Manchester City - Hughes' Babes Show Great Potential
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Hughes' Babes Show Great Potential

I'll bet Thaksin Shinawatra and Garry Cook are breathing seriously huge sighs of much needed relief tonight after a torrid summer. Those two would do well to take note of today's below par attendance and consider the embarrassment and head shaking their unhelpful actions and out of touch statements have triggered.

Then there's the football.

Above all else credit where's it's overdue to Mark Hughes for sticking to his guns and pushing his squad on while the City ship veered from one iceberg to another.

Bluesy said: 'I think it was important that we won today, not only with the result, but the manner of the performance as well.

"I thought there was real determination in our play and we weren't to be denied."

Our thoughts and concerns tonight will be for City's Captain Fantastic Micah Richards who at the time of going to press is in Manchester Royal Infirmary undergoing tests having been knocked unconscious and treated by medical teams on the pitch for 8 minutes after a sickening clash of heads with Tal Ben Haim.

In Richards' absence, his team mates did him proud. Persevering with breaking down a stubborn West Ham rearguard whose over reliance on Dean Ashton to take on City singlehandedly up front reminded us of Sven's tactics last season.

It was an absolute delight for Blues worldwide to see MCFC Academy graduates Johnson, Ireland, Sturridge and Evans toying with a beleaguered West Ham defence towards the end of a pulsating encounter.

I have justifiably accused this young City side of naiivety this season but they needed to dig deep with Richards absent and West Ham's 10 men getting behind the ball. Mentally too, having shipped 16 goals in their previous 4 Premier League outings, character was required in shedloads and in the end shone through.

The enormity of turning that shocking statistic around and blanking out the baying media closing in for the 'City implosion' in front of an anxious home support should not be underestimated, no matter who or what quality of opposition the side faced. Kelvin Etuhu and Richard's injuries reminded us how wafer thin the squad is however, and it is hoped that will be addressed over the next 8 days.

Crucial to City's win was the impressive 22 yr old Vincent Kompany who has the makings of the calm holding midfielder with pace and presence that we have not seen the like of since the late Marc Vivien-Foe. Furthermore, Didi Hamman's calming influence steadied the rattled ship after Richards was stretchered off.

One player many of us have savaged in recent months has been Stephen 'Daddy Dick' Ireland. He was top drawer today and like the cool finishing Elano, looks to have beefed up, crucially getting in behind the Hammers at will.

City are beginning to look a stronger and fitter side with each game and this bodes well for the massive game in Denmark on thursday night. I predict that FC Midtjylland will be welcoming a very different Manchester City.

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

The journalist

Writer: Johnny Baguette Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Sunday August 24 2008

Time: 7:20PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
That Ben Haim bloke is dangerous - ask Petr Cech! Wish Micah well though.
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24/08/2008 19:34:00

Cheers merl. The Big Four's radar will be expanding out to Danny Sturridge tonight!
Johnny Baguette
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24/08/2008 19:37:00

I hope Sturridge stays with you. Not because I don't think he's a good player - quite the opposite - but I don't like the big sides stealing all the good prospects when they don't need them. For example, Chelsea might be interested in Sturridge but have Anelka, Drogba, Kalou and Di Santo so Sturridge wouldn't be at the top of the pecking order. I hope he stays at City and develops into the good striker it looks like he can be.
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24/08/2008 20:01:00

Nice one. Chelsea went after Sturridge when he was 16. Would have been about the time they started buying kids for their youth team. He's certainly a talent and got a wicked eye for goal. Hughes could be just the man to harness the youthful eagerness of Sturridge, Evans, Jo, Etuhu and bojinov when he finally gets back again. Need more depth and experience in the squad though.
Johnny Baguette
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24/08/2008 20:16:00

I warned before fear of injury for Micah in the head, But I did know it will be come from "friendly fire" .
city 81
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24/08/2008 20:19:00

The players were certainly going after every ball city 81!!
Johnny Baguette
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24/08/2008 20:23:00

I hope so Johnny - I like Hughes and think he's a good manager. I saw glimpses of Bojinov playing in Italy and I think he was a very exciting prospect. Unbelievably unlucky with injuries for you but I think, once he's recovered properly, he'll be good for you. And I'm interested in seeing Jo as well -- heard good things about him.
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24/08/2008 20:23:00

Thursday night should be a cracker. Those Danes are no mugs and City have to go for it. Goals galore!!
Johnny Baguette
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24/08/2008 20:25:00

It on the TV?
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24/08/2008 20:27:00

I went to the match today and the football that City played was fantastic, also the owner was there, he let on to me and asked did I enjoy the game! Sturridge i going no where, we are not a selling club and Sturridge won't want to make the mistake SWP made. Plus we are our own Chelsea now, no need to sell!
Report Abuse
24/08/2008 20:31:00

Our UEFA game is live in Five.
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24/08/2008 20:37:00

Thanks Tudor - will endeavor to catch it.
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24/08/2008 20:38:00

JB, I saw SWP eat a Sandwich in the bench during Wigan game!!
city 81
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24/08/2008 20:59:00

but still SWP wasn't on the bench for the squad so maybe City bound? Come on Bluesey make a bid! "CITY, CITY THE BEST TEAM IN THE LAND AND ALL THE WORLD!"
Report Abuse
24/08/2008 21:47:00

I think Shaun would be good back at City. I like the guy a lot for his personality but I don't think he suits Chelsea. Would be good to see him back at City and playing week in, week out.
Report Abuse
24/08/2008 22:00:00

Thank you mate!
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24/08/2008 23:45:00

Absolutely first class City! Everyone to a man raised his game from last week, and bagged three good goals without a recognised striker. Whilst one swallow doesn't make a summer, the future is looking good, and with a couple more additions (which sound likely listening to Sparks!), a top 8 finish is realistic. Kompany - sheer quality!!! Looking forward to Thursday with renewed optimism.
Report Abuse
25/08/2008 08:43:00

Best match I've watched for some time, everyone made a difference and as JB says, Ireland was excellent. Kick-off is something like 3:30 on Thursday so get those 'got to finish early' excuses ready.
Barney Daniels
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25/08/2008 12:32:00

Attack! Attack! Attack!
Johnny Baguette
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25/08/2008 13:41:00


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