Thursday, August 30, 2007

Bristol City 1 City 2

To quote Sven as he infamously said during his time as England manager following a game; 'First half good, second half not so good'.

I was immediately concerned that the wholesale changes I believed would not happen, did actually occur and it gave the side an obvious weaker look and one which Bristol City must have fancied their chances of beating.

It was surprise then that the first half was one in which we looked at ease and our opponents strangely hesitant and almost uncommitted. I thought our movement and balance were superb with the front two linking well together and the midfield gelling together well given their lack of playing time together. Particularly impressive early was Gelson Fernandes who looks to have a good technique and Rolando Bianchi, whose touch set up Emile Mpenza for the opener after he had failed not long before with a similar effort.

The half-time break must have brought the preverbial rocket for the Bristol City players as they sprang to life in the opening twenty minutes, whilst we looked prepared to let them have possession and begin to create opportunities. Whilst we were not unduly troubled save for an excellent stop by Joe Hart, the creativity in midfield of the first half was not seen and I'm sure groans went up all round and minds were cast back to Chesterfield and Doncaster when we conceded an equaliser after some slack marking at a set-piece.

Extra time looked imminent following that, but it was Bianchi who out of nothing fired a beauty of a shot from outside the area to seal our passage through to the next round, but not before a slight scare when Trundle put the ball in the back of the net only for it to be (correctly) ruled out for offside.

I was slightly concerned at the team put out by Sven, but have to back his judgement and that he wanted to see some of the squad players in action. Depending on who we draw in the next round though, I would hope it is an approach that may well be revised.

Ratings:

Hart - 8. Two excellent saves and looked confident.
Sun - 6. Steady without offering much.
Ball - 6. Defended well and offered support going forward.
Corluka - 7. Adapted well after moving into the middle.
Onouha - 7. Looked calm under pressure.
Logan - 6. Bright in patches but understandably faded as the game went on.
Ireland - 6. Came into the game more in the second half but I expected more.
Geovanni - 7. Offered some nice moments again and was the creative outlet.
Gelson Fernandes - 7. Looks to have a good technique.
Mpenza -8. Took the goal well and offered himself all night.
Bianchi - 9. Excellent finish and all-round play was a class above.

Subs:

Dabo - 6. Little time for an impact.
Dickov - 6. Merely a time wasting exercise.

Reports:

MEN
Sky Sports
BBCi
Guardian

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1 comment:

Wigan Blue said...

Mmmmm...

Not often I would disagree Danny, but in a couple of instances here I would. I thought Sun Jihai played his socks off, and actually protected the back four for most of the second half. He made very few mistakes, and is a sound backup if any of our regular back four get injured.

And the other one I disagreed with was Shaleum Logan. You're right about him showing good patches, but to make his impact on the team we have now, he must never take the easy option to go inside - and he was doing that time after time in the second half. I was surprised that Sven didn't have a word with him.

We've got Michael Johnson (who Colin Bell thinks is playing like Colin Bell). We've got Stevie Ireland playing a roving midfield commission. What we really need is another Summerbee to provide that strike force with the ammunition. Shaleum can do that - all he needs to do is go outside, get to the line, and put it across.

No - I'm not criticising the lad. On his debut for City he came up against a bunch of hard-arsed Championship players and did his best. But if he wants to become an all-time City hero......