September Results and Reports

Manchester City 0  Arsenal  1       -   City give it their best shot
Saturday 25th September 2004 : Malc for Get Your Kits Out at COMS                                              Back to Main Page

Arsenal repelled a valiant effort from Manchester City to continue their unbeaten Premiership march at Eastlands on Saturday.

There will have been few occasions in their 47 outings since they last tasted domestic defeat that the Gunners will have found themselves on the back foot for as long as they did in the second-half against Kevin Keegan's men.

But, just as Rio Ferdinand produced an authoritative performance on his return to action for Manchester United on Monday, so, a few miles down the road, Sol Campbell did the same for Arsenal.

Much has been made of Ferdinand's absence from the Red Devils line-up but arguably Campbell is just as important to the title holders.

And though City attacked with venom at times and Nicolas Anelka repeatedly threatened damage to his old club, the England man, now recovered from the Achilles problem that has sidelined him for the entire season so far, refused to get flustered.

Campbell's efforts ensured Arsenal kept the home side at bay and with Jens Lehmann dealing comfortably with anything that did come his way, the Gunners were able to hold onto the lead Ashley Cole gave them with his impressive 13th minute finish.

It was tough luck on City, who looked a completely different side to the one that capitulated on the same ground against Everton a fortnight ago and seemed to have found a new sense of belief.

Long-suffering City fans do not need much to fuel their optimism and successive victories over Crystal Palace and Barnsley were more than enough to see them visit the local bookmakers in their droves, piling on the cash in the belief that their side would be the ones who brought Arsenal to their knees.

The evidence to back up their confidence was pretty flimsy, mainly that it would be a typical City thing to do and it did not take Arsenal long - 30 seconds to be precise - to provide a compelling counter argument.

Passes from Patrick Vieira and Dennis Bergkamp appeared to be fairly routine, but they proved enough to unhinge the home defence, forcing James to make a brave sliding stop to deny Freddie Ljungberg an opener.

Bergkamp, returning to the side in place of injured winger Robert Pires, proved a particular problem for the Blues, dropping into midfield at regular intervals leaving the hosts in a quandry about who should mark him.

Any momentary lapse in concentration was quickly exploited by a mesmerising mixture of pass, move and sublime skill.

It was Cole's refusal to stop when Jose Reyes attempted to play a pass to Henry that saw him react quickest to Dunne's attempted intervention and after taking a couple of strides across the area, the England full-back proved how much he has learned on the training ground, producing a deft left-foot finish any Gunners striker would have been proud of.

Reyes and Henry produced magical moments of skill that even earned the appreciation of the home fans. The latter's one-touch control from a Vieira punt forward sent Richard Dunne flying in the wrong direction, allowing the Arsenal man the space to roll a shot which went about an inch wide.

Henry was also denied in the final minute of the opening period when James proved equal to a blistering volley the Frenchman unleashed from the right edge of the six-yard box.

Not that City were being over-run. Even with Shaun Wright-Phillips well shackled, the hosts actually produced one of their best performances of the season.

Nicolas Anelka and Paul Bosvelt were particularly impressive as were Danny Mills and Sun Jihai. It was just that when they did get into decent attacking positions, they did not have the pace to finish moves off.

Anelka, eager to make an impression against his former club, sent one volley dipping just wide, while Sun should have tested Jens Lehmann but only produced a weak finish after an excellent 40-yard burst.

City's spirited effort continued after the break as Lehmann twice denied Anelka, the first an excellent full length effort after Jon Macken had found room down the right.

City's efforts were certainly giving Campbell the test he was looking for. The problem was it succeeded only in raising the decibel level among the home fans, who encouraged their team to attack even more, thus playing straight into Arsenal's hands.

Cole almost took advantage when he blasted against a post from an acute angle with James going the other way in anticipation of a cross but a second would have been unfair on City who gave so much but, like so many of Arsenal's opponents, ended up with very little.

Man City: James, Mills, Dunne, Distin, Jihai, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Barton, Bosvelt (McManaman 76), Sibierski, Anelka, Macken (Flood 76).
Subs Not Used: Waterreus, Jordan, Bradley Wright-Phillips.

Booked: Bosvelt.

Arsenal: Lehmann, Lauren, Toure, Campbell, Cole, Ljungberg (Fabregas 88), Vieira, Edu, Reyes (Clichy 63), Bergkamp (Van Persie 88), Henry.
Subs Not Used: Cygan, Almunia.

