Monday, October 29, 2007

Reaction, stats & ratings: Chelsea 6 City 0

I really want to believe this piece of gossip which claims that six or seven City players were shaking off the flu on Saturday, but I suppose the reality is that this type of result has been on the cards all season.

While the bones of this game have already been thoroughly picked over, the moral of the story is pretty clear: when you're visiting a team that cost a net £257m to assemble and has won two titles in three years it's probably not a good idea to try and out-attack them. Particularly if your two left-sided defenders fall asleep on the job.

It reminds me of a story from Joe Royle's Autobiography, where he describes his debut for City at Anfield on Boxing Day in 1974:

How vividly I recall meeting the City squad at the Lord Nelson Hotel before the match. I knew several of their players from England squad get-togethers and so I felt quite at ease. That encouraging feeling was strengthened by the team talk from manager Tony Book, who adopted a totally positive approach to one of the toughest challenges in the fixture list. Book - 'Skip' as he was known because he had captained City for many years - sat us down and lifted us up with the words, 'Every team goes to Anfield to defend, and loses anyway. So we are going to attack.' Stirring stuff! He went on to tell Denis Tueart and Mike Summerbee they were to stretch Liverpool on the wings and instructed me and Rodney Marsh to play as twin strikers and 'really have a go at 'em'. I thought, 'Great stuff. This is what I want to hear.'

There was just one problem. During half-time I sat in the visitors' dressing-room at Anfield, graveyard of so many teams' ambitions, reflecting on the fact that I had had only four touches of the ball, all of them from kick-offs. We were 4-0 down!

I should really feel more downbeat about this performance, but for some reason it has merely added to the sense of unreality that has taken hold of the club since the takeover. Two pieces of news last week also help to put this setback into perspective, and remind us of how truly awful this season could have been. Not only did the appointment of Gary Megson as Bolton boss, and the fact that even Graeme Souness turned down the job, indicate the type of manager you can expect nowadays if you don't have the necessary funds, but the news that 'secretive' hedge fund Sisu and their front-man Ray Ranson are behind a bid for debt-laden Southampton suggests another bullet successfully dodged.

Well, we're not owned by a hedge fund, run by the guy who helped bankrupt Leeds or have a manager whose only season in top-flight football ended in relegation. We're third in the table with more than a quarter of the season gone and with the exception of the United game every one of our points has been deserved.

But now come a tough couple of months. Here are the league games between now and Jan 1:

Sunderland (H), Portsmouth (A), Reading (H), Wigan (A), Tottenham (A), Bolton (H), Villa (A), Blackburn (H), Liverpool (H) and Newcastle (A).

The last four fixtures are over the 10-day holiday period and have 'winless streak' written all over them, but then who knows? There have been so many twists and turns already this season I really don't have a clue what's coming next.

I'm just enjoying the ride.

~ A video nasty
~ Sven's post-match interview
~ Getty Images photos
~ Latest Premiership table.

Match stats

The stats (below) are compiled from a live commentary. For more detailed stats, including a breakdown of each player’s passes and tackles click here (and trawl to the bottom of the page), while you can also find match details at the BBC and Sky.

Player ratings

A few of the ratings were all over the place for this game, though I suppose that's to be expected when emotions run so high. Most out-of-whack were the scores at Man City Mad, which awarded Garrido a 6. Ireland's individual ratings have one of the biggest spreads I've seen, which probably reflects the ongoing (and often heated) debate about his value to the side.

Ratings come from (in order): Fidel Castro, xavi6, DidsburyBlue, ross.mcfc, Grob (+ roadkill2487 & Niall Quinns Discopants) (Mancityfans), Father Dougal MaGuire (Bluemoon), MEN. Man City Mad, BBC, Sky and Sky Your Rating.

Hart: 7, 5, 4, 5, 4, 4, 4, 6, 5, 5, 6, 6, 6, 3.8, 4.7 (av: 5.0)
Not at fault for any of the goals and might have expected better of defence. Likely to be rested on Wednesday. (MEN)
Despite conceding 6 goals, I thought he had quite a good game. Wasn't to blame for any of the goals and made a few good saves. (Fidel Castro)
A few decent saves but he could've narrowed the angle for the first one and to be nutmegged 4 times is ridiculous. (xavi6)
Lacked presence and looked very nervous, is good on crosses but not as good at commanding the area and coming off the line as Schmeichel. Both youngsters whilst good prospects need a good season in the Championship a la Carson/Kirkland. It's time for Isaksson to step up to the plate.
Poor kid wasn't at fault for any of the goals but was thrown to the lions ye Micah and co in front of him. If I'm being harsh 3 of the goals went through his legs and I'm sure if Kasper had conceded those goals we'd all be baying for blood. If Isaksson doesn't start next game then you know he's a goner at Xmas. (ross.mcfc)
Few good saves. (Father Dougal MaGuire)
Any keeper that conceeds 6 doesn't deserve much of a score no matter how many good saves he made as well. (Grob)

