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Dzeko justifies Mancini's faith

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Phil McNulty | 09:17 UK time, Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Ewood Park

Edin Dzeko was a grateful beneficiary of the turmoil that swirled around Fernando Torres as the Chelsea striker struggled to adapt to life at Stamford Bridge.

As a harsh spotlight was trained on the Spaniard and his quest for a goal following his £50m move from Liverpool, Dzeko was able to lurk beneath the radar as he toiled away fruitlessly following his £27m move to Manchester City from Wolfsburg in January.

Torres, who had gone 732 minutes without a goal in Chelsea colours, emerged from the darkness and into the light with a strike against West Ham United on Saturday, turning attention towards Dzeko and his own efforts to hit the target in the Premier League.

And the Bosnian finally delivered when City needed him most against Blackburn Rovers.

If he was billed on arrival as the man whose goals would push City towards the Champions League, then he may just have lived up his label at Ewood Park.

Dzeko calmly slots home his first Premier League goal - photo: Reuters

It took Dzeko, who walked into Eastlands accompanied by a reputation as one of Europe's most feared marksmen, four months and 10 games to break his duck.

Like good comedy, however, the secret is in the timing - and City's fans filed out of Ewood Park smiling after his crucial intervention.

As for Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini, who has repeatedly stated his support for Dzeko, he will have taken extra satisfaction from the manner in which his faith was rewarded.

After Rovers were forced to dance to the tune of David Silva in the opening 20 minutes, the Spaniard rattling the woodwork and controlling everything like a master puppeteer, City began to struggle to impose themselves against Steve Kean's gallant Blackburn .

Sensing the growing prospect of an opportunity lost, Mancini called on Dzeko to replace Adam Johnson after 72 minutes.

And as with Torres on Saturday, Dzeko made a spectacular entrance, showing a sure touch and composure to take control of an attempted Phil Jones clearance and beat Blackburn keeper Paul Robinson within three minutes of coming on.

The Premier League table reflected the significance of the moment. City now have a four-point advantage over closest rivals Tottenham, who have yet to visit Eastlands.

This was not a sparkling City show but a demonstration of, as Mancini put it, "how to win the other way".

The Italian explained: "In the first half, we played a fantastic game. We should have scored two goals minimum. In the second half, the game changed, Blackburn played very strong and hard."

As for Dzeko, Mancini added: "I'm very happy for Edin because he deserves to score. He is a good player and a good man."

City won ugly, with Nigel de Jong outstanding, after their early flamboyance fizzled out but they have responded positively to that woeful 3-0 defeat by Liverpool a fortnight ago and are now favourites to reach the Champions League as reward for the vast Abu Dhabi investment in the club.

The promised land of the Champions League is in sight for Mancini: photo Getty

The smiling Dzeko looked like a large weight had been lifted from his shoulders as he strolled around the corridors of Ewood Park - and spoke like a man who believes his City career can now take flight.

"Today was very good," said the forward, who was watched by former England coach Steve McClaren, the man who rubber-stamped his move to City during his brief spell in the Bundesliga with Wolfsburg.

"I think it is a new beginning for me. I have confidence in myself but sometimes it is difficult. I am not the first one that didn't make the best of a move but I am happy now because I scored and helped my team.

"It's funny. I think Torres scored a lot of goals for Liverpool and changed his club and found it hard. I am happy for him because I know what the pressure is. But today I scored as well and I know that, in the future, there will be much better games for me."

Blackburn manager Kean is another man who knows what pressure is - and it grows with every game. He could take only small consolation from a display that showed plenty of character but lacked quality.

He was right to insist Blackburn were unlucky to be denied a penalty when City captain Vincent Kompany tangled with Jason Roberts in the first half and also complained that Mario Balotelli was standing in an offside position in front of goalkeeper Robinson when Dzeko scored the winner.

The worry, which also applied to fellow strugglers West Ham at Chelsea, is that, after playing badly and losing, Rovers have acquired the habit of playing well and losing - not a good one to form at this late stage and with survival at stake.

Kean was defiant but there is no escaping the growing sense around Ewood Park that Blackburn's Indian owners Venky's may have made a major misjudgement by thrusting the Scot into his first high-profile role after removing Sam Allardyce in December.

Allardyce's methods make him a divisive figure but he was working effectively and had restored stability at Ewood Park. Venky's may yet find they pay a heavy price for attempting to fix something that was not actually faulty.

A fight against relegation is tough enough for a manager with experience, doubly so for someone learning on the job - and these are tough times for Kean, with Blackburn currently in their worst run without a victory in 25 years, a sequence that stretched to 11 games following the defeat by City.

As for Mancini, he promised that City would reach the FA Cup final and the Champions League after the dismal showing at Anfield. Phase one is complete and Dzeko's release from his own personal torment took City closer to completing the second part of his manager's bold pledge.

One blot on a satisfying night for City were the chants from some of their followers about Manchester United and the Munich air disaster. They did great discredit to a fan base that is in large part exemplary, as they proved when honouring a minute's silence at Liverpool a fortnight ago.

Comments

Page 1 of 3

  • Comment number 1.

    Blackburn deserve to go down simply because their owners came in, had no idea of how to run a football club and made some completely rash decisions. I feel for the fans.

  • Comment number 2.

    Dzeko took City out of jail yesterday. And yes, it was to his convenience that all the spotlights were on Torres, up to now. While Torres represents undoubted quality, though, Dzeko has one more shadow in his CV. Last season, when Wolfsburg played a United side with Carrick and Fletcher in their defense, he failed to push United out of Champions League.

