The TV schedulers of football picks great games intermingled with dour, lacklustre affairs that are hardly worth remembering. But this week they picked a game that showed passion from one club, skill from another and a little more controversy from the officials.
Three decisions which went in City’s favour seemed to have shaped the game, with the blues benefitting from an offside decision given against Blackpool, which saw Gary Taylor-Fletcher’s neat finish disallowed, before Carlos Tevez was allowed to score from a position where he was, in fairness, slightly offside himself. The third incident came seconds before City’s second goal when it looked like Ian Evett had been fouled before Tevez scored. Either way, I’m not too bothered as it made my Premier League Fantasy Football team look good this week.
It was a game that saw City ride their luck considerably in a game that they could so easily have lost had it not been for some woeful finishing from the home side. Two goals by Carlos Tevez and a superb individual strike from David Silva sent the blues second in the league, but it also showed us exactly what Blackpool are about and why they might spring a few more surprises this season.
The Premier League new boys match the blues stride for stride and, in fairness, dominated parts of the game which could have seen striker DJ Campbell give them a 2-0 lead. The striker had two decent chances, both steered wide which would have sent the home fans into a frenzy and increase the already electric atmosphere.
But City had chances of their own, the first one falling to Adam Johnson, whose left foot shot was tipped over by goalkeeper Matthew Gilkes. Towards the end of the half, Adebayor and Tevez both missed a chance to send the blues in 1-0 at the break. The Togolese striker missed the ball completely before it hit Tevez on the chest and bounced into the grateful arms of Gilkes.
If Mancini was unhappy with the blues first half performance, he will have been equally unimpressed at the start of the second as the blues continued to ride their luck. Campbell always looked a threat to City and he was left unmarked by Joleon Lescott but, with only Joe Hart to beat, the Blackpool man hit his shot agonisingly wide. Soon after came the first controversial decision.
Campbell was judged offside when he went for a ball played over the top and, although he didn’t get a touch on it, Taylor-Fletcher did and lifted it precisely past Hart to send the home fans wild. But unfortunately for them, the linesman judged Campbell offside and the fact the striker went to play the ball was enough to rule out the goal.
On 65 minutes, Spaniard David Silva emerged from the bench to replace Adebayor and the World Cup winner instantly made his mark. Silva played a neat back heel to James Milner, who played the ball across the box for Tevez to nick in and score the opener. Blackpool half heartedly appealed for an offside that never arrived as Tevez celebrated with the City fans and earned himself a booking.
City upped their game after the goal and Milner almost made it two when his right foot shot cannoned back off the crossbar as the blues pressed for more. But back came Blackpool. Wayne Bridge conceded a free kick and Charlie Adam swung the ball over for substitute Marlon Harewood to glance home the equaliser.
But before the Blackpool fans had settled in their seats, City were back in front following controversial incident number three. Evett appeared to have his foot taken from him, but Tevez didn’t hang around for the whistle and promptly dispatched the ball past Gilkes with the help of a deflection from Craig Cathcart.
The game looked safe for City and Tevez could have had a hat-trick but for the top of the crossbar. Then came a moment of sheer genius that would be enough to win any game and clearly marked the arrival of David Silva.
Tevez was fouled near the byline and a quick free kick was played to Silva, who waltzed into the Blackpool box, tricked his way past several defenders before curling the ball beyond Gilkes for an incredible third goal. Silva was also booked for removing his shirt but he hardly cared. City were on their way back to second.
The home side restored a little parity to the scoreline when Taylor-Fletcher was on hand at the far post to tap home but the points were safe and, following the results from Saturday which saw Chelsea and United drop points, the blues returned to second in the league, three points clear of their closest rivals and just two points off the top.
So victory for City but Blackpool can take heart from this game. If they play like that against some of the other teams in the Premier League, they should have no problem staying up. Just as long as they take their chances.
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