Sunday, October 7, 2007

Reaction, stats & ratings: City 3 Middlesbrough 1

It seems that with every game now a fresh treat is served up. Yesterday it was having the luxury of switching off with ten minutes to go and coasting home.

Once again we played with the skill and composure you'd expect from a side in the top four. And as the belief grows among City fans, other supporters are starting to sit up and take notice.

You never know, it might even start infecting the sceptics at Sky Sports News before long. "Let's see how they cope with the British winter", was one comment directed at Sven's signings on Soccer Saturday this weekend. Well, having endured temperatures of minus 23 degrees playing in the Ukraine last season, somehow I doubt that Elano will be broken by a bit of drizzle and the customary two days of snow.

And now, in keeping with the spirit of the game, I'm going wrap up the summary early and get to bed - and maybe even dream about a title challenge.

~ Video of goals
~ Sven's post-match interview
~ Getty Images photos
~ Latest Premiership table.

Match stats

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

You can find more comprehensive match stats at the Daily Telegraph.

Match reports

City 3 Boro 1
Most pundits have reacted to the Blues' impressive start to the season with a mixture of admiration for Eriksson, whose tarnished reputation is being restored by the week, and belief that it cannot last.
Yet those anticipating a big bubble bursting over the City of Manchester Stadium might be in for quite a wait.

Elano shows his elan (By David Miller)
Two aristocratic goals, a rifled drive 11 minutes before half-time and a geometrically measured free-kick in the second half which would have made Pythagoras proud, maintained the momentum with which Sven-Goran Eriksson's various purchases, initially seemingly random, have redecorated this club.
City's authority, going forward, stems from a functional if unspectacular midfield of Stephen Ireland, England Under-21 prospect Michael Johnson, Dietmar Hamann and Martin Petrov. Behind them the vigorous Richard Dunne and burgeoning Micah Richards yield little.

Elano inspires City to dream of a title challenge (Steve Bierley)
The style of City's Elano-inspired attacking play has gripped the club's fans and critics alike, and it has all happened in such a short period of time. Not only has Eriksson bought well but he has melded the side together with such speed, too. For that he can be given unstinted praise. "They are happy to let you have the ball, and then hit you very quickly," said Gareth Southgate.

Superb Elano fits the bill for Sven-Goran Eriksson (Jeremy Cross)
“The big difference between him now and when he first arrived is his fitness,” Eriksson, the City manager, said. “He’s much stronger now and we don’t have to teach him how to play football. He won’t be able to keep this standard up all the time, but you are seeing the best of him at the moment. He can keep the ball, see things around him and is starting to score goals. You can’t ask for much more. He’s a top-class player.”

The Boro view
Boro Nation

Player ratings

Ratings come from (in order): King Kev, Grob (Mancityfans), MEN, Man City Mad, Setanta, BBC, Sky and Sky Your Rating.

Hart: 8, 7, 7, 7, 6, 6.5, 5, 5.9 (av: 6.6)
A relatively easy afternoon for the England under 21 ace who produced one fine first half save. (MEN)
As daft as it sounds he saved us a few times towards the end when our defence decided to knock off 10 minutes early. Felt sorry for him when we conceded, he didn't deserve that. (King Kev)
Some great saves but his penchant for parrying rather than catching worries me. (Grob)

Corluka: 7, 8, 7, 7, 8, 7.1, 7, 7.9 (av: 7.4)
His football brain is there for all to see and he even found time to ride shotgun for Elano. (MEN)
A giant in terms of physical presence and ability. He is still so young and will get better and better. (King Kev)
The best of the back 4. Put Downing in his place in the first minute and was defensively perfect from then on. (Grob)

Dunne: 8, 8, 7, 7, 7, 7.1, 7, 7.9 (av: 7.4)
Some of his play on the ground belies his size and shape and he remains inspirational skipper. (MEN)
They credited him with the goal at the match and he deserved to have it. An immense performance from the captain, loses a point for clocking off after 80 minutes though. (King Kev)
Best game for a while. Dominated. (Grob)

