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Astute Mancini inspires Man City

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Phil McNulty | 06:28 UK time, Wednesday, 19 October 2011

When quizzed about the possibility of The Stone Roses reforming, bass player Mani once infamously remarked that it would happen "the day after Manchester City win the European Cup."

The message behind fanatical Manchester United supporter Mani's words was clear - one event was as unlikely to come to pass as the other.

So as Mani played his part in the announcement of that supposedly impossible Stone Roses reunion on Tuesday, City were not winning the tournament now known as the Champions League but they were finally making their first serious impact.

And manager Roberto Mancini's wild, spinning, punching celebration after Sergio Aguero's winner with almost the final kick of the game was worthy of claiming the trophy, even if the match and City's overall performance was not.

With the sweeping close-range finish from Pablo Zabaleta's cross two seconds after the end of the minimum three minutes of stoppage time, Aguero transformed frustration and potential failure into the possibility that City's road may yet lead into the knockout phase.


Aguero's last-minute winner sparked wild celebrations for City's players and staff. Photo - PA

This 2-1 victory was as much Mancini's as Manchester City's, built on something that has provided a dramatic back story to this club's predictably turbulent introduction to the Champions League - namely substitutions.

The sky fell in on Mancini when City lost to Bayern Munich, with Edin Dzeko showing his displeasure after being taken off and his request for Carlos Tevez to warm up as substitute still rumbling on today with "did he didn't he?" ramifications about whether the Argentine was actually ready and willing to play.

In such circumstances Mancini could be forgiven for treating each change as if it had a lighted fuse attached, but he did not shy away from such decisions at Etihad Stadium and fortune favoured his bravery.

With City a goal down to Cani's early strike, Mancini's discontent at Villarreal's counter-attacking capabilities led him to consider a tactical change that would require the removal of Adam Johnson six minutes before the interval.

Mancini could have taken the easy way out and waited another few minutes until half-time, but it was to his credit that he was willing to take the risk despite recent history.

Humiliating for the player and awkward for a manager who knew this move had the potential to backfire, Mancini still backed his instincts to fill midfield more and put Yaya Toure closer to Dzeko, whose performance was so poor he could have been substituted at any stage without complaint.

Johnson, understandably, was unhappy and departed in a head-shaking huff which later drew sympathy from Mancini who understood the pain he felt at being taken off so prematurely.

And yet within minutes it had the desired effect. Gareth Barry, on for Johnson, helped Aleksandar Kolarov force Carlos Marchena into the own goal that gave City the lift they needed before half-time.

Even greater irony was reserved for the decisive substitution. Mancini summoned an Argentine, this time in the shape of Aguero, to warm up then win the game for City.

Aguero obliged with relish on all counts, proving his recovery from a groin injury with a lively cameo and the goal that may just prove the catalyst to make Manchester City's Champions League come alive.

City still lie third behind Bayern and the dangerous Napoli, with a trip to Naples looming, but the change in mood from the moment Aguero struck was stark. Suddenly there was a feeling City might actually make their way out of the tournament's time-honoured "Group Of Death" when obituaries may have been prepared if they had only gained a point.

Mancini and his players still have much to do because so much of this was unconvincing and played out in a subdued atmosphere, with barely 100 Villarreal fans having enough faith to follow their team to Manchester.

City may be at the Premier League summit and collecting an array of gifted and expensive players, but it is clear they are still having trouble juggling the two priorities and a new team is effectively learning on the job in the Champions League.

Despite the lavish individual talent City do not, at least not yet, look like a side capable of troubling the heavy weaponry in Europe's elite.


Mancini's introduction of Aguero proved an inspired decision. Photo - Getty

Yaya Toure has won the Champions League with Barcelona and David Silva has rich experience in the tournament, but here they are part of a team short on street wisdom at this level.

Silva, so magical in domestic competition, was shut down by Villarreal as they denied him the time and space to move between midfield and attack in the fashion that has illuminated the Premier League this season.

And Dzeko, who started the season so potently, appears to have mislaid his confidence and once more looks like the player who struggled to justify his expensive acquisition last season.

City, however, got the job done and in a manner mirroring so many of the efforts of the men Mani lends his support to at Old Trafford - late and after a performance that laboured for so long until it somehow produced a win.

The reaction of Mancini, his staff, players and the City fans still present - some had given up before Aguero's goal - indicated just how important it might be. They may not win the Champions League, indeed they may still fail to reach the knockout phase, but City's minimum requirement is to at least the competition something to remember them by.

It remains to be seen if City can maintain serious pursuit of the Premier League and chase the Champions League without one target suffering, with even Mancini himself expressing concerns, but at least the manager's substitutions and Aguero's desire to come off the bench and make a difference has given them the chance to try.

Comments

Page 1 of 7

  • Comment number 1.

    " mastermind " " masterclass "

    what game was you watching?

    more like a " scraped " win due to a blatant offside goal.

    seeing as V'l were considered the whipping boys, they equipped themselves far better than city and IMO have been robbed of a point.

    on a side issue;

    any thoughts on Rooneys blatant dive ? to win a penalty as the other half of manchester flatters to deceive again against standard opposition .

  • Comment number 2.

    I remain to be convinced that Mancini has control of the dressing room.

    I am not making any excuses for Tevez who was way out of order but to me, he does not have to full backing of the players.

  • Comment number 3.

    Sensationalise much Phil?


    Mancini called it a lucky win, reading the first half of this you would have thought Manchester City had just won the Champions League, World Cup and European championship with one game and 11 part time players.

  • Comment number 4.

