Thursday, 1 November 2012

A reflective view: City 1 - 0 Swansea

Balotelli helps gain a valuable three points

By Tom Kennerley

Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images Europe
There were many questions following the humiliation in Amsterdam, with fans and pundits alike dissecting recent poor performances. The performance was no rembrandt picture for the purists. There was exaggeration amongst the press once again regarding Roberto Mancini resigning, which all Manchester City fans glanced upon momentarily and laughed off.  But in ESPN’s coverage of the game, Robbie Savage was sensible with his view afterwards as he said:

"Manchester City's first target this season is defending the title."

On we went to Swansea, our third game in seven days, was it too much for the players? In the first half, the effects of the Champions League and the game at the Hawthorns clearly showed as fatigue played a part in seeing the first effort of the game come just seven minutes before half time. Swansea were creating the better chances, despite our domination in the possession department.

Aleksander Kolarov, who was risked in a midfield role ahead of Scott Sinclair, was forced off injured at half time. Now it was Mancini's chance to prove himself again after being heavily criticised by the British press, who would he bring on to improve things to win the game? The answer was to be Mario Balotelli. 
Understandably, the crowd were expecting a more dominant performance from the Blues in the second half, and Balotelli made a big difference going forward. Carlos Tevez’s goal on the hour mark reminded us of the talent that the Argentinian possesses as he scored arguably the best City goal this season.  Michel Vorm’s injury from the goal forced a change between the sticks as Gerhard Tremmel replaced him. The German was plying his trade with Red Bull Salzburg last season, and the first thing which popped into my head was how it would affect us going forward. I think we were content with the scoreline, and despite Swansea threatening Joe Hart’s goal, the main talking point was the injury to Micah Richards in the 79th minute. Unfortunately, he is now out for eight weeks, which is a big loss to the team, but fortunately Pablo Zabaleta is returning from injury at just the right time.

After changing the game for the better in the second half, my man of the match would have to be Mario Balotelli, as his spark and creativity helped to get past a resolute Swans defence.

This game may not be remembered as a classic but if it helps secure the league title, we can look back and say we gained three important points.

I have to say all the best for Swansea and Michael Laudrup for the season ahead and I anticipate another tough test when we go down there in the new year.

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(c) The Sky Blue View 2012

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