August 2004 match reports and pictures
Man City 3-1 Lazio
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Saturday 7th August 2004 at the City of Manchester Stadium
Anelka was on target after just 40 seconds at Eastlands today. The in-demand striker helped City claim an impressive success over Lazio with a goal after 40 seconds.
Anelka, linked with moves to Barcelona and Monaco in midweek, neatly clipped home Paul Bosvelt's neat through ball.
Jon Macken's superb curling shot made it 2-0 in the second half before Massimo Oddo replied from the spot when Sylvain Distin was ruled harshly in my opinion to have fouled Roberto Muzzi in the area.
The referee evened up his harsh penalty decision when an equally soft tackle by Oddo brought down Paulo Wanchope. Antoine Sibierski made sure of City's victory with a well struck penalty.
23,132 people enjoyed the fun in the sun today but City will have to step up a gear when Fulham come to COMS next Saturday. Kev gave the youngsters a run out in the second half with Stephen Jordan looking most comfortable but Paddy McCarthy also looks a great prospect.
Robbie Fowler is starting to look the real thing again and surely John Macken deserves a crack but the pick of the bunch yet again today was Shaun Wright-Philips playing wing back. He had the Lazio winger in his pocket and still managed to get in his usual amount of forward play - England beckons.....
Sibierski slots home the penalty to make the score 3-1
TEAMS City: James, Thatcher (Jordan 45),
Distin, Reyna (Bischoff 79), Fowler (Wanchope 56), Sibierski, McManaman (Barton
20), Dunne (McCarthy 75), Bosvelt (Willo Flood 62), Wright-Phillips (Sinclair
45), Anelka (Macken 56)
Lazio: Sereni (Peruzzi h-t), Oddo, Negro, Zauri, Dabo, Manfredini, Cesar (Angleletti 88), Pandev (de Sousa 66), Liverani, Muzzi, Giannichedda (Corsi 75)
Man City 1-1 Fulham
Sat 14th August 2004 : Malc Hough reporting from COMS
Collins John over-shadowed his new strike partners Andy Cole and Tomasz Radzinski to earn Fulham a point.
The 18-year-old Dutchman turned a sharp finish past David James after 57 minutes to level after Robbie Fowler gave City a first-half advantage.
Fowler hooked home a spectacular finish after 28 minutes to hand City a deserved lead before Collins struck.
City were then denied by a string of saves from Edwin van Der Sar, who twice denied Antoine Sibierski spectacularly.
Fulham improved after a dismal first-half show, but Kevin Keegan's City will still feel they did enough to earn all three points on the opening day.
Shaun Wright-Phillips, who has agreed a new four-year contract, lit up the start to the season at the City of Manchester Stadium.
He showed a blistering turn of speed to leave the Fulham defence trailing, and it needed a desperate clearance to prevent Nicolas Anelka taking advantage.
It set the tone for a bright City display in the opening 45 minutes and they took a deserved lead through Fowler after 28 minutes.
Danny Mills' long throw was headed on by Sibierski and Fowler (pictured left) lifted a left-foot finish high past Van der Sar.
Fulham had their new strike force of Cole and Radzinski on show, but they barely had a kick as City dominated.
But in a rare attack, Fulham snatched an undeserved equaliser after 55 minutes.
Claus Jensen's cross found John unmarked, and the young Dutch striker had time and space to turn and score past the flat-footed David James.
City were suddenly on the back foot, but Van der Sar was forced to turn over a rising drive from Claudio Reyna, then clutch a Dunne header.
Sibierski should have put City back in front after 67 minutes, but his point-blank header was blocked by Van der Sar.
Fulham posed a threat on the break, and it needed a fine save from James to deny Jensen with ten minutes left.
Man City: James, Mills, Dunne, Distin, Thatcher, Wright-Phillips, Reyna, Bosvelt (Barton 78), Sibierski, Fowler (Macken 77), Anelka. Subs Not Used: Stuhr-Ellegaard, Jihai, McManaman.
Goals: Fowler 28.
Fulham: Van der Sar, Volz, Pearce, Knight, Bocanegra, Diop, John (McBride 63), Legwinski, Radzinski (Pembridge 79), Cole, Jensen. Subs Not Used: Crossley, Rehman, Goma.
Booked: Cole, Volz.
Goals: John 56.
Ref: M Messias (S Yorkshire).
Liverpool 2-1 Man City
Sat 21st August 2004 : Colin Wheatcroft for Get Your Kits Out at Anfield
Steven Gerrard completed Liverpool's second-half comeback as they came from behind to beat a battling City side.
Nicolas Anelka put City ahead against the run of play after Jerzy Dudek dropped the ball at his feet.
But Gerrard sent Milan Baros clear to equalise with a cool finish, and Liverpool pressed forward for more.
David James made several superb stops before Gerrard swept home the winner, and City's misery was complete when Richard Dunne was sent off late on.