Corluka: 6, 5, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 7, 5, 5, 6, 6, 5, 3.8, 4.9 (av: 5.6)
Might have been stronger for the third goal but by then the game had gone beyond Blues. (MEN)
This will sound strange after conceding 6, but he was quite solid in defence. I don't think any of the goals went over his side actually. (Fidel Castro)
Did ok but he needs to realise he can't beat players for pace or skill. (xavi6)
Best defender today by a country mile, over eager at taking players on, but was solid defensively. All the goals came through the middle or from the left. Needs to be in CB. (DidsburyBlue)
Our best defender, only because I don't remember him being at fault for any of the goals. (ross.mcfc)
Was never under pressure but did well. (Father Dougal MaGuire)
Our most consistent defender this season held his corner up well and tried to get forward. It's time he was moved to the centre. (Grob)

Dunne: 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 4, 4, 5, 5, 5, 6, 7, 6, 4.2, 5.2 (av: 5.0)
Stemmed the tide as best he could for half an hour but even he was washed away by Chelsea brilliance. (MEN)
Wasn't too bad, but his passing is the shittiest. Ever. In the world. The two Sommeil wannabes to the left of him made him look worse. (Fidel Castro)
Couple of important clearances but an off day.
Days like this make me wonder is he as a good as the top defenders in the premier league and games like this say no. He just wasn't a presence. He was pulled all over the show and was slow to react. (DidsburyBlue)
Whilst he didn't get as owned as much as Micah he is the experienced member of a defence that embarrassed itself today. (ross.mcfc)
Distribution was shocking. (Father Dougal MaGuire)
Misses Distin like he would miss having a hole in his arse. Micah's positioning problems has Dunne worrying about doing 2 players jobs when he's got enough on his plate just doing his against Chelsea. (Grob)

Richards: 4, 4, 4, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 4, 4, 5, 6, 5, 3.8, 4.8 (av: 4.0)
Caught out of position a couple of times and got involved in unnecessary argument with Lampard. (MEN)
Positional sense of a pisshead and gave Chelsea players far too much space (see first 2 goals). (Fidel Castro)
Lost the head with the fat cunt Lampard and didn't look as commanding as usual. (xavi6)
Showed his inexperience today and got owned by Drogba. Needs to be at RB for a while. He is international class but not world class yet, and it showed. Was completely off today. (DidsburyBlue)
Worst performance by a City centre half I'd ever seen. At fault for 4 goals. (ross.mcfc)
Awful, posistioning was shite, was at fault for the first two goals, today he looked liked the kids he was. (Father Dougal MaGuire)
That was truely awful. Its time to drop him back into right back. He has neither the composure, maturity or the positional sense to be a regular centre half yet. Played too much with his heart and not enough in his head. He looked ready to cry during the second half. (Grob)

Garrido: 3, 2, 4, 4, 2, 2, 2, 5, 4, 4, 5, 6, 4, 3.0, 4.7 (av: 3.6)
Exposed as he never has been before but wasn't the only one. (MEN)
Don't think I've seen anyone play so shit since Charvet. Never was anyway near the player he was supposed to be marking, made stupid runs and then didn't track back. Notice all the goals came from their right??? (Fidel Castro)
He was shocking. Never seen a player ball watch so much in my life. You can say he had no cover but to be unable to glance over your shoulder and see who's behind you is criminal. Ball for left back. (xavi6)
His defensive frailties were ruthlessly exposed today. His passing was off and for me is a WB in a 5-3-2 formation. It was like we were playing with 3 at the back a lot of the time. (DidsburyBlue)
We got fucking owned down the right hand side, and Chelsea had unlimited success between him and Richards. (ross.mcfc)
Got torn to shreds by Cole. (Father Dougal MaGuire)
Powerless to stop Cole and was invisible for 90 minutes. It was like playing with 10 men. Had no help from Petrov though. He was another who looked close to tears at time. He gave up after the 3rd. I never want to see that from him again. (Grob)

