Thursday, August 16, 2007

Reaction & player ratings: City 1 Derby 0

A disjointed first half that burst into life with a stunning strike from Michael Johnson, but I thought we controlled the game in the second and ended up comfortable winners.

The atmosphere last night was interesting. Subdued for most of the first half - almost as if we half-feared our hopes were about to be deflated - the crowd really got going as we dominated in the second. Although the chants of 'City are back' still have an unconvincing ring to them, the belief is growing and the signs are all positive. The official attendance of 43,620 was 6,406 higher than the first home game of last season and we have a team that oozes potential. And when was the last time we had players as talented as Geovanni, Bojinov, Onuoha and Mpenza on the bench?

The Blue Moon is in the ascendant and the storm clouds are nowhere to be seen.

~ Latest Premiership table
~ BBC match stats; Sky match stats
~ Sven's post-match interview
~ Getty Images photos

Match reports

City 1 Derby 0
These are heady days indeed for City and while Eriksson’s global recruitment policy has not met with universal approval outside the club, results suggest his eye for talent remains in tact.
And, in handing Johnson a starting berth in successive games, the Swede can hardly be accused of not giving youth its head either.

Johnson ends City's long wait in style (Andy Hunter)
This was not the exuberant performance many had anticipated following the club's impressive start at West Ham but that was always an ambitious request. A 100 per cent start, however, is ample compensation ahead of United's visit on Sunday. "I strongly believe we will play better football when the fitness of the new players is better and there is more understanding," said Eriksson.

Home-grown hero puts foreign talent in shade (James Ducker)
City have never started a Premier League season with successive wins, but while it is still very early stages, the tide of optimism that has washed around this fallen giant may not seem so misplaced after all.

Johnson curler ends City's wait for a home league goal (Daniel Taylor)
he former England manager must have been encouraged by the vigour with which his name was serenaded. Less pleasing was the team's lack of cohesion throughout the opening exchanges but, even without reaching the exhilarating heights that were attained against West Ham United on Saturday, City frequently looked dangerous in attack.

Man City's Michael Johnson ends drought (William Johnson)
Say what you like about Sven-Goran Eriksson's disappointing end to his England managerial reign, the Swede's record in club football all over Europe compares with the very best. Successful in his homeland, Portugal and Italy, he is now planning to make his mark in the Premier League and has got off to the best possible start with two heartening victories.

Player ratings

Ratings come from (in order): mcfc_ms, bluebrendan (Citymancs), Grob (Mancityfans), MEN, BBC, Sky and Sky Your Rating.

Schmeichel: 7, 7, 7, 6, 7.0, 7, 7.4 (av:6.9)
A couple of vital interventions, especially in the second half, and two clean sheets is all he could ask for. (MEN)

Corluka: 7, 6, 7, 6, 6.4, 5, 6.7 (av: 6.3)
Another steady game from the rangy and powerful Croat defender who likes to get forward when possible. (MEN)

Dunne: 7, 7, 7, 7, 7.2, 8, 7.8 (av: 7.3)
Howard kept the Blues skipper on his toes but he won every important header. (MEN)

Richards: 8, 7, 8, 6, 7.4, 7, 7.8 (av: 7.3)
Not as spectacular as at Upton Park but then again he didn't have to be. (MEN)

Garrido: 6, 7, 8, 6, 6.6, 6, 6.9 (av: 6.6)
Settling in well though it may take him a bit longer to feel at home. Glimpse of attacking potential with Petrov. (MEN)

Ireland: 8, 8, 7, 6, 7.0, 7, 7.4 (av: 7.2)
When he was good, he was very good and when he wasn't he gave the ball away too often. (MEN)

Johnson: 8, 8, 8, 8, 8.1, 8, 8.1 (av: 8.0)
Oldies will see a resemblance to Colin Bell in the way he moves and manner in which he took his goal. Fine effort. (MEN)

Hamann: 9, 8, 9, 7, 6.8, 7, 7.4 (av: 7.7)
Again, not quite as supreme as he was at West Ham but moves with air of class. (MEN)

Petrov (Geovanni 74 ): 6, 6, 6, 6, 7.4, 6, 7.1 (av: 6.4)
Lost his temper a couple of times and was booked but he will make his mark. (MEN)

Elano (Mpenza 89): 8, 8, 9, 7, 8.3, 8, 8.1 (av: 8.1)
Easy on the eye and clear to see he will soon be a big favourite. (MEN)

Bianchi (Bojinov 78): 6, 7, 8, 7, 7.4, 7, 7.1 (av: 7.1)
Worked like a Trojan, making angles and space for those running from midfield. (MEN)


Geovanni (Petrov 74 ): 7, 6, 7, 6, 6.6, 6, 7.1 (av: 6.5)
One sparkling free-kick. (MEN)

Bojinov (Bianchi 78): 6, 6, 6, 6, 6.4, 7, 6.9 (av: 6.3)
No time to make impression. (MEN)

Mpenza (Elano 89).

Subs not used:

Hart, Onuoha.

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