City v Liverpool 0-1
Jan 5th 2003 FA CUP att 28,500
Christmas has been and gone and apart from the disappointment against Spurs ,City
have done well . Only a last minute equalizer by Everton robbed City of a good
away win on New Years Day so City go into this third round tie against Liverpool
with high hopes. A shame the loan signing of Djamel Belmadi was just too late
for this game. Perhaps he will make his debut against Leeds. Belmadi must be short
of match practice as he has not played for Marseilles since last season. Last
season he played 10 times but was a regular the season before playing 29 and scoring
8. Before Marseilles he played a season for Celta Vigo in Spain. He was born on
the outskirts of Paris and made his debut for Paris St G in 1996 at the age of
19. Last October he scored twice for Algeria against Chad (4-1) in their Group12
African Nations Cup game. The City team showed several surprise changes - Wiekens
and Mettomo coming in for Howey (injured) and Dunne (virus). Wright Phillips
retaining his place alongside Annelka, Huckerby and Goater being on the bench.
this was going to be 'the match of the round'. It was live on BBC TV at lunchtime.
If anyone had told me thirty years ago that I would be watching City in the Cup
on a Sunday afternoon I would have thought them bonkers! Still Gary L and company
were there in the presenters cabin (- left ) to describe all the action in the
goal feast to come !
What a downer it turned out to be. With neither Owen nor
Heskey upfront, Liverpool on a bad run looked beatable if City were on form. Alas
City were awful.
teams enter the arena for what was going to be the last cuptie to be played at
and Hyypia jump for the ball watched by Diao and just
after half time disaster struck Foe 'blocked' a Smicer cross with his hand in
the area and referee Rennie gave a penalty. This was a nightmare match for Foe
who appeared not to want to play all game. When you go to block a cross with both
hands raised you are asking for trouble. After such a good run of form Foe was
took the penalty and scored to give Liverpool a goal lead.
deserved their lead as they had dominated the midfield and Anelka was getting
little or no support.
City were playing with no passion or commitment to the
celebrate the only goal of the game.
handles outside the area but Anelka had been given offside - again! He really
must watch the line as well as the ball.
saves from Smicer after 6 minutes or so of play.
gets away with a late challenge on Wright-Phillips without a yellow card.
Kirkland punches away a City free kick taken by Benarbia.
rightly got booked for this elaborate dive.
heads over from a Benarbia chip.
the final minutes City threw everything at the Liverpool goal - even Schmeichel
coming forward for this corner in the final moments. This game was a huge disappointment
and a real anticlimax as the last FA Cup Tie to be played at Maine Road.
6: Sun 6 (Goater 5), Mettomo 6 (Berkovic 6), Weikens 7, Distin 6, Jensen 6: Foe
4 , Benarbia 6 (Huckerby 6), Horlock 6: Wright-Phillips 5, Anelka 6 :
this is my very last image shot at an Cuptie at Maine Road - Schmeichel heading
never really turned up for this game. Was it the cold ? Was it fear after the
trouncing by Liverpool earlier in the season? The superior workrate by Liverpool
in midfield meant that City never really supported Anelka and little headway was
made down the flanks . This was just not acceptable City. Oh for a Roy Paul, Paul
Power, Colin Bell figure !
Transfer Window' is now open and City as expected are in the news with many reports
concerning several players. Already signed on loan is Djamel Belmadi and according
to the City web site he scored in last nights reserve game against Sheffield Wednesday
and generally was the star so I expect him to be at least on the bench for the
Leeds game this weekend.
Others that Kevin Keegan is interested in are as follows
- Michael Reiziger who is in talks at Carrington as I write this. Reiziger who
has played for Ajax, Volenden, Groningen, Milan (briefly) and Barcelona has won
double honours with Barcelona in 1997 and has played for Holland in the World
Cup. This tough defender has the doubtful honour of being in the uglyfootballers.com
He played for Barcelona against Newcastle in the Champions League last
December but went off injured with a torn right thigh muscle that was going to
keep him out for six weeks so he is not due to be fit for several weeks! We wait
the result of his medical with bated breathe!
Another defender in a possible
transfer move is David Sommeil of Bordeaux. Born in Guadalope in the West Indies
he is mainly a central defender. He is 28 and according to an interview I translated
on the web he is looking forward to playing with City!. He has been a regular
defender with Rennes and Bordeaux in the French First Division following his move
from Caen in 1998. He has scored only once in 174 games upto this season..
possibility is South African International forward Benni McCarthy of Celta in
the Spanish League. He was born in Cape Town in 1977 and played for Ajax previously.