    No complaints this time from city fans about time added on after injury time had finished. Funny that, isn't it.

  • Comment number 5.

    @1.At 08:37 19th Oct 2011, HAHA CharadeYouAre wrote:

    "mastermind" "masterclass"

    Where exactly does Phil use those phrases in this article?

  • Comment number 6.

    No mastermind there he made a mistake ny starting 3 Flair players at once, the Dzeko was luck Balloteli was suspended and Aguero injured cos he missed like 4 clear cut chances and like 3 half chances. Aguero was always going to score as he only needed one chance unlike Dzeko that needs like 7 chances before he scores. Mancity should qualify easily if they play both De Jong, Yaya and Barry With only Aguero up front with Silva and Nasri Away from home because Joe Hart is not that good and Kompany and Lescott are Lacking badly, so not conceding Away is key plus with Aguero on the pitch and Balloteli, Dzeko and Adam Johnson even Milner to come off the bench, the goal will definately come. United on the other hand where Crap again today especially Carrick, Rooney, Valencia and Vidic. Rooney couldnt even Trap a ball like the World cup

  • Comment number 7.

    anybody calling Aguero's goal offside is seriously Biased and clueless. Man United where the one with a Lucky win not City

  • Comment number 8.

    i don't think 1 own goal and 1 offside goal constitute using the words

    " masterclass " or for that matter " mastermind "

    on a positive note, and from a neutrals perspective it was a good game to watch and dare i say, even on last nights performance by city, they would be the club IMO to give Barca a good game, should they meet.

    PS

    are we permitted to label Rooney a " cheat " and " diver " to go along with all the other labels attached and where there any betting irregularities concerning him scoring twice from the spot and Vidic being sent of ( rightly so to ! )

  • Comment number 9.

    5. At 08:41 19th Oct 2011, It wasnt me A big boy did it and ran away wrote:

    ----

    ????? how about the Title of the blog?

    and one correction the word " astute "

    nothing " astute " about the result or tactics at all.

  • Comment number 10.

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

  • Comment number 11.

    Prior to the match, I was confident City would overcome Villarreal with comfort.
    After the match, my most adequate response is "what a mess!".

    Mancini may have been lucky with his early substitution of Adam Johnson, this is the second consecutive Champions League fixture, I see him adjusting his midfield early in the game.

    You're 1-0 down, you need firepower and what do you do? You feel the need to take a creative player out of the game, in order to introduce a holding midfielder. You play a fixture which is "win or die" and what do you do? You leave Dzeko to spearhead your attack: clumsy, slow. United had beaten his previous team, home and away, with comfort and without any known defenders in the team. I suppose that was a coincidence. I will feel happy if Dzeko appears at Old Trafford too.

    It's been a few matches earlier that I noticed Nasri doesn't play with the passion he was playing at Arsenal. Seeing him like this, I'm so happy he didn't want to ever join United. He'd be a bench warmer from day one.

    City have been extremely lucky. Let's hope they build on that in Europe and play better. Because, playing like this, they're not going to beat Napoli, nor Bayern Munich, neither Villarreal in Spain.

    Manchester City appear to be short of creative players in their European fixtures. This is 101% their own fault and wrong judgement in their acquisitions, as the money was there to be given for players and money had been given for players.

    There was a corner I noticed, taken by a Villarreal player and the City fans wouldn't stop throwing at him whatever they had available. Do they need being told that it is their own players they should be targetting? You have a dispirited side at home, performing poorly in their domestic league and Europe, you need to win so desperately and end up a lucky winner with a tap in at the death. What a misery.

    Something not many comment about is the manner with which City conceded the first goal: a shot at goal and the opponent first to the ball, after Hart couldn't hold the ball - it's the third goal on the trot City concede in exactly the same manner. When will their defenders learn that, when an opponent shoots at goal, defenders need to run towards the keeper to dispose of the ball safely from possible rebounds.

  • Comment number 12.

    This is like when you said that Arsenal had "come of age" when they beat a poor Chelsea side.

  • Comment number 13.

    So Mancini was "astute" and "inspiring" was he. Mancini himself thought he "got lucky" which is more honest and accurate. I counted at least 3 City players offside in the penalty area in the build up to the winning goal. How is that not interfering with play?
    Mancini was found out in European competition in the past with Inter and I maintain he will be again with City, it's just a question of time.
    And describing Aguero's substitution as "ironic" and of his "desire to come off the bench and make a difference" shows that you have allowed yourself to lose perspective about City substitutions because of the exceptional actions of Tevez. Aguero simply did what 99.9% of players do when asked to go on. You make it sound like he had a decison to make. It is not even worthy of comment
    Very poor article this time Phil - well below your usual standard

  • Comment number 14.

    @ 1. At 08:37 19th Oct 2011, HAHA CharadeYouAre,

    I think replays show that the City goal wasn't offiside.

    As for the Rooney penalty, which one are you referring to?
    The one that the defender escaped red for using his hand in a goal scoring opportunity or the one that the other, tired defender, took Rooney's foot, as he turned with the ball?

    Is it allowed on this side to recommend some credible opticians? :)

  • Comment number 15.

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

  • Comment number 16.

    @8.At 08:46 19th Oct 2011, HAHA CharadeYouAre wrote:

    "they would be the club IMO to give Barca a good game, should they meet."

    My first belly laugh of the morning. They were barely able to beat a team 14th in La Liga at home but now they are ready to take on Barcelona!

    Even Mancini said they were lucky to win.

  • Comment number 17.

