Monday, September 24, 2007

Reaction, stats & ratings: Fulham 3 City 3

I can't tell you how much of a treat this season feels. It seems that every game now produces a fresh reminder of how different this club is from previous years.

In the last two seasons we've only won five points from games where we've been behind, in the 1-1 draw at Everton in Sept 2006, the 1-1 draw at United in September 2005 and the 2-1 win at Birmingham in August 2005.

Petrov's performance was another reminder of how things have changed. True, the jury is still out on him (BBC Radio Manchester's Fred Eyre claimed Petrov usually takes six months to settle into a club) but after having to endure the wing play of Miller and Samaras last season just knowing we have a player on the left wing capable of beating men and scoring is a real delight.

There have been many comments about how unreal things have felt since the takeover. But after the recent events at Chelsea I wonder is things are about to get even more surreal?

There was a fascinating story in The Observer on Sunday that details the problems there. It claims that Abramovich is now in charge of team matters and tactics and even gave a lengthy lecture on tactics to Essien after last week's draw against Rosenborg. If true, it sets up the real prospect of Chelsea imploding and leaving a Champions League spot up for grabs.

In that scenario, the question would be whether City could finish ahead of the likes of Newcastle, Everton, Blackburn and Villa (and possibly Spurs, Pompey and West Ham). Richard Dunne certainly believes we can and I'm not going to argue with our skipper.

Champions League football at Eastlands next season? The claim should seem outlandish. But it doesn't. And after witnessing the former prime minister of Thailand don a City scarf and sing Blue Moon I can't help feeling that anything is now possible.

~ The Observer story also reveals that Chelsea were set to sign Micah for £5m in the summer of 2006, but Abramovich pulled the plug.

~ Post-match interviews with Sven, Dunne and Petrov
~ Latest Premiership table.

Match stats

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

Ratings come from (in order): Fidel Castro, bluemoon, DPBBlue, Chopper, irblinx, mr_nool, WangYu, Jonny Foreigner, peg-6, Grob, Arjan Van Schotte (Mancityfans), Father Dougal MaGuire (Bluemoon), Man City Mad, MEN, Sunday Times, BBC, Sky and Sky Your Rating.

Comment of the day goes to Arjan Van Schotte, who believes that Ireland's performance showed he was clearly still in mourning.

Schmeichel: 6, 5, 5, 5, 5, 6, 5, 4, 5, 5, 5, 4, 5, 6, 6, 5.3, 5, 4.6 (av: 5.1)
Might have built a bigger and better wall for Fulham's second but no howlers. (MEN)
Was shite with high balls/crosses again, but still not a bad game. Want Issy back, though. (Fidel Castro)
Poor on crosses yet again, should have done better on the freekick. Very nervy display. Hope Issakson is back next week. (bluemoon)
A heart attack (DPBBlue)
At fault for first two goals, time for a rest. If Issy is injured again then get Hart in. (irblinx)
Weak on crosses. Didn't do any spectacular saves today to get his score up. Wasn't responsible for any of Fulham's goals though. (mr_nool)
Please, please can we get Hart in now? (Jonny Foreigner)
Gave me heart attacks whenever he was in action. (peg-6)
Time for Issy. Every time the ball goes near Kasper I think it's going in the net. (Grob)
His kicking was excellent, it was his goalkeeping that let him down. (Arjan Van Schotte)
Poor, time to go on loan somewhere. (Father Dougal MaGuire)

Corluka: 7, 8, 7, 7, 7, 7, 6, 7, 7, 6, 7, 6, 7, 5, 6, 6.1, 6, 5.3 (av: 6.5)
Found Bouazza as big a handful as he as faced all season and not at best for third goal either. (MEN)
Solid defending and helped the attack a few times too. (Fidel Castro)
Best defender on pitch by a mile. Looks a class act. (bluemoon)
Cool as ever and good going forward. (DPBBlue)
Looked composed on the ball, another one that didn't do enough for their first goal though. (irblinx)
Good defending. Participated well in the offensive game. A bit passive by the 1-0 goal. (mr_nool)
Impresses every game. (Jonny Foreigner)
Solid. Sven should have moved him in the middle. (peg-6)
Cool calm and collected but made a pigs ear of it in the build up to the 3rd and had a couple of embarrassing moments with the ball at his feet. (Grob)
Solid performance against a poor "winger". (Arjan Van Schotte)
Solid, kept Bouzza at bay most of the time. (Father Dougal MaGuire)

