Writer: Tranmere Loyal
Date:Sunday February 26 2012
There is nothing like the rumours of a Tevez return to reignite your strikers. There is nothing like the true return of Yaya Toure to reignite your team.
It cannot have gone unnoticed that once Yaya found his way home from the African Cup of Nations, Manchester City have once again struck a rich vein of form with nine goals in three matches.
Similarly with the kiss and make up antics of Tevez and Mancini in a week where the Manager admitted 'We need Carlos for the run-in' one of Balotelli's fireworks has been lit under the forward line.
This match was never going to be in doubt. It was a question of how hungry City were and how many they'd score. the Bookies fancies Balotelli to score first and 3-0 City. Result duly delivered.
With Aguero's early goal against Porto fresh in their minds, the blues went hunting straight from kick-off and mad Marion let Robinson know he was about in the first minute when he almost fired City in front.
From then on the blue waves were that constant you expected to see surfers on them. Attempts on goal flooded in from incessant City attacking, whilst at the other end the dangerous Yak ploughed a lone furrow.
Robinson made a couple of decent saves notably from Mario and Johnson whilst the rest of the attack failed to take advantage of what came their way.
Enter Yaya Toure.Picking Hoillet's pocket in his own half on the half hour, he quickly moved the ball onto pass master Silva who already knew that Kolarov was steaming up on the outside. He found him almost without looking. Kolarov's first time cross went straight to the toes of the lurking Balotelli who promptly turned it into the net. Cue his new t-shirt declaring 'Raffaella ti amo'. Marion had put in a thirty yard run to get in position to turn in the cross. The 'Balotelli' song was in full voice along with the Poznan as City's fans celebrated the return to the Premier League of their hero.
Blackburn, whose possession stats had become something of an embarrassment in this match simply couldn't get the ball and if they did they couldn't keep it. The only surprise was that at half time the score was only 1-0.
Whether coming out early for the second half was designed to issue a statement to City, who knows? But once the Blues took the field, Rovers may have forgotten that they were entering the dangerous territory of City's prime scoring time.
And once again City did not disappoint. A trademark inswinging corner from El Magico caught Robinson by surprise and it rebounded to the Mighty Atom, who once again didn't need asking twice as he blasted in his 21st goal of the season.
With nearly an hour gone Rovers had hardly been in City's half as the Blues clocked up nearly 80% possession. The result was not in doubt.
Johnson had tried hard but didn't really get going. He warmed Robinson's fingers once with a typical cut inside and shot but for much of his time on the field he simply kept Rovers stretched in both midfield and at the back. He made way for Pizarro after 70 minutes before the dominant Balotelli was given his ovation a few minutes later, Edin Dzeko his replacement.
Dzeko's first involvement saw him collect the ball in the centre circle and play it out to his one-two friend, Pizarro. In Silva fashion, Pizarro too had picked up Kolarov's overlap down the left and delivered the ball into the space.
This time, Kolarov's early cross was high and right onto the head of Dzeko who's text book downward header ended the story.
And then as the clock ticked towards the 93rd minute, Blackburn finally had a shot that could have resulted in a goal and it was the hitherto unemployed Yakubu who fired it goalwards to raise Joe Hart from his slumber.
This is the stuff champions are made of. Easily gathering three valuable home points whilst ending the equivalent of a full season of home matches with 18 home wins on the trot.
Was it Dom Collins, the bard of Ancoats, who once sang 'We don't ask for much and we don't want a lot, we're content if we win two games on the trot'. How times have changed at planet Etihad.
How can you select a man of the match out of a more or less complete team performance?
Unfortunately Hart isn't in contention. He could have been sat in the standing eating a pie and he would have been working harder than he did on the field. Zabaleta was excellent and tidy in all of his work. Always ready to step into the breach and a true professional. Kompany and Lescott hardly put a foot wrong and even Kolarov, actually granted MoM excelled down the left on a day when his defensive skills or sometimes shortage of them were not needed.
De Jong looks to be back to where he was this time last season. Apart from one raw tackle which could and should have conceded a penalty, his break-up play was superb, regaining possession for City almost at will and moving the ball on to the more creative elements alongside him.
Silva and Toure were simply exceptional. Toure collecting the opposition midfielders around him before quick-releasing Silva and Johnson to keep Rovers pinned back. It is no secret that the return of Toure means that once again can prepare his magic potions in unhurried surroundings plotting and changing the point of attack almost at will.
Johnson remains a mystery, perhaps trying too hard in many ways. He needs to step up now or he will spend more match time seated.
Aguero was simply magnificent again. All action hustle and bustle, scaring the giant defenders and too quick for everyone. Cut down time and again he simply gets up without histrionics and moves into the next space to generate the next chance.
And finally Super Mario. He too has stepped up everything about his game claiming his 13th goal of the season and working hard against hard working defenders.
So the Tevez return will stay on hold for another week or so as he runs himself back into contention. The mere spectre of Tevez on any City horizon has reminded the forwards that he is there and the immediate result was that all of them scored.
A Mancini masterclass perhaps?
Date:Sunday February 26 2012
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