City started it’s 2009-2010 Premier League Campaign off the right way with a 2-0 win at Ewood Park. Emmanuel Adebayor scored the opener after some good pass and go football with Shaun Wright Phillips inside of five minutes. But City struggled at the back. Skipper Richard Dunne, oft rumored to leave City held up well in the middle with Richard Dunne and Micah Richards often scrambling to cover the ground Gareth Barry as the holding midfielder and Wayne Bridge the left back were perennially out of position.
Blackburn had clear pk shout late in the first half when Dunne appeared to have handled a shot in the box. But no call was made, and Shay Given was outstanding as always. Dunne and Given communicate well given their long experience playing together with the Republic of Ireland, but Kolo Toure was still not on the same page with the other back three.
Wayne Bridge continued his form of late last season, which saw him out of position often, pushed too far forward or pinched inside. Bridge’s utility comes more as an attacking option down the left flank, than it does as a man marker.
The second half saw the entrance of Carlos Tevez, who replaced Robinho but played in an advanced position, while Craig Bellamy dropped back into midfield. City showed more tactical savvy and ability to control possession in the second half, but still Barry seemed to be off the same page with the back four. Nigel DeJong, perhaps would have been a better option today, but Hughes will eventually need Barry to suplant DeJong, so best to bloodlet with his team mates early in the campaign.
Stephen Ireland who had a poor game up about the 75th minute sealed the game on a goal where Paul Robinson came off his line and Rovers defense seemed disorganized.
Hughes decision to start Craig Bellamy surely raised eyebrows. But without a doubt the Welsh attacker showed a great deal of both quality and pace today, and his special connection with Hughes could help keep the often volitile Bellamy on his best behavior.
CONTRIBUTIONS BY DAVID TROTTER, A NEW WRITER FOR MAN CITY BLOG.COM
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