    What an embarrasing night for both Manchester clubs. 3 points may have been gained but this doesnt cover up their shortcomings. ManC were very lucky and ManU were toothless and devoid of creation. They should have destroyed a team of their ilk. However, they had to rely on the indicipline of the Romanians and generosity of the ref.

  • Comment number 18.

    Just looking at the BBC Football homepage is amusing... "Mancini relieved with 'lucky' win", followed shortly by "Mancini masterminds Man City success".

    I didn't watch the match, but should imagine the manager's assessment is probably more credible in this instance. Were it not for a (apparently dubious) stoppage time goal, City would be all but out of Europe.

  • Comment number 19.

    both united's penalties were blatant. and vidic's challenge wasn't even worth a yellow (unlike the scissor tackle on nani or the handball for the first penalty, which both should have resulted in reds). better hope both teams raise their games on sunday.

  • Comment number 20.

    14. At 08:58 19th Oct 2011, Football_UK wrote:

    ---

    no argument about the 1st one stonewall.

    as for glasses ? good idea i'll be back in a minute .

  • Comment number 21.

    @ 15. At 09:01 19th Oct 2011, HAHA CharadeYouAre

    It would be nice if we leave the Hillsborough disaster out of this blog.
    People died there and there are people alive who will carry scars in their souls until they die.

    You have to use perspective and be careful when you refer to such incidents out of respect.

    It's ironic that I felt the need to correct you on this, because I'm not even English.

  • Comment number 22.

    @Football_UK

    "You have a dispirited side at home, performing poorly in their domestic league"

    Cannot tell if you are being serious or not. Since when did being top of the league constitute performing poorly, scoring the most goals in the league?

  • Comment number 23.

    Funny Football UK City had like 10 clear chances to score, Dzeko with like 5, Zabalayeta 1, even Adam johnson had 2 if he had timed his run, not to mention Kolarovs pull outs. United had only 2 Shots from Nani dats all. City didnt play badly, they missed sitters, if they become more Clinical they would definately beat Villarel and Napoli. For now i think Bayern are Unbeatable, the best Club so far this season. United are in need of Improvement more than City, with the way United are playing now i see only a Draw on Sunday

  • Comment number 24.

    City deserved to win they had more chances on goal, "and they won", to say that the Aguero goal was offside I don't think so, if it was as the linesman I would still give the benefit of the doubt because that would have been a close call.
    As for those who are saying that Rooney "dived", well I dont know which game you where watching as there was clear contact, I felt sorry for the lad who committed the offense though. Yes Man U was poor on the night but both penalties could be given in any league, and for the first one the referee was lenient because that defender could have seen red if it was PL or even Bundesliga.

  • Comment number 25.

    Let's get it right: City and Mancini were lucky. However, maybe you need that bit of luck, and ultimately as City got the points, the manager should get the plaudits.

    However, he is playing a dangerous game. Adam Johnson has been very patient, and has usually made a positive impact when selected - he had a hand in all 4 of City's goals at the weekend. He looked like a player who wanted to prove a point, sprinting to get the ball when it went out of play, getting involved, taking on his man, using the ball well. Fair enough if Mancini wanted to change things, but why not remove the ineffectual Dzeko or Nasri?

    Mancini has to be careful he does not alienate his players. He comes across as a manager the players fear, a manager they respect, but perhaps not one they love. This might prevent him from becoming a truly great manager.

  • Comment number 26.

    @jem

    I'm sure they will. Truth be told, I'm sure both sets of players had half an eye on Sunday's game last night. Would probably explain both performances!

  • Comment number 27.

    @19.At 09:03 19th Oct 2011, jem wrote:

    "and vidic's challenge wasn't even worth a yellow"

    That will be why Sir Alex Ferguson saud that Vidic's red was "understandable" then.

  • Comment number 28.

    @ 22. At 09:05 19th Oct 2011, Jacob173,

    I was referring to Villarreal and not City.
    Actually, I was expecting City to triumph with comfort, prior to the match.

  • Comment number 29.

    @Jacob173

    Erm... he was talking about Villareal?

  • Comment number 30.

    27.
    At 09:08 19th Oct 2011, It wasnt me A big boy did it and ran away wrote:

    @19.At 09:03 19th Oct 2011, jem wrote:

    "and vidic's challenge wasn't even worth a yellow"

    That will be why Sir Alex Ferguson saud that Vidic's red was "understandable" then.
    ___________________________________________________________________

    He said it was 'understandable' basically in the context of European refs acting like they're umpiring a knitting competition.

    Let's put it this way... did YOU think it should've been a red?

  • Comment number 31.

    Last night games involving the 2 manchester clubs just goes to show that the Premier League is overrated compare to other European Leagues and so long as the FA do not bring the standard of refereeing to European standards, players such as Vidc will always be exposed on the European stage and teams like ManU will always be humiliated by decent European teams like Real Madrid and Barca.

  • Comment number 32.

    @It wasnt me A big boy did it and ran away

    For the record, he also said "I thought it was a little harsh. It was certainly a booking."

  • Comment number 33.

    Man City have spent £300 million over the last couple of years and they get one lucky win at home against a poor form Villereal side. Someone has said they will give Barca a good game and will ignite into the Champions League, no chance! Phil trying to embaress someone about a comment of them winning the European Cup, I hope he sees this and does the same to you after reading this!

  • Comment number 34.

    this is @1 and in line with @14 (who I am not attacking)
    Seriously - offside. Perhaps consult the rule nowadays. I agree with Shankly, on the pitch, interfering with play and all that, but the way the rule is interpreted is in phases. When Zabaleta is passed the ball by Milner, 4 players are 'offside' - but Zabaleta is not one of them - therefore play on (and all 4 get back onside before the next phase). When Zabaleta crosses the ball, all players are behind the ball, which means not offside (you're aware of that rule I hope!!). Even when Silva touches it, Aguero (the only player who matters in the long run as he touches it) and Dzeko are behind the ball, and therefore onside.