    The question is: is he a striker good enough for a club with undoubtedly the biggest wallet in football?

    It was a key match for both Blackburn and City. Champions League is much nearer City now.

  • Comment number 3.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 4.

    I think it is worth pointing out that this is Dzeko's fifth goal in City colours. The comparison with Torres is slightly tortuous.

  • Comment number 5.

    Good article - Dzeko has got the ball rolling and confidence will build until be becomes a formidable player in the league.

    However, and forgive me for doing this: "After Rovers were forced to dance to the tune of David Silva in the opening 20 minutes, the Spaniard rattling the woodwork and controlling everything like a master puppeteer, City began to struggle to impose themselves against Steve Kean's gallant Blackburn ."

    Surely this could have been edited? Not a well written sentence in my eyes :)

  • Comment number 6.

    Whilst far from a vintage performance last night, we did indeed, win ugly!

    I see no reason to apologize for this, it's a from of football that sometimes has to be played and if Arsenal were capable of doing it, then I feel they would have won the league already. United have won a number of games this season playing this way and been called solid....so the same should apply to City.

    It was a bit tough on Blackburn and I do hope they survive, despite the crazy decsion by the owners to dispense of Big Sam!!

    Last comment on the chants, please do not paint the vast majority of City fans this way. Yes we have a small number of idiots who persisit in this obscene stuff, but I do know that they are shouted down by City supporters as well. Indeed myself and a number of other fans did this at Wembley last week and will continue to do so until this element is removed!

  • Comment number 7.

    I think spurs have to beat chelsea this weekend otherwise city are nailed on for champions league football next season...

  • Comment number 8.

    Delighted with the result, although being a long standing City fan I don't doubt for a minute our capacity to self-destruct spectacularly when it comes to clinching fourth place in the league come the end of the season.

    Re. any offensive chants concerning the Munich Air Disaster, it's bang out of order. Regardless of which team was involved, this concerned the tragic death of mainly young, talented individuals with all the attendant grief for family members and friends (some of whom might well have been City fans, by the way) I earnestly hope and believe the vast majority of City fans will make it clear to the muppet minority that such behaviour is just plain wrong.

  • Comment number 9.

    One league goal in 4 months hardly warrants a canonising article...

    nor does it push them into the Champions League when their chief competition for 4th spot over the last few months appear to be running out of steam and handing it to them anyway....

    poor

  • Comment number 10.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 11.

    Journalists up and down the country will be gutted because the next 'flop' has scored. Now it will be Edin 'only 1 goal in 11 games' Dzeko I suspect, until the next victim is identified. There was no mention that it was 454 minutes of premier league football and this was his 5th goal overall. His first few games he played very well but then lost his confidence, but his hold up play is generally excellent, and I feel he will become an excellent fulcrum for Silva, Balotelli and Tevez(if he stays) to play off. I seem to remember Thierry Henry struggling initially. Be nice if he turns out half as good as him eh!

  • Comment number 12.

    The goal typified this season. Scored by a hitherto expensive individual flop for a team thats been an expensively assembled collective a flop, in a league thats as average as its ever been. It was an offside goal too!

    Roll on the end of the season!

  • Comment number 13.

    @ 7, fergie_time,

    I wish.
    Somehow, I feel Spurs will lose this weekend and all the noise about 4th sport will calm down. If anything, it will make the Spurs demand, for the City match against Stoke to be moved to another date, look even sillier.

  • Comment number 14.

    As #4 Banksie points out, the comparison is pretty false on a basic level really.

    Torres has only just scored in what is probably a better team than Man City, he is not moving to a new league and Torres' fee is a UK record.

    Man City as a club have struggled a bit of late whereas Chelsea have not. Dzeko is in a new league and indeed, on a personal level, a new country. Perhaps, as ever, it is the media that have dictated the agenda with comparisons and attention on Torres/little attention on Dzeko.

    Anyway, ignoring that, it was an important goal as Man City have toiled this season. They do now have the cushion over Spurs and that game against Spurs will be vital, as last season.

    I think Man City will get top 4 now and it will be interesting to see what that means for the playing staff, the manager and the club as a whole. Change is always interesting.

    I wonder if Man City will be called a 'breath of fresh air' as Spurs have been this season. (Though that phrase is use in the most odd ways sometimes.)

    As for Blackburn? Meh, they strike me as little different to Wigan really, through no fault of anyone's and if the local's won't turn up, I sometimes think, 'why should we'.

  • Comment number 15.

    #13 Football_UK

    Surely it looks as silly as it's going to already? Apart from being flawed, the suggestion is quite simply one that questions the integrity of those involved. Well done 'Arry!

  • Comment number 16.

    Another biased articule by Phil. Is Dezeko that good and worth his fee for scoring a goal that should have been ruled offside, if not for Balotelli then Robinson would have got it. Then he would have been called a failure again to produce in important games. Torress is a world class striker with natural ability to score week in week out in the prem, not only are Torres goals brilliant in execution but also he has amazing pace and balance on the ball. Alot of people seem to forget he suffered a very bad injury which few footballers recover from. Injury made Torres lose confidence, thats the simple reason. Dzeko is rubbish for his price and to be considered a top class Prem striker, and for one ball to land at his feet and placescore an illegal goal hardly warrants Phil to waste our time with his useless articles. I think in the Prem there is to much pressure for big money signings to deliver to quick, it is only the likes of Phil and other people who know nothing about football that expect footballers to knocking in hatricks every week. If i was the manager i would let them sit on the bench for the rest of the season and bring them in gradually as late subs. As a sub a footballer can learn so many things, the style of play, the tactics, how the management deal with in in game tactical changes. Torres is a January buy, he lacked confidence in teh turmoil which happened at Liverpool, injuries, Rafa leaving, and then hit with the biggest transfer fee and expected to score when he chooses. Also how can you disrespect Drogba, he is probably one of the best Strikers that the Prem has seen. The media is destroying football. There like the fat pig who stuffs there faces at a game with pies and beer and tells Rooney he is to slow. The irony of critics in football is richer than man city.

