Blues 0 Man City 0 .. Ron's Report

By Richard Barker
Last updated : 02 November 2009

Well, Sky missed a trick this weekend by not having "Twin Trouble" or something like that, as the Premier League has seen various clashes between twins.

Firstly, there was Burnley versus Hull City - the scally twins from the nearby estate that get on everyone's nerves and everyone wished would go back to where they belong.

Then there was Stoke City versus Wolves - the inbred, retarded twins that everyone likes to have a good laugh at.

Of course, there was Everton versus Aston Villa - the annoying, boring twins who bore everyone with a list of their achievements but who, in reality, aren't really that special.

And then, finally, there's Birmingham City and Manchester City.

To continue the analogy, when the respective twins got to university age, Burnley and Hull were in prison, Stoke and Wolves got on the wrong bus and got lost, whilst Everton and Villa knuckled down, were boring, got good grades and left with decent, if unspectacular jobs.

Blues and Man City both got into university too, but they went out, got drunk, slept with some fat girls and had a load of fun but never really fulfilled their potential. Sure, it was a laugh along the way, but they never really lived up to expectations.

I've always considered Blues and Man City to be something of kindred spirits - effectively the second clubs in huge cities that they carry the name of; good, hardcore support that has been let down time and again and has never seen the glory that supporters of such a club would expect; both play in blue.

In their recent history, both clubs have enjoyed glorious days at Wembley against Carlisle United and Gillingham respectively, and the two have shared footballing geniuses such as Nigel Gleghorn and Richard Edghill.

Both, you would expect to be in and around the top flight moreorless constantly, although they've yo-yoed for years and have both even dipped down to the third tier.

So, as I say, Blues and Man City would make good twins - fun-loving, good-time twins who've never lived up to their promise.

And then there were foreign takeovers…

Man City are a little ahead of Blues in that respect, as they're on their second already and have kicked on, got a big new stadium, etc. Add to that the fact that Blues' support is now more likely to be twinned with Barnsley's, and there's a gap developing.

Blues, however, with their new takeover will be hopeful of beginning to bridge that gap.

For now though, Man City are the twin that have decided to move out of the family home, head to the big city and start mixing in higher circles. They've taken a long, hard look at themselves and thought "I can be better than this" and they abandoned their twin.

Blues lagged behind and carried on working in the local garage, but they've decided to follow their twin now and to move on themselves, albeit it to a much smaller apartment. Both have finally decided to try and better themselves.

Man City's takeover is the one we all dream of. Let's cut the crap about it being bad for the game and all potentially coming crashing down one day and all the rest of it - as a fan, you dream of it. Millions upon millions being lavished on world-class players and Joleon Lescott - their fans are living the dream. Anyone saying otherwise is just jealous.

Blues' takeover seems to be on a much smaller scale and the signs are that the approach will be more pragmatic rather than idealistic.

Only time will tell, for each, just how far they can go.

However, the ambitious twins got together to see how far they'd both come.

Well, Blues can be proud.

For longer than I care to remember I have been saying that Blues need to "get at" teams more and impose themselves on the opposition more. Here they did against opposition who, man for man, are a better team.

For 90 minutes, Blues were the better team. Towards the end of the first half, when Carlos Tevez dropped deep and got himself into the game, Man City looked more likely, but otherwise if you had to pick a team who'd had £150m worth of investment, it would have been Blues.

If Lescott is worth £24m, Blues could get £75m for the pair of Roger Johnson and Scott Dann. Lescott was the third best centre half on the pitch by a comfortable distance. In fact, Lescott and Vincent Kompany were fairly poor, and Blues were able to get at them and, as such, get at Man City.

For all Man City's attacking talent, defensively they look vulnerable. Their midfield failed to get to grips with the game, and they were left with hoping that the likes of Tevez, Wright-Phillips and Bellamy could create something out of nothing.

Blues, of course, will live to regret James McFadden's missed penalty. I say, "missed", despite Shay Given saving it, because it was such a poor penalty that it deserves to be described as "missed".

However, I cannot help but think that had McFadden scored, we'd have been dealing with a very, very different game. We've all seen Blues sit back and defend narrow leads in the past - generally they cock it up. To be honest, had McFadden scored, I don't think I could have stood the last half an hour or so. Blues would have tried to defend too deep, Man City would have thrown everything at them and would have probably equalised, if not gone onto win it.

I know that's a strange way to look at it, but it's how I feel. In some ways, I feel that McFadden missing the penalty meant that the game remained more even. Blues may not have coped had they gone 1-0 up at that stage.

The fact is, however, we simply don't know - Blues may have gone on to win 3-0. However, this was an excellent performance from Blues against a team full of class. Ignore the money spent on recruiting players and focus on the players themselves - any side with Given, Bridge, Zabaleta, Wright-Phillips, Barry, Tevez, Bellamy and Santa Cruz, well, it deserves respect and it's going to take some effort to get a result against them. When you add the likes of Ireland and Petrov coming off the bench, well, you're really dealing with a top team.

In that sense, the fact that Blues drew is a positive. When you consider that Blues were much the better side, they deserve even more credit. After Sunderland last week, Blues again took the game to the opposition and were nearly rewarded for doing so.

The defence was excellent. The midfield worked extremely hard, but were controlled and composed at the same time. The strike force, whilst raw and unpredictable at times, gave the Man City defence enough to contend with throughout the 90 minutes that a supposed title challenger will have been delighted to escape with a point.

So, the twins couldn't be separated again, despite the current different lifestyles. Manchester City may have stolen a march on Blues over the past few years but, on this performance, not so much for them to truly challenge the elite.

Furthermore, Blues can be pleased that they're not so far behind Man City as some might think. A few useful additions and Blues will be stepping up a little themselves.

For now, on paper there's a huge difference, but in practice, it's not so great. It might not be too long before these two "twins" are on a level footing once again.

Here's hoping that two clubs who deserve some success do finally start to get some.

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