    Perhaps you my son could consider watching a replay before your retarded expressions, because in a few short seconds, you're argument has been blown out of the water by watching what happened with regular glasses (not those rose tinted ones you possess)

  • Comment number 35.

    18. kanchelskis_legend wrote:

    I didn't watch the match..
    =================================
    Clearly not, so perhaps best not to comment on important aspects of it.

  • Comment number 36.

    @30.At 09:09 19th Oct 2011, kanchelskis_legend wrote:

    "Let's put it this way... did YOU think it should've been a red?"

    He was going for the man and not the ball. In that case it is a red (admittedly a harsh red). I know it would be a yellow in the EPL but last night was a CL game and in Europe, that would always be the case.

    As Larry Osopanco says at post 31, it is up to the FA to bring the standards of refereeing up to the standards used elsewhere.

  • Comment number 37.

    @Sams Town

    What 'important aspects' of the match did I comment on?

  • Comment number 38.

    @32.At 09:12 19th Oct 2011, kanchelskis_legend wrote:

    For the record, he also said "I thought it was a little harsh. It was certainly a booking."

    ---

    That's right - he did not say what Jem said that "vidic's challenge wasn't even worth a yellow"

  • Comment number 39.

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

  • Comment number 40.

    Masterminded??? For such an expensively created team they played not only poorly but were very dissapointing against a spanish side struggling to get results. They were totally outclassed by a superior Bayern team and will happen again. This team still has a lot to learn before they will be considered as a force in Europe and certainly before they are thought to be a great team.

    I am not speaking as a Man U supporter as I think their display was equally disappointing, but they have the proven class of rising to the occasion. Meanwhile city have faltered at the major teams every time.

  • Comment number 41.

    @It wasnt me A big boy did it and ran away

    When did 'going for the man' constitute a red? It was a professional foul. He deliberately impeded the player. It was not dangerous, violent or reckless.

    By every interpretation of the rules of football, that is a yellow card.

    It's also worth pointing out that the referee and linesmen were dire all night. There was a horrible lunge on Nani which didn't even get a yellow. Several poor offside calls (for both teams). Countless petty stoppages. And there's a case for Galati's penalty area handball being a red card.

    I don't think I want the FA's officiating anything like that, thanks very much.

  • Comment number 42.

    "As Larry Osopanco says at post 31, it is up to the FA to bring the standards of refereeing up to the standards used elsewhere."



    could not agree more!

  • Comment number 43.

    @ 23. At 09:05 19th Oct 2011, Pahgy Loves Manchester wrote:


    Funny Football UK City had like 10 clear chances to score, Dzeko with like 5, Zabalayeta 1, even Adam johnson had 2 if he had timed his run, not to mention Kolarovs pull outs. United had only 2 Shots from Nani dats all. City didnt play badly, they missed sitters, if they become more Clinical they would definately beat Villarel and Napoli. For now i think Bayern are Unbeatable, the best Club so far this season. United are in need of Improvement more than City, with the way United are playing now i see only a Draw on Sunday

    --------------------------------------------

    City had the wrong game plan in a European fixture, one more time. When will Mancini feel he needs to think more about matches before making his mind up about his starting XI ?

    Is it my idea only that Dzeko isn't worthy the status he is getting as a danger man in the opposition box?

    Bayern Munich have started their season well. Best performers in Europe? Yeah, right.

    As for the United match, I think United won 2-0, Nani hit the bar, while Rooney missed a blatant goal scoring opportunity, by missing the target by a yard or so in what should have been a typical goal for him. They played Lindegaard in goal, who wasn't really troubled during the match, had 61% possession of the ball and 10 chances versus 11 of SC Otelul Galati.

    With the Manchester derby coming on Sunday, I think United did what they should do in an away European fixture, one more time.

  • Comment number 44.

    They won't beat either Bayern or Napoli so they will be going into the Europa cup again - which they won't win !!!

    Just goes to show that money can't buy you everything !!!

  • Comment number 45.

    No comments from soul_patch yet, suggests he's mourning the loss of one of his beloved spanish teams.
    But at least charade_you_are is playing the wind up merchant role for the time being....vidic rightly sent off? rooney dive?
    As for city, scraped a win, but you have to give them the plaudits, they managed to get a win when they were playing poorly. If it was utd, chelsea etc they'd be talk of "playing like champions, battling to a win". Time will tell when they play bayern at home, and napoli and villareal away. It will also be interesting to see what side they put out on sunday.

  • Comment number 46.

    Yes a lucky win for us (WITHIN the injury time allocated to us actually #4) and we should have performed better but a win is a win. The team has plenty of champions league experience individually but not together so a first win was always going to be difficult to get out the way - this is City after all! Villareal played very well and it took us far too long to wear them down and grind out a win......but win we did. Hopefully we can now grow in confidence and show the champions league the quality football we've been displaying in the premier league.

    Think it's safe to say though that minds may have been wandering to Sunday's derby - which should be a much easier game for us! ;-)

  • Comment number 47.

    41. At 09:22 19th Oct 2011, kanchelskis_legend wrote:

    ------

    of course you don't, without the input of webb, clattenburgh and a few others besides your title haul would not look as impressive as it does now.

  • Comment number 48.

