Monday, September 17, 2007

Reaction, stats & ratings: City 1 Villa 0

Another day, another City teenager for the press to rave about.

Although Johnson has a long way to go before he merits a comparison with Colin Bell, he certainly shares Bell's self-assurance.

"He played something like nine games at the end of last season. When I met him, he said to me: 'I came along and saved City [from relegation]!' He's certainly got confidence," Eriksson told reporters after the game.

I've been reading the book Sven co-authored with psychologist Willi Railo, Sven-Goran Eriksson on Football, where they divide players into four personality types, with 'Type A' (the 'cultural architects') being the most desirable. The way we comfortably protected our 1-0 lead yesterday makes me wonder how many 'Type As' Sven has inherited.

Other pluses from the game had to be performances of Corluka and Petrov. Still not sure whether Garrido is up to it defensively but I do wonder whether he'd make an ideal left-midfielder for the more tricky away games.

So, second in the table and our next four league games are Fulham (A), Newcastle (H), Boro (H) and Birmingham (H). A top-four position after ten games is now looking a distinct possibility.

~ Video of Johnson's goal
~ Premiership table
~ Sven's post-match interview
~ Getty Images

Match stats

Okay, I know the stats show that no crosses were made during the game, but I can only go on what the live commentary tells me.

For more detailed stats, including a breakdown of each player's passes and tackles, Click here, while you can also find match details at the BBC and Sky.

Player ratings

Rating come from (in order): King Kev, glyntowen, Wonderwall, Grob (Mancityfans), FleetwoodBlue (Wookie's Lair), The Times, MEN, BBC, Sky, Sky Your Rating

Schmeichel: 7, 5, 5, 6, 5, 6, 6, 6.3, 5, 5.8 (av: 5.7)
Physically big Villa side fired plenty of crosses to try and undermine confidence and failed. (MEN)
Another clean sheet for the young Dane, he still needs to iron out a few things in his game but you can't argue with the stats! (King Kev)
Oh dear, just proves you cant just go with stats..... (glyntowen)
If he follows that display with the same again, then I would seriously think about resting him. His worst game for us yet. Got to give him the benefit of the doubt. (Wonderwall)
Not convincing and poor decision making but he keeps getting away with it so he must be doing something right. Glimpses of top class potential within but its surely only a matter of time before Issy gets his shirt back. (Grob)
He's got bags of potential, I love his attitude (born winner and just look at the delight on his face when we scored and at full-time) and I'm delighted that he's been offered a new 3 year contract, BUT until he brushes up on his ability to deal with crosses he's a liability. Two to three years from now I suspect that he'll be a major asset but he's not quite ready yet. (FleetwoodBlue)

Onuoha: 6, 6, 6, 6.5, 6, 6, 7, 5.8, 6, 6.3 (av: 6.2)
Seems as happy on the right as he does in the middle and this was a typically strong effort. (MEN)
Struggled a bit today, was left exposed when Vassell was injured/flagging and I suspect he was relieved to have the help from Sun when he came on. (King Kev)
Solid, pace lets him recover when beaten. (glyntowen)
OK, nothing to write home about, dependable. (Wonderwall)
Had a good tussle with Young which ended in a draw. Kept Maloney annonmous when he came on. Passing and touch much better than last season but he'll likely be back on the bench against Fulham. (Grob)
Solid enough defensively but tentative when in possession. (FleetwoodBlue)

Richards: 8, 7, 7, 7, 5, 7, 7, 6.9, 7, 7.4 (av: 6.9)
Took a couple of whacks but led by example flinging his body where the boots were flying. (MEN)
Rounded off a brilliant week with a commanding performance, picked up a few knocks but battled on manfully. (King Kev)
Nice solid game. (glyntowen)
Not his best game, but I love his ability to recover, I cant wait for him to get the rest of his game together. He will be one of the best players on the planet if he keeps improving and ironing out the errors in his game. (Wonderwall)
Stood up to be counted in the last 3rd of the match with some dominant heading. First hour he was hit and miss. Missed Dunne's steadying influence. (Grob)
Never got to grips with Carew and Young. Probably knackered from his England exertions and possibly trying too hard as captain. (FleetwoodBlue)

