Vital Football

Latest Manchester City News

The Ped Report Southampton 3-1 City

The Ped Report  Southampton 3-1 City

Mancini's Magical Mystery Selections took centre stage ahead of today's encounter with Southampton. With Yaya returning from African Cup of Nations duty ahead of schedule, he was at once restored to the midfield that needed him last week against Liverpool, but with Kolo also back, Garcia was given the centre back berth alongside Lescott. There was no place for Kompany who travelled but wasn't in the squad and I don't know if Nastasic is injured but neither he nor Tevez were on the bench either.

Inexplicably, Milner didn't get a starting berth either, the manager going with serial underachiever Nasri. So no forwards on the bench to cover for Dzeko and Aguero, but at least City were forced to play my preferred forwards from the start.

This was an unexpectedly tricky fixture at home on the season's starting day with City scraping home 3-2. The Saints are always a handful in their own stadium old or new so the Blues would have to be on their collective toes today. Indeed, the Saints went into an NFL-style pre-match huddle to get themselves in the mood!

The Saints were clearly instructed to close City's space down and hold a high line. That is not always the best tactic against City as it gives Merlin license to thread his passes through for Aguero to use his pace. City too were pushing up so the match looked as though it was being played around the half way line.

But after seven minutes the evening's work had a long feel to it as of all people Barry got caught in possession by Puncheon, City were caught too narrow but a combined block by Yaya and Hart kept it out only for the ball to return to Puncheon who promptly punched it home.

City then seemed to take over the match without causing any trouble at all at the Southampton end of things. Zaba was working his socks off down the right with Nasri often ignoring his runs, turning inside into trouble. Indeed he must have thought he was playing for Arsenal he passed to that many red shirts. And then after 23 minutes Southampton struck again. A fairly routine shot by Lambert saw Hart let it through his arms and legs to the unexpectant Davis who had the simplest of tasks in slotting it home.

This now had nightmare written all over it. City had a lot of the ball but the nets needed to be on the touchlines, not at each end. Not a thing was happening up front, when finally after 38 minutes Nasri found the blue shirt of Silva who at last read Zabaleta's run and played him in. As usual Zaba created the confusion and slid the ball along the six yard line for Dzeko to elicit an improvised neat chip to reduce the arrears.

Ahead of half time Silva should have levelled it up but his shot was tame. Also ahead of half time Southampton were unfortunate not to get a penalty when Yaya brought someone down from behind and the ball went for a corner off his arm.

It got worse as the second half started. Southampton once again were forcing issues and a break down the left saw an inbound low cross turned into his own net beautifully by Barry. Mr Dependable often eulogised in these pages was having a nightmare, having now been responsible for handing the Saints two goals and leaving his colleagues with a mountain to climb. Mancini like us couldn't believe what he was watching. Everything was turning to rubbish before our very eyes. No Tevez to turn to and two strikers who had only had one sniff between them in fifty minutes.

If City could get out of this prison it would be a miracle. When would Nasri's number come up so that at least the Blues would have eleven on the pitch?

Aguero finally got in a shot on 55 minutes but it was well saved by Boruc. That proved to be City's last sight of goal. At least Milner was warming up, now would the no.8 come up on the fourth official's board. Yes! For me, now it would have been three at the back, put Garcia in front with Barry and let Yaya loose to help out up front. But Southampton showed no signs of the sheepish surrender they put in against Stretford earlier this season and City were simply being overrun in the middle of the park. They were playing City at their own game but simply, more effectively. City's game had an air of desperation about it whereas the Saints had an assuredness about them that didn't tell me they were going to let this go.

Next to be replaced was Lescott who headed for an ice bag, with Kolarov coming on. It was definitely 3-5-2 now but with Garcia still in there and no recognised central defender. No wonder Mancini was going greyer by the minute and poor old Kiddo not doing much better.

Mancini's final throw of the dice saw Maicon replace Silva. Why? Maybe it is a new Plan B to use two wide men to get something into Dzeko? City really needed a laser direction finder as the Southampton legs were in no mood to fly the white flag in what was becoming City's worst performance and result of the Mancini era..

Nothing continued to happen for the Blues despite 5 minutes of stoppage time. Let's make no mistake about this, City were outplayed and out thought by a team that cost comparatively nothing, but a team that gave everything it had for 97 minutes. City had clearly not expected this and clearly had not prepared for this. You start a match with your best available team. You do not leave out centre backs and play a midfielder there unless there is no alternative. Kolo might not be everybody's cup of tea but he is a centre back. For me, also the best available eleven today did not include Nasri. He has done nothing this season and always flatters to deceive. This game needed the Milner-Zabaleta axis down the right, not Nasri. At times Dzeko and Aguero were isolated, so send Yaya in there.

Southampton were simply superb in the effort they put in. City helped them out with the goals but this is a serious defeat for City. If last week against Liverpool was last season's Sunderland at home, this was worse than Swansea away. I have complained about the fixture gods putting Stretford before City but when City needed to play first they got their chance and blew it. Sunday, they will find themselves 12 points behind and all that remains is for Bernard Halford to get out the Dura Glit and send the trophy with G4S to the other end of The Mancunian Way.