    47.
    At 09:28 19th Oct 2011, HAHA CharadeYouAre wrote:

    41. At 09:22 19th Oct 2011, kanchelskis_legend wrote:

    ------

    of course you don't, without the input of webb, clattenburgh and a few others besides your title haul would not look as impressive as it does now.

    _____________________________________________________________________

    :-|




    *yawn*



    next?

  • Comment number 49.

    @...Buongiorno Roberto

    ...yeah, enjoy your moments mate, till you come over to O Trafford where we'll wipe that smile off your bleeding face, eh, big boy?

    We arrrrr waitink !! a riva dechi !!

  • Comment number 50.

    How is that a manager gets appreciation for subbing a player in first half after his team goes 1 goal down?

    I think it is total lack of confidence in set of players he's got. Surely Johnson was fit enough to carry on playing. I would have liked to see the tactical nous of this gr8 manager if the team had gone 2-0 down instead of levelling 1-1 through own goal. And this was a home match so I suppose it was the one which they should have won it anyways. Why sensationalize what should have been a routine win which turned out to be 'scrambled' win. You're unbelievable Phil.

  • Comment number 51.

    @ 47. At 09:28 19th Oct 2011, HAHA CharadeYouAre,

    Is it legal for Arsenal fans to talk about titles?
    I thought you're only allowed to discuss SWOT analysis, macroeconomics, microeconomics and Break-Even point, having the Economist in hand, with TV and radion in the silent mode, as a mark of respect for Silent Stan.

    :-)

  • Comment number 52.

    Who are these City fans who have supposedly said City will win the Champs League? I have never met any, just another invention from the red spinners.

    The reality is that City fans know that qualifying through this very tough group would be great, but the Premier league is everything this season.

    It was a very, very important goal for City in the context of the season and their 1st foray in the Champs League.

    Villareal are a very good tough team in the Champions League and their 4th minute goal was perfect for them to make fhings even more difficult for Ciity.

    As for Rooney diving last night...... only he will know, but he has got plenty of previous.

  • Comment number 53.

    As a united fan, anyone claiming that the aguero goal was offside are deluded.
    All were behind the ball or at least level as i t was played across. Being infront of the last defender no longer applies at this point.
    Our performance to be fair was probably worse.
    Other than the rooney swivel and miss we had nothing inside the box.
    Both penalties are blatant.
    1st was a forehand smash that could rival Rafael Nadal and the second Rooney invited a lazy challenge going the other way and the defender obligged.
    I dont think we would have scored 10vs11 but with 10vs0 there was going to be lots of space to make chances.
    At least the derby is comming up next.
    All form goes out the window.

  • Comment number 54.

    There is no way that Bayern Munich, Napoli and Villarreal constitute a 'Group Of Death'

    Regardless of this being their first CL campaign, City should be making it to the knockout stage with ease bearing in mind the talent they have available. They certainly shouldn't struggle at home to a club that is languishing in 14th in their domestic league and having a terrible time in europe as well.

  • Comment number 55.

    Chelsea Fan!!!

    Manchester clubs were pathetic... can't beat 2 tier teams...
    About Article... Disgrace... Use oxford dictionary to see meaning of MASTERMIND...

  • Comment number 56.

    @ 55. At 09:37 19th Oct 2011, Torres_White_Heskey,

    Was it F.C. Copenhagen, last season, when you managed a 2-2 hard fought draw at Stamford Bridge?

  • Comment number 57.

    Lots of stupid comments on here of people who can't see past their own team.

    City chould have won comfortably BUT still did win and that's all that matters. United should have won comfortably BUT still did win.

    Aguero not offside and both United's goals were stonewall penalties.

    The big talking point for me, though, is City fans always go on about how great their fans are. Well this is your first ever year in the champions league and the atmosphere was like you were 3up at home to Aldershot. And this was BEFORE the game!!! Their were empty seats all game and half the stadium left before the Aguero goal.

    Real proper fans??? Don't make me laugh. Would genuinely like to hear a City fan's view of the atmosphere last night? It seems to the rest of us that instread of being ecstatic by being there you are already of the belief you should be there and that this isn;t actually a special night for you (See Spurs last year for European passion).

  • Comment number 58.

    @The Tenth Beetle:
    I wouldn't say that United were walking through this particular group. Generally poor performances compared to what is expected and although no losses, 2 draws to below par oposition and a lucky win doesn't constitute a walk through.

    As for Vidic, I would've said that was a red card. To those that say it wasn't dangerous I point you to the red card that Sam Warburton received on the weekend in the Wales v France Rugby World Cup game. When Vidic tackled the player at the height he did the pivot of the player meant that his upperbody came crashing in to the ground. He could easily have dislocated a shoulder or worse in that tackle.

    As for City, I was at the game at the weekend and thought City breezed past a poor Villa side. I very much expected a cushion this evening similar to the Villa game but then I reminded myself this is City. Villareal played a very defensive game, whether that would have been the case had they not scored within the first few minutes I don't know. City did make many good chances and on more than one occassion I was lambasting Dzeko for his lack of composure in front of goal. But they did what the great teams do and somehow managed to get a win despite playing poorly.

    As for the remainder of the group stage, I think that both Napoli and Villareal will play a different type of game considering they're at home. That will likely provide Silva et al with more space and I predict a 3-1 victory over Villareal and a slightly tighter 2-1 victory over Napoli. I expect an exciting draw against Bayern at home in the final game providing City with 11 points in total and progression in second place to the knockout stages.

    Oh and a 2-1 win over United at the weekend :)

  • Comment number 59.