New Liverpool boss Rafel Benitez had seen his side enjoy the lion's share of the early possession on his Anfield bow.
But their probing play struggled to break down a determined City defence.
The home side's best early chance came in the 11th minute when Gerrard fired in a long-range drive that James collected comfortably.
City continued to defend in numbers and chances were few and far between at either end until Harry Kewell's dipping shot which dropped just over James' crossbar on 29 minutes.
Kewell tested James again soon after with a low shot through a crowd which the England keeper did well to push wide.
The Reds were piling on the pressure, and from the ensuing corner Sami Hyypia had a clear sight of goal but could not keep his shot down.
City did not threaten until the 37th minute when Antoine Sibierski met Anelka's corner but could not direct his header goalwards.
And yet it was the visitors who snatched the lead on the stroke of half-time thanks to an error by Liverpool keeper Dudek.
Jamie Carragher headed Shaun Wright-Phillips' chipped through ball back to Dudek but the keeper fumbled and allowed Anelka to steal in and slot home.
But City's lead only lasted until three minutes after the restart.
Gerrard's clever pass set Baros free in the area and he beat James with a composed finish.
Anelka almost restored their lead when he latched on to Reyna's flick - his first-time shot flying inches over.
City were looking comfortable despite Liverpool enjoying the majority of possession, but the home side burst into life in the closing 20 minutes.
In a whirlwind spell of pressure, Gerrard tested James with a powerful drive that James somehow pushed away.
Then a sweeping move forward sent Djibril Cisse running clear but James came out well to smother his shot.
And seconds later James was City's saviour again with another superb stop to deny Baros who was clean through after Dunne's slip.
But a second Liverpool goal looked inevitable and it duly came on 75 minutes.
A long ball forward sent Baros scampering away once more and although James did well to block his effort, the ball fell kindly to Gerrard who swept the ball home.
City's misery was complete when Dunne was sent off for a second booking after a foul on Cisse in the 85th minute.
Liverpool: Dudek, Josemi (Diao 61), Hyypia, Carragher, Riise, Finnan (Warnock 77), Hamann, Gerrard, Kewell (Biscan 90), Baros, Cisse. Subs Not Used: Sinama Pongolle, Harrison.
Goals: Baros 48, Gerrard 75.
Man City: James, Thatcher, Distin, Dunne, Mills, Sibierski (Barton 82), Bosvelt (Sinclair 82), Reyna, Wright-Phillips, Anelka, Fowler. Subs Not Used: Macken, Jihai, Stuhr-Ellegaard.
Sent Off: Dunne (85).
Booked: Thatcher, Dunne, Bosvelt.
Goals: Anelka 45.
Ref: G Poll (Hertfordshire).
Birmingham 1-0 Man City
Tues 24th Aug 2004 - Tessa Yeardsley for Get Your Kits Out at St Andrews
Heskey rose above the Manchester City defence after just eight minutes to guide the ball into the top right-hand corner of David James' goal.
It was a scrappy encounter, although Birmingham looked the more likely to score throughout.
For City, Robbie Fowler missed a straightforward header, while James saved well from Stern John late on.
Birmingham welcomed back last season's leading scorer Mikael Forssell from injury.
But it was City who fashioned the first meaningful chance.
Nicolas Anelka was guilty of an awful miss after four minutes, failing to connect after a typically incisive run and cross from Shaun Wright-Phillips opened Birmingham up down the right.
But Birmingham were celebrating soon after after Heskey met Stan Lazaridis' cross and directed a powerful header past James.
The match failed to settle, however, with both sides guilty of some awful passing in midfield.
Heskey headed well wide on 20 minutes, but chances were at a premium for both teams.
It was, perhaps, significant that the most significant action came when Danny Mills picked up a yellow card for a cynical foul on Forssell.
The action picked up before half-time, with Robbie Fowler guilty of mis-timing his header when well placed.
Birmingham started brightly after the break, with Forssell heading just over after a wickedly curling free-kick from Muzzy Izzet.
But they had to reshuffle when Heskey was forced off with a twisted ankle, being replaced by Stern John.
Izzet was proving to be a real threat down the right, with City struggling to cope with his crosses.
Yet it was a cross from the left which caused most trouble, Lazaridis hitting the ball in and leaving David James in no man's land, before City cleared.
The visitors' chances were few and far between in the second half, and City were thankful for a brilliant reaction save from James on 66 minutes after John attempted to side-foot the ball home.
As the match moved into its closing stages, City began to look more threatening.
Claudio Reyna drilled a shot which was deflected wide for the visitors with five minutes to go but Maik Taylor was rarely called into action.