Corluka: 7, 7, 7, 8, 8, 7, 8, 6.5, 6, 7.1 (av: 7.2)
Classy display from the Croatian who dealt with Carew well and made some timely interceptions. (MEN)
Best game yet for City, looked very assured and saved us a few times. (King Kev)
Looks better in the centre, sometimes doesn't attack the headers well enough. (glyntowen)
Looking better with every game, this fella may turn out to be one of the best signings for Sven. (Wonderwall)
Didnt put a foot wrong all afternoon. The best of the back 4. Battled hard against Carew and was in the right place at the right time to snuff out all danger. Confident with the ball at his feet also. (Grob)
Outstanding again. Reads the game well, good all round defender, uses the ball well, surprisingly effective going forward and an expert at winning free kicks when only the vaguest of fouls has taken place. I love him to bits. (FleetwoodBlue)

Garrido: 7, 6, 6, 6.5, 7, 6, 7, 6.0, 5, 6.2 (av: 6.3)
Recovered from a shaky start to play a vital role in keeping the visitors chances to a minimum. (MEN)
A bit hesitant at times and needs to learn to get stuck in a bit more. (King Kev)
Does the job, think he is stop gap for Bridge, like the way he helps Petrov. (glyntowen)
Not sure if I would prefer Ball or Garrido, nice problem to have, but did well today against a tricky winger. (Wonderwall)
Great with the ball at his feet and had Agbonlahor shackled bar one defensive lapse with Agbonlahor's header. Looked handy in midfield also. Well worth £1.5 million. (Grob)
Solid, no fuss, no nonsense defender. I really like him. (FleetwoodBlue)

Vassell (Jihai 64): 7, 6, 6, 6, 5, 5, 7, 5.3, 6, 5.4 (av: 5.9)
Started brightly and popped up on both wings whilst finding time to help out the defenders. (MEN)
Obviously still a little rusty but still managed to scare the Villa defence a few times with his pace. Should have gone off sooner though as he was clearly struggling. (King Kev)
Tries but I'd rather see Bianchi up front as part of a 2. (glyntowen)
Don't understand this one by Sven, he did put a couple of nice balls across and always has the opponents on the back foot because of his pace. (Wonderwall)
Got a knock early on which hindered him and he barely got into the game. Looked out of place in our new look system surrounded by quality players. His days are numbered. (Grob)
Not good enough. Please sell him in January. (FleetwoodBlue)

Hamann: 9, 9, 7, 8, 6.5, 7, 8, 5.9, 7, 6.9 (av: 7.4)
If his court date this week is worrying him he didn’t show it with another classy ninety minutes. (MEN)
Blimey, what a player!! Sven is certainly getting the best out of Didi and it is a joy to behold, still battling away in the 90th minute! (King Kev)
Great performance, holds it together, yes he is slow but usually in the right place. (glyntowen)
Great composure, but he must pass the ball sooner, he was caught too many times in possession. Solid performance. (Wonderwall)
Bossed the midfield against England golden boy Barry and £8 million Reo Coker. His Indian summer continues. A fine performance bar 1 lapse in his own box which was almost costly. (Grob)
Impeccable 1st half, but tired in the 2nd half amidst the difficult conditions. What a transformation now he's managed by someone who actually knows what he is doing. (FleetwoodBlue)

Elano: (Ball 82): 7, 8, 8, 9, 7, 7, 7, 6.5, 8, 7.8 (av: 7.5)
Sometimes infuriates with his flicks and feints but more often than not delights the eye. Made the goal. (MEN)
Slept through the first half but woke up in the second half to give a decent performance. He is good on the ball but not so good off the ball. (King Kev)
Most good stuff goes via him. (glyntowen)
Looked like the only player who would unlock their defence. Good vision and lasted well after his international commitments. (Wonderwall)
Superb. World class in the final 3rd, he always found space and broke down the Villa backline time and time again. Its hard to believe a player of his calibre cost less than the likes of Reo-Coker. (Grob)
Annonymous for 20 minutes but grew and grew thereafter. A genius. (FleetwoodBlue)