    # 18 great point. Sort it out beeb.

    I now tend to read these blogs for amusement rather than to benefit from any great insight from the blogger. On this basis i'd suggest that these blogs are no better than 'Claridge kicks off'. And talking of which, whatever happened to Steve's blogs??? The great thing about Steve was his ability to engage with the common footy fan... and now he’s been sent packing?!

    Come on Phil...video blog next time please?!

  • Comment number 60.

    my so called " attacks " on city are anything butt!

    Luck plays an important part thats for sure i was merely questioning the use of the words " mastermind " and " astute " regarding Mr M

    as a neutral i found it a good game to watch Villareal equipped themselves very well
    and i think 1-1 would have been a fair result.

    as for the other game i thought I'd watch the highlights as soon as i heard Vidic got sent of and Rooney scored from the spot twice, due to allegations of betting scandals i thought it was prudent to be brought up to speed.

  • Comment number 61.

    wirral18

    Not to mention pelting officials with bits of paper... What was it, under-10s get in free or something?

  • Comment number 62.

    @Wirral18

    I agree with you about the atmosphere, at the Villa game on the weekend the crowd was very subdued. As a City fan I find that the weight of expectation rather than an assumption of defeat has made games a lot edgier for the fans this season. Once City got in the lead on Saturday everything livened up and it was like City of old.

  • Comment number 63.

    i think phil wrote this in amongst the last gasp celebration's and went abit overboard, man city will not get through this group.

    i hope not anyway.

  • Comment number 64.

    It seems a couple of people need to understand the meaning of the word mastermind before commenting on journalists use of it.

    I only saw the Man City game and have to admit to being a bit disappointed by the performance but the important thing is to win the game no matter how you played. It's amazing what a bit of momentum can do to a side.

  • Comment number 65.

    1-1 was never a fair result as they created loads of Chances. So Biased

  • Comment number 66.

    Oh my God. Just how much cash have they spread around the BBC? This 'positive' media is insulting to your readers. Do expect us to swallow this version of a match we watched? One own goal and a scraped offside last minute winner and 'Man city ignite the champions league'? So sad for independent journalism. It really is.

  • Comment number 67.

    Don't get me wrong i've been too many United champs league games against the 4th seeds when we've already qualified and the atmosphere is just not there. But we have no become so accustomed to champions league football that it we are expectant of reaching the knock out stages as a bare minimum.

    I just think City fans aren't enjoying the pleasure of being in the competition for the first time like Spurs did last year. I think McNulty mentions City wanting to be remembered even if they go out. Well so far they wont as their games have been devoid of passion on and off the pitch.

    As for the paper throwing, didn't get it at all. No idea what was going on and probably the stupidest fine UEFA will ever give out.

  • Comment number 68.

    It's all semantics isn't it Phil?

    Man City may or may not be new to the competition and they scraped a win. There will be plenty of more experienced teams who come a cropper at some stage or steal a win and then it will be testament to their experience and resolve.

    Are Man City making hard work of this or is it simply a case of them playing teams that are more cagey and less open than those they play domestically?

    The problem I find with these group stages is that journalists, as is there want, seem to want to predict the future conclusively based on the last game at any one time.

  • Comment number 69.

    "As for the paper throwing, didn't get it at all."

    origami under a blue moon during the interval wonderful idea to keep the kids amused.

  • Comment number 70.

    City did at least look more convincing than their cross town rivals

    If I was a United fan I would be worried, yes both mpenalties were clear cut but that doesn;t excuse the fact that they needed 2 late penalties to squeeze past a Romanian outfit. And that's not even mentioning their defensive frailties. Smalling handball and nothign given, if that Roamnian side had any competent strikers United would have been punished. What struck me was how little United actually created. I only count 3 clear cut chances from them all game

    City looked so disjointed in the first 20 moinutes but did improve after that. In the second half I thought they were much improved. Was an entertaining game, on another day could have finished 4-4

    If City hadn't won last night I;d be very worried for Mancini. Even as things stand they will need at least 2 wins in their remaining fixtures

  • Comment number 71.

    Man City wont quallify for the knockout stage with Villareal away, Napoli away and Bayern at home.

    Mancini is a lucky manager, all his accomplishments have been the result of other teams bad performances. Inter won Serie A under Mancini year after year, due to the scandal and the legacy of it. City qualifieed 3rd, due to Arsenal's self destruction, Spurs being distracted by the CL and Liverpool's poor start to the season. He only finished one place higher in his first season than when Mark Hughes was sacked.

    He has 3 unsettled strikers. Tevez has become a scapegoat for Mancini. He joined West Ham with a view to going to a larger club and he saved them from relegation. He played well for United but was never first choice, being behind an under-performing Berbatov, so he moves for the big money to City, who would have promised him the world. So last season he was intergral in the qualification, and then is dropped to the bench this season. No one knows whether he refused to play as it is just Mancini's word. So I would think most of us would be annoyed if we were treated like that??

    The media has taken Mancini's side and everyone has bought it.

  • Comment number 72.

    #62 Angry_Dragon

    @Wirral18

    I agree with you about the atmosphere, at the Villa game on the weekend the crowd was very subdued. As a City fan I find that the weight of expectation rather than an assumption of defeat has made games a lot edgier for the fans this season. Once City got in the lead on Saturday everything livened up and it was like City of old.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    It happened at Stamford Bridge as well in the mid 00's.

    Winning is the minimum you come to expect and you know the grief that will come if there is much less than that.

    Fans of mid tier clubs probably have it best cause they really don't know what the result is going to be.

  • Comment number 73.

    @Terry and Lampard-true Blues brothers

    'Smalling handball and nothing given'.

