Published on October 31st, 2013 | by Ian Cheeseman0
Post Newcastle Thoughts – Ian Cheeseman
If there was ever a doubt about the qualities brought to City’s team by David Silva, the League Cup win at Newcastle should make it clear. He changed the game in a very positive way, and I believe he was the difference between the two teams.
Cabaye and Ben Arfa came on for Newcastle and didn’t make any significant difference, despite their undoubted qualities, and to be honest, City had been uninspiring until Silva’s introduction.
Although it was the Spanish wizard that caught my eye, it seems that the vast majority of people, media and spectators alike, only had eyes for Costel Pantilimon. How would he play? Was he ready to step into the spotlight, so tightly focused on Joe Hart in recent days?
It seems that the verdict of Sky’s man-of-the-match selectors, the MEN’s poll and therefore most fans was that Pantilimon is the heir apparent. He made on very good save in the first half and another in the second – there was also a flap at a cross which might have been costly, but wasn’t – other than that, he was steady and reliable, but didn’t have a lot to do.
Was that enough to get the Premier League number 1 position against Norwich, I suspect it will, and I noticed a couple of players went to embrace him on the final whistle, as did City’s goalkeeping coach and there was a very positive reaction from Manuel Pellegrini, despite his reluctance to say much after the game.
Away from goalkeeping, Stefan Jovetic’s problems are starting to be a concern, just 10 minutes on the field this time, and now presumably a few more weeks on the sidelines, when is his City career going to get started? I noticed Joleon Lescott being coach from the sidelines by the City boss, it felt uneasy watching it because we all know that he’s no where near first choice, and I instinctively felt that Pellegrini was over his shoulder, never a nice feeling from a boss in those types of circumstances.
I desperately was Jack Rodwell to bloom. Last season, he showed glimpses of his enormous potential as a box to box midfielder, but this season, despite being apparently fit, we’ve seen very little of him.
I believe he’s grown a couple of inches in the last few months, which might have contributed to his hamstring problems, but if he’s fit, why is he not on the bench, at least.
Another player that is puzzling me at the moment is James Milner. I’d expected him to start at Chelsea, and at Newcastle he was working hard down the left, where he’s not as effective.
It all turned out well, in the end at Newcastle with the enigmatic Edin Dzeko crossing first for Jovetic to score before exploiting the defeated home team to score one himself – it’s just a shame that it had needed an extra half hour of football, added on to a game that barely deserved 90 minutes.
I’ve got to explain one thing, to those listening to our commentary on BBC Radio Manchester, the reason I burst into laughter part way through the first half.
Sitting alongside me, as usual, was Fred Eyre. Several times during the half, having lowered his microphone when not speaking, he’d quickly raise it to his mouth, but constantly hit it against the awkwardly positioned Perspex sheet, in front of us in the press box. It was driving him crazy, and his facial expressions were becoming more and more tortured as the listeners kept hear the clang of his mike. Eventually, I couldn’t control myself and could help laughing. I tried everything, looking away, describing the action, but couldn’t stop myself, which meant he started as well. Eventually I got back in control, until he did it the next time. I was dreading every time, but we got through it all, just as City did on the pitch, eventually.
Sadly, at one stage, I thought the microphone incident was going to be the only entertainment of the evening until up stepped David Silva.
Next up its Norwich, a team we generally do well against, apart from the last match of last season. Here’s a stat to cheer you up though, as City sit outside the top four going into that game. If you compare like for like fixtures from last season to this, City are 1 point up on their tally from last season. If the Blues beat Norwich at the Etihad this season, which of course we fully expect them to do, City will be four points up on last season, ahead of a trip to Sunderland. I’m a great believer in judging like for like fixtures, as opposed to just numbers of games played!
One last thing. I interview the great Uwe Rosler on Wednesday, we broadcast the interview at half time in the Newcastle game and I was contacted by loads of people who enjoyed it.
It was about his book, Breaking Down Walls, which I read on my recent trip to Moscow.
The book is superb, as was the interview. Uwe is hoping to join me and Shaun Goater on the Blue Tuesday after the Norwich game, so you’ll hear him live and hopefully I can add the per recorded interview to the podcast, so that’s well worth a download from BBC.co.uk/radiomanchester after next Tuesday.
– Ian Cheeseman