Sunday, April 27, 2008

Reaction, ratings & stats: City 2 Fulham 3

A performance that will no doubt intensify the media speculation about Sven's future, but my guess is our chairman won't be too unhappy at us handing Fulham the win.

Thaksin is a long-standing business buddy of Fulham owner Mohamed Al Fayed, and granted Al Fayed's Harrods Energy lucrative drilling rights to oil fields in Thailand back in the 1990s. According to this report, Thaksin also lived in a Park Lane apartment owned by Al Fayed after he was ousted in the coup, so maybe the gift of three precious Premiership points on Saturday will be taken in lieu of back rent.

Plenty of complaints after the game about the way the match programme was turned into a tribute to our Great Leader (not to mention the shambolic 'Lap of Embarrassment'), but my view is that this was always part of the deal. I loved the surreal nature of last summer's Thai curry party in Albert Square, and have so far felt a bit let down that Thaksin hasn't brought more off-field absurdity to Eastlands.

Not sure what to make of his comments in the programme that we will 'not be spending huge amounts of money this summer', but it's worth pointing out that, with payments for overseas players usually spread over the length of the contract, it is possible to bring in big signings without making a huge initial outlay.

And thankfully, it looks as though Thaksin has finally given his public backing to Sven, in this interview in Thai which has been translated by Krieng at Citymancs.


~ There's an interesting account of today's game at FulhamUSA.com, which was orignally posted by BadlyDrawnBlue at Wookies Lair.

~ Highlights
~ Telegraph stats graphic, Sky stats, BBC stats
~ Sven's post-match interview
~ Pictures from rtfract
~ Latest Premiership table


Player ratings

Ratings come from (in order): MEN; xavi6, Fidel Castro, Niall Quinns Discopants, SirElano, LookMumI'mOnMCF.net, irblinx, King Kev, Piccsnumberoneblue (Mancityfans), Richard, mcigo (Bluemoon), Richard Tucker (rtfract.com), Sunday Times, Sky, Sky Your Rating and the BBC.

Hart: 8.0
(7, 8, 10, 10, 10, 8, 7, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 7.5, 7, 7, 7.0, 7.4)

Elano: 6.3
(6, 6, 7, 7, 7, 7, 6, 7, 7, 7, 6, 6, 6.5, 6, 5, 4.9, 6.3)

Corluka: 6.3
(5, 6, 7, 7, 7, 7, 6, 8, 8, 5, 6, 6, 5.5, 5, 6, 5.6, 6.8)

Ball: 6.1
(5, 6, 6, 6, 6, 7, 7, 7, 7, 6, 7, 7, 5.5, 5, 6, 4.2, 5.7)

Jihai: 4.4
(5, 3, 3, 3, 4, 6, 2, 5, 7, 6, 4, 4, 4.5, 5, 5, 3.2, 4.3)

Vassell (Caicedo 80): 7.2
(7, 7, 9, 9, 9, 7, 7, 7, 7.5, 8, 7, 7, 7, 6, 7, 5.4, 6.3)

Gelson: 5.4
(6, 6, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 6, 5, 6, 6, 5, 6.5, 6, 5, 4.4, 5.7)

Johnson: 5.1
(6, 5, 4, 4, 5, 4, 5, 5, 6, 5, 4, 4, 6, 7, 6, 5.4, 5.6)

Petrov: 7.7
(7, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 7.5, 9, 7, 8, 8, 7, 7.5, 8, 8, 7.0, 7.0)

Ireland (Geovanni 56): 7.5
(7, 7, 8, 8, 8.5, 8, 8, 9, 8, 9, 7, 8, 7, 7, 6, 5.4, 6.8)

Benjani: 6.6
(7, 6, 6, 6, 6.5, 7, 8, 7, 7, - , 6, 7, 7, 7, 6, 5.5, 6.5)

Subs:

Geovanni (Ireland 56): 5.9
(6, 5, 6, 6, 6, - , 6, 7, - , 6, - , - , 6, 6, 6, 5.2, 5.4)

Caicedo (Vassell 80): 3.9
(6, 4, 1, 1, 1, - , 3, 6, - , 4, - , - , 6, - , 6, 4.2, 5.0)

Subs not used:
Isaksson, Castillo, Logan.

