Manchester City 3 Newcastle United 1
The ELANO SHOW
Saturday September 29th
2007 : GYKO at the COMSTAD
Three points, third
place in the table, three goals at Eastlands for the first
time this year and the best Manchester City league start for
30 seasons. Forhis next trick, Sven-Goran Eriksson will
probably be seen walking on water.
Paul Merson was suggesting on Sky during the Carling Cup
snorefest against Norwich on Tuesday that he wouldn't have a
City season ticket as a gift. He would have changed his mind
pronto had he watched this. Anyone would. Apart from three
goals of the highest quality, four if you count the class
by Obafemi Martins that gave Newcastle an early lead, there
was incident and entertainment here from start to finish
with even the beaten visitors playing their part. It was
just a pity the ground was not quite full for what was this
stadium's finest hour.
Newcastle had no answer to City's verve and confidence and
no way at all of playing Elano. The Brazilian was man of the
match by a distance even before he capped a dazzlingly
inventive display with a stunning free-kick that not even
Shay Given could get anywhere near.
'He can do a little bit of everything, he's got class feet.'
Eriksson said admiringly. He can say that again. A few more
defences will be embarrassed this season if Elano can keep
up this level of performance.
There were mistakes from both sides to begin with, with
Richard Dunne gifting Martins an early opening and Emile
Mpenza almost taking advantage of Given dithering over a
back pass, before a long ball hoisted forward from halfway
was turned into a goal for Newcastle by clinical finishing
from Martins. Micah Richards and Vedran Corluka were caught
ball-watching as Martins darted goal-side of them, his
instant control and awareness of Joe Hart's poor positioning
making it easy to lift a shot over the goalkeeper.
Hart was preferred to Kasper Schmeichel after playing
against Norwich in midweek, though does not look to offer a
great deal more security. One mis-control resulted in the
ball rolling right along his goal line and almost into the
net. 'I was a little worried about corners, crosses and Mark
Viduka,' Eriksson said, explaining the change. He clearly
had not factored in over hit back passes from Javier
City survived and were back on terms before the interval,
when a superb Elano pass to send Stephen Ireland down the
right wing brought a perfectly judged low cross to the far
post where Martin Petrov applied the finish. Ireland could
have had another when Elano released him again four minutes
from half time, though he shot against Given's chest.
Two minutes into the second half City went in front, Petrov
taking advantage of Newcastle hesitancy on halfway to hold
off Steven Taylor on a rampaging run down the left before he
crossed for Mpenza to score with a stooping header. 'That
was where we committed defensive suicide,' said a glum Sam
Allardyce, his dissatisfaction with his back line not even
tempered by news that Michael Owen has had his operation and
could be back in action as early as next week. 'We didn't
contain them after going in front. City did the right thing
and we didn't. We are missing quite a few players at the
moment, and the ones we had on the pitch were a little short
of experience of playing with each other.'
That seemed a slightly feeble excuse to offer at City, where
the players were only introduced to each other a month ago
and where Eriksson is promising the football can only get
better once everyone learns to speak English. Elano has been
operating at less than full fitness as well, so goodness
knows how effective he will be when he fully adapts to the
Premier League. His free-kick from 25 yards was a
showstopper, right across and over Given and into the far
City's elegant passing was being met with chants of 'Ole'.
It probably won't last, but despite the Newcastle fans'
optimistic taunt, it might be a while before City start to
miss Joey Barton.
Man City: Hart, Corluka (Onuoha
57), Dunne, Richards, Garrido, Ireland, Johnson (Ball 86),
Hamann, Petrov, Mpenza, Elano (Geovanni 89).
Subs Not Used: Schmeichel, Samaras
Goals: Petrov 38, Mpenza 47,
Newcastle: Given, Beye,
Rozehnal, Taylor (Faye 84), N'Zogbia, Smith, Geremi (Jose
Enrique 76), Butt, Martins, Viduka (Emre 88), Milner.