Richards: 7, 7, 7, 7, 7, 7.5, 7, 8.0 (av: 7.2)
Not one of his more prominent displays but it didn’t have to be against a poor strikeforce. (MEN)
Great first half, faded in the second, also finished his shift early for some reason! (King Kev)
Some top class stuff with some poor positional play. (Grob)

Garrido: 7, 7, 7, 6, 7, 7.0, 7, 7.4 (av: 6.9)
Showed more of his attacking instincts though Blues were relatively quiet on left flank. (MEN)
The more I see of this fella the more I like him, he reads the game well, tackles well, passes well, and likes to get forward too! (King Kev)
Slightly less involved than in recent weeks but solid defensively. The quality in his left boot is astonishing considering he only cost £1.5 million. (Grob)

Ireland: 8, 8, 8, 7, 8, 6.8, 7, 7.1 (av: 7.5)
Went close with second half volley and played his part in some fine flowing efforts. (MEN)
Was impressed with his defensive work, especially in the first half. His flicks and tricks are great to watch too. (King Kev)
Great all-round performance. More of these please Stephen. Looked up for it for the first time in ages and his energy showed. (Grob)

Hamann: 8, 8, 7, 7, 7, 7.0, 7, 7.7 (av: 7.3)
Won his usual share of free kicks, tided up when needed and produced odd decent shot.(MEN)
He controls the midfield and allows Elano and Petrov to show what they can do, without Didi our creative players couldn't express themselves like they do. (King Kev)
Ran the midfield. (Grob)

Johnson: (Ball 60): 6, 7, 8, 6, 7, 7.2, 6, 7.2 (av: 7.1)
Went off early but not before he had produced wonderful invention for Elano’s first goal. (MEN)
My fault, I backed him to score, sorry! Not bad in the first half but couldn't get near the ball in the second, Sven was right to replace him. (King Kev)
Some lovely touches mixed in with a few schoolboy errors. Looked laboured when running and I wish he would add some aggression to his game. (Grob)

Petrov: 7, 7, 7, 7, 8, 7.8, 7, 8.0 (av: 7.4)
Much quieter than he was in win over Newcastle but still a danger to nervous Boro defence. (MEN)
He's a pleasure to watch isn't he! Very fast and direct, has the ability to get decent crosses in when it doesn't look possible! (King Kev)
Was in the supporting cast rather than the lead role this week but used the ball well, gave us balance and is a wonderful weapon on the left. (Grob)

Elano (Geovanni 78): 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9.5, 9, 9.5 (av: 9.1)
Two early passes went astray and thereafter foot perfect including two wonder strikes. (MEN)
We have found our new crowd favourite, he is a magician on the ball and his goal from the free-kick just looked so easy! Great reception when he went off, well deserved. (King Kev)
What more can you say that hasn't already been said. Magnificent. (Grob)

Mpenza (Samaras 74): 7, 7, 7, 6, 8, 7.2, 7, 7.6 (av: 7.1)
Ran himself into the ground for the cause without reward of the goal he probably deserved. (MEN)
Works very very hard off the ball and creates space for others, I think he was replaces because he ran himself into the ground. (King Kev)
Ran his tripe out, linked play well but missed a good chance. Needs to be more prolific in front of goal. (Grob)


Ball (Johnson 60): 6, 7, 6, 6, 7, 6.1, 6, 6.6 (av: 6.3)
Didn’t look out of place in midfield. (MEN)
Clearly not a midfielder!? (King Kev)
Shored up the midfield with an energetic supporting role. Impressed. (Grob)

Samaras (Mpenza 74): 7, 7, 6, - , 6, 6.2, 6, 6.7 (av: 6.4)
A few eye catching gallops. (MEN)
Where did he find his pace?? (King Kev)
Some great little bits of play mixed in with some poor bits. Looks much better than last season but still a couple of levels short of where this club is going. (Grob)

Geovanni(Elano 78): 7, 7, 6, - , 7, 6.4, 6, 6.6 (av: 6.6)
Took over Elano role. (MEN)
Not much time to make an impact. (King Kev)
Another excellent little cameo. I would love to see him play from the start but who could you drop now Ireland's found some form? (Grob)

Subs not used:

Schmeichel, Onuoha.

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