Fulham: Keller, Stalteri, Hangeland, Hughes, Konchesky, Davies, Bullard, Murphy, Dempsey, Healy (Kamara 64), McBride (Nevland 71). Subs not used: Warner, Bocanegra, Andreasen.


Match reports


City 2 Fulham 3


Kamara's late double gives Fulham hope of survival (Guy Hodgson)
City's manager Sven Goran Eriksson was as close to angry as the placid Swede ever gets. "We stopped playing and you can't do that against anyone in the Premier League," he said. "We have no one to blame but ourselves. We gave it away."


Fulham get kiss of life from Diomansy Kamara (Derick Allsop)
Joe Hart's athleticism did indeed frustrate Fulham, although they were palpably outplayed in the crucial areas for more than half the match. Stephen Ireland curled in a glorious opener from the edge of the area and Fulham's defenders stood and admired the second. Elano's ball down the wing and Darius Vassell's drag back set up the opportunity that Benjani despatched.
No one could begrudge Fulham their lifeline, but Eriksson acknowledged his team had only themselves to blame for their capitulation in the final 20 minutes and almost certainly throwing away any prospect of Uefa Cup qualification.
Eriksson said: "The moment you think it is over and don't defend, anything is possible in football and it was one of those days. We stopped playing and you can't afford to do that. It should be a lesson. We have no one to blame, only ourselves."


Kamara's heroics give Fulham lifeline (Ian Whittell)
City still cling to that hope of European football via an invitation to the Intertoto Cup but the expression on Shinawatra's face in the tunnel after the game suggested he would view failure to reach that competition as more than 'a pity'.
All of which is unfortunate. As a former politician - albeit a controversial one - Shinawatra will presumably appreciate the vox populi and, for 70 minutes at least, Eriksson's name was sung often and approvingly by fans appreciative of his season's work.


Diomansy Kamara stuns Sven and keeps Fulham alive (Pete Oliver)
Eriksson admitted afterwards that a club wanting to qualify for the Champions League, Shinawatra’s target within two years, would never implode as his side did but suggested that the result would not colour his talks with the chairman when they got together last night for a gala dinner and again today.
“Twenty minutes in almost one season can’t affect anything,” said the City manager. “If you are looking at the bigger picture for the future, for next season and the seasons to come, 20 minutes can’t mean anything, but if those three points mean we lose out on Europe it’s a big, big pity.”


Roy Hodgson still harbours hope of great escape (James Ducker)
City were coasting when Kamara entered the fray in the 64th minute. Joe Hart, the City goalkeeper, had denied Clint Dempsey and David Healy with good saves, but the home team were worth their lead, secured courtesy of goals from Stephen Ireland and Benjani Mwaruwari in the first 21 minutes.
Whether it was through complacency or a lack of concentration, City began to unravel. Kamara sowed the seeds of doubt when he capitalised on Vedran Corluka’s indecision and then, when Danny Murphy converted his penalty on the rebound after Sun Jihai had pulled down Nevland, Fulham dared to believe in victory.


Kamara's injection gives Fulham the glimpse of a future (Jeremy Alexander)
A match which had passed the hour in cruise command for City, producing sweet goals for Stephen Ireland and Benjani that left Fulham's backs red-faced, had culminated in end-to-end frenzy, including a moment when Benjani, running through on Kasey Keller, passed to Darius Vassell, who was offside and, for good measure, off target. Such lunacy it is that attracts and maddens City's infatuees.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A plea to ALL football fans please sign this Petition : http://www.petitiononline.com/savesven/petition-sign.html