Published on February 12th, 2015 | by Daniel Cheeseman0
Stoke City 1-4 Manchester City | Daniel Cheeseman
“Not perfect, but much better”
It might not have been the best performance we’ve ever seen from the Blues, and you could say that it was quite a flattering scoreline in the end, but one thing’s for sure – it was a big improvement on what we’ve been watching over the past few weeks.
I thought we were quite lucky not to be at least a goal and a man down within the first 30 minutes, as not only were the defence all over the place again, but James Milner’s hand ball which prevented Peter Crouch’s goal should have resulted in a red card and a penalty.
The absence of both Martin Demichelis and Gael Clichy didn’t help the situation either, as one of those two usually acts as the “steady Eddie” in defence when things start to get frantic, and so I think we were very fortunate to stay at 0-0 for as long as we did.
It took a moment of individual brilliance from Sergio Aguero to finally give the Blues the boost they needed just after the half hour mark, but it was quickly cancelled out a few minutes later after a poorly defended cross was converted by Peter Crouch.
As for Sergio’s disallowed goal near the end of the first half, I thought he was extremely unlucky, but you can judge that for yourself:
While in the rule book it might state that they technically made the right decision, the way I see it is if you’re going to be so pedantic about something that obscure, then you’re going to be giving out fouls and handballs left, right and centre. I’m not as bothered about the decision itself, it’s just the consistency of referees these days that really winds me up, especially when it’s at a crucial moment in the game like it was yesterday.
Right or wrong, you could tell that the incident had left a sour taste in the team’s mouths as they left for half time, and it seemed like the Blues were going to re-emerge from the tunnel still feeling bitter after the break, but to everyone’s surprise – things got a lot better.
There was a new-found confidence from City right from the word go in the second half, and it didn’t take long for them to capitalise on that confidence as James Milner calmly headed home after some mesmeric build-up play from David Silva and Samir Nasri.
I think it’s safe to say that not many of us were expecting the Blues start the way they did after half time, as nothing they did in the first 45 minutes suggested otherwise, but maybe for once they had a “hairdryer” treatment from Mr. Pellegrini in the dressing room? Or perhaps it was Vincent Kompany that stepped up and motivated the team? Who knows, but whatever happened – it worked!
That doesn’t mean to say that we weren’t perfect in the second half either, and there are still some issues that need to be addressed. We looked very vulnerable again from set pieces and were arguably lucky to avoid a red card again after Eliaquim Mangala clumsily brought down Stoke’s last man, but I suppose on the whole there were lots less mistakes than normal, and on this occasion the positives outweighed the negatives in the second half.
Overall I’ve got to say that it was a much, much better performance from the Blues, and it just goes to show that if they’re in the right frame of mind and start to believe in their own abilities again, it IS possible to win a league game without the help of Yaya Toure!
We have a 10-day break now until we play Newcastle at the Etihad, so let’s hope they do their research during this time and realize what they did RIGHT against Stoke and how they can carry it on into their next game!