Mark Hughes made a significant change for today’s Barclays Premier League fixture against Pompey at Fratton Park. The corresponding fixture last season is the match I often point to as the day City’s push to qualify for Europe collapsed.
As poor as Pompey has been early this season, securing maximum points away from home is never an easy task at a ground like Fratton Park. Those who want City’s performances to resemble that of Arsenal, Man U or Liverpool sides of yesteryear are deluding themselves.
My EPL Talk colleague, Laurence McKenna pointed out that if you swapped City’s crest of United’s and had the same results, the press would be hailing the grit and resourcefulness of the side. But City are afforded no such deference by the media.
Pompey and their new chairman can certainly take some measure of satisfaction in the second half performance which was quite good. City’s back four continue to be tested regularly late in matches, but yet to have conceded a goal in this campaign.
After the international break, City must however be more focused late in matches as a difficult stretch of fixtures looms ahead.
- Emmanuel Adebayor continues to be a force, scoring his third goal in three games.
- With Robinho replaced in the starting XI by Bellamy today, the linkup play was better. Adebayor and Bellamy showed good interplay and understanding with both swapping positions on the left side often.
- The Micah Richards goal which was nullified by an offsides call was perhaps the best build up play we have seen from just outside the area in four City league and cup matches this season. This sequence was an indication that Tevez, and Bellamy have developed a chemistry and understanding that comes from pitch and training time together.
- Wayne Bridge continues to be shaky at left back. Pablo Zabeletta had some difficulty after coming on for Micah Richards on the right side.
- Expect the Nigel Dejong for Stephan Ireland substitution to be pretty standard for Hughes if City is sitting on a second half lead away from home.
- Player ratings to come after a second review of the match
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