Sunday, January 31, 2010

City 2 - 0 Portsmouth

One by product of the raised expectations at the club over the past 12-18 months has been an attitude where far less patience is afforded. Clearly today was not a particularly good performance, yet it was by no means a poor one. Judging by some of the post-match reaction you wouldn't have thought so though.

Ahead of the game my view (not a lone one I hasten to add) was that the three points were all but ours, and that anything a comfortable and convincing win was expected. Perhaps that was a mentality shared by the players given the evidence of the opening half an hour where it was Portsmouth, and not ourselves, who had the pace and energy. Portsmouth had early chances too, but crucially couldn't take them.

There were more formation changes again today - variants of 4-4-2 and 4-3-3 - which may have unsettled the side too. Mancini is clearly a flexible coach, and not one for allowing the game to remain static at any time.

As manfully as they began, it was evident that this Portsmouth do not possess sufficient quality throughout their side and it was a moment of quality that led to us opening the scoring. The restored Stephen Ireland, picking out the run of Emmanuel Adebayor (a borderline offside call) with a direct ball. Adebayor's first touch was excellent to bring the ball under control and the finish left David James with no chance.

With time ticking down on the first half, the game was all but killed off. Vincent Kompany beating his marker (Tal Ben Haim) at a corner to powerfully head home for the second. Whilst we have thrown enough leads away over the course of this season, it was a relatively safe bet that the game was all but over.

We played better in the second half and there was some good moments and passages of play, but lacked a little cohesion and collectiveness in attack to press home the advantage. Portsmouth missed an opportunity or two themselves to get back into the game late on before Tevez hit the post but there could be no real arguments as to where the points headed.

It was an important victory given results elsewhere this weekend (Villa and Liverpool winning, Tottenham drawing) and we round out January in a healthy position. February looks to be a tough proposition in the league with trips to Hull, Stoke and Chelsea alongside home games against Bolton and Liverpool.

There will be ten games remaining in the 2009/10 league campaign following this set of fixtures. Being in possession of fourth spot at the end of them has to be the requirement.

vote it up!

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