Ireland (Vassell 63): 7, 1, 5, 4, 3, 3, 3, 6, 5, 5, 6, 6, 6, 3.9, 4.7 (av: 4.6)
Didn't offer much in way of defensive cover and missed great first half chance from 18 yards. (MEN)
Looked very lively and the only City player who even tried to do something in attack. (Fidel Castro)
Can't cross, can't pass and certainly can't fucking shoot. That miss was disgraceful. (xavi6)
Tried to get forward and probed and looked good on occasion, but drifted out of the game when the chips were down. Should have scored, which could have turned the game. (DidsburyBlue)
Annoying. Did a lot right in the first half then undid a lot of good work by pointlessly giving the ball away. The second goal came from him giving the ball away under no pressure. Don't think we'll be seeing him for a few weeks. (ross.mcfc)
Was the best player in the first half, second half hardly had a touch. (Father Dougal MaGuire)
Shocking. Wasted our best chance, the give away for their second was awful, couldn't find a blue shirt all afternoon, ran around a lot without getting anywhere. (Grob)

Hamann (Ball 66): 5, 4, 5, 5, 4, 4, 4, 5, 5, 5, 4, 6, 5, 3.7, 5.7 (av: 4.6)
Plenty of hefty tackles but there was a lack of coordination in City side and he suffered too (MEN)
Off the pace today I'm afraid. (Fidel Castro)
Lucky not to give away that pen and his old legs showed today. (xavi6)
Complete passenger today, and the game was just too quick for him. Was not the consistent ball winner we are used to. Showed his age. (DidsburyBlue)
Left exposed by Ireland and Johnston. Fairly anonymous but on days like this his role is pretty pointless. (ross.mcfc)
His worst game for us. (Father Dougal MaGuire)
Outclassed and out athleticised by Lampard, Essien and Mikel. Didi and his rookie partner were powerless to stop it. (Grob)

Johnson: 5, 4, 5, 4, 4, 4, 4, 5, 5, 5, 5, 6, 6, 3.8, 5.1 (av: 4.7)
Anyone would have looked distinctly average against Lampard on this form. Tried until the end. (MEN)
Outclassed. Didn't even notice he was playing, never had the ball and didn't get anywhere near their midfielders. (Fidel Castro)
Offered nothing. Essien pissed all over him. (xavi6)
Frustrating day for him as the midfield was overrun, tried to get stuck in and his passes always found a blue shirt, but just didn't have enough support either going forward or defending. (DidsburyBlue)
Most disappointing aspect of the day is the way he reacted when the chips were down, for our supposed engine room to stop running at 3-0 was shocking. (ross.mcfc)
His worst game for us. (Father Dougal MaGuire)
A boy against men. If we want to compete with Chelsea now, we need a better player because Johnson isn't good enough at the moment. Tomorow maybe, but today, never. You can't fault his effort though, he was just playing against superior players. (Grob)

Petrov: 5, 7, 5, 5, 4, 4, 4, 5, 5, 5, 6, 7, 6, 4.4, 5.8 (av: 5.2)
Couple of free kicks provided off-key City's best threat but Cech denied him a consolation. (MEN)
Never even had the ball so no chance to perform. (Fidel Castro)
Best player for me. Wanted the ball a lot and ran his bollox off. Nice free kick in the first half. (xavi6)
Offered no defensive cover down the left side but did try to make things happen. Passing was still a bit off and didn't get stuck in when needed. (DidsburyBlue)
Nice free kick at 1-0. Went missing at 3-0. (ross.mcfc)
Superb free kick but that was it, never saw him at all in the game. (Father Dougal MaGuire)
Had little or nothing to work with and when the ball came to him he was positive. His inability to track back is a bit problem and needs eradicating right now this week Sven. (Grob)

Elano (Bianchi 73): 6, 5, 6, 4, 6, 6, 6, 6, 5, 6, 6, 7, 6, 4.7, 5.8 (av: 5.7)
Some elegant touches but didn't see anywhere near enough of the ball to worry the home side. (MEN)
Couldn't create anything. Tried to but nobody was making the right runs and there was no movement upfront to help him out. (Fidel Castro)
Tried a few flicks. Some came off, most didn't. Got kicked around a bit too so sensible decision to take him off. (xavi6)
Tried to make things happen and ran at the Chelsea defence, but was trying to force the game. If we were going to score Elano would have had a hand in it. Kicked off the park. (DidsburyBlue)
Totally owned by Essien. Gave up at 3-0 and shamefully was looking to be subbed. I will hold back on my hero-worshipping for a while. (ross.mcfc)
Only threat but wasn't his usual superb self. (Father Dougal MaGuire)
Outhustled by Mikel but showed his class to get away from his markers on occasion. Tried to create but hadn't the support. (Grob)

