Manchester City: A Review of September 2014

In Typical City tradition, Bob Toole and Ciaran Murray take a look back at the month of that has been September. On the agenda are Edin Dzeko, Frank Lampard, atmosphere and Yaya Toure amongst others things. Check it out…

Bob Toole: September has been quite a month for City in which fans have been subject to good performances, bad performances and not a lot else in between. The erratic nature of our form is a bit perplexing. With a mixed bag of results so far I find it hard to figure out where we really stand as a team. Is it fair to say we should have done better this month even though we had some tough fixtures or is that expecting too much? Are you feeling positive?

Ciaran Murray: I’m feeling positive in as much as I couldn’t wait for that month to end. I think if we’d looked at the individual fixtures on paper, we’d have been happy with these results. I think draws with Arsenal, Chelsea and Roma, in a different context, could be deemed as impressive results. However, it’s the manner in which we’ve performed that’s left me glad to see back of September.

At Arsenal we threw away a lead and had to dig deep to claw back a point. Against Chelsea we dominated possession throughout the entirety of the match then had to dig deep to claw back a point. Against Roma we lead from very early, let them back into it and were arguably lucky to leave with a point. Good to avoid defeat in those games but three frustrating draws in their own ways.

Even in victory there’s been something lacking. I know the record books show that we won comprehensively in the League Cup and I was delighted to see us score 7 (SEVEN). But Sheffield Wednesday are a league below us and there’s a huge gulf in quality. They really held us in the first half and they shouldn’t have been allowed to. We also should have been out of sight against Hull after such an impressive start and again had to dig very deep. Whilst fighting for draws and wins is bringing that excitement factor we’ve always enjoyed about City, I’d love to see us playing well, looking composed and comfortable and gaining some momentum. After the Villa game there’s another blasted International break; just what we need. Following that, I want City to start firing on all cylinders and I want them to put together a run of results. Then I’ll be positive.

You used the word ‘perplexing’ and I used the word ‘frustrating’ with regards to our performances in September. However, it’s fair to say that there have been some decent performances from some of the players. Has anyone particularly impressed you?

Bob: I think we were all blown away Mangala’s debut and rightly so but I’ve been particularly impressed with Edin Dzeko. Surely this must be his most consistent run in a City shirt? It seems that he is confident and is relishing being a regular starter. Whether that status is acquired by default is open to debate given that we only have three strikers and that two of them spend half their time being injured. Nevertheless, it’s certainly given him a shot in the arm. 

His performances, particularly against Hull and Roma, impressed me. His first against Hull was a throw back to his fourth against Spurs in the 1-5 at White Hart Lane in 2011/12 and I felt he was unlucky to be taken off against Roma. I took a non-City fan mate to that game and after a fine take down and run from Dzeko he remarked “who knew?” which I thought epitomised the well-known frustrations that many City fans have had with Dzeko. His hold up play is now excellent and I can’t help but wonder if Pellegrini focused on that in training such is his improvement.

It seems that he has endeared himself to the fans as well. His role for Bosnia in the World Cup I think would have made an impact and that wonderful article that surfaced at the end of last season about his childhood growing up in a war zone was as equally insightful as it was heart breaking. Of course, he shares a similar story with many other players from the Balkans of his generation which makes his achievements all the more remarkable. Now that I’ve said all this watch his form nose dive in the next month. That would be typical Dzeko. 

Tell me, how weird is it seeing Frank Lampard in a City shirt? I can’t quite get me head around it yet but he’s had quite a month…

Ciaran: When he arrived and there were pictures of him with the rest of the squad in training I thought it was absolutely mental. Now, though, it feels like he’s been knocking about for ages. He’s the consummate professional with a job to do. And he’s just got his head down and got on with it when called upon. I can totally see why there are murmurs about extending his loan, although I don’t see that happening to be fair.

The people around me at the Chelsea game could not fathom Pellegrini’s decision to bring Lampard on. I have to say I had my doubts, too. But what a cameo appearance that was. I really enjoyed that game, despite the result, as it had so many subplots and so much drama. The non-celebration, cause of so much faux anger on the Internet, was really understandable in this case. He’s a proper full-scale Chelsea legend. Like he is the player I’ll tell my grand kids about when they ask me what it used to be like supporting Chelsea before changing to support City…

Seriously, though, what a guy. He looks beautiful in sky blue and he’s not fat at all. I can’t believe he scored four goals in three games. He’s also a perfect foil for James Milner (who is having an outstanding season, by the way) and really is one of those ‘right place at right time’ kind of players. I really, really like him. And you know what? I’m glad he’s had a little while at another club just to show what he can do. I think it’ll only heighten his legacy.

Lampard’s surprising move to City has reminded me a little bit of Michael Owen’s move to United. And speaking of ex-red twerps who fill you full of rage and are full of sh*t on Twitter, I’ll ask about Rio Ferdinand. He’s tweeted some blinkered, biased and unkind words on City, their fans and the Champions League. You were one of the dozen or so at the game the other night. How did you rate the atmosphere and what’s your take on the empty seats and general apathy towards the competition?

Bob: There was certainly something lacking in the atmosphere at the Roma game, no doubt, but the way it was reported suggested it was an exception whereas most games lack a really good atmosphere these days. It’s not surprising though, in my opinion. With tickets ranging from £35 – £45 for a Tuesday night game you’re going to be hard pushed to sell out. Others have covered this topic with far more eloquence that I ever will but, in short, is just shows that many fans have already reached breaking point in terms of the cost of football and are willing to sacrifice games like this.

“Don’t walk away in silence”

When Francesco Totti was substituted some of the crowd chose to boo him, which I found strange, whereas a large number of the supporters near me applauded him, which was a nice touch. What really grated on me was that certain journalists chose to report that he was wholeheartedly booed and others said he was applauded and I was sitting just a few rows in front of the media section. In reality, he got both. The problem I see with that is that those who didn’t attend the game are forming an opinion about the atmosphere without really being presented with the facts. 

As for Rio Ferdinand’s comments, it just goes to show the gap between multimillionaire players and fans is wider than ever. It’s sad to think that a man who has made a living largely thanks to the commitment of fans that follow their teams around the country could use a topic like this for “banter” purposes.  He hilariously suggested that fans not at the ground would rather watch Ramsay’s Kitchen but like you said to me “No, they’ll be watching the game”. What a moron.

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2 comments on “Manchester City: A Review of September 2014
  1. Pingback: Aston Villa 0 – 2 Manchester City « Typical City

  2. hmm … all valid points, for me though the reality is that we have had a poor September in terms of how we have played but our results in the league have actually been pretty good when taken together. Given that Chelsea are the form team and Costa cant stop scoring the fact that we are just behind them (albeit they have a game in hand) is OK.

    Dzecko for me is tremendous and is now the player we thought we were buying. I’m on the fence with Toure and clearly he is below last seasons form – but so are the team and I cant help but think there is some jumping on the bandwagon with some of the comments in the media – of course the whole birthday cake sage didn’t help with that.

    The comments of scholes and ferdinand are barely worth a mention – the economic reality for many people is now biting – its a disappointment but there you go.

    The atmosphere at The Etihad is a general disappointment for most games these days and to be honest I don’t see that improving anytime soon.

    What continues to perplex is out Champions League – more our approach than anything else, we just don’t seem to have grasped it and persistently fail to adapt our game for this tournament.

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