Published on December 24th, 2013 | by Ian Cheeseman0
Who Needs Sunshine When City Have a Team of Winners
If City go on to win the Premier League this season, I’ll look back at this win at Fulham as being highly significant.
It’s not because it was away from home, and there has been much discussion, this season, about why performances have been so much better at the Etihad Stadium than on the road. It’s not because it was at Fulham, after all they’re the lowest scorers in the top flight and started the game in the bottom three. The reason I see this as such a significant victory is that it was a day when an undefined characteristic, the “xfactor” if you like, had to be shown, and was.
Over the years I’ve seen great teams win titles, sadly not City for so long, but they all have one thing in common, an ability to rise above adversity and win when there were plenty of excuses available, if they’d failed.
This game was played on one of those days that we spoke about back in August when Newcastle were swept aside with ease, when the sun was shining (yes I know that game was a night match but you know what I mean – don’t be pedantic!) and the critics were saying things like “let’s see how this team of overpaid, prima donnas play on a wet Tuesday night in January when it’s cold and wet; they won’t like that”.
Again, I know this was a Saturday afternoon in December but this was “that day” with gale force winds and non-stop rain, and they even had a newish manager in charge and the advantage of the wind belonged to the home side in the second half.
The Fulham supporters had also been given free “clackers” – plastic “fan shaped” things that made noise when you banged them together, aimed at helping the home fans make more noise when they got behind their team.
City were 2-0 up by the break, even though the Blues weren’t quite at their best, but they had the wind at their back, and as I asked Fred Eyre during my commentary, “would Fulham have the advantage of the wind in the second half?” His answer was “yes”, and so it proved.
The Cottagers came out fired up, and due to City’s problems at right back, where Gael Clichy did his best, but on this occasion was out played by Taarabt, they narrowed the gap, before levelling through a wind assisted freak miskick by Vincent Kompany.
This was that moment, how would this talented team cope in adversity? I looked at Samir Nasri and David Silva and thought, how will they cope with this? It wasn’t exactly the South of France or sunny Spain.
This was where I was really impressed. City stepped up through the gears, when a team with less belief and will to win (and skill) might have surrendered, but not these Blues. With the rain and wind lashing into their faces, Silva sent Navas clear, with a brilliant pass, and City were back ahead. Then came the pass of the season from Negredo, better perhaps than even Silva’s effort for City’s sixth at Old Trafford, to find James Milner for the clincher.
It was a day when City could have slipped up, if they had, they could have blamed a freak own goal, an injury crisis at right back, or the freakish weather conditions, but they didn’t need to (and I bet excuses never crossed their minds) because they stood up and were counted.
This could prove to be one of City’s most significant wins of the season – who needs sunshine when City have a team of winners like the team of 2013/2014?
Now it’s on to Liverpool on Boxing Day, whatever the weather, I’m looking forward to another sunny City performance.