City 2-0 Chelsea: Post match thoughts

Shaun Botterill

All right, is it copasetic for me to be extremely pleased and boisterous about our boys’ play this afternoon/morning? Yeah, I think it’s fine.

I mean it’s hard to not enjoy a game announced by Gus Johnson, but pair that with a win and another great performance by the ENTIRE team, nothing started my Sunday better. It would have been cynical of the soccer Gods to not let us score. Thankfully the Gods were kind and City’s hard work was rewarded with a 2-0 win over a very good Chelsea team. RM put out a changed starting 11 one striker and Rodwell (2nd start with City, I believe), upon first review I was like "what is he thinking?! No Tevez?!" But, on second look, the lone striker allowed Yaya to push forward and attack, a position many City fans would like to see him in more often. Mancini was rewarded with his selection when Yaya beautifully curved the ball across the box and in to the back of the net.

It might be football, not futbol speech, but I believe this speech epitomizes how we attacked Chelsea today. As good as we looked in attack and defense, there was one obvious turning point that gave me the confidence that we had the game: Joe Hart’s PK save. After a poor display just seconds before, Hart left his goal to snatch a chance away from Demba Ba. But he completely whiffed on the clearance, and ultimately gave Chelsea a golden opportunity to take control of a game that they shouldn’t have been in. Mancini has been very critical of Joe Hart, mostly to just push him to be his best, but post match RM backed Hart’s decision that led to the penalty. Hart’s fellow English teammate, Frank Lampard, stepped up to take the PK, Joey guess right and kept his clean sheet in tack.

After this save there was a moment where Joe Hart and his back line celebrated as a unit. This stood out to me because it shows our teams chemistry. In a season that has been disappointing in terms of where we want to be, it is easy for players to turn on one another, but it seems the adversity (brought upon themselves) the blues have faced has made them stronger as a unit. I wish this little display had come earlier in our "collapse" but you can’t win ‘em all! I hope to see us win out, beat United, win the FA Cup and take the momentum in to the summer, not only on the pitch, but off it as well (i.e. summer signings!).

As well as we played as team, what really stood out for me was the play of our back line. Our attack has always been our strength this season, not including the games where the shoots don’t fall, chances don’t show, etc. Now, our defense this season has been UPPPPP and then DOWNNN, way too much throughout the season. But, this game the boys at the back held a potent Chelsea attack and made them look mediocre. Not only was Pablo stellar on Hazard, but also Nasty and Kolo kept Ba quiet for the entire match. Even when Oscar and Torres were subbed on late in the match, they didn’t show signs of fatigue.

Disclaimer: If I missed any R’s in my piece it is because my R button is acting up. DAMN YOU TECHNOLOGY.

Announcer: "I didn’t know he was ginger" On Torres’ hair….even announcers find them evil! Ginger’s that is haha.

Tweet: "Joey, wash your hair" - Hart getting some good banter from the City fans for his recent shampoo advert appearance!

Agueo (6) – Absolutely baffling that he was unable to score today, he had so many opportunities. This is not me bashing Kun, because I love him, but he was just snake bitten today, but his perseverance was admirable.

Yaya (8) – Man of the Match (because I can’t give it to the entire team). He was back in his favoite position, attacking midfield. Having only one striker let RM load the team with defensive minded midfielders so Yaya could push forward in attack.

Silva (8) – Another magical performance from Merlin (see what I did there?!). Another match where he wasn’t opposite of Nasri, and another successful game for Silva. As he goes, the team goes, and when he distributes the ball like he did today, the team is exponentially better.

Milner (8) – He is the midfield version of Pablo. His movement off the ball is impeccable and the runs he makes down the wings gives defenders fits.

Garcia (7) – Definitely excelling in his defensive midfield role. He was a perfect pair with Rodwell because Rodwell tended to push up more, so Garcia sat back and stopped Chelsea from countering.

Rodwell (7) – Glad to see him have such a good performance after a long time away with injury and fitness.

Zaba (6) – Pablo, just…..Pablo. He made Hazard look like a developmental player, and that is a compliment to both Pablo and Hazad, because he is a spectacular talent.

Nasty (8) – Another positive match for the young buck. His poise and strength when defending on the ball is excellent, and playing against sides of Chelsea’s caliber is invaluable.

Kolo (8) – Him and Nasty have quite the partnership at the back. It seems that he is sharing his EPL experience with Nasty, much like we would expect Vinny to do.

Clichy (6) – Clichy didn’t have to do much today, but my only continuing gripe with him is that he just crosses the ball in to the box when no body is there. That’s like ding dong ditching a house that has all of its lights out.

Hart (7) – Other than his blunder that lead to the penalty, he showed his class by making up for that mistake. He confidently guessed correctly as Lampard took the PK.

Tevez (6) – Wasn’t surprised when he was subbed for Rodwell, and when he came in he made a great impact. Not only by scoring a goal, but the added pace gave the attacking Chelsea fits.

Nasri (N/A) – Late substitution, probably out of pity ;)

Lescott (N/A) – A defensive change, no time to judge.

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