  • Comment number 17.

    I'm not sure about the data but were there 8000 seats empty yesterday from a key match for Blackburn when they fight against relegation?

  • Comment number 18.

    @ 15, MrBlueBurns,

    can you give me 1 (one) reason where the integrity of Stoke City has been compromised?

  • Comment number 19.

    Didn't think Dzeko looked outstanding yesterday but it was a big three points yesterday in their quest for the Champions League.

    I do think mentioning offensive chants is a slightly strange criticism of one club since sadly there are always idiots at every club and Man City fans showed outstanding respect to Munich prior to the match a few years back. There are Man Utd idiots who disrespect the Hillsborough disaster and Liverpool idiots who no doubt do the same for Munich. To try and claim it's only one club that has a problem with idiots offensive chanting is naive in the extreme.

  • Comment number 20.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 21.

    #19, who claimed it was one club? There aren't any chants about Hillsborough, that's more facebook warriors writing status updates - every club has this nasty element. But City sing theirs en mass. And then pretend it wasn't them, to try and uphold this strange media obsession of labelling them "the best supporters in the land"

    No other club would have had to beg their own supporters not to sing on that anniversary.

  • Comment number 22.

    He hasn't justified a thing. He's still a lumbering goal-shy waste of time. Anyone can score a goal if they get enough chances pinged at them

  • Comment number 23.

    I believe the best approach is to not even mention such chanting, no matter where they're coming from because all we do is add value to them in the minds of the poor souls chanting.

    If there is something disappointing it's that all major clubs' fans have been chanting one thing or another over the years.

  • Comment number 24.

    Even as a utd fan and seeing spurs play fantastic football in europe this season(probably better than us) even if city do qualify for d champions league I think it would be great for the city of Manchester to have two clubs in the competition...Hope spurs beat chelsea though...

  • Comment number 25.

    #18 Football_UK

    If you're being straight, then I think you may have missed the sarcasm that I was trying to get in my post.

    Redknapp is questioning Stoke's integrity, not me.

  • Comment number 26.

    Can anyone else not post at the moment?

  • Comment number 27.

    #12

    How can you say that The League has been "average" this year? The league has been as tight as ever, we still have a fight for survival, a fight ( although minimal ) for the title and a fight ( once again minimal ) for 4th spot. We don't tend to have this kind of competition so far into the season. The EPL is the best in the world : at least our teams don't play in La Liga !

    About the chants, everyone has them. You will be hard pushed to find a team that doesn't. It is not nice to hear and it is a huge lack of respect but, unfortunately, I doubt that it will stop in the near future.

  • Comment number 28.

    in all competitions

    edin dzeko 14 starts 3 goals 3 assists
    fernando Torres 10 starts 1 goal 0 assists

    not really the same is it? and when you consider dzeko cost half as much, is it any surprise that people are focussing on torres? then when you consider the form of the respective teams i think dzeko has done a lot better than torres.
    neither have done enough to justify their price tags, but who would bet against them being among the top scorers next season?
    both quality strikers who have suffered a bit of a drought, but then so did england's golden boy very recently.

  • Comment number 29.

    #26

    Lol... I think you have answered your own question there!! ;)

  • Comment number 30.

    @ 25, MrBlueBurns,

    Apologies. Because I read it like a brick falling on my head sort of thing.
    When Spurs dropped the points they've dropped this season, especially at home, they don't have the right to ask for such moves of fixtures dates.

    To give an analogy, how would West Ham, Wolves, Wigan feel if United secure the title and play a weakened team in the last two days, especially if they qualify to the final in Champions League and want to have a fresh team for a change?

    When the end of the season is coming, managers have to look at their clubs' failures throughout the season and stop seeking excuses in such ways.

  • Comment number 31.

    @ 12,

    you're excused.
    I can understand the pain.

  • Comment number 32.

    #30 Football_UK

    To give an analogy, how would West Ham, Wolves, Wigan feel if United secure the title and play a weakened team in the last two days
    --------------------------------------------------------------------
    In that case, I would imagine that Man U would be punished as have Wolves and Blackpool, surely?

  • Comment number 33.

    29. At 11:13am 26th Apr 2011, jojo wrote:
    #26

    Lol... I think you have answered your own question there!! ;)

    =======================================

    ;)

    I know, I seem to be able to post one liners but not a couple of short paragraphs...?!? Weird.

  • Comment number 34.

    The headline of this blog alone shows the degree to which the premiership circus has got out of hand.

    £27 million spent on a striker, and he’s justified that with one league goal in 10 league games, according to the chief sport’s writer for the BBC.

    There’s a team down the road that’s just lost it’s 106 year-old league status, ultimately caused by going into administration for a debt of £200,000.

    Apparently, Edin Dzeko’s one goal in 10 games is worth 135 times more than Stockport County’s league status.

    What a complete and utter sham. Those running this sport should hang their heads in shame.

  • Comment number 35.

    @ 32, MrBlueBurns,

    I don't care really.
    Or, to place it more politically correctly, I care as much as others care of United having to complete a session where they'll have played 11 matches in 36 days.

