One week I’m writing about how perfect, how awesome and how thrilling Manchester City are, the next week I’m puzzled by their failure to perform on the road. I’m starting to feel like Dr Jeckyll and Mr Hyde. One minute I’m feeling on top of the world the next minute I’m mystified.
I’d suggested that the game against Spurs felt pivotal, a potential season defining game, and on that basis there can only be one outcome this season, the Blues will steam roller everyone and win their second Premier League title in three years.
As Aguero, Negredo, Nasri, Navas and Yaya Toure wove their magic against woeful Spurs, who’d started the game as title rivals with just six goals conceded from eleven games, I kept wondering how this could be the team that lost so tepidly at Sunderland ; and this win was without Silva and Kompany!
Nigel Gleghorn, who has been commentating on home City games with me for the last four years, wondered how many goals City would have scored if City’s attack had been playing against City’s defence. Amazingly, even during that perfect win against Spurs, the opposition had had clear chances, that might have made a difference, if they’d gone in when the score was lower. “Once Vincent Kompany is back, all will be well” I hear you shout, but it’s not as simple as that is it?
It’s a collective thing. Nigel reckons it’s about work rate, and perhaps in particular the midfield work rate, rather that the defenders. I spoke to Fernandinho after the game, his English is excellent by the way, and you’ll hear some of that interview in Blue Tuesday, the night before the Viktoria Plzen game. I suggested to him that it was something to do with the tempo that City sets. It seems higher at the Etihad, while away from home, and I’m thinking of Sunderland in particular, it was almost pedestrian. Is that the difference? Nando said that that had nothing to do with it. He also admitted that he’d been away from Brazil for so long that he’d forgotten about the style of football his country is so famous for. Surely playing in this City team is all the reminder he needs!
I noticed Manuel Pellegrini smiling during the game, I asked him why, given that he normally shows such little emotion, he replied “I must concentrate on the game, that’s why I don’t normally show my emotions, but I was enjoying this one.” Just like all of us!
The pick of the goals? Well there were some corkers, but that turn by Negredo, all in one movement, followed by the perfect finish, takes the award for me, but it’s like choosing your favourite son, when you’ve got more than one ; impossible.
– Ian Cheeseman