Monday, October 22, 2007

Reaction, stats & ratings: City 1 Birmingham 0

Well that has to go down as a thoroughly successful week.

No injuries from the mid-week internationals and three points gained despite the lack of time to prepare. Birmingham can probably consider themselves a little unfortunate not to get something from this game, but then they weren't the ones having to contend with tough mid-week games and long-haul flights (details lower down the page).

There's been a lot of talk of historic dates recently. The first is 1957, which was the last time we won our first six home games (though we also lost our first five away that season), while Sky Sports pointed out last week that this has been our best start to the season since 1970-71.

And now we can delve further back in time. The win against Birmingham means that City have never had a better start to a top flight season.

A look through the excellent MCFC stats reveals that the only season to compare with this one is 1912-13, when we also started with seven wins and a draw.

A win a Chelsea on Saturday would make this the best start to a season ever, beating the seven wins and two draws from the first 11 games in 1929-30.

~ Another historic date that became significant on Saturday was Nov 20th 1982 - the day that a group of Birmingham fans christened themselves the Zulus during a goalless draw at Maine Road. There's a thread about it on this Birmingham talkboard, while one of the mancityfans owners, King Kev, started this thread on Tuesday warning that the Zulus were planning trouble.

~ Here are the City players who were in action on Wednesday: Elano (late sub in Brazil), Petrov (90mins in Albania), Richards (90mins in Moscow) and Samaras (31mins in Turkey).

~ Sven's post-match interview
~ Video of goal
~ 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, while you can also find match details at the BBC and Sky.

Also worth checking out is the nerdic indicator over at Wookie's Lair.

Player ratings

Ratings come from (in order): Grob, King Kev, Blue2 (Mancityfans), Father Dougal MaGuire, alib, Richard, Danish Blue (Bluemoon), MEN, Man City Mad, Sunday Times, Subday Mirror, The People, BBC, Sky and Sky Your Rating.

Hart: 8, 7, 7, 8, 7, 7, 7, 7, 6, 6, 7, 6, 6.3, 6, 7.0 (av: 6.8)
Plenty of work all afternoon and made fine saves from Kapo and Muamba to keep lead in tact. (MEN)
Good stuff in general. 2 poor decisions with balls into the box but 2 top quality saves. My gut instinct says he's just keeping the shirt warm for Issy. (Grob)
Good handling and looked calm and confident. (King Kev)
Great saves when needed, took pressure off by coming out for stuff. (Father Dougal MaGuire)
Solid and comfortable. (Richard)
Rode his luck at times but made some good stops. (Danish Blue)

Corluka: 7, 8, 8, 8, 9, 8, 8.5, 8, 7, 6, 7, 7, 6.9, 7, 7.4 (av: 7.5)
Deceptive style but effective at both ends of the pitch. Some of his footwork was excellent. (MEN)
Some fine play mixed in with some slip ups. Dodgy moments involving his control in the City box. Good going forward but had his hands full with Kapo. Can hold his head up high. Seems much more suited to a central role but being a multi discipline player has its advantages. (Grob)
Brilliant performance from the young Croat, he just gets better and better, if he was made Man Of The Match I wouldn't be surprised. (King Kev)
Best game yet for us. (Father Dougal MaGuire)
Best City performance yet, as smooth as a Rolls Royce. (Richard)
Best game for City. (Danish Blue)

Richards: 7, 8, 7, 7, 8, 7, 7, 6, 7, 6, 7, 7, 7.3, 7, 6.0 (av: 7.0)
No Moscow hangover but he was made to work hard by the ever mobile Jerome and Kapo. (MEN)
Had a good tussle with Jerome and was the best of the back 4. Positional sense still a worry. (Grob)
Outshone his captain with a very strong performance in the centre of defence, if it was in the air Micah won it! (King Kev)
Solid. (Father Dougal MaGuire)
Very solid, never looked troubled. (Richard)
Pace got him out of trouble a few times. (Danish Blue)

Dunne: 6, 7, 6, 7, 7, 6, 6, 6, 7, 6, 7, 7, 6.8, 7, 6.7 (av: 6.6)
In the wars early and like the rest of the defence began slowly and got better as game wore on. (MEN)
Did some flapping today, not comfortable and won barely anything in the air. Passing was poor as well but he helped us through our shaky spells. Not at his best. (Grob)
Went back to his old ways of hoofing the ball up field a bit too often for my liking but defensively he was pretty solid. (King Kev)
Solid. (Father Dougal MaGuire)
Solid at the back, but distribution was poor. (Richard)
A few lapses but ok. (Danish Blue)