    It's called end of season.

  • Comment number 36.

    @ 33, prophet_samuel,

    I don't know why it comes about but I have sorted this, myself, by closing the browser, reopening it, clicking refresh and posting.

    I know it sounds silly but it might have something to do with a programming thing called "cookies" not being sorted out properly. But it could be a marathon solution to your problem.

  • Comment number 37.

    @30 Football_UK
    If we reach the champions league final n secure the title with probably two games to go then Fergie is in every right to rest some(or all) key players n play d kids...He is the manager of Utd n no-one else...

  • Comment number 38.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 39.

    @37, fergie_time,

    so Pulis is at Stoke. Exactly my point.

    And the same goes for poor McCarthy at Wolves. Although in his case, some really sad fans had the cheeck to demand ticket cost back, like they had the right, alongside Wenger to decide the club's first team by purchasing a ticket. I'm wondering how they're feeling now.

  • Comment number 40.

    I have no idea why BBC have removed my comments about chants, after all they spent over a week talking about the effects of a few swear words on children. Why wouldn't BBC want more people talking about these chants so that the perpetrators can see how idiotic they are?

  • Comment number 41.

    #34 CheadleEnder1982

    The headline of this blog alone shows the degree to which the premiership circus has got out of hand.

    £27 million spent on a striker, and he’s justified that with one league goal in 10 league games, according to the chief sport’s writer for the BBC.

    There’s a team down the road that’s just lost it’s 106 year-old league status, ultimately caused by going into administration for a debt of £200,000.

    Apparently, Edin Dzeko’s one goal in 10 games is worth 135 times more than Stockport County’s league status.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Bad luck Stockport County then. However, I don't see as their debts are anyone else's problem but their own. Whilst the rich might be getting richer, it is not necessarily true that the poor are getting poorer and it suggests bad management or simply living beyond one's means.

  • Comment number 42.

    How is this justifying faith in the slightest Phil?

    How many goals are scored collectively in the Premiership week in, week out?

    I'm not slating the guy, he's only been playing for City for a short while, and I'm sure he's got the potential to become a great player. But to waste an hour of your life writing superlatives for Dzeko this early is just inane.

    If scoring goals equals justifying faith, then why not write about Kevin Nolan for instance, who's scored more goals than Dzeko and Torres put together this season (both players completely over rated in my opinion.)

  • Comment number 43.

    The writing has been on the wall for Spurs for a very long time, a tactically poor manager, a clown of a goalkeeper, a continuously decimated defence and strikers who can't score. Redknapp knew all these things at the last transfer window but seemed to think it was more important to buy yet another midfielder, rather than address the problems in all the other positions on the pitch.

    A begrudging congratulations to City, with a reemergence of Liverpool and hopefully a Spurs side with a few additions next season could be the most interesting yet.

  • Comment number 44.

    One very good season in 08/09 for Dzeko. A decent international record and a couple of goals versus Man Utd made him a £27m player.

    This price tage was completely unjustified and he is struggling to score goals, and even struggling to turn in a decent performance.

    It makes me wonder what the likes of a 1998 Dion Dublin would be worth in today's market, or a 1996 Andrei Kanchlskis if Milner is going for £20m+.

  • Comment number 45.

    >>21. At 11:05am 26th Apr 2011, Kapnag wrote:
    >>#19, who claimed it was one club? There aren't any chants about Hillsborough, >>that's more facebook warriors writing status updates - every club has this nasty >>element. But City sing theirs en mass. And then pretend it wasn't them, to try >>and uphold this strange media obsession of labelling them "the best supporters in >>the land"

    Who claims they are the best supporters in the land? What media claims this? All I'm saying is all clubs have idiots who disrespect the victims of tragedies and Man Utd do have chants about Hillsborough. Google it and you will find them I'm sure.

    >>No other club would have had to beg their own supporters not to sing on that >>anniversary.

    How biased are you? Man utd desperatly tried to organise a campaign for their fans to show respect to Hillsborough when it looked like they would draw Liverpool in the Champions League in 2009 on the 20th anniversary of the disaster. This was after an offensive banner about Hillsborough had been posted in the Stretford End in the league match between the two. Bobby Charlton and Fergie himself were to directly "beg" to the fans not to be disrespectful. I'm not a City fan and I have no time for any kind of bigotry or offensive chanting, but to claim one team is worse than another is wrong is just biased.

  • Comment number 46.

    @43

    He bought the other midfielder because he was Cheap. Arry can't resist a good deal. Small transfer fee, excellent for a club and an agent

  • Comment number 47.

    #43 WaldoSpur

    How is young Pienaar doing at Spurs? We certainly miss him at Chelsea ;-)

    #44 tomefccam

    I think people get a bit carried away with some transfer fees. Man City wanted him and paid what it took to get him. Simple as that. That does not define the market as such I don't think.

  • Comment number 48.

    @19

    To sing a song about anybody who has died as a result of going to watch or take part in a hobby gives you a firm foot on the lowest rung of the human ladder.

    Supporters who do this should be identified, singled out and banned from attending ANY ticketed sporting event.

  • Comment number 49.

    Although a point would be massive for Blackburn, I don't think all is lost for them.

    The home game against Bolton is going to be as massive for them as it was before yesterday. And they have all to play for against West Ham and Wolves away. Plus there is an outsider hope for United to have secured the title by the time they visit Ewood Park and don't feel desperate to win there, although it wouldn't be easy by any means, anyway.

    All I can understand is that some crunching relegation battles are closing in, where the interest for a neutral to watch games is going to be super big.

  • Comment number 50.