Dunne: 6, 6, 5, 6, 5, 5, 6, 6, 5, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6.3, 6, 4.8 (av: 5.7)
Not at his sharpest for opener and like the rest of the Blues defence lived dangerously at times. (MEN)
Good defending, but his hoof-tactics are starting to get irritating now. (Fidel Castro)
Looked dodgy today, not his usual self. Sure normal service will resume next week. (bluemoon)
Very shaky. (DPBBlue)
Shocking, worst performance in years. Everyone deserves the odd off day but this was dire, at fault for goals 1 & 3 and shouldn't be giving away free kicks on the edge of the area. (irblinx)
Wooden leg today. poor distribution. Sometimes quite dodgy defending. (mr_nool)
Not at his best. (Jonny Foreigner)
Should have got substituted. (peg-6)
His range of passing was atrocious. The amount of hopeless balls forward he attempted was ludicrous. Made a bit of a cock up for the 3rd and didn't cover himself with glory in the build up for the 1st. (Grob)
Had one of his off days. Should have stopped the third, even if the dude was offside. (Arjan Van Schotte)
First game back and looked ropey, had a handful with Healy in the first half. (Father Dougal MaGuire)

Richards: 5, 6, 5, 6, 6, 6, 6, 5, 5, 6, 6, 6, 7, 6, 6, 6.2, 5, 4.8 (av: 5.7)
Allowed Fulham players to wind him up and it affected him in last quarter of an hour. (MEN)
Awful start, then started settling down and playing brilliant again, but after his crazy minute with Dempsey lost the plot again and was scratching his bum for their third goal. (Fidel Castro)
Certainly not one of his best performances, but still did his job reasonably well. (bluemoon)
Another poor display but won everything in the air. Sleeping for goal 3. (irblinx)
Exposed badly today, his speed got him out of trouble previous games but cannot rely on that. Time to switch him back to right back. (mr_nool)
Massive but naive. Made quite a few errors (1-0, 3-3). (Jonny Foreigner)
Maybe he had to cover Dunne too many times. (peg-6)
Too often caught out of position. Would be much more effective at right back. Still a talent rather than a consistent performer. (Grob)
Was due a bad game and duly delivered. (Arjan Van Schotte)
Poor game from Micah, could of cost us with a stupid sending off. (Father Dougal MaGuire)

Garrido: 8, 7, 6, 8, 8, 7, 8, 7, 7, 8, 7, 7, 6, 6, 6, 5.9, 6, 5.2 (av: 6.8)
Most of the trouble came down opposite flank but might have done bit more going forward. (MEN)
Helped Petrov a lot and defended well too. (Fidel Castro)
Another decent performance, getting better by the game. (bluemoon)
Did OK and got forward well, but got beaten on a couple of occasions. (DPBBlue)
Best defender on the park and did well going forward. (irblinx)
One of the new players I'm most impressed with. Always does his job + likes to go forward. (mr_nool)
Some good cover for Micah and good going forward. (Jonny Foreigner)
Just need a bit better cross. (peg-6)
Never put a foot wrong. (Grob)
Good at the back and links up well with Petrov. (Arjan Van Schotte)
Continues to impress every game. (Father Dougal MaGuire)

Ireland (Jihai 83): 5, 5, 5, 4, 3, 5, 5, 6, 6, 5, 5, 6, 6, 7, 6, 5.8, 5, 4.5 (av: 5.2)
Some neat touches but they were few and far between. (MEN)
The invisible gran....eeeh man. (Fidel Castro)
A right-winger this lad isn't. Totally ineffective and when he did get the ball, he wasted. (bluemoon)
A few decent touches but his defensive work was very iffy. (DPBBlue)
Worse than a being a man down for most of the game, and he really needs to sort his hair out! (irblinx)
Was he even on the pitch? (mr_nool)
One or 2 neat balls that threatened the Fulham defence and a few timely challenges. his defensive contribution is undervalued by many. (Jonny Foreigner)
Not bad. Nothing special. (peg-6)
Looked waaaaaaay off the pace and should have gone off at half time. (Grob)
Clearly still in mourning. (Arjan Van Schotte)
Quiet. (Father Dougal MaGuire)

