Monday, September 3, 2007

Reaction, stats & ratings: Blackburn 1 City 0

Our new signings went to play football and ended up with a harsh lesson in the realities of the Premier League. But maybe it's more appropriate to liken this game to a boxing match. For the first 15 minutes we were Sugar Ray Leonard, but the constant battering reduced us to looking more like a punchy journeyman by the end.

The story of the game can be found in the stats, which reveal that Blackburn committed 25 fouls to City's three. While it may be unfair to categorise Blackburn as a particularly dirty team, the fact they committed a foul every 3min and 36sec does say something about their approach to the game.

After the game Sven said we have to learn to be 'less nice'. While there's plenty of talk in today's papers about his honeymoon period being over, that probably applies more to his signings.

We know they have the skill, now they need to show us they can battle with the best of them.

~ Premiership table
~ Sven's post-match interview
~ fan's video from game
~ gallery; Getty Images

Match reports

Eriksson bemoans beautiful game as Blackburn sail past (James Ducker)
Blackburn Rovers should have won at a canter, so incisive was their play, so inviting were the countless chances they created, so haphazard was City’s defending. That an incident-strewn game, which included two sendings-off, remained delicately poised until the final whistle owed much to Blackburn’s profligacy, but it would have been a terrible injustice had Mark Hughes’s upwardly mobile team recorded anything less than a win.

Benni McCarthy brings Man City down to earth (Mark Ogden)
Since City rode their luck to claim a derby victory against Manchester United a fortnight ago, when Geovanni's goal came from City's only effort on target, the wheel is beginning to turn in their opponents' favour. Blackburn dominated Eriksson's team in the same manner as United but this time capitalised by taking one of their many chances to extend their unbeaten start to the season.

Blackburn 1 Man City 0 (Ken Gaunt)
The South African’s strike was enough to give Mark Hughes’ side the edge against City in a rousing encounter.
Both sides finished with 10 men. Blackburn midfielder Tugay was sent off, as was City skipper Richard Dunne.
Not that it was a dirty game - far from it - just hugely competitive at rain-lashed Ewood Park.
While Rovers extended their unbeaten run to 14 matches stretching back to last season, City have lost two in succession in the league with out scoring.

Hughes' sparkling gems bring end to Eriksson and City's honeymoon period (Nick Harris)
It is far too early to say that Eriksson's grand plans for a City renaissance are off the rails. Blackburn, on this evidence, are a tasty side indeed. But City managed just two shots all afternoon, both from Martin Petrov, and only one of those was on target.

McCarthy rewards incisive Rovers as old flaws return to jolt Eriksson (Daniel Taylor)
Sven-Goran Eriksson's honeymoon period at Manchester City is well and truly over and the former England manager has to be dismayed by the sharp downturn in their level of performance. After winning their opening three games the Premier League's early pacesetters were back to being the "old Manchester City" as they lost for a second successive weekend, fortunate not to suffer a heavier defeat in a game that featured two sendings-off.

Match stats

The stats (below) are taken from a live commentary and can differ from the stats at the BBC and Sky.

For more detailed stats, including a breakdown of each player's passes and tackles, click here.

Player ratings

Rating come from (in order): The Times, Man City Mad, MEN, BBC, Sky, Sky Your Rating

Schmeichel: 6, 5, 6, 7.2, 6, 6.8 (av: 6.2)
Critics will point at his travails when the ball is in the air but enjoyed precious little protection. (MEN)

Corluka: 5, 5, 5, 6.2, 6, 4.8 (av: 5.3)
This was his least impressive performance since he arrived. Looked a little weary. (MEN)

Richards: 4, 7, 5, 7.2, 7, 5.8 (av: 6.0)
Hope England wasn't on his mind because at times he looked as if his head was elsewhere. (MEN)
Was immense against United recently, but he was made to look the boy that he is as Blackburn's two seasoned forwards exposed him in the air on countless occasions before Santa Cruz gave him the runaround on the floor in the second half. (Telegraph)

Dunne: 4, 5, 6, 5.1, 5, 4.5 (av: 4.9)
Got lucky with one clearance that hit own bar and then unlucky to be sent off. (MEN)

Garrido: 4, 5, 5, 5.6, 5, 4.4 (av: 4.8)
Appeared vulnerable when Bentley ran at him and offered little going forward when Blues fell behind. (MEN)

Ireland (Onuoha 70): 5, 4, 6, 5.4, 6, 4.7 (av: 5.2)
Tried his hardest to make things happen but it wasn't his day and he was replaced after break. (MEN)

Johnson (Mpenza 32): 5, 5, 5, 4.9, 5, 4.3 (av: 4.9)
Youngster only managed half an hour before being replaced by Mpenza as City chased the contest. (MEN)

Hamann: 7, 6, 6, 5.5, 6, 5.2 (av: 6.0)
Even he put the odd pass out of place as the Blues struggled for any kind of foothold. (MEN)

Petrov (Geovanni 76): 6, 5, 5, 6.2, 7, 5.4 (av: 5.8)
One early shot brought a fine flying save from Friedel but thereafter failed to deliver anything significant. (MEN)

Elano: 6, 6, 6, 6.3, 7, 5.4 (av: 6.1)
Looked as though he would run the game for ten minutes then inexplicably faded out of it. (MEN)

Bianchi: 5, 5, 5, 6.1, 4, 3.6 (av: 4.8)
Outshone by Santa Cruz. Never really had any clear cut chances to add to his two goal tally. (MEN)


Mpenza (Johnson 32): - , 6, 6, 6.1, 7, 5.2 (av: 6.1)
Worked hard but no great service. (MEN)

Onuoha (Ireland 70): - , 6, 6, 6.0, 6, 4.6 (av: )
Steady job when Dunne dismissed. (MEN)

Geovanni (Petrov 76): - , - , 6, 6.4, 6, 4.3 (av: 5.7)
No time to show his magic. (MEN)

Subs not used:
Hart, Ball.


Anonymous said...

reality check required.

if you saw the game you'd see most of those fouls where when the ref's whistle went off because he believes football is now a non-contact sport.

you were played off the park city.

Anonymous said...

If a non contact is pulling shirts and small nudges to put the ball player of his stride then the previous poster is correct Rovers remind me of Wimbledon All credit to the Ref even if he did miss the penalty and if Rovers ares so good then why only one goal from a dead ball?

Kev Harrison said...

Sadly, I think the reality of the english game is that there is a more physical edge to it, and in fairness to teams like Blackburn, Watford last year and Bolton, it is difficult to play against, especially when you have foreign players coming in from leagues where it’s not tolerated. It’s awful to watch, but every team plays to it’s strengths, and Blackburn do have a couple players with some decent ball playing nouse. By no means do I want to start playing that way, but we do need our players to get a little bit more used to rough house tactics, or we will struggle. I think Mpenza should have started instead of Bianchi – one who lacks that physical presence – or maybe even Elano. Never doubt his class, but he’s not tough enough for this sort of game. Tend to agree Ball is a more combative left back too. We must put in a performance against Villa. CoMS must become a fortress. CTID.