Subs Not Used: Harper, Pattison.
Goals: Martins 29.
Ref: Chris Foy (Merseyside).
Manchester City 1 Norwich City 0
Tuesday 25th September
2007 : David Williamson for GYKO at the COMSTAD
netted a last-minute winner on his first appearance of the
season to give Manchester City victory over Norwich in the
Chances were at a premium with Michael Ball going close with
a free-kick while Norwich's Lee Croft was off target against
his former side.
The hosts finished well and both Kelvin Etuhu and Rolando
Bianchi went close.
And Samaras raced onto a Etuhu through ball in the dying
stages to seal a place in the last 16.
Man City: Hart, Logan, Dunne, Onuoha, Ball, Jihai, Ireland,
Gelson (Etuhu 68), Samaras, Geovanni (Evans 79), Bianchi.
Subs Not Used: Isaksson, Dabo, Williamson.
Goals: Samaras 90.
Norwich: Marshall, Otsemobor, Doherty, Murray, Lappin,
Russell, Jarvis, Spillane, Croft, Cureton, Brown.
Subs Not Used: Gilks, Strihavka, Eagle, Cave-Brown, Martin.
Ref: Andre Marriner (W Midlands).
Manchester City 3
Saturday September 23rd
2007 : Arindam Rej for GYKO at Craven Cottage
The last people Sven-Goran
Eriksson needed reminding about was a Northern Ireland team
of two years ago, who defeated his England side to produce
the most humiliating result of his career. Unfortunately,
their manager that day, Lawrie Sanchez, and four of his
players from that occasion featured in the Fulham team who
gave Eriksson a difficult time again last night.
Twice Eriksson's City side fell behind, and it looked like
he would be going home an unhappy man. But his team produced
the moment of individual brilliance to earn a hard-fought
draw from a thrilling contest.
'If you are watching the game, it's entertaining,' said
Eriksson. 'But if you're in my clothes, then you are not
happy with some of the decisions we took when defending.'
City certainly contributed to their own problems. One goal
came from their inability to deal with a basic route one
move. Another came from careless defending of a free-kick.
It made for an all-action contest that included a scuffle
between Micah Richards and Clint Dempsey that could have
seen worse punishment than a booking apiece.
Fulham dominated the early stages and snatched the lead
after Davis picked out Hameur Bouazza on the left flank.
Bouazza's cross was glanced in at the near post by Simon
Davies, who sneaked beyond Richard Dunne in the six-yard
box. Fulham were making easy inroads down Manchester City's
right side, with Vedran Corluka looking sluggish. Bouazza
should have done better with Fulham's next clear chance, but
his sliced effort, after a promising break by Dempsey, did
not test Kasper Schmeichel.
Corluka made amends for his earlier poor effort with a fine
cross from the right that eventually landed at Martin
Petrov's feet, but the City midfielder put too much power
into his strike. City levelled courtesy of Petrov when he
cut beyond Baird and watched his low shot evade a cluster of
Fulham defenders. The unsighted Antti Niemi could do little
to stop the strike. The visitors' confidence was growing,
and they finished the half looking far stronger.
Fulham immediately wrestled back the initiative after half
time. The lively Dempsey set up substitute Diomansy Kamara,
who was tripped by Dunne as he drifted beyond him while
surging towards the edge of the 18-yard area. Bouazza took
advantage with his 22-yard free-kick, exploiting a gap
between City's badly-positioned defenders.
The game changed dramatically in the next 10 minutes. City
wasted no time in equalising as Emile Mpenza headed on for
Petrov, who strode forward and shot from 18 yards. That
strike was parried by Niemi, but Mpenza used his head again,
nodding the rebound back beyond the Fulham goalkeeper.
Incredibly, City then went ahead after a fabulous one-two
between Elano and Petrov which ended in the latter driving
the ball past Niemi.
