barton’s latest shenanigans. Everything seems inevitable and that just doesn’t feel right.

Words by Rob Toole