Man City 0 Blues 0 .. Ron's Report

By Richard Barker
Last updated : 15 November 2010

It's only going to end badly for them, I'm sure of that.  There's only so far this can go before it all comes crumbling down.  I just hope for the sake of their fans that they have some fun before it all does come crumbling down and that they win one or two things.

Why do I hope that for their fans?  Well, to be honest, I'm jealous.  Forget all this "oh no, it's not good for the game" garbage - it's brilliant for their fans.  Last year I wrote how I saw Blues and Manchester City almost as kindred spirits - there are a lot of similarities between the clubs, particularly over the past 20 years or so.  That's changed now though as they're in a different universe off the pitch.  Wouldn't we all love it though?  Wouldn't it fill us with joy?  Let's not kid ourselves otherwise - it would be brilliant to be spending £20m on players and to have the likes of Carlos Tevez, David Silva, Emmanuel Adebayor, Adam Johnson, that Kolarov bloke and Joe Hart playing for us.  What a dream that would be. 

If it goes wrong, so what?  If they win a few trophies and end up going bust and getting relegated a couple of divisions, so what?  They've been there before, just like Blues have.  Recently too.  If they go out of business, again, they'd be gutted but it probably won't happen anyway.  Even if it did, again, so what?  They'll have had fun dying.  Live hard, die young.  People say "we don't want to do a Portsmouth".  Well, I do.  I want to spend beyond our means, win the FA Cup, play AC Milan at home in Europe and get to another FA Cup final.  Let's do a Portsmouth.  When it all goes wrong, oh no, you'll get relegated to the Championship.  Imagine that??  Could you imagine such a thing happening to Blues?  Oh, the horror!  In a few years people will be saying "we don't want to do a Man City!"

We do though, don't we?

Well, in theory, yes.  It'd be lovely.  However, in practice I can only imagine it's fairly painful for their fans sometimes, like here against Blues for example.  Now, let's be honest, Blues and Alex McLeish get plenty of stick, but there'd be mass suicide at St Andrews if the club had spent billions of pounds, bought some of the best players in the world and then drew 0-0 at home to a team with Keith Fahey in.  It made me feel glad to be a Blues fan.  Sure, we don't spend much money and are fairly crap, but at least we know our place.  Given their squad, Manchester City's fan would be pretty justified in expecting their team to hammer a side like Blues, but instead they had to sit and watch a load of dross in a 0-0 home draw against a far inferior team.  That happens at Blues all the time, but at least we didn't spend £826,708,633,912,349,806.82 in getting there.

Mancini out!  Definitely.  Seriously, if you'd spent all that money and you had to sit and watch that, you'd have to ask some questions.  If you weren't already asking them, you would have done when he took off a left-back and replaced him with a right-back (playing at left-back) when chasing the game.  If you weren't questioning him then, when he takes off your best player, captain and the scorer of all 38 of the club's last 38 goals and replaces him with a slow defensive midfielder, you would start then.  Jesus - I'll never moan about McLeish again!  At least when they had Richard Edghill, Jeff Whitley and Richard Jobson it was fun.

Credit where credit's due - Blues were solid and did well.  That's all they did though, just "well".  They weren't "outstanding" and they weren't "excellent" and they weren't even "very good".  They were just decent and solid.  I've watched Manchester City a fair few times this season, including the Manchester derby on Wednesday, and I have to say I'm always shocked at the complete lack of tempo to their play.  Given the players that they have, you'd think they'd be far better than they are.  They're not though.  They're slow, dull and predictable.  Before the game, given this, I happily predicted a 2-0 Blues victory.  I got the "0" right.  As I say, predicting that they'd get nil was based on seeing a lot of their performances.  I wish I'd applied the same logic to predicting Blues' two.

With their slow build-up, a well organised side like Blues is always going to have a chance of keeping things tight.  It might be "the Italian way", but it's rubbish.  By the time the ball's gone through Yaya Toure five times, back to the full backs a few times, then back to Yaya Toure again for him to look up and see all the forward players marked, Blues were in position and ready to defend.  It was like watching Blues.  Slow, pedestrian, ineffective build up.

Roger Johnson was much better (aside from a horrendous error immediately after half-time that nearly cost Blues), as was Scott Dann, but really and truly, when they're up against one centre forward who is 5'1" and Joe Hart kept banging the ball at his head, would you expect them to look anything other than solid?  Fahey himself continued his good form whilst Nikola Zigic was again fairly impressive before being replaced by Alex Hleb who looked excellent.  There were plenty of positives for Blues.  Really though, it wasn't that difficult for them.  I know that sounds bizarre, but it wasn't. 

Manchester City were restricted to a few long range efforts here and there and that was about it.  Ben Foster didn't have a proper save to make really, and apart from Stephen Carr's clearance off the line after Johnson's error, Blues never really looked in any danger.  I'll say it again, but if Blues had spent what Manchester City have and were producing performances like this, you'd need to have all the season ticket holders on suicide watch.  On the way out I heard one of their fans say to a friend, "perhaps we expect too much".  What?  Expecting a team with the likes of Tevez, Silva, Yaya Toure, Johnson and Milner in to create some decent chances against a team that cost the same amount as one of Roque Santa Cruz's arms is expecting too much?  I don't think so.

There's not a great deal else to say, to be honest, as the game was pretty dull.  Blues did ok.  Manchester City were awful.  That's how a 0-0 came out of it.  Before this and the Chelsea game next week, even getting a point out of both had to be viewed as a bonus.  That's already been achieved.  Blues now have to look to push on against Chelsea because, at present, they're evidently not right and with decent backing and Blues taking some heart out of this game, there's a chance of picking up another point, if not three.

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