He has had an up and down season being sent off for fighting against Malaga early
in the season but has scored a few goals since in both the league and UEFA competitions.
must admit my preferred forward choice is still Polish born German International
forward Miroslav Klose from Kaiserslautern who would cost more but has a better
future being only 24. He is particularly good with his head and already has 23
caps for Germany. His father played for Poland and many experts predict a good
future for him. I would love to see him and Anelka upfront. Come on Kevin spend
a few bob! You know it makes sense!
There is now talk that the Fowler transfer
is back on. Personally I don't think he is worth 7.5 million and as for his delay
in signing before because of him requiring 50 grand a week - no way Jose. He has
hardly played for Leeds since this season and appears now to be injury prone .
The money would be better spent on Klose .
City v Leeds United 2-1
Jan 11th 2003 att 34,884
was very much better City. A determined Manchester City deservedly beat Leeds
in an open game. City had Dunne and Howey back in defence and Goater partnered
Anelka upfront. Unlike the boring closed play of Liverpool, both Leeds and City
used the flanks to make headway but Robinson had more to do and City bossed the
midfield to great effect. A good team display topped by a wonderful goal by Jensen.
See further down. With the new signings looming the players were really playing
to stay in the side.
only eight minutes the combination of Goater and Anelka gave the latter a chance
which beat Robinson but just went wide - left
Foe header at a corner after 15 minutes is cleared for yet another corner as City
piled on the pressure. City were looking good and were really up for this game.
What a difference a week makes!
easily the busier of the keepers only just stays in his area when challenged by
Goater who was working hard - left
earned his keep with a good save from Kewell just before the half hour. The deflected
shot from Kewell could have changed the game but the Danish keeper saved City's
30 minutes City took the lead. a great ball from Berkovic - who else - gave Goater
a chance he took well. Berkovic must be one of the leading providers in the Premiership
and City are lucky to have both him and Benarbia in the creative department. Full
marks to Goater who ran into space really well. Half time and one nil to City.
five minutes after half time came the goal of the season - perhaps of the century!
what a goal ! Anelka took the ball down the right and whipped in a great cross
with his left foot along the edge of the penalty area. The ball was met first
time by left wing back Niclas Jensen who volleyed it past Robinson with wonderful
technique and precision. Absolutely perfect! Two nil to City and the large Leeds
contingent were struck dumb.
the celebrations began with the delighted City players rushing towards the normally
reserved Jensen who does his work professionally without headlines.
he is in the headlines now. If the odd rest now and again can bring a goal like
again under pressure at a corner.
free kick by Horlock was well saved by Robinson who had to turn it over the bar.
ended well on top but in extra time as I was going down the Kippax steps Kewell
scored a consolation goal for Leeds . Pity - just as I thought City would have
a plus factor in the goals for and against column for the first time this season.
We saw Fowler on for Bakke after 72 minutes and he didn't really look worth 7
and a half million and 50 grand a week! Perhaps he didn't want to score against
his future employers. If the deal goes through he will have to up his game a lot
to partner Anelka. Past records and deeds mean nothing in the Premiership. I also
notice that Vuoso has yet to show his potential. It would be a pity to lose out
on any talent. A good all round performance by City who bossed the midfield -Foe
being back to form, Berkovic good as usual . The back three were solid and coped
well with Smith, Kewell and Vidulka. Schmeichel made a vital save, Jensen scored
a blinder and the front two kept Mateo and company busy all game. Sun did some
good things too .
7: Dunne7, Howey7, Distin 7: Sun 7, Berkovic 8, Foe 8, Horlock 7, Jensen 8: Anelka
8, Goater 7.
Transfer Window part 2
the saga continues and as I write the Sommeil deal finally looks to go through
but the hunt for a partner for Anelka is hotting up. With Fowler finally out of
the equation - there is more to come about this I am sure - a new name has emerged.
With Bordeaux still short of cash despite their recent outgoings - a bid may be
made for Pedro Miguel Carriro Resendes - known as Pauleta . He is a prolific scorer
and has a good pedigree. He made his name with Desportivo La Coruna in Portugal
before joining Bordeaux in August 2000 on a four year contract replacing Wiltord
who had gone to Arsenal. Following the 20 goals he notched in his first year,
last season he scored 22 goals and this season has netted 13 so far for the French
club. He is rarely yellow carded and has played over thirty times for Portugal.