Garrido: 7, 7, 7, 7, 7, 7, 5, 7, 7, 5, 7, 6, 6.6, 6, 6.5 (av: 6.5)
Got forward and supported Petrov when he could and untroubled by any of Birmingham forwards. (MEN)
Was flawless until De Ridder came on, then he looked vulnerable. Did well when he went into midfield. (Grob)
Did well, was kept busy but passed very well, his link-up play with Petrov will only get better. (King Kev)
As impressive as ever. (Father Dougal MaGuire)
Only a matter of time before he gets called up for Spain. (Richard)
Not at his best. (Danish Blue)

Ireland (Ball 80): 6, 5, 4, 5, 3, 5, 3, 6, 6, 5, 6, 5, 6.4, 6, 5.7 (av: 5.1)
Started quietly after excelling in training but got better as the game wore on. Possesses classy feet. (MEN)
Passing was poor in the first half, he brightened up towards half time and the disappeared in the second half. Corluka produces more on the right than Ireland. (Grob)
Dreadful distribution, the lad clearly has issues that he needs to address before playing for the first team again. (King Kev)
Nothing went right for him, was a poor game. (Father Dougal MaGuire)
Never got into the game. (Richard)
Very poor. Did any of his passes in the first half reach their target? (Danish Blue)

Johnson: 6, 7, 7, 6, 7, 7, 7, 7, 6, 6, 7, 7, 6.7, 6, 6.7 (av: 6.6)
Dogged determination to the fore in creating the goal and no ill-effects from groin injections. (MEN)
Didn't notice he was on the pitch until the end. Didn't get forward often and he just didn't get into the game. (Grob)
Good performance from Jonno. Tackled well, got forward well, passed well and defended well, what more could you ask!? (King Kev)
Great work for the goal but was quiet again. (Father Dougal MaGuire)
Reliable and energetic as usual. (Richard)
Nothing outstanding but did a lot more defending that usual. (Danish Blue)

Hamann: 8, 8, 8, 7, 7, 8, 7, 6, 6, 6, 6, 7, 6.7, 8, 7.9 (av: 7.1)
Even his usually reliable passing radar was off beam early on but tackled well and soon warmed to his task. (MEN)
Did all the dirty jobs in midfield well and covered for Corluka, Dunne, Richards and Johnson on various occasions. Great performance. (Grob)
Another one who could have been Man Of the Match, broke up their play time after time after time, brilliant display from the German. (King Kev)
Another great game, are you sure he is 34? (Father Dougal MaGuire)
Kept things ticking. (Richard)
Did a good job as always (this season). (Danish Blue)

Petrov: 7, 7, 6, 7, 7, 6, 6, 7, 6, 6, 7, 6, 7.2, 6, 7.6 (av: 6.6)
Never known a player like a shot at goal as much as `Marto' and boy it makes life more exciting. (MEN)
Terrific outlet on the left, he makes things happen. Didn't have his shooting boots on today but he's becoming a vital member of the side. (Grob)
He needs a goal doesn't he. Brilliant to see a City player running with the ball and taking players on but I sometimes I wish he would pass rather than going for the spectacular shot. (King Kev)
Constant threat and two funny awful shots into the north stand. (Father Dougal MaGuire)
Threat on the left, but wasted too many opportunites. (Richard)
Promised much, delivered little. (Danish Blue)

Elano (Gelson Fernandes 89): 8, 8, 8, 7, 8, 7, 8, 8, 8, 7, 8, 8, 8.7, 8, 8.4 (av: 7.9)
Jet lag, what jet lag? Looked sharper than most of his teammates as his well-taken goal proved. (MEN)
Usually class from God. Nice finish and some stunning skills. Didn't dominate as he has done but he's top quality. (Grob)
He makes scoring goals look easy, I don't know how else to explain it, he just does! What I love about this man is his work rate and willingness to defend as well as his amazing creative flair. Got little protection from a weak referee against the brutality received from the Birmingham thugs. (King Kev)
Quiet in the first half until he sprang into life with 10 minutes to go, second half was the usual. (Father Dougal MaGuire)
Not at his best, but still scored. (Richard)
Came in for some rough stuff but dealt with it and still made the difference. (Danish Blue)

