Date:Saturday January 17 2009
The City of Manchester
Attendance: 41, 262
Manchester City had lady luck on their side as what looked like a good performance by City turned into pure panic and mayhem when the not so reliable Dunne got sent down the tunnel for kicking out at Egyptian Zaki.
Debutante Bridge received a great ovation by his new fans and was already pleasing the fans within the first couple of minutes. Bridge managed to shut down Melchiot who gave away a throw from which the fit again Shaun Wright-Phillips went close to flicking the ball past Kirkland.
Robinho then spurned two great opportunities. Elano`s world-class pass found Robinho who was more focussed on the defender chasing him than the goalkeeper and miss-hit his shot and the ball flashed wide of the post. Elano who was looking quite impressive managed to find his fellow Brazilian again, whose managed to chip the ball over the keeper and was looking like a certain goal until Titus Bramble came and cleared the ball off the line.
City then had another chance that really should have been converted. Shaun Wright-Phillips crossed the ball to the head of Sturridge but he managed to miss from about 3-yards out. City continued to dominate proceedings. Both Sturridge and Shaun Wright-Phillips were testing the Wigan defence with mazy runs and long-ranged shots.
Wigan did manage to put together a decent attack on the 38th minute. Future Spurs midfielder Palacios managed to find the target but Joe Hart managed to keep the ball out.
Halftime drew to a close in quiet fashion and at this stage I was just beginning to get the feeling it was going to be one of those days.
Half Time: Manchester City 0 Wigan 0.
The second half really started the way the first ended. Good passing from Man City led to a good confidence building process in which City did manage to profit from.
Fine work from Sturridge on the right saw Scharner`s header fall straight to the right-back come defensive mid, Zabaleta. He managed to control the ball on his knee before unleashing an unstoppable volley that scraped past the post and into the net.
But like everything associated with City, what goes up generally seems to come back down and that was the case here. Within a minute of taking the lead, Dunne and Zaki went up for a flying ball and as a conclusion saw Dunne clutching his face on the floor. However all that pain in his face must have sent him crazy as he lashed his foot at Zaki who made the most of the contact but succeeded in his acting mission as Dunne received a straight red.
How many times is this man going to ruin and destroy what could have been an easy game for us! I was a big fan of Dunne leading up to this year, but he keeps making mistakes after another. Garrido replaced Sturridge as City began the process of "parking their buss".
Wigan began piling on the pressure and were claiming a handball a few minutes after Dunne`s departure, but Elano had managed to chest the ball down and clear the danger without the use of his arm. A scrappy encounter followed as City failed to clear their lines which allowed Melchiot to spin on the ball before firing straight at Zabaleta. Robinho then joined Dunne in the book, but for only a yellow after holding back Cattermole.
City did however manage to make the one-way traffic half for at least a moment. SWP broke forward from midfield and unleashed a shot that flew wide with eight minutes left.
If you thought Sturridge`s missed header from three yards out was bad enough, you haven`t seen anything yet. A Cattermole header rebounded off the bar and fell to Zaki who was literally a couple of yards out with Hart on the floor, but he managed to header the ball over the bar? This is something to watch out for on MOTD or any football highlight program. Simply mystifying to how he managed to not score.
Joe Hart managed to save the day with a flying save from Melchiot`s header before Wigan had one last attack from a corner. Kirkland came up for it, but City broke and Elano`s shot from the halfway line went wide when surely he should have found the target at least after quite a good game for City.
Final Score: Manchester City 1 Wigan 0.
Hart, Richards, Dunne (c), Onuoha, Bridge, Kompany, Zabaleta, Elano, SWP, Robinho, Sturridge (Garrido 60).
Subs: Schmeichel, Vassell, Fernandes, Weiss, Jo, Caicedo.
Kirkland, Bramble (Camara), Taylor (de Ridder 58), Scharner, Figueroa (Kapo 74), Melchiot (c), Cattermole, Valencia, Palacios, Zaki, Heskey.
Subs: Kingson, Brown, Boyce, Edman.
I though that overall City where awesome. In the first half their attacking play was good and when made to by Dunne, their defence stood strong. Robinho needs to find his finishing again and Dunne either needs to step up or leave, but overall this would have been a game we would have normally lost under Hughes so I am going to celebrate this victory with a nice beer. Cheers!
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Date:Saturday January 17 2009
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