Birmingham: Maik Taylor, Melchiot, Upson, Cunningham, Lazaridis (Clemence
59), Gronkjaer, Johnson, Izzet, Gray, Forssell (Tebily 79), Heskey (John
Man City: James, Jihai, Mills, Distin, Thatcher, Wright-Phillips,
Bosvelt (Barton 79), Reyna, Sibierski (Sinclair 57), Fowler (Macken 79),
Referee: P Dowd (Staffordshire).
Anelka scored the crucial goals - the nerve-settling first and the match-clinching third - but it was Wright-Phillips who engaged the hairs on the back of the neck with a thrilling last half-hour which culminated in a scything 25-yarder that veered majestically away into the top corner.
These are salad days for Wright-Phillips, reality biting only with the back injury that should rule him out of the forthcoming World Cup qualifiers.
"He was wonderful," said the City manager Kevin Keegan. "He's one of the few players who can light up the Premiership just by making a tackle. He has everything to be a top, top player."
That much is irrefutable. Allied to his box of tricks - his backheel through his and Hermann Hreidarsson's legs brought the house down - are scorching pace and a tremendous, Giggsesque work-ethic. But there is also an underrated subtlety to his work: his eye for a pass was outstanding here, particularly the clipped 60-yarder that allowed Anelka to settle the match on the hour.
If the two second-half goals would have graced any arena, the defending for the first two belonged in a Moss Side kickaround. Mark Fish's negligence allowed Anelka to skim a daisy-cutter in off the post from 20 yards, and Dean Kiely hacked the ball straight at Trevor Sinclair when he could have picked it up, the ball ricocheting into the net.
It was a wretched moment in keeping with another diabolical performance from Charlton, who were battered 4-1 at Bolton in their other away fixture. "I can't have that," said Alan Curbishley, who had the glazed eyes and stunned drawl of a man emerging from a car wreck. "We looked a soft touch. There are certain characteristics you need away from home, and perhaps we haven't got them. We're a small little family; a tight-knit group. Letting in loads of goals is not what we're about."
Perhaps that is the problem. Charlton have opened their doors this summer to a number of high-profile signings, a policy that is anathema to that on which their recent success has been built. The golden goose is not dead yet, but they did look horribly disjointed. They need to get nasty.
Dennis Rommedahl may gobble up the ground like Pacman, but at the moment the pace of the Premiership is swallowing him up. Francis Jeffers was isolated and, though Danny Murphy probed intelligently, he was guilty of missing an absolute sitter, wafting lazily over the bar from six yards at 1-0.
By the end, Charlton were putting up as much resistance as a drunken New Mills Vet. City do not win here often - just six in 21 league games since their move but they usually do so in style: the victories have been 4-1, 6-2, 4-1, 1-0, 5-1 and 4-0. Quality is not an issue; the problem of quantity remains.
Man of the match: Shaun Wright-Phillips (Manchester City)
Clips from MCIVTA the excellent City Newsletter available from firstname.lastname@example.org
OPINION : LOSING THE PLOT?
Does KK not fill you with hope? Are you happy with him and think everything will be OK? Then let the world know by voting here http://www.tttd.net (not available now)
Result will be posted on the site on 1st November 2004.
Tony the Tattooed Donkey email@example.com
OPINION : TALKING THE TALK, BUT CAN WE WALK
If points were awarded for talking a good game then City would win the Premiership hands down.
Before every game the web site quotes one of the players or Kevin Keegan predicting how we are going take the opposition apart. I really wish they would concentrate efforts on actual on the Pitch performances and let results do the talking. It would save some of the after match embarrassment
Gary Johnston firstname.lastname@example.org
WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS...OF THE WORLD!
City's under-15 side are now the unofficial world champions after beating
United in the Nike Premier Cup. Nearly 8,000 teams from around the globe
began the quest for the title which climaxed at Old Trafford this
week. City beat United 1-0, with a goal by Scott Kay. "It is a fantastic
achievement. We knew we had a good team and they have now shown just how
good they are," said Coach Paul Power. "They really have exceeded all
expectations and they did extremely well to beat Manchester United on their
own ground. Half of the lads in the side are City supporters so they were
really made up to win at Old Trafford. The other half are United
supporters and they were pleased to get the chance to play at Old
Trafford! The standard was exceptional and our lads exceeded all my
expectations," admits Power. "We were drawn in the `group of death'
against the likes of Barcelona, Corinthians from Brazil as well as the
Mexican champions, Atlas. But after we beat Barcelona 2-0 we never really
looked back. And to finish off by beating United in the final is just
fantastic. Winning the trophy is a great boost for the Academy system. It
also reflects how strong local football is in the Manchester area. This is
now the third trophy that the Under-15s have won in the space of 12
months." I'm grateful to J.M. Strapp for texting me details of an item in
the Sunday People - under the headline "FERGIE SNUBS CITY KIDS", the paper
claimed that Sir Redface was due to present the Trophy to the winners, but
was "unavailable" when it came to presentation time. The report suggested
that this was sour grapes from the Grouch from Govan. Perish the thought!
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