Hamann: 9, 9, 8, 8, 9, 8, 8, 7, 8, 8, 8, 9, 7, 7, 7, 6.6, 7, 6.2 (av: 7.8 MOTM)
Still oozes class on the ball and got in some meaty tackles that helped stem the flow. (MEN)
Nice and simple, but oh so effective. (Fidel Castro)
Wow, is this really the same player! Worked his arse off and MOTM for me. (bluemoon)
Rarely put a put wrong. (DPBBlue)
Godlike at times, think Sven was right he is getting younger with every game. (irblinx)
Was immense today. Didn't lose possession as easily as he did against Villa. (mr_nool)
Solid. (Jonny Foreigner)
Cool. Link well from the back to the center. (peg-6)
Bossed the midfield for long periods. (Grob)
I think he might be taking drugs. (Arjan Van Schotte)
MAGNIFICENT, shame he is 34 as he is quality. (Father Dougal MaGuire)

Johnson: 7, 6, 6, 7, 7, 6, 7, 7, 6, 5, 6, 6, 6, 7, 7, 6.3, 6, 4.9 (av: 6.3)
It was a great battle in midfield where he played a full part in making it an entertaining contest. (MEN)
His usual busy self. (Fidel Castro)
Not great, not shite. (bluemoon)
Didn't do much for most of the first half (like the rest of them) but improved. (DPBBlue)
Didn't excel but put a lot of work in. (irblinx)
Good game, but nothing extraordinary. (mr_nool)
Quiet game but whenever he gets the ball things seem to happen. Great passing again. (Jonny Foreigner)
Did nothing of note except lose the ball in the build up to the first goal. Poor. (Grob)
Very quiet game, did little of note. (Arjan Van Schotte)
Quiet. (Father Dougal MaGuire)

Petrov: 5, 7, 7, 7, 8, 7, 8, 7, 7, 7, 6, 7, 8, 7, 7, 8.1, 8, 7.6 (av: 7.2)
Terrible start to the game, but he got 2 goals so that's why I'm giving him a 5. (Fidel Castro)
Kind of lucky with both goals, but who gives a fuck. Wish he'd pass a little earlier though! (bluemoon)
Deserves a seven if only for the two goals but still gave the ball away cheaply. (DPBBlue)
Best game so far, lucky on the finish for the first goal but the run was great, goal 2 was a great finish and he was unlucky not to have scored the third. Some good link ups with Garrido again. (irblinx)
Two goals says it all. First half hour was dire, though. (mr_nool)
Looked poor until the first goal but once he got his confidence back he looked a different player. (Jonny Foreigner)
If he didn't have 2 goals, he would have got a 5. (peg-6)
Was dire for long periods, then burst into life with 2 great goals. Classic winger! (Grob)
Gives the ball away too often, wanders infield at inappropriate times and chips in with two goals. Still not impressed so far. (Arjan Van Schotte)
Only a 7 because of the two goals but I was ready to come on here at half time and call him his substitution until he scored. Hopefully them goals will kick start him and give him confidence now. (Father Dougal MaGuire)

Elano (Geovanni 80): 8, 8, 9, 8.5, 8, 8, 7, 8, 8, 7, 7, 9, 7, 7, 7, 7.4, 6, 6.1 (av: 7.6)
Anonymous in the first half but once he'd been riled by tackles was unstoppable for twenty minutes. (MEN)
What a fantastic player he is, quiet first half but was brilliant second half. (Fidel Castro)
A true class act. I'd love to see him linking up with Geo and Bianchi. (bluemoon)
Pure class, incredible vision and already becoming a hero. (DPBBlue)
His touch is peerless, another assist for our new hero. (irblinx)
Even closer than Dietmar to a nine. Most of our offensive game goes through him. I dread the day he gets injured. (mr_nool)
Man of the match for me. Great vision and superb delivery. (Jonny Foreigner)
MOM. Best assist in Prem. Period. (peg-6)
Always probing but didnt produce as much as a can. (Grob)
The lack of options upfront hampered him today. (Arjan Van Schotte)
What a player, another assist, still bemused why Sven takes him off with 10 to go nearly every game. (Father Dougal MaGuire)