Mpenza (Samaras 65): 6, 7, 5, 6, 7, 6, 6, 6, 5, 6, 6, 5, 6.5, 6, 6.8 (av: 6.0)
It's hard work up front on your own in this system and sometimes there are few rewards. (MEN)
Worked hard but had his boots on the wrong feet. Reminds me of a modern day Wanchope. It must be almost time for Bianchi?? (Grob)
Works incredibly hard doing a very difficult job. I reckon his performances will be more appreciated by fellow players and those who really understand the game. (King Kev)
Did ok but we do need a goalscorer. (Father Dougal MaGuire)
Poor performance, but didn't get any support. (Richard)
Quiet, lacked support. (Danish Blue)


Samaras (Mpeenza 65): 7, 7, 7, 6, - , - , - , - , 6, 5, - , 6, 5, 6.5, 6, 6.8 (av: 6.2)
Didn't see much of the ball. (MEN)
Worked hard, showed a good touch and won many headers. Then when his big moment game, he totally fluffed it! Much better though, showed some strength. (Grob)
Good defensive header near the end and great run to get through to a one-on-one with Taylor, desperately short of confidence. (King Kev)
Worked hard. (Father Dougal MaGuire)

Ball (Ireland 80): 7, 6, 6, 6, - , - , - , 6 , - , - , 6, - , 6.1, 6, 5.7 (av: 6.1)
Helped steady the ship. (MEN)
Held up his corner well when he came on. He's a vital squad member. (Grob)
Did what needed to be done, wasn't on long enough to make any impact. (King Kev)
We are lucky to have another top left hand sided player on the bench, he is a class player, didn't have much to do but the things he did he did right. (Father Dougal MaGuire)

Gelson Fernandes(Elano 89).

Subs not used:

Isaksson, Geovanni.

Match reports

The reports are listed in no particular order apart from the Sunday Times, which is listed last on account of a rather glaring mistake.

City 1 Birmingham 0
City maintained their 100 per cent home record with a hard-fought victory over Birmingham.
The visitors played with a lot of spirit and will feel they deserved at least a point.

Flying Elano sends City's hopes soaring (Ian Herbert)
City's ability to emerge with the points from a relatively indifferent display like this – the true sign of class, as Sir Alex Ferguson likes to say – revealed as much about their potential as the way the same players dispatched Newcastle and Middlesbrough in previous weeks.

Eriksson awaits the Chelsea test to judge his City experiment (Richard Rae)
Is it time to start taking Manchester City seriously? Ten games, generally considered to be the first point at which it is reasonable to make some sort of judgment, have now been played and the knowledgeable - and to some extent patronising - smiles which greeted their initial burst of form are beginning to fade with every match they win.
The answer is "not yet", according to Sven-Goran Eriksson. The Swede not only looks like a benign science teacher but gives the impression of a man conducting an experiment. "Chelsea next Saturday will be a very good test for us and I'm curious to see what happens over Christmas and the NewYear," he said, with characteristic mild detachment.

Elano keeps Manchester City flying high (Derick Allsop)
Appropriately, though, it was his most eye-catching player, Elano, who made the difference. The midfield man modestly describes himself as "a battler" but then that is a Brazilian interpretation. Others may choose to call him an artist.

Elano strikes again to keep Eriksson bandwagon rolling (Spencer Vignes)
This was City's sixth consecutive home league victory of Sven-Goran Eriksson's reign and it came without the panache of the previous two, against Newcastle and Middlesbrough. Not that the Eastlands faithful will mind. After the dross of last season, their team have rediscovered the art of winning - and scoring - in Manchester.

Elano strikes again to maintain Manchester City’s momentum (Richard Rae)
Forty years after they won the then First Division for the first and only time in their history, Manchester City’s impressive supporters are daring to dream, after victory over Birmingham made it six wins out of six at home, and for a few hours at least, lifted them into second place in the Premier League.
On this evidence, the realists among them will know a dream is what it is likely to remain. Four of those six wins have been by a single goal to nil, and while sometimes that scoreline can disguise a considerable supremacy, it did not do so yesterday.


Stewart1.618 said...

I thought Dunne was suspended for the ROI game on Weds...?

Sorry to be pedantic as this is the best-written City site out there!

PS Recieved my CTID T shirt and "love it!"

Andrew said...

Hi Stewart,

Yep, you're right. I could have sworn I read his name in the line-up.

Glad you like the T-shirt. I'm going to introduce a couple of new designs soon with a Sven and Brazil theme