Analysis – Hull City 2 – 4 Manchester City
City took three points from Hull in a fantastic game at the KC Stadium. For the second time in as many years City brought trouble upon themselves and paid the price, having to dig deep to come up with the win. Here are some points of interest…
An Unexpected Fight
For the second year in a row City almost shot themselves in the foot. Last year, as recounted by Ciaran Murray, our captain Vincent Kompany got himself sent off within ten minutes and we all braced for the worst. As it happened, Martin Demichelis and Javi Garcia rehabilitated themselves with a sceptical fanbase over the course of 80 minutes and City set the stage for a second Premier League title win.
This time around everything was going so well. City came off the back of some not outstanding form (Sheffield Wednesday game discounted) and needed to make a statement, which they did in quite some style. Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko were both in wonderful form, especially the former, and the two strikers scored one apiece to seemingly win the game in the first fifteen minutes.
Aguero’s opener was exquisite. A Zabaleta header dropping over his shoulder and volleyed into the far corner without even a look at the goal. If the first goal was a masterpiece, Dzeko’s fiercely struck curling effort from the edge of the box was no less special. Allan McGregor in the Hull goal crouched on the ground afterwards, looking like he was unconsciously reliving everything bad which has ever happened to him.
But then… but then City, after one of the best starts I’ve ever seen the team make, somehow were drawing 2-2 with a resurgent Hull. Clichy was left for dead on the wing and Mangala headed the subsequent cross past a helpless Willy Caballero making his debut in nets. To be fair to Mangala, it was a great attacking header. Excellent technique. The Frenchman then followed up that defensive lapse with another, giving away a silly penalty which was dispatched by Abel Hernandez to level things up.
On Mangala; Can we all please give the guy the time he needs to learn? We all got a bit excited after the Chelsea game last week (Typical City included), but we also were all told when Mangala arrived that he was a raw talent in need of sculpting. He will improve.
If we learnt anything from the waves of hatred writing Yaya Toure off already this season, can that lesson please be that we are all ridiculous and should be a bit more patient with the players? Thanks.
…That we still won the game. Hull looked to have the bit between their teeth and it wasn’t hard to see a scenario in which they went on to win the game.
One of my main criticisms of Manuel Pellegrini last season was that, in adversity, he seemed reluctant to change his systems and left substitutions too late. This is not proving to be a problem this year. Again at Hull, Pellegrini took the responsibility he needs to take and made great changes in order to win the game.
Jesus Navas put the frighteners into the home defence and lifted the team as he is wont to do. Frank Lampard scored (again – That’s almost a goal every 45 minutes for City so far), but more importantly he introduced an element into a midfield which looked to be gearing up to lose their cool and batter the serial offender Tom Huddlestone.
Both were proactive substitutions which changed the momentum of the game and Pellegrini should be applauded for that.
Dzeko’s second goal of the game and Frank Lampard’s finisher were both excellently technical goals which required skill and teamwork.
City did very, very well against Hull. Mangala’s mistakes should not disguise the fact that this was another supreme performance. For large sections of the game City were on a different level to the home side and the blues weren’t anywhere near top gear.
These are the tough early season away games City were having so much trouble with last year and it is encouraging to see the team return to Manchester with three points and a minimum of fuss. Roma are in town on Tuesday, an altogether more difficult test, and a crucial one. Four winless games in a row followed by the team getting back on track domestically and in Europe would be very welcome indeed.
Written by Alex Timperley who is on Twitter