    *sigh* Doing magic mushrooms before watching a football match? We've all been there I suppose. But don't try and comment on said match afterwards. You're bound to have got something wrong.

  • Comment number 74.

    51. At 09:32 19th Oct 2011, Football_UK wrote:

    ---

    i shall of course be watching the manchester derby with great interest, after i will of course enlighten a few with my post match comments , as a neutral i will be able to offer an impartial view on the result which i think is going to leave af with an even bigger red nose than he sports at present.

    i hope thats ok with everyone else ? if not

    Deal with it.

  • Comment number 75.

    @36
    vidic flicks his foot from left to right as opposed to going directly for his opponent's feet as u suggested.
    Here is a suggestion watch it again in slow mo.

  • Comment number 76.

    As a Spurs fan, why on earth couldn't we have the good fortune to encounter the Dzeko that played last night back in August, instead we seemed to have one possessed and able to hit every single shot in - on recent evidence that one in August was the imposter!

  • Comment number 77.

    HAHA CharadeYouAre

    Neutral?! Get a grip. You're playing out your transition from Arsenal fan to City fan for all to see. Not to mention your obvious bitter, jealous loathing of all things United.

    You made the first comment on this blog. It was about City. Versus Villareal. You're an Arsenal fan (for now). And you STILL couldn't resist bring United into it.

    Obssessed.

  • Comment number 78.

    "City did at least look more convincing than their cross town rivals"

    I think fans from other clubs need to remember they say this nearly every year about us in the group stages. All bar one year we've done just enough to get through with atleast 1 or 2 dire games for people to tell us we're a spent force in Europe

  • Comment number 79.

    #76 mtrenners

    Maybe it's a simple case of Villareal can attack better than Spurs and they can defend better than Spurs. But I don't know that for sure.

    Who is Spurs' 20 goal a season striker this year? Who is there ever present (i.e. fit) centre back this season? Get those, and Spurs would 'go up a level' in my opinion.

  • Comment number 80.

    4. At 08:41 19th Oct 2011, mystic_genius wrote:
    No complaints this time from city fans about time added on after injury time had finished. Funny that, isn't it.

    -------------------------

    Due to time wasting (yellow rec'd) .... not exactly the 7 magical made up minutes of fergie time was it!

  • Comment number 81.

    You hardly have to be a mastermind to beat an average Spanish team, especially when your team is filled with superstars costing hundreds of millions of pounds in total. How much did that Villareal team cost? Only a fraction of City yet they almost got a draw in Manchester.

  • Comment number 82.

    Both teams played poorly for what they are capable of.

    Man City wont make it out of the group but will make the EURO cup (hahaha) and Man Utd will be second in the group.

    Simple as, no "masterminds" or "masterclasses" behind either performance. All the possession in the world counts for nothing if your main attacking threat is poor. (Both teams were poor in front of goal)

    Man Utd pens are debatable and based on opinion.. and Man City goal did look offside, I haven't seen the reply but work colleagues have and suggest the same thing.

  • Comment number 83.

    It took Ferguson 13 years to win the Champs league after he joined utd, Mancini hasn't been in the City Job for two give the man a chance people!

    Half the squad have only had one full season at the club, It takes time to build a squad and get them all to play together and the way you want.

  • Comment number 84.

    @Reccy - I fit into a bra comfortably

    On what planet are either of United's pens debatable?

  • Comment number 85.

    Vidic red card aside, the ref was United's 12th man last night. Faile dto goive a penalty against them, failed to penalise Hernandez or Fabio;s constant diving, gave offside decisions in their favour (again, Smalling the guilty party)

    I fail to see how Kanchelskis_legend can argue it was not a penalty, Vidic and Smalling both handled it yet I notice no mentio on this from the commentators and the pundits who simply glossed over it

  • Comment number 86.

    77. At 10:07 19th Oct 2011, kanchelskis_legend wrote:

    -----

    and you speak of " magic mushrooms " ?

    I can assure you i remain fully committed to Arsenal, i won't be moving to any club to win trophies nor replace my T-Shirt that reads " 49 games unbeaten "

    you are however correct I'm not to fond of anything to do with mu ( small m&u )

    i am also not bitter about Citys wealth and their inclusion into the top table and as this Blog is about City and not Arsenal i need not comment on the latter, therefore on this particular CL night i was watching as a neutral to see just how well City would do leaving aside my obvious and continued support of all things Arsenal.

  • Comment number 87.

    Man Utd pens are debatable and based on opinion.. and Man City goal did look offside, I haven't seen the reply but work colleagues have and suggest the same thing.

    -------------------------

    Do you know how off side works? It cant be offside if the ball goes backwards and it did....therefore on side!

  • Comment number 88.

    Went to the game last night and surprised why a Villareal with zero points came looking for a draw.

    City remind me of Mourinho's Madrid last year. A lot of talented, expensive players but with a philosophy that is still in development.

    Mancini got it right with his substitutions last night. Hard on Johnson but there was a glaring hole in the middle that meant although City were applying all the pressure any breakdown was exposed.

    Dzeko looked alarmingly like the 2010 version but Nasri's performances are the more puzzling. His form is OK but he is not playing with any significant impact or responsibility and it shows.

  • Comment number 89.

    86.
    At 10:18 19th Oct 2011, HAHA CharadeYouAre wrote:

    this Blog is about City and not Arsenal i need not comment on the latter

    It's not about United, but you felt compelled to talk about them... in your FIRST post.




    @Terry and Lampard-true Blues brothers

    Mate, you have been SERIOUSLY trippin'. I really want some of the high-grade sh|t you must be on. Hernandez and Fabio diving... Vidic and Smalling handballing... what a mysterious and faraway world you've been to!