Samaras: 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 5, 4, 4, 5, 6, 5, 3.8, 4.7 (av: 5.4)
Asked to lead the line but not yet physically ready for job. Ball came back too quickly and too often. (MEN)
Worked his socks off and actually got into a few good positions but lone striker role isn't made for him I'm afraid, not enough pace for that. (Fidel Castro)
Did ok on his own up top but his shooting got progressively worse and the first volley. Didn't get much service. (xavi6)
Showed a good turn of pace and was willing to shoot. Isolated upfront and was a game where 4-4-2 was needed. Toiled until the end. (DidsburyBlue)
Did all that could possibly asked of one man up front while his defence and midfield and shooting themselves in the foot. Looks more committed and had a few decent efforts at goal. (ross.mcfc)
If we are going to play one up front we need someone who can hold it up and bring others into play, he simply didn't do that. (Father Dougal MaGuire)
Worked hard but isnt a lone striker. Needed to stay central and provide an out ball when we were under the cosh. Showed some promise though, he's resurrection has begun. (Grob)


Vassell (Ireland 63): 5, 5, 4, 5, 5, 5, 5, - , 5, - , - , 5, 5, 3.6, 4.1 (av: 4.7)
Used pace when he could. (MEN)
Didn't make any difference. (Fidel Castro)
Didn't do much good or bad. (xavi6)
Pointless introduction, is a poor RW and was completely anonymous for the half hour he was on the pitch. It's a sad day when you know Vassell is your RW alternative. (DidsburyBlue)
Never got into the game but it was too late when he came on. (Grob)

Ball (Hamann 66): 6, 5, 5, 5, 6, 6, 6, - , 5, -, -, 6, 5, 3.4, 4.3 (av: 5.2)
Looked sprightly enough. (MEN)
Did his job well. (Fidel Castro)
Not a centre mid. In for Garrido at left full next week. (xavi6)
Is not a defensive midfielder, highlights that our squad depth is not great enough. Game was long gone by the time he came on. (DidsburyBlue)
Added some grit that we were lacking. He'll be in contention for a start somewhere in the side on Wednesday and should he impress, he'll be in on Saturday. (Grob)

Bianchi (Elano 73): 6, 6, 5, 5, 6, 6, 6, - , 5, - , - , - , 6, 4.1, 4.7 (av: 5.4)
Needed the run out. (MEN)
Obviously a great player, his flicks and touches ooze class. (Fidel Castro)
Should've been on at the half. Some lovely control and touches. Needs to start. (xavi6)
Looked good and should be starting in a 4-4-2 against Bolton. God touches and again willing to shoot on sight. Should have come on at half time with Ball replacing Garrido and Hamann. (DidsburyBlue)
Nice touches, lay offs and quality movement. Impressed in his cameo, its time for him to play. (Grob)

Subs not used:
Isaksson, Onuoha.

Match reports

Chelsea 6 City 0
High-flying Manchester City suffered a reality check at Stamford Bridge where they were comprehensively outclassed by Chelsea.

Drogba stars as Chelsea hit Eriksson for six of the best (Steve Tongue)
Outnumbered in midfield, they were overrun by Grant's central triumvirate of John Obi Mikel, Michael Essien and Frank Lampard, the latter pair regularly taking out Micah Richards and Javier Garrido with diagonal passes that better covering might have smothered.

Rampant Chelsea condemn Manchester City (Roy Collins)
This was another spoonful of reality for high-flying City; no, make that a ladle, and an even bigger one than they got in their first visit to London this season when beaten 1-0 at Arsenal. There really is no place like home for City, who have won all six league matches at Eastlands but have now lost three times on their travels, or should that be travails?
All afternoon, City, who have earned praise for their attacking football, found Chelsea players running through huge gaps to run at their young goalkeeper, Joe Hart, much to Eriksson's disgust. He said: "We completely failed to defend today. If you do that against Chelsea, they will kill you. And they killed us.

Sven hit for six by new-look Chelsea (Duncan Castles)
This was an exhilarating encounter: Chelsea powerful, coherent and swift in their attacking; Manchester City precise on the counter and real contenders for 45 minutes. If both defences were ragged and rarely capable of shutting opponents down, it only added to the enjoyment of a game that matched Avram Grant against form opposition for the first time since usurping Jose Mourinho last month.

Sven-Goran Eriksson’s latest six scandal (Joe Lovejoy)
City arrived full of hope after a promising start to the season but left with tails lodged firmly between their legs, nursing the most comprehensive defeat of Sven-Göran Eriksson’s long managerial career. “I have never lost 6-0 before,” the former England coach said.
“The worst result until this was when I was at Gothenburg, many years ago, and we were beaten 5-1 by Arsenal in the old Cup Winners’ Cup.” Eriksson bemoaned the fact that five of the six goals came in the inside-right channel, with the scorer one-on-one with the goalkeeper. “Our defending was awful,” he said.

The Chelsea view

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