Fulham could have been deflated by that, but instead they
were roused as this free-flowing and often scintillating
game took another twist. This time it was Fulham's turn to
score following a long kick forward from Niemi that
culminated in Seol-Ki Hyeon heading the ball on towards
Danny Murphy, who coolly slotted the ball beyond Schmeichel.
There were chants for both sides to snatch a late win with a
nerve-racking four minutes of stoppage time. But the match
ended level. 'I'm not sure how to feel,' said Sanchez.
Fulham: Niemi, Baird, Bocanegra,
Hughes, Konchesky, Bouazza (Ki-Hyeon 67), Smertin, Davies (Kamara
46), Davis, Healy (Murphy 67), Dempsey.
Subs Not Used: Keller, Stefanovic.
Booked: Bocanegra, Dempsey, Konchesky.
Goals: Davies 13, Bouazza 48, Murphy 75.
Man City: Schmeichel, Corluka, Richards, Dunne,
Garrido, Ireland (Jihai 83), Hamann, Johnson, Petrov, Elano
(Geovanni 80), Mpenza (Bianchi 80).
Subs Not Used: Hart, Ball.
Booked: Richards, Hamann.
Goals: Petrov 36, Mpenza 50, Petrov 60.
Ref: Mark Halsey (Lancashire).
Manchester City 1 Aston Villa
0 Second Spot for City
Sunday 16th September
2007 : Stewart Simms at the COMSTAD for GYKO
Manchester City moved up to second in the Premier League
thanks to Michael Johnson's terrific run and shot. Johnson
lit up an otherwise lacklustre encounter when he drove
through the Villa defence and slotted a low drive under
goalkeeper Scott Carson.
The visitors had enough chances to level with John Carew
wasting a close-range header and Martin Laursen doing
likewise from two corners. Villa dominated after the goal
and, despite a late siege, failed to level.
The win means City maintain their 100% home record this
season and keep their clean sheet run at Eastlands. Villa,
though, miss the chance to add to their back-to-back
victories and remain in mid-table.
Both teams had already claimed the scalps of big sides this
season, City beating Manchester United and Villa seeing off
But the calibre of those performances were missing at
An insipid first half did manage to provide enough chances
for both sides to break the deadlock, but a lack of
composure in and around the box ensured the score remained
goalless at the break.
City's Vedran Corluka ghosted into space and lashed a
25-yard drive narrowly wide on 10 minutes, while Vassell saw
a deft flick-on whistle wide from a Martin Petrov free-kick.
Kasper Schmeichel endured many nervy moments in the City
goal, particularly from crosses, and his poor
decision-making was almost punished when Gabriel Agbonlahor
skipped past him and scuffed wide from a tight angle.
The best chance of the first period fell to City who should
have punished Laursen's ponderous defending.
The dangerous Blumer Elano reacted quickest to the Dane's
failed clearance and played in Johnson who was denied by
Carson who blocked the snap-shot with his face.
The quality improved after the break and a moment of class
and desire from the superb Johnson put the hosts ahead on 48
The 19-year-old midfielder drove at the heart of the Villa
defence after being put through by Elano and fired a
tremendous low effort beneath Carson.
Villa should have responded immediately with the off-key
Carew glancing his close-range header wide when it looked
easier to score.
Indeed, the visitors were wasteful throughout with Laursen
squandering headers from fine positions from Gareth Barry
City, content on preserving their lead, sat back for much of
the second half and rarely ventured into Carson's box.
But despite Villa's domination, they failed to provide the
spark to unlock the City back line.
Schmeichel, Onuoha, Richards, Corluka,
Garrido, Vassell (Jihai 64), Johnson, Hamann, Petrov, Mpenza
(Bianchi 85), Elano (Ball 83).
Subs Not Used: Hart, Gelson.
Goals: Johnson 48.
Carson, Mellberg, Laursen, Knight, Bouma
(Gardner 82), Agbonlahor, Reo-Coker (Petrov 82), Barry,
Young, Carew (Maloney 66), Moore.