    @38 n 39 Mr Chelsea n Football_UK
    The fact that other managers were fined makes a mockery of that 25-man squad rule..if u cant use it then wats d point in having dat rule...having said that Fergie did play a weakend team against hull(n won) in 2009 when we had just won d league n were in d champions league final when newcastle were making a lot about that issue(infact they lost n got relegated)...

  • Comment number 51.

    @47

    It defines the maket in a way that on a financial document for a club makes Andy Carroll 35,000,000 times more of an Asset than Lionel Messi

  • Comment number 52.

    #41 MrBlueBurns

    Let me assure you, the poor are getting poorer.

    In the 1980's 4 teams in the football league when into administration or applied for a CVA.

    In the 1990's, following the formation of the premier league, 18 clubs have suffered the same fate.

    Since the ITV Digital crash in 2002, that number has gone up to 27.

    There is an incredible amount of money in football, but this money has been hoarded by the top clubs since the formation of the premier league, leaving the rest of the footballing pyramid to crumble underneath it.

    I'm not suggesting that this is the sole cause of Stockport County's demise, but it certainly hasn't helped. When you see your team disappear into non-league, ultimately over less than one week of Yaya Touré's wages, it's a very bitter pill to swallow.

  • Comment number 53.

    @50, fergie_time,

    Everyone knows it is an utterly out of date rule that was put in place when teams had 16-18 first players in the club and some up and coming youth.

    Still, it's in the hands of the dinosaurs to cross it off as a rule and they don't.

    There is no sillier thing than someone else deciding which starting XI a football manager should put on a pitch to play the game for the club paying him to do that.

  • Comment number 54.

    How biased are you? Man utd desperatly tried to organise a campaign for their fans to show respect to Hillsborough when it looked like they would draw Liverpool in the Champions League in 2009 on the 20th anniversary of the disaster

    ==

    I don't remember anything of the sort! It's funny I have to google for hillsborough chants, and yet I can just tune into Match of the Day to listen to City's munich chants. There are no chants about hillsborough, there were no banners about hillsborough, as for Sir Alex personally begging supporters about banners, I'd love to see you produce any sort of evidence for this.

    And again, I made it clear every club have their nasty element, who seem to thrive on the internet, but the chants are common place en mass with the city support.

  • Comment number 55.

    @ 52, CheadleEnder1982,

    Still, you wouldn't want Stockport to be a Spanish club by any means. Down there, things are much worse with TV money.

  • Comment number 56.

    The thought of watching City in the Champions League makes me queasy. Is it just me, or does anyone else think they're the most boring team in the division?

    1-0 nil up, off come the strikers...

    I understand the tactical merits of this, it's just painfully dull to watch if you don't care for Chelski Mark II.

  • Comment number 57.

    Good point about the manager's team choice Football_UK... but don't forget this is Alex Ferguson we are talking about, and I am afraid that the F.A will not have what it takes to stand up to him a second time this season.

  • Comment number 58.

    I have a question, every time we hear about Liverpools owners, or Uniteds owners or Blackburn's or Citeh's their nationality is used to define who they are. Does it matter? Does it matter that Venkys are Indians? If it does, then tell us why, if not, why bother making the point every time?
    Blackburn screwed up, their owners messed up and they will probably go down if one of the bottom 3 can manage a win between now and the end of May.

  • Comment number 59.

    #56

    This really annoys me... Chelski Mark II ? I will just point out that last season Chelsea ended the season scoring the most goals ever in a Premier League season... how is that boring? We have never been a boring side, most people are just jealous that we got into a bit of money and your teams haven't, that's it.

  • Comment number 60.

    @54. At 11:41am 26th Apr 2011, Kapnag wrote:

    >>I don't remember anything of the sort! It's funny I have to google for hillsborough >>chants, and yet I can just tune into Match of the Day to listen to City's munich >>chants.

    Yeah funny that when you thought the media loved Man City and yet don't play the Man Utd chants. Guess you were wrong about which fans the media love the most.

    >> There are no chants about hillsborough, there were no banners about >>hillsborough, as for Sir Alex personally begging supporters about banners, I'd love >>to see you produce any sort of evidence for this.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2009/mar/20/champions-league-manchester-united-liverpool-hillsborough

    The particularly nasty chant I have heard at Old Trafford was directed to Steven Gerrard in a match versus Liverpool who had a relative who was killed in the tragedy and it wasn't just one or two people chanting it either.

  • Comment number 61.

    I agree with what someone said above, 1 Premier League goal and all of a sudden the £27m fee is starting to be paid off, it just shows how ridiculous Premier League football has got nowadays, it's cloud cuckoo land stuff.

    City will undoubtedly finish 4th now, Spurs only have themselves to blame really with 8 home draws and 13 draws in total. The fact that their goal difference is by far the worst of the top 5 shows that they needed a genuinely good striker to compete but somehow contrived not to buy one in January and bought an attacking midfielder instead despite already having 5 of them. And with Chelsea, Liverpool and City away in 3 of their last 5 matches, there's no chance of them overhauling City, and every chance they'll finish 6th behind Liverpool.

    Fair play to City, they deserve to finish in the top 4, but I guess if you spend all that money the law of averages states that eventually something will stick.

