The Ped Report Wolves 2-1 City
In a week that saw City mauled by Arsenal, players reported to be out drinking at St Andrews and Tevez reportedly homesick, injured and heading off to Argentina, what was needed from the team at Molineux yesterday, against a struggling bottom three team, was a comfortable victory.
What was delivered was a result falling comfortably under the title of 'typical City'.
We may be trying to shake this off but time and again it comes back to haunt us. From a solid start and a 1-0 lead came two ridiculous pieces of defending and the team from the bottom came from behind to record a good victory against a side packed with internationals, who fancies itself to end up somewhere near the top of the league, come what May.
Having seen Jarvis tear the right hand side of United's defence to shreds in the Rooney Cup in midweek, Mancini for some inexplicable reason decided to put Richards up against him yesterday. I am probably over critical of Richards because I consider that time and again he displays no desire to learn his trade and once again he was found yesterday. So the beginning of City's downfall was made at 1.30pm with the handing in of the team sheet.
For once seeking to go 4-4-2, with Adebayor and Balotelli up front and shorn of Tevez and de Jong, his pack of tigers, Mancini backed this up with Richards in the back line and Boateng on the wrong side. If he is going to play a midfield four, then Johnson must be included. Since his arrival, Milner has flattered to deceive, putting in some good work against Chelsea but not carrying the fight to anyone else from centre midfield. Maybe some bench time is needed here.
An end-to-end start culminated in Spearman for some reason launching himself into a tackle, buying Silva's dummy and taking away his legs. Easy call for the ref. Adebayor stepped up and in true Tevez tradition spotted the keeper heading off to one side of the goal and calmly slotted the ball in the opposite corner of the net.
This should have been the launching pad for a comfortable away win of the type that you expect from teams at the top of the league. Not so with City. We continued to trade blows in midfield, not easy when you are minus de Jong and then within seven minutes succumbed to a raid down our right, two quick passes circumnavigated the static Richards, as I said, found out again, and Milijas slotted home the equaliser in a fashion that looked more like a snooker shot that something from a football match.
After that the house of cards started to tumble with some kami-kaze stuff at the back, looking nothing like the miserly defence that started the season.
Things went from bad to worse at the start of the second half when a shot at goal from outside the box saw Kolo Toure neatly head it into the path of Edwards who coolly angled an exquisite pass-shot away from Hart and into the bottom corner. Why does Silva not get these opportunities?
Excellently taken and once again highlighting the defensive fragility that has come to beset City.
A couple of chances went begging, Adebayor missing one, but our attack looked bereft of ideas until Johnson was introduced. The impact player made an immediate impact and tried to do for City what Jarvis had achieved for Wolves, and surely if we are to get best out of Balotelli, then some service from wide out is needed to supplement the through balls from Silva.
But having set up a great opportunity for Adebayor who promptly shovelled it over the bar, that seemed to be that. Balotelli and Zabaleta picked up late yellow cards as Wolves hung on for dear life and a quality victory for them. And this week we can't hide behind only having ten men!
I am having difficulty with team selections that involve playing someone out of position to accommodate Richards. For me I would have played Boateng there and Zabaleta at left back. Zaba might be out of position on the left but he won't let you down, he has the correct work ethic.
Milner might need to be victim too. He huffs and puffs but for me he is not blowing down the houses. Barry is looking a little short too at present, so I am pleased to see that Michael Johnson is getting close to fitness. If he can stay fit and injury-free he will shake up both the ex-Villa contingent.
Although we get a welcome break in Poland this week, next Sunday's match at West Brom will be no cakewalk. They play some excellent stuff and it is a ground where City traditionally does not do well and is not one for the 'typical City' approach. If some of these multi-millionn pound stars don't put it in next weekend then some of them should be left out for the Derby.
On a final note it can't have escaped the attention of Ashbuton Grove's finest that Mr Clattenburg had another away-day in Manchester yesterday. So come on you gooners, explain the second goal to me? Did not Mr Clattenburg once again favour the bigger of the two teams? Answers on a postcard.