Published on September 19th, 2013 | by Ian Cheeseman0
Plzen Match Review
That was more like it!
Sporting their all white kit, the Blues effectively made Viktoria Pilsen raise their white flag in the Champions League.
The team selected by Manuel Pellegrini was exactly the team I thought he’d pick, which sort of proves, despite the denials, that he’d saved a couple of key players for this game, the players being Fernandinho, Dzeko and Aguero.
There were five changes in all so arguably Jesus Navas was saved; I’m not sure that’s right in his case, and while Vincent Kompany might have played on Saturday, had the derby and the Stoke game been the other way around, I suspect he was protected for both games and that an appearance at Stoke might have set him back.
The pre-match edition of Blue Tuesday, included a lively discussion about the merits of the club apparently prioritising the Champions League, with the majority of those who contacted the programme, possibly the long standing Blues, preferring domestic success to European glory.
The corporate view seems to prefer the opportunity to make a mark internationally to boost the long term target of expanding the appeal of the City brand.
It goes without saying that we all want success in both competitions, in fact I even want it in the League Cup, though I might be prepared to admit I might be in a minority of one.
Yaya Toure was back to his best in Pilsen, his goal was sublime, but in truth my praise is based more on the view that he was back in that position ten yards further forward, and he was far more dynamic than he’s been for a while.
City should have been leading comfortably long before they eventually broke through, thanks to a cool finish by the Bosnian Diamond Edin Dzeko. Sergio Agueroooo bagged one as well, and he looked back to his best.
Earlier in the day I’d watched the u19s beat Plzen 4-1, Jack Byrne was the player that caught my eye, and as usual Marcos Lopes. The coaching staff are always reluctant to name individuals, but I reckon those two – yes I know Lopes played and scored against Watford for the first team – will be the next to knock on the door.
I’d describe the quality of the performance as “holistic” – you could definitely see the similarity with the first team philosophy.
The atmosphere in the brewery town,where the original Pils was formulated, was relaxed and friendly, my final meal before the match was in a pub taken over by Blues; great atmosphere!
What was the best part of the trip, the pork knuckle I enjoyed with my mates on the Monday night, the lager I sampled fresh from the barrel, or City’s two impressive wins in the Czech Republic? As that irritating Geordie fella says on Big Brother, “You decide”.
Written by Ian Cheeseman