  • Comment number 62.

    jojo

    On my point about the Prem being 'average' this season to which you raised your surprise, i would actually exclude Utd from the description. Ive never bought into this daft theory that its 'the worst Utd team ever' as rolled out by barmy hacks and pundits since about last Sepember. Theyve been different for sure having lost some marque players over the last 2 years, but their resolve, drive and sheer stubborness has been impressive and their defensive play has been a revelation. I was a defender and the way that 'defending' has become a dirty word since Sky and the rule makers doing Sky's bidding decided that goals goals and more goals were the order of the day has always annoyed me. Utd because of that defending could well now win the CL in my view. Wonder what the hacks, dozy pundits and Sky will make of that! Will Utd suddenly become the greatest team theyve ever had if they manage to turn over Barca or Madrid or will they still be the worst team who had the good fortune to play at Wembley? Media mugs annoy me intensely.

    Im no big Utd fan, but ive actually enjoyed seeing them grind out results and show the World that a solid defence can pay dividends. Puts my own Clubs pitiful efforts to secure wins into perspective i can tell you im sad to say !

  • Comment number 63.

    @ 57, jojo,

    On this, I have to go with SAF and not because I support Man Utd.
    When a team has gone all the way through a season, has won the title, has competed in all competitions and find themselves in a Champions League final, tell me:

    what should the manager do, other than preparing his team, the best he can, so that they will go to that match fresh, after having played more games than any other team in the Premiership?

    And how good does it look for English football if English teams go to a European final exhausted?

    Schalke 04 rested their team on the weekend, having nothing significant to play for, being mid table, but I don't think Budesliga are going to punish them.

    The detail is in the fact that every moaning manager, if he looks back at the matches his team has played, he will surely find the reasons of his team's failings.

  • Comment number 64.

    Yeah funny that when you thought the media loved Man City and yet don't play the Man Utd chants. Guess you were wrong about which fans the media love the most.
    ==

    So, despite not being able to tell me any chant that is sung at the ground, or that anything is ever heard on tele, you decide that it's because the media cover the chants up because "they love united" - what was that about bias?


    ====
    The particularly nasty chant I have heard at Old Trafford was directed to Steven Gerrard in a match versus Liverpool who had a relative who was killed in the tragedy and it wasn't just one or two people chanting it either.
    ====

    Firstly, that "murderers" chant is reference to Heysel, where no fan has ever been brought to justice for their role in the deaths of 39 supporters, not Hillsborough. Secondly, that article you posted contains a vague "possibility" of Sir Alex easing tensions between supporters, with only the paper saying it's to do with hillsborough. Games between the two clubs produce small pockets of complete idiots, but it's never sung en mass on either side.

  • Comment number 65.

    To Football_UK

    I agree, it is United's best interest to rest player and be ready when the final, should they get there, come's along. I was only saying that, although Holloway and Mccarthy have been convicted in the past for their team selections, I would doubt that it would go the same way for SAF.

    To Bergysdeftflicks

    Let's be honest, this is not a great United side. No way near as bad as some make out, but it is still far from the best. The reason they are top of the league is due to the fact other teams have gone through really bad rough patches and they haven't been quite as bad. Still, fair play, they have done, so far, what they have needed to do.

  • Comment number 66.

    64

    The chanting has become a lot more cruel and cynical this season by a great many Clubs. Having done quite a few away games with my Club i can say that whilst ive heard nothing as bad as some of the stuff allegedly served up in Manchester derbys, some of it directed at home supporters is just embarrassing, cruel and thoughtless jibing for the sake of it. Its a mark of society in the UK and its getting worse. Its never far beneath the surface.Football is just the vehicle.

  • Comment number 67.

    jojo, the reference isn't to the style of play, it's the massive cash injection - the more obvious likeness of the two clubs. Chelsea play much better football than City, though to think you've never been a boring side is deluded.

  • Comment number 68.

    jojo

    Youve just supported my view thats it been an 'average' season. As for Man U, its the best side theyve had this season and for them. thats all that matters matey.Yes, theyve had some fine cavalier teams in yesteryear, but its what they do now that counts, not years gone by hence my view that the media's jibing at them is well off beam.

  • Comment number 69.

    Mame Biram diuof is head and shoulders better than dzeko. atleast he is not expensive. lol

  • Comment number 70.

    Interesting debate their on fielding 'weakened' teams. Firstly the Wolves and Blackpool fines were a complete farce. If, say, United have won the league and rest players in a final game, how will the league opine? The United squad has been very well used this season. Who's to say what the first pick side is!
    Just shows you what a joke the ruling is!

  • Comment number 71.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 72.

    When it comes to City, it may be better to talk about how Kompany has made their defense solid this season, to the point to see them having the second best defense in the Premiership. And how impressively David Silva beautifies their attacking thread.

  • Comment number 73.

    #67

    I would just like to ask who you support? And yes, we have never been a boring side, tell me when.... When we beat Barcelona 4-2 at stamford bridge? When we got to the Champions League final in 2008? When we won the league twice with Mourinho?

  • Comment number 74.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 75.

    #68

    The best side they've had this season? It is exactly the same side they have had all season!! Your point is useless. Your are also backing up my point about United not being at their best.

  • Comment number 76.

    @ 74, Mr Chelsea,

    It's about what's happening on neighbour's back yard, so I should avoid saying much really, because I would probably be misunderstood.

    Still, when it comes to City, you see a mixture of signings.
    David Silva, Yaya Toure, Tevez are huge players.
    Adam Johnson, Milner, Barry, De Jonk are very useful.
    When it comes to Dzeko, Balotelli and Vieira (at this age), you start wondering what do these players do in a team having their sights in Champions League finals.

    I wouldn't mind to be found wrong about Dzeko but I've seen him being ineffective against Carrick and Fletcher in United's official defense line.
    It would be wise not to say anything on Balotelli.
    While, when it comes to Vieira, I'm just puzzled - a legend in the past but, now?