Goals: Cole 14.

Att: 47,015.

Ref: N Barry (N Lincolnshire).



Man City 7-1 Barnsley    League cup round two
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Manchester City romped to their biggest win under Kevin Keegan after scoring five goals in the first half.

Joey Barton smashed home from 20 yards and Shaun Wright-Phillips set up Jon Macken and Willo Flood before delightfully chipping in himself.

Macken pounced on a poor pass back to tap in the fifth before Barry Conlon pulled one back after Barton's error.

Antoine Sibierski quickly restored the five-goal margin and sealed the rout after another Wright-Phillips pass.

A fine debut for Willo Flood who played the whole game and an excellent performance from Stephen Jordan who replaced the hapless Ben Thatcher. Bradley Wright Philips joined Sean to became the first brothers to represent City since the Futchers in the 70's.

All in all a very good work out for the boys ahead of Arsenals visit on Saturday.

Man City: Waterreus, Thatcher (Jordan 48), Distin (Sommeil 45), Mills, Jihai, Flood, Barton, Bosvelt, Sibierski, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Macken (Bradley Wright-Phillips 46).
Subs Not Used: Stuhr-Ellegaard, Croft.

Booked: Jihai.

Goals: Barton 21, Macken 28, Flood 33, Shaun Wright-Phillips 36, Macken 44, Sibierski 56, 84.

Barnsley: Colgan, Hassell, Tom Williams, Kay, Robbie Williams (Boulding 31), Shuker (Nardiello 66), Wroe, McPhail, Burns, Conlon, Chopra.
Subs Not Used: Scarsella, Stallard, Tonge.

Booked: Burns.

Goals: Conlon 47.

Att: 19,578

Ref: P Robinson (E Yorkshire).


Anelka strikes twice to give Keegan lift with win double
Ian Ridley for Get Your Kits Out at Selhurst Park
Saturday September 18, 2004
Crystal Palace  1  Manchester City  2

A double celebration for Kevin Keegan: first his horse Funfair Wane won the Ayr Gold Cup, then his
Man City striker Nicolas Anelka thoroughbred striker Nicolas Anelka struck his fourth and fifth goals of early season to ease any pressure on the Manchester City manager. Be it 33-1 or 2-1, a winner is always welcome.

City had to withstand a late rally by Crystal Palace, in which Andy Johnson reduced the arrears with a penalty, but all of a sudden it looks so much better; less blue for the Blues. Anelka's low drive and assured penalty conversion of his own took them to up to tenth in the Premiership - and above Manchester United. At this time of year, crises can be averted with a single result.

Poor Palace, spirited but limited, remain rooted to the bottom after their fifth consecutive defeat, still without a point at home. Like investments, Eagles can go down as well as up.

Keegan looks to be going nowhere in the immediate future, though he accepts the crass judgment that this is a results game for any manager, no matter how well they are building a side, how they are balancing the books - and the sack could yet arrive.

'I've been buried alive from what I've heard, but I've got a stay of execution,' he said. His mood was combative, unlike the man who announced on a similarly rainy day nearly four years ago that he had gone as far as he could as England manager. 'You can argue that a side like ours should beat a side like Palace, but that's being blasť about the Premiership. Our confidence was low, theirs was low and it showed.

'A few of the players were saying, 'What if we lose today, what if we lose again in midweek? We've got Arsenal next Saturday.' I prefer to look at it another way. I said, 'What if we win today, knock Barnsley out of the Carling Cup and become the team to end Arsenal's run?' When I went to Liverpool from Scunthorpe, Bill Shankly told me that I would play for England. I said, 'I know I will'. That's the kind of person I am.'

It was stirring stuff and you could only applaud him. And if Keegan's team wanted him sacked, as has been suggested, there was little evidence of it. City did look scrappy until a goal soothed nerves, after which they moved more smoothly and should have gone on to win more comfortably.

Kevin KeeganConfidence was, indeed, low in the first half and there was an edginess to them. Shaun Wright-Phillips argued with Danny Mills over a bad pass; Jonathan Macken berated Wright-Phillips for not cutting the ball back to him. Twice Macken got in the way of goal bound attempts from Antoine Sibierski. Claudio Reyna sliced a shot high and wide.

But Palace had little to offer, save hopeful balls forward for Johnson and Sandor Torghelle to chase. When they did manage a build-up, Torghelle miskicked the promising Wayne Routledge's low cross in front of goal.