    Seriously though, it's Wednesday morning. Shouldn't you have come down by now? Or are your bosses cool with you being high at work?

  • Comment number 90.

    "the ref was United's 12th man last night"

    It shouldn't do, but comments like that still annoy me. I hope for your own sake that you are between the ages of 13 and 17 as anything older than that then you are a pr*t. There are always 2 stories to each argument.

    I presume you agree our penalties were stonewall then the first pen had to result in a red card, no?? Offside decisions in our favour?? Hahaha these very marginal decisiosn go for and against every team EVERY match.

    Anyway back to City. I actually do agree with post 83. Although I can't stand Mancini and thought his defensive attitude last year was going to ruin the prem, I do believe he needs time to win anything in Europe.

    Look at Chelsea for an example of how not to do it with the chopping of managers every other season. This isn't a slight at Chelsea, I just believe if Morinho had stayed in charge you would have a champs league under your belt by now.

  • Comment number 91.

    @81.At 10:14 19th Oct 2011, Kamana wrote:

    "How much did that Villareal team cost? Only a fraction of City yet they almost got a draw in Manchester."

    How much did the Otelul Galati team cost to assemble? Their average wage is 50,000 pounds a year, near 5 times less than Wayne makes in a week!

    People in glass houses...

  • Comment number 92.

    #88 il_birbone

    Went to the game last night and surprised why a Villareal with zero points came looking for a draw.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Presumably, they came with a cautious approach and then hoped to build on being level as the game went on.

    Whilst I can see Mancini's thoughts with the substitution, I wonder if Johnson was asked to tuck in first and it didn't work? Maybe using a sub before an alternate approach with the incumbent personnel first might have been less risky? Still, that's just an opinion from my armchair and desk!

  • Comment number 93.

    Phil - Manchini admits it was a lucky win for City last night, actually he was a lot luckier than his team! As far as Champion's League football goes Roberto still doesn't get it.......... does he? Play two holding midfielders away from home, yes quite right, play your most attacking formation at home ... win your 3 home games, snatch 1 point from any of the 3 away fixtures and there you are in the knock-out stages ...Simples!
    On balance, perhaps both Manchester clubs had this Sunday's fixture on their minds last night? Certainly in the first half United seemed as though they were treating this match as a training exercise, no urgency, sloppy passing etc. Expect to see a big difference, from both teams on Sunday

  • Comment number 94.

    Nº2:
    "I remain to be convinced that Mancini has control of the dressing room."

    ___________________

    It's not the dressing room that counts. The big question is: "does he have any idea how to control what's going on on the pitch?"

    I'm not convinced he does. Barry should have started and so should Milner, who's becoming an indispensible part of the team and at times seems to be the only player who gives a ....
    And Dzeko? What's wrong with him? And Nasri has reverted back to the "one-game-good-five-games-bad" routine that he had at Arsenal. The team really did look like a bunch of mercenaries going through the motions with the odd honourable exception.

    I could go on, but the real problem for me is the lack of motivation and technical nous coming from the current manager.

  • Comment number 95.

    Funnily enough I would agree that both your penalties were stonewall

    Did you fail to notice Hernandez's dive for that Nani freekick? Thought so

    Still doesn't take away from the fact that they should have had a first half penalty, and nor does it take away from the fact that you needed 2 late penalties to see off this Romanian pub team

  • Comment number 96.

    84.
    At 10:16 19th Oct 2011, kanchelskis_legend wrote:
    @Reccy - I fit into a bra comfortably

    On what planet are either of United's pens debatable?

    Mars?? There is only one planet we can live on with a breathable atmosphere which has the viewing capabilities to watch these types of matches. NASA hasn't found any other planet to accommodate us human beings yet. So Earth would be the answer to your stupid question.

    DEBATABLE in my opinion, and as I don't valid yours seeing as you lack any sort of intelligence I will ignore you from now on.

    Kisses.

  • Comment number 97.

    #90 wirral18

    Look at Chelsea for an example of how not to do it with the chopping of managers every other season. This isn't a slight at Chelsea, I just believe if Morinho had stayed in charge you would have a champs league under your belt by now.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I often ponder how things might have developed differently in the last few years if certain decisions had been made differently.

    However, I think Mourinho's ego and vanity would have prevented him being at Chelsea for what would have been, now at least, 7+ years. It's just not in his make up. It seems that if things don't go his way in the short term, then he personally can't take the pain of righting wrongs.

    It wouldn't surprise me if he pitched up at Man U for a couple of seasons after he's been at Real Madrid. He'll take some short term plaudits, then move on to the Portuguese national team and then who knows what.

    (I hope AVB stays at Chelsea for a long time [though it's early days to say that of course]) but I still sit and wonder 'what if' when I consider the possible appointments of Moyes and Hughes.

  • Comment number 98.

    @Terry and Lampard-true Blues brothers

    Didn't need 2 penalties to see off your lot earlier in the season, did we? In fact we missed one just to be nice and give you a chance.

    ;-)

  • Comment number 99.

    Reccy - I fit into a bra comfortably

    You don't "valid" my opinions?

    Gosh I really do lack intelligence... I don't even know what that means.


    Could you explain how either penalty was debatable?

  • Comment number 100.

    @ Terry and Lampard

    Discounting the random vidic red card and subsequent 2 game ban, the ref was of course on utd's side!! The reason why none of your "events" were mentioned by commentators was because they were non-existant. Fabrications of a bitter chelsea fan willing his rivals to fail.
    Utd are set to qualify and not getting out of 1st gear.

 

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