Subs Not Used: Taylor, Davies.
Ref: Martin Atkinson (W Yorkshire).
Rovers 1 Manchester City 0
Sunday 2nd September
2007 : Ken Gaunt at Ewood Park for Get Your Kits Out
Benni McCarthy maintained Blackburn's bright start to the season
with his first Barclays Premier League goal of the campaign.The
South African's strike was enough to give Mark Hughes' side the edge
against City in a rousing encounter.
Both sides finished with 10 men. Blackburn midfielder Tugay was sent
off, as was City skipper Richard
that it was a dirty game - far from it - just hugely competitive at
rain-lashed Ewood Park.
While Rovers extended their unbeaten run to 14 matches stretching
back to last season, City have lost two in succession in the league
without scoring. McCarthy made the breakthrough in the 13th minute
when David Bentley swung in a corner from the left that was met by
Christopher Samba at the far post. He picked out Roque Santa Cruz,
only for Kasper Schmeichel to parry his header straight into the
path of McCarthy, who scored from close range. It was the South
African striker's first league goal of the season to add to his two
in the Intertoto Cup. He scored 24 in all competitions last term.
Blackburn almost extended their lead when David Dunn got on the end
of a Bentley free-kick only to head over the bar. Then Stephen
Warnock found Santa Cruz at the back post but Schmeichel got a good
hand to the ball. Blackburn were dominating the game and Bentley was
showing why he had been called up into the England squad.
City supporters had something to cheer when Emile Mpenza won a
free-kick off Brett Emerton. Elano, though, sent his effort into the
Blackburn almost added a second in first-half stoppage-time when
Bentley picked out Morten Gamst Pedersen but the Norwegian's effort
was blocked by the goalkeeper. Santa Cruz then got on the end of a
through ball from McCarthy in the 50th minute. It seemed a clear
chance but the Paraguay international got the ball stuck under his
feet, much to City's relief.
Man City hit back and won a free-kick 20 yards out in the 53rd
minute. Brazilian midfielder Elano took it, only to send his effort
narrowly wide of the post.
Blackburn were reduced to 10 men in the 55th minute when Tugay was
sent off after picking up two yellow cards in two minutes. The
Turkish playmaker was dismissed for challenges on Mpenza and Dietmar
City immediately raised the tempo and Blackburn boss Hughes took
action by drafting in defender Andre Ooijer after 63 minutes for
McCarthy. However, Sven-Goran Eriksson's side went down to 10 men in
the 65th minute when skipper Dunne was sent off after a lunge on
Samba should have at least hit the target two minutes later after
Pedersen swung in a corner but sent a free header high over the bar.
It was clear chance, with little to choose between the teams.
Blackburn were carving out the better chances and Emerton raced away
in the 72nd minute but Schmeichel parried the ball to safety. Two
minutes later, Emerton delivered a good ball into the area and found
Pedersen. However, he tried to be too elaborate and sent a weak lob
from close range into the arms of the goalkeeper.
Hughes sent on Matt Derbyshire for Santa Cruz with four minutes
remaining. While he was unable to extend their lead, the Blackburn
supporters went home happy after another positive display from the
Blackburn Friedel, Emerton, Samba, Nelsen, Warnock,
Bentley,Savage (Kerimoglu 17), Dunn, Pedersen,Santa Cruz (Derbyshire
86), McCarthy (Ooijer 63).
Subs Not Used: Enckelman, Roberts.
Sent Off: Kerimoglu (54).
Booked: Dunn, Kerimoglu, Pedersen, Bentley, Samba.
Goals: McCarthy 13.
Man City Schmeichel, Corluka, Richards, Dunne,
Garrido,Ireland (Onuoha 70), Johnson (Mpenza 32), Hamann,Petrov
(Geovanni 76), Elano, Bianchi.
Subs Not Used: Hart, Ball.
Sent Off: Dunne (65).
Ref: Mike Dean (Wirral).