Half-time did City good, however, and they returned for the second half with more purpose, even harmony. Reyna and Macken, Richard Dunne and Sylvain Distin all swopped handslaps after good pieces of play. A goal soon arrived as tangible reward. Anelka's corner from the left found Ben Thatcher, who headed the ball back across goal for Sibierski to head goalwards, only for it to be cleared off the line by Aki Riihilahti. City worked the ball back out to the left for Anelka, and the Frenchman found the far corner with a crisp, low left-footed shot.

It should quickly have been two. Joey Barton sent Macken clear, but instead of crossing for the unmarked Anelka, he drove his shot into the side-netting. It mattered little. Within minutes, Danny Granville had pushed Wright-Phillips inside the penalty area, according to an assistant referee's flag, and Anelka comfortably converted the penalty kick.

Palace were not finished, though. Substitute Nicola Ventola had hinted at a threat with a header across goal and more menace came as he surged into the City penalty area. Distin intervened on a surface now slickened by the rain but committed a foul, another assistant referee decided. Johnson duly drove home the penalty.

Otherwise, Palace rarely looked to have a goal in them and a long, hard winter beckons. Whether Keegan has one could depend on a nearer future. 'I'm safe for a week,' he said. 'We've got some tough games coming up, but the media circus can go and find some other poor guy for a while.'

Crystal Palace: Speroni, Boyce, Hudson, Hall, Granville, Routledge, Riihilahti (Watson 70), Hughes, Derry (Ventola 60), Torghelle (Kolkka 60), Johnson.
Subs Not Used: Powell, Kiraly.

Booked: Hall, Hughes.

Goals: Johnson 77 pen.

Man City: James, Mills, Distin, Dunne, Thatcher, Wright-Phillips, Sibierski, Reyna, Barton, Anelka, Macken (Jihai 88).
Subs Not Used: Fowler, Bosvelt, Waterreus, Flood.

Booked: Sibierski, Distin.

Goals: Anelka 55, 64 pen.

Att: 25,052.                                                                                                                     Back to Main Page 

Ref: M Atkinson (W Yorkshire).


Man City 0-1 Everton     City slump at home again
David Murray for Get Your Kits Out at COMS
Saturday 11th Sept 2004


Tim Cahill suffered mixed emotions as he scored Everton's winner but was then sent off by referee Steve Bennett for an over-exuberant celebration.

Everton's £2m summer signing from Millwall headed home on the hour to seal a richly-deserved victory.

David James, dropped by England for the World Cup qualifier in Poland, kept Everton at bay with saves from Steve Watson, Marcus Bent and Leon Osman.

City barely troubled 10-man Everton in a bitterly disappointing display.

James was the central figure in a first 45 minutes that saw City enjoy the greater share of possession but Everton carve out the clearer chances.

He was in action after 11 minutes, making a fine double save from Steve Watson after he had been played in by Leon Osman.

James then denied Marcus Bent when he somehow kept out his header at point-blank range as he stole in on Lee Carsley's free-kick.

David James saves from Marcus Bent

Leon Osman was next to be frustrated from only 10 yards, but the youngster should have scored after being set up by Cahill.

City only created half chances, and the game was enlivened in first-half injury time when Carsley and Joey Barton were both booked after a crunching challenge.

Everton deservedly took the lead on the hour - but it was a bitter-sweet moment for Cahill.

The Australian timed his run perfectly to head Tony Hibbert's cross past James.

But as he celebrated his goal, referee Bennett stunned players and supporters alike by sending Cahill off for over-exuberance.

Everton held out in relative comfort in the closing stages, with only Sylvain Distin causing alarm, firing narrowly over from the edge of the area.


Man City: James, Mills, Dunne, Distin, Thatcher (Jihai 73), Wright-Phillips, Reyna, Barton, Sinclair (Sibierski 73), Anelka, Fowler (Macken 63). Subs Not Used: Waterreus, Bosvelt.

Booked: Barton.

Everton: Martyn, Hibbert, Weir, Stubbs, Pistone, Osman (Gravesen 58), Watson, Carsley, Cahill, Kilbane (Naysmith 73), Bent (Ferguson 73). Subs Not Used: Wright, McFadden.

Sending Off: Cahill (61).

Booked: Carsley, Cahill, Pistone.

Goals: Cahill 60.

Att: 47,006.

Ref: S Bennett (Kent).                                                                                                               Back to Main Page