Writer: Tranmere Loyal
Date:Sunday February 20 2011
Did the result flatter to deceive? Who knows, but it is time that City showed these teams what it's all about.
With 5000 expectant away fans housed in the South Stand, City started in lacklustre fashion, often finding County players with poor passing. Nothing looked inspirational as yet another change to the centre back pairing added to confusion, the central midfielders not knowing whether to stick or twist and only Silva showing anything like real class.
For the first half hour that's the way it looked. City were lucky not to be 0-1 behind when a Hawley screamer hit the inside of the post and rebounded straight back out.
This at least sparked some interest. Balotelli and Silva should probably have earned penalties which were reduced to corners and it was from one of these that Vieira finally opened the scoring. This started to beg the question as to when City last scored from a corner. Was it Dave Watson or Dave Ewing?
City went into the break 1-0 up but Dzeko could and should have been lighting up the scoreboard, making the game comfortable. Full marks to the Orient keeper, Nelson, who had a great first half.
Just ahead of the hour, same again. Same personnel same result. £50million of forwards on the field and two goals from...Vieira! So after looking beleagured in the first half he was truly becoming City's hero.
An ugly clash of heads saw Balotelli head for his customary place on the treatment table. He was later taken to hospital by ambulance.
Enter Tevez and enter the endgame for brave County. Tevez was just too good for them. He scored his 50th goal for City in true Tevez style, rounding the keeper and placing a cute shot into the back of the net.
He then turned provider for Dzeko, who this time didn't miss with a six-yard header from a pinpoint peach of a cross. Finally a third goal from a corner in one match leaving Richards thundering home left footed from around 12 yard. In amongst all this Dzeko clean through 1-2-1 with the keeper didn't have a scooby what to do and shot straight at him. This more than anything else showed his lack of confidence.
Match over 5-0 City, could have been 9-2.
Hart didn't get up to much dealing with anything that came his way, but he was beaten by the Halwey effort and saved by the post.
Richards was the pick of the back line. He moved forward at pace, defended well (yes I did say that) and scored a beauty. He is proving me wrong. Great to see. He looks like just what we need at right back. All we need now is Boateng and Kompany in the centres unlike todays pairing of Toure and Lescott. For me Dedryck Boyata is better than these two. Toure made some good blocks early on and Lescott won a few headers, but neither are convincing are they? Zaba on the left corner did his stuff in his usual way.
Yaya and Vieira is not the world's best centre midfield pairing, one old and probably past it (but netted two goals) the other struggling a bit to get there (but not homesick ..yet). Yaya tried a couple of runs but his passing was wayward. The only thing that Vieira did right was score his goals.
Silva ran the midfield, finding space time and again and sending in his killer passes. However Dzeko was short of confidence and Balotelli looked unmoved by it all. Out left Kolarov tried to make things work but didn't find his range today.
A satisfactory performance and an unanticpated but expected result. We march on to play Villa then possibly Everton in a run of home matches that won't see us at our houses much over the next 2/3 weeks.
So Aris are next. They have sold 3500 tickets. This will be interesting if the away leg is anything to go by. They should be beatable but we must pick a team to win it, not a B team.
Finally a mention for our non-friends at Ashburton Grove. How wonderful to see Leyton Orient give Arsenal a bit of a fright today. One day you beat Barcelona, albeit it with the help of Italy's equivalent of Mark Clattenburg. (quite how a goal is given offside when there is no-one offside and a defender handled the ball in the box in the build up, remains a mystery) and the next you struggle against the mighty Os. No doubt it was the pitch or the fact they'd heard they drawn Streford's finest and didn't fancy a good kicking off Fletcher and Scholes. So now they have the opportunity of beating United in the League and knocking them out of the Cup. Dream on Gooners. You will win the Rooney Cup and nothing else.
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Date:Sunday February 20 2011
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