Mpenza (Bianchi 80) 7, 7, 7, 7, 6, 6, 7, 7, 7, 7, 6, 7, 7, 7, 6, 6.6, 6, 5.6 (av: 6.6)
Tireless, unselfish running got its reward with a close range header opening his league account for season. (MEN)
Cool finish and lots and lots of hard work. (Fidel Castro)
Doesn't cut it for me on his own upfront, but fair play to him he works hard and got the equaliser and was at the right place at the right time. (bluemoon)
Fine goal and performance and but he'd be better alongside Bianchi, he ends up pushed wide when we want to him in the middle, though that could be down to the lack of an out-and-out right winger too. (DPBBlue)
You just can't play a lone striker with someone who never holds the ball up, without the poached goal it'd be a five from me. (irblinx)
Fought hard, but needs to stay central. Should also learn that he's no dribbler. (mr_nool)
Runs his arse off but lacks Bianchi's quality. Why he is first choice remains a mystery. (Jonny Foreigner)
Tireless. Quick reaction for the third goal. (peg-6)
Worked his tripe out and was rewarded with a goal. Service to him was shocking. (Grob)
The role of hard-working sub was made for him. Not so sure about the "lone striker". (Arjan Van Schotte)
Took his goal well and held it up well, still would prefer Bianchi. (Father Dougal MaGuire)


Geovanni (Elano 80).
Slotted into the Elano role. (MEN)
Shame he didn't play for longer, cos he was great for those few minutes he was on the pitch. (Fidel Castro)
Gave us another attacking option and should have come on about half and hour earlier. Wasted on the bench. (Grob)
Made an impact but had too little time. (Arjan Van Schotte)
Think he is a great sub to bring on last 15-20 mins, not so sure about him starting. (Father Dougal MaGuire)

Bianchi(Mpenza 80).
Carried on where Mpenza left off. (MEN)
Few nice flicks. (Fidel Castro)
Another who is wasted on the bench. Why he doesnt play is beyond me. (Grob)
Must start next game. (Arjan Van Schotte)
Neat touches, bemused why he doesn't start as he is a goalscorer unlike Mpenza. (Father Dougal MaGuire)

Jihai (Ireland 83).
Helped quieten down home side. (MEN)
Tightened up the right hand side after Ireland decided to stop playing. (Grob)
Love the guy. City Legend. (Arjan Van Schotte)

Subs not used:
Hart, Ball

Purelymancity online store open

The Purelymancity store is now open for business. There are 30 items currently for sale and looking at the purchases so far the blue moon design (below) is proving the big seller:

The store is part of a US site called so prices are all listed in dollars, but just divide by two to get the UK price (at today's exchange rates $2.00 is worth exactly £1.00. Postage & Packing to the UK costs (£3.50) for the first item and (£2) for any additional item and takes 8-10 business days.

Click here to visit the Purelymancity store

Match reports

Murphy the great leveller for Fulham in exciting joy of six (Conrad Leach)
By the time this thriller by the river had finished, the sun had dropped below the tree line but there was still a warm glow from seeing six goals. Manchester City equalised twice and then took the lead before the hosts finally ended up level thanks to Danny Murphy. If only it had been like this the last time these two managers met.

Petrov spares Sven from more misery against Sanchez (Arindam Rej)
'If you are watching the game, it's entertaining,' said Eriksson. 'But if you're in my clothes, then you are not happy with some of the decisions we took when defending.'
City certainly contributed to their own problems. One goal came from their inability to deal with a basic route one move. Another came from careless defending of a free-kick. It made for an all-action contest that included a scuffle between Micah Richards and Clint Dempsey that could have seen worse punishment than a booking apiece.

Sven-G�ran Eriksson foiled by Fulham (John Aizlewood)
The last time these two managers faced each other across the dugouts, David Healy’s goal marked the zenith of Lawrie Sanchez’s Northern Ireland tenure and the nadir of Sven-Göran Eriksson’s England reign. Yesterday evening’s clash may have had a slightly less momentous hue, but events in Belfast two years ago this month can hardly have been more thrilling than these 90 minutes as, for the second consecutive league game, the Craven Cottage faithful saw six goals, equally shared.

Fulham 3 City 3
Manchester City had to settle for a point against Fulham after a thriller at Craven Cottage.
Three weeks ago Fulham came back from 3-1 down to draw with Tottenham - from whom they had just bought Murphy, and they managed to rescue another point against City.

Manchester City pegged back by Danny Murphy (Bruce Maxwell)
Manchester City returned to second place in the Premier League in the late match but had to settle for a point after a thrilling encounter at Craven Cottage.

Petrov and Elano make case for Eriksson the entertainer as City revel in new flair (Mike Adamson)
"We more or less always play attractive football," a glowing Eriksson said. "That I want to see and I'm sure our fans do. I absolutely love working with these players. They are young, still hungry and they want to learn. I guess when the season is finished you will see the four big teams in the top four places, but I hope I am wrong."

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