  • Comment number 77.

    @ 75, jojo,

    still, United have been the most consistent top four team, up to now, this season.

  • Comment number 78.

    City's problem is that they seem to be 2 teams in one. You have your defenders i.e Kompany, Richards, Zabaleta, Vieira, De Jong and so on, and then you have your Strikers i.e Tevez, Balotelli, Milner, David Silva, Dzeko, Adam Johnson and so on. To become a top force they need to bridge that gap.

  • Comment number 79.

    #77

    I agree, that is why they are top. Still, as a united fan yourself, you have to admit that this is not your best side.

  • Comment number 80.

    #52 CheadleEnder1982

    #41 MrBlueBurns

    Let me assure you, the poor are getting poorer.

    In the 1980's 4 teams in the football league when into administration or applied for a CVA.

    In the 1990's, following the formation of the premier league, 18 clubs have suffered the same fate.

    Since the ITV Digital crash in 2002, that number has gone up to 27.

    There is an incredible amount of money in football, but this money has been hoarded by the top clubs since the formation of the premier league, leaving the rest of the footballing pyramid to crumble underneath it.

    I'm not suggesting that this is the sole cause of Stockport County's demise, but it certainly hasn't helped. When you see your team disappear into non-league, ultimately over less than one week of Yaya Touré's wages, it's a very bitter pill to swallow.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Are they getting poorer or are they trying to spend more than they receive?

    Has Stockport's income reduced in real terms? That is the question?

  • Comment number 81.

    To mUch hype over one illegal goal. Balotelli was obstructing play in an offside position. The way the game was officiated was very poor on many occasions Man City had good advantages, better than Blackburn. Roberts was a clear penalty. But how many times do we see this when bigger teams seem to have the officials giving them the benefit of the doubt. Now we have Man **ity and Man Who winning games because of the officials. So in fact the score should have been 1-0 Blackburn. And it would have been interesting what Phil's dribbling football article would have been.

  • Comment number 82.

    @ 79, jojo,

    I have to admit that Giggs has been the ever reliable Mr Perfect who has pulled us through many traps, but it can only be a positive about a manager blending experience, history and youth in a team.

    Perhaps, United are a player like Sneijder short than looking ever fresh and efficient again:

    a)_the defense is full of covers when injuries arise
    b) two excellent wingers provide masterful use of width of the pitch at full speed
    c) deadly attackers available in Rooney, Hernandez, Berbatov, even Owen.

    Still, this thread is about Blackburn v City, at its early hours and we're running the danger to be told off :)

  • Comment number 83.

    @81

    Come on, a bit of balance. The player interference part of offside has been getting more and more blurred over the years.

  • Comment number 84.

    >>64. At 12:01pm 26th Apr 2011, Kapnag wrote:

    >>So, despite not being able to tell me any chant that is sung at the ground, or >>that anything is ever heard on tele, you decide that it's because the media cover >>the chants up because "they love united" - what was that about bias?

    What do you mean did you read my posting? I told you exactly what chant I have heard with my very own ears that was sung. You must have not read my post. As for the media covering it up, my point was you say the media have a conspiracy to show Man City as "the best supporters" yet they play their chants and not the United ones. I was asking whether this meant your conspiracy still held true?


    >>Firstly, that "murderers" chant is reference to Heysel, where no fan has ever >>been brought to justice for their role in the deaths of 39 supporters, not
    >>Hillsborough. Secondly, that article you posted contains a vague "possibility" of >>Sir Alex easing tensions between supporters, with only the paper saying it's to do >>with hillsborough. Games between the two clubs produce small pockets of >>complete idiots, but it's never sung en mass on either side.

    Since you didn't read my posting completely I'm guessing you didn't read the entire article. Look at:

    "When the two clubs met at Old Trafford on Saturday a banner saying "Murderers" was draped over the middle section of the Stretford End. There were songs directed at Hillsborough and some Liverpool supporters could be seen making aeroplane gestures to mock the Munich air disaster of 1958."

    Let me repeat "There were songs directed at Hillsborough". You get that? That means there were songs sung by Man Utd fans about Hillsborough (as well as equally appalling behaviour from the Liverpool fans mocking Munich) yet you seem to be claiming there are no songs and it never happened.

    We agree that it is a small minority that take their club allegiance too far and feel the need to make sick jokes or songs about tragedies in which people lost their lives, but you seem to think Man City are somehow worse which I just don't agree with. I think every club which allows their fans to behave like that is wrong.




  • Comment number 85.

    Typical media - you cannot resist pointing out a negative when City are concerned. You lot just yearn for 'Appy 'Arry's mob to get 4th don't you - and when City win & grind out a result, you have to point out a few mindless idiots in the crowd rather than focus on the best defensive midfielder in the country (De Jong) or superb defending & determination.
    Consistently the media harp on about us being boring to watch, yet if you look at the league table, we have scored more goals than Spurs. When will the media see beyond the money (which Utd, Chelsea and Spurs have been spending in hundreds of millions since the 'Sky revolution') and give Mancini & his team credit for becoming a top 4 side & reaching the Cup Final?
    I am yet to see a single negative article about Tottenham - yet if we'd got some of their results (3-4s, 3-3s, or 0-0s v bottom 3) the media would be saying 'all that money & you concede so many goals/have strikers who can't score' etc etc.

    Well done Dzeko & the lads last night, great result!

  • Comment number 86.

    To Football_UK

    Lol... just goes to show the apparent lack of interest in the 2 teams ;)

  • Comment number 87.