He is about the same height and weight as Sommeil - 1.8 m 75 Kg and will be 30
this coming April. So who will it be I wonder - Pauleta - Klose or will KK wait
- with Wanchope on his way back and Macken regaining fitness. We all wait with
Transfer Window part 3
week to go and news from Bordeaux is not good .Reports this morning - Monday -
suggest that they want to hold onto Pauleta so maybe KK will at last turn his
attention to Klose at FCK - Kaiserslautern . They lost at home to Stuttgart (
My car once broke down on a roundabout there!) 1-2 and Klose did not score. It
was their first game after the winter break. As Pauleta is a good friend of Sommeil
who has now signed as a City player it is shame this deal may fall through. Another
possibility is Dijibril Cisse of French club Auxerre another young goal scorer
of repute. Our breathe continues to be baited! Who thought up this transfer window!
windows news at bottom
City v Fulham 4-1
Jan 29th 2003 att 33,240
the pre-match chat concerned the ins and outs of the Forsyth - oops Fowler Saga.
So finally Sheriff Keegan got his man despite the possibility that Fowler may
not be able to shoot out of both barrels! The injury prone ex Liverpool and Leeds
player will have to prove all the City cynics wrong at his debut against West
Brom on Saturday. With Klose having a poor game against Stuttgard at the weekend
and Bordeaux refusing to let Pauleta go , a much needed 3 million down for the
Leeds piggy bank is likely to scupper Newcastle's hopes of taking Woodgate to
the NE and prevent the exit of Venables. So it was always on for Fowler to finally
agree to sign for City.
Last night City had their biggest win of the season
in what is likely to be the last evening game at Maine Road. It also marked the
full debuts of two new signings David Sommeil from Bordeaux and Djamel Belmadi
the loan signing from Marseilles. With Peter Schmeichel and Berkovic still injured
Carlo Nash had the opportunity to make up for his error at Newcastle and Benarbia
stood in for the Israeli.
the early blunder at Newcastle it was a blow when Fulham took the lead after just
2 minutes. A poor rebound off Dunne let in Malbranque who beat Nash from the edge
of the area - left.
went on to play a blinder showing us some tricks we had not seen before.
continued to dominate for the next ten minutes and hit the post shortly afterwards.
The pace of the Fulham counter attacks gave the City defence plenty to think about
and Sommeil was having to show his skill.
began to up their work rate and with Belmadi showing his skill to delight the
home supporters the Fulham goal came under increasing pressure. A few chances
went astray but we had the feeling it was only going to be a matter of time before
City drew level
so it proved when after 20 minutes Sommeil brought the ball out of defence pushed
it forward to Benarbia who found Anelka with a great pass. He raced forward and
shot between Taylor's legs to score - left.
the right Taylor has to head clear well out of his area to stop Anelka getting
time came with the scores level.
took the lead just after the restart. Anelka found Belmadi whose great cross under
pressure was stabbed home by Ali Benarbia.
continued to press and above the ball goes narrowly wide
were beginning to sag and Belmadi was showing why Keegan had signed him. With
his speed and skill and good football sense he will be difficult to leave out
of the side. The squad is now looking Premier class and with Sommeil finding his
feet in defence things are looking up.
70 minutes a tired Benarbia was replaced by Wright-Phillips and the substitute
scored with his first touch of the ball. Nash took a long free kick from the City
half .It was headed on by Belmadi and Wright-Phillips nipped in to flick the ball
past Taylor - above .4-1
60 minutes City scored again when Foe managed to get a leg to the ball ( above)
after Taylor had first saved his header following a cross from Anelka. Three one
to City and there was more to come.
the right Nash is saving at the feet of Boa Morte. Though he didn't have many
difficult saves to make Nash played well throughout and proved a good deputy for
7: Sommeil 7, Howey 7, Distin 7: Dunne 7, Benarbia 7, Foe 7, Horlock 6, Jensen
6: Belmadi 8, Anelka 7:
professional City performance especially in the second half and at last we have
a plus goal difference. The new boys impressed and City had come back well from
the early Fulham pressure. Goater came on for Anelka for a few minutes at the
end. Was this going to be his swan song? Will City make the top six? Should we
be starting to learn foreign phrases? A good win against West Brom on Saturday
will help. Then we have games against United and Arsenal. This will give give
us a clue.