Mancini doesn't need a hairdryer tonight he needs a space heater and to start pointing it at himself first. There was no urgency in this team today, no motivation and very little football. They got what they deserved, in fact they didn't even deserve to lose 3-1. Hart's comic cuts laziness in dealing with the second goal summed it up. City were second to the balls they were first for. The game showed and highlighted the lack of pace around the team, the lack of drive from midfield and the lack of an alternative. If Mancini plays another of his selection tricks next week and they get knocked out of the FA Cup not only will the season come to a shuddering halt, but so could his tenure.

When the Pedmachine was younger he dreamed of City having just one of the type of player they have today. Now with a team full of them that has let him down, it is no wonder he is down in the dumps. City have had this coming this season and now need to listen to their manager's decree that they need to win every match and with Chelsea up next having won 4-1 today does it look like happening?

Today the Saints went marching in and the Blues went marching out.

all times East Manchester

Su 17Feb 14h00 Leeds United, The Etihad, FAC5
Su 24Feb 13h30 Chelsea, The Etihad, PL
Mo 04Mar 20h00 Aston Villa, Villa Park, PL
Sa 09Mar 15h00 Wigan, The Etihad, PL
Sa 16Mar 12h45 Everton, Goodison Park, PL
Sa 30Mar 15h00 Newcastle, The Etihad, PL

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

Date:Saturday February 9 2013
Time: 8:00PM


Another on the ball report from Ped. A catastrophic result.
Johnny Baguette
10/02/2013 07:56:00
Poor doesn't begin to describe that performance
10/02/2013 09:28:00
Ped, Bob says that he did not select Nastasic because he only returned from his international on Friday. Totally agree with your report, mystery in the team picks.
Buzz Lightyear
10/02/2013 11:16:00
We were very lucky that you had a really off day but our game plan will have helped. Yaya looked really jaded.
SFC Forever
10/02/2013 12:01:00
We really gift wrapped them 3 goals for you SFC, that said it was nothing less than Saints deserved for their excellent attitude and discipline. Yaya was well off the pace, he couldn't pass wind yesterday but he wasn't alone in that regard, our passing in general was atrocious.
10/02/2013 12:13:00
Watching Pochettino's La Liga style tactics made me realise anew how useless we are against teams that press and harry us. We'd probably finish 4th in this season's La Liga as many teams there play like that.
10/02/2013 23:16:00
Page 1/1
  1. 1

Login to post a comment

Recent Manchester City Articles

Premier League Will Re-Brand In 2016/17

The Premier League have today confirmed that they are rebranding from the 2016-17 season.

Free Entry: Man Utd U21s v Man City U21s

Entry to watch Manchester United U21s play Manchester City U21s is absolutely free at Leigh Sports Village this Thursday, 11th February 2016, 8pm kick off.

Tactics: End Of An Era Of Possession?

After another chastening weekend City fans find their team sat in 4th place in the league and facing the prospect of a promising season crumbling to dust unless...

(Video) Who Would You Have Back Today?

Manchester City has released some really class players in recent years, however, out of the ones who are still playing at a reasonably high level who would you have back today?

Archived VMC Articles

VMC articles from

Site Journalists

Johnny Baguette

Current Poll (see more polls)

How many trophies will MCFC win this season?
Suggested By: Tudor
Premier League12%
Champions League0%
League Cup10%
FA Cup5%
Two of the above10%
Three of the above0%
All four21%
City will not win anything this season42%
ScoopDragon Premier League Network Sites

League Table

# Team P W D L Pts. GD
1 Leicester City 25 15 8 2 53 20
2 Spurs 25 13 9 3 48 26
3 Arsenal 25 14 6 5 48 17
4 Man City 25 14 5 6 47 21
5 Man Utd 25 11 8 6 41 10
6 West Ham 25 10 9 6 39 9
7 Southampton 25 10 7 8 37 9
8 Everton 25 8 11 6 35 12
9 Liverpool 25 9 8 8 35 -4
10 Watford 25 9 6 10 33 0
11 Stoke 25 9 6 10 33 -7
12 Crystal Palace 25 9 5 11 32 -4
13 Chelsea 25 7 9 9 30 -2
14 WBA 25 7 8 10 29 -9
15 AFC Bournemouth 25 7 7 11 28 -12
16 Swansea 25 6 9 10 27 -9
17 Newcastle 25 6 6 13 24 -18
18 Norwich 25 6 5 14 23 -20
19 Sunderland 25 5 5 15 20 -19
20 Aston Villa 25 3 7 15 16 -20
Latest F1 News
Latest Vital Boxing News

Manchester City Fixtures (view all)

Feb 14 2016 4:15PM : Tottenham Hotspur (H)
Barclays Premier League
Feb 20 2016 3:00PM : Chelsea (a)
FA Cup
Feb 28 2016 12:00PM : Newcastle United (a)
Barclays Premier League
Feb 28 2016 4:30PM : Liverpool (a)
Capital One Cup
Mar 2 2016 8:00PM : Liverpool (a)
Barclays Premier League
Mar 5 2016 3:00PM : Aston Villa (H)
Barclays Premier League

Recent Manchester City Results (view all)

Vital Members League Table

2.Buzz Lightyear205
4.Johnny Baguette141
10.Colin Is The King20