    @ 85, SomeGibbon,

    Looking at the positive side of it, I can tell you only one thing, really:

    Welcome to top four :)
    Get used to that. Actually, if you think of it, it looks like a compliment :)

  • Comment number 88.

    @52

    Is the English Championship not something like the fourth richest league in Europe? If that's the case does it not ruin your argument? Apologies if that is not the case...

  • Comment number 89.

    Personaly i don't think anyone should judge Dzeko or Torres at this time. It amazes me that so many people write about football but i doubt 20% of the people who post here have ever played for a team competitively. Although the BBC have rich talents in football Pundits Like GL, AH and my favorite L D, they seem to employ as head journalist someone who learned about football by reading The Sun newspaper. Bring back to football people like Brian Clough who would never praise a players ability on even his first season, anyone can have a good game, a good player is realised after several seasons. Dzeko scores 1 goal and justifies his fee. You mean that goal was worth 27 million, then you need to add his wages. Wayne Rooney has been exciting and annoying football fans for the past 8 years, he is only 24. Alan Shearer a pure legend for his contribution to football, have a listen to what he says, its a shame we dont have real football minds on the BBC writing informed, balanced articles rather than the dribbling a beach ball on sand comments from Mr Biased who needs to write something to justify my wages.

  • Comment number 90.

    @83

    I was not denying him his glory, he had a chance and took and got away with it, thats football, Man City won, it cant be changed. My point is that it could have been ruled illegal and then we would have had a different reaction.

  • Comment number 91.

    @ 89, shadow warrior,

    in my opinion, the angle of the title you failed to see is referring to being a vital goal that brings City really close to Champions League. Put earnings from Champions League in your mind, Dzeko's fee on the other side and there you are.

    You could also view it as a compliment to Dzeko, for scoring a vital goal for City on a difficult away game.

    Why look at only the negative side?

  • Comment number 92.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 93.

    Football UK, i am not negative, in fact i write to protect players. I want Dzeko to do well, and Toress, i want as a paying customer to see real talent coming through and dazzling me with their skills, but at the same time see the humaness of football players. Apparently Wayne Rooney was all washed up this season according to many expert sports journalist, but in recent weeks we have seen him picking out passes like he owns the whole pitch. Toress may come back to form, but even if he doesnt he will still be one of the best strikers the Prem has seen, his injury IMO makes him lack in confidence, then you have the pressure from the Media. I have played at quite a high level and when nerves and pressure hit you you can play like clown. I think more support all round should be given to players, and we should have in the BBC at least as head journalist a person who understands football.

  • Comment number 94.

    yet if we'd got some of their results (3-4s, 3-3s, or 0-0s v bottom 3) the media would be saying 'all that money & you concede so many goals/have strikers who can't score' etc etc.


    ==

    That's because you've spent £1bn on it!

  • Comment number 95.

    @89

    The BBC pundit team, including the "real football minded" Mr Shearer, at last year's world cup were a disgrace. Outide of the player's playing in the EPL and Champs league they didnt have a clue who anyone was. That is a disgrace for a media team getting paid a fortune.
    Phil McNulty's role as an opinionated blogger (would anyone respond if he made neutral statements?) is completely different!

  • Comment number 96.

    League titles which must surely be the next aim for City is about doing what their neighbours do better than anyone, WINNING UGLY.

    United have been a poor imitation of previous swashbuckling sides in my opinion not just this season but for 3 seasons on the trot and yet........................ look where they are.

    Arsenal dont know how to win ugly that is clear, and it cant be all down to bad luck, ref decisions.

    Chelsea, well maybe the clue to their crash mid season lay in fact with last seasons title win ? How many 7/8/9 goal wins were there ? And how many points did they pip an underperforming United to the title by ? ONE. I would suggest they too, post Mourinho, have lost the art of WINIING UGLY.

    The reality is that United will win it this season once more on the back of a stronger mental resolve than the others, and also when talking about strikers, they bought the best poacher of them all ? Hernadez ? How much ? 7 million. Look at Berbatov (yes leading scorer but the reality is against lesser teams and in less important moments), Torres ? 7 times the fee of the Mexican ? haha and Dzeko 4 times the fee.

    Chelsea, Arsenal and City have a lot of soul searching come the end of the season, whilst Tottenham have hit the buffers, credit their progress, and Liverpool, well good results are interspersed with indifferent ones against the lower teams.

    All in all, not a good reflection on this so called Premier League.

  • Comment number 97.

    Also Football UK.. About the Financial aspect of that goal. How can we single out one player to say it 1 goal makes financial success, he is just one player of a 1/4 billion squad. Man City need to win not only get in the Cl for the next 10 years on the bounce to recover their investment, not one goal from a new unknown kid in the Prem.

  • Comment number 98.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 99.

    #95 fletchhero

    As I've said before, if I want good cop/bad cop style presentation that simply tries to create traffic, I would go to Talksport. Phil McNulty is a journalist and should be able to provide an analysis that is what it is and isn't designed simply to provoke.

    Anyway, a good Shearer faux pas was not knowing who Ben Arfa was before he came to Newcastle. Now that IS not having much idea.

  • Comment number 100.

    This was a good result, City need every point they can get, and their target should still be third place, so they don't have to play in the CL qualifying round. this was good to see Edin Dzeko get his first league goal, it was just a matter of time. He had 2 earlier in Eoropa and 2 in FA Cup.
    Too many impatient fans were unfairly writing him off recently. If Edin Dzeko had influential friends in high places (like Mario) he would have scored weeks ago, but somehow Mancini thought he could score from the bench.

 

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