Johnson: 9, 8, 8, 7.5, 9, 8, 7, 7.1, 7, 7.8 (av: 7.8 MOTM)
Lack of confidence in left foot cost him dear in first half but more than made up for it with the winner. (MEN)
Brilliant performance from the young lad who is being compared to Colin Bell, great praise indeed! His goal was good enough to win any game. (King Kev)
Cracking goal, the boy is one hell of a talent. (glyntowen)
Fantastic goal, the boy has great talent, looked very comfortable in the centre with Elano and Hamann. I would like to see how he copes in a 4-4-2. (Wonderwall)
Took the goal well and was always looking to get forward. Tidy on the ball and is an upgrade over Joey Barton. (Grob)
What a goal, what a display, what a player. (FleetwoodBlue)

Petrov: 8, 7, 7, 7.5, 6.5, 6, 6, 6.1, 7, 6.7 (av: 6.8)
Couple of promising runs to the goal-line but not much of the explosive shooting for which he is known. (MEN)
His best display yet for us, nice to see him running at (and beating) his man and getting a number of decent crosses in. (King Kev)
Some nice crosses, getting better. (glyntowen)
I can't wait for him to understand what his feet are actually doing half the time. Once his first goal goes in, he will add to that with a few more. Looked a threat today. (Wonderwall)
Best game yet. Worked hard for the team, whipped some lovely balls into the box and showed some blinding pace at times. He needs to start getting his foot in more though. (Grob)
Best display to-date. Will prove an asset in the long-term. (FleetwoodBlue)

Mpenza: (Bianchi 85): 6, 6, 6, 7, 5, 6, 6, 5.8, 5, 5.5 (av: 5.8)
Hard working display from the Belgian and his run off the ball helped create Johnson’s goal.
Tried hard but pretty ineffective unfortunately, can't wait to see him fully fit again. (King Kev)
Chased a lot but I think Bianchi is just better. (glyntowen)
Hard working, put himself about. I do not understand why Mpenza was ahead of Bianchi, but in Sven I trust. (Wonderwall)
Worked hard but not always on the same wavelength as Elano. So strong though and linked player well, bringing the midfielders into the game. (Grob)
Superb attitude and not without ability but seriously limited. (FleetwoodBlue)


Jihai (Vassell 64): 7, - , 6, 6, 5, 5, 6, 4.9, 5, 5.6 (av: 5.6)
Booked but won some fine tackles (MEN)
Thank God we had him to call on when Vassell was flagging, I think Onuoha was pleased to see him! (King Kev)
Did a solid job. (Wonderwall)
Tightened up the right hand side but didn't really see a lot of the ball. (Grob)
Hopeless. (FleetwoodBlue)

Ball (Elano 82): - , - , - , 6, - , 6, 5.4, 5, 5.5 (av: 5.6)
Made sure Blues held on to lead. (MEN)
Perennial sub now. Mostly reliable but justifiably 2nd choice left back. (FleetwoodBlue)

Bianchi (Mpenza 85).

Subs not used:
Hart, Gelson

Match reports

Johnson keeps City honest for Eriksson
Like Schmeichel, City seem to be enjoying a charmed life. Aside from the opening-day victory over a woefully out-of-sorts West Ham United, they have not been totally convincing, but Eriksson will not mind that so long as the results keep coming.

City glimpse future with Johnson's magic touch (Henry Winter)
In Manchester of all places, it is unwise to suggest you won't win anything with kids. Although City are unlikely to become acquainted with silverware this season, the future looks highly promising. If Nigel Reo-Coker is worth £8.5 million, one shudders to think how much Johnson, who utterly dominated the Aston Villa man, would cost should his many admirers at other clubs ever persuade City to name their price.

City 1 Villa 0
Villa fought hard in a frenetic match but were unable to create one real clear chance as City climbed up to second.

Johnson keeps up the pace in City of dreams (Nick Harris)
Johnson joined City from Everton's youth set-up in 2004. He was part of the City youth team that reached the 2006 FA Youth Cup final, and made his first-team debut last October. "I had heard about him before I arrived," Eriksson said. "He played something like nine games at the end of last season. When I met him, he said to me: 'I came along and saved City [from relegation]!' He's certainly got confidence."

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