And just like that, City is back to their beautiful attacking ways. This was another
example of just how good we can be when clicking on all cylinders. It didn’t take long for City to show their intent about this game, as we started several attacking chances before we got our first score.
The coming out party for Jovetic continued today, as he exuded confidence in his play on the pitch even before he got his goal. After a deep shot from Yaya was bobbled by Cech, the young Montenegrin attacked the loose ball and missed a chance by inches. Just a minute later, Silva initiated a beautiful sequence of build up play, and Dzeko found the cutting Jovetic to put City up 1-0. After the goal, City continued to take the game to Chelsea, quite the opposite of what we did in our Premier League matchup against them just twelve days ago.
The second half was much the same from City, as our Blues continued to attack Chelsea’s back line. We had several chances before the second goal was scored, but just six minutes after being subbed on, Nasri started a push towards the Chelsea goal. He passed to Silva just atop the box, continued his run toward goal. When Silva found him he put away his first chance in six weeks. It’s good to see that the injury to Nasri has not affected his mental game. Even after the goal, he was dying for another chance to score a goal, or set one up. His health is vital for the game against Barcelona, and I’d love to see him get the start, albeit soon after returning from injury.
It has to be recognized that our defensive work both in the midfield and at the back was excellent. And, the standouts were the likes of Milner, Garcia and Lescott, who have been the butt of jokes at times in their City careers (minus Milner, really). Garcia was never caught out of position, and made valuable interceptions and tackles in the midfield. Milner, well, he was just himself but his defensive work allowed Zabaleta the opportunity to make his trademark runs down the right side, to get deep into the final third. And finally Lescott, who in the final minutes found himself making block after block in the box. They were all so strong, that Pantilimon was really left with nothing to do most of the game. Chelsea had some chances toward the end of the game but the Romanian keeper was able to claim the crosses before anything came of them.
All in all, this was a great team effort today that should give us confidence heading into our draw with Barcelona on Tuesday. Although Barca did just beat Rayo 6-0, I’d like to believe we are just a bit better than them ;). I’m Nervously excited to see how we fair. Anyway, both City and Chelsea had their injuries, but City was able to overcome theirs to get a win and move on in FA Cup play. Come on City!
Dzeko (7) – Getting forward well and working with Jovetic swimmingly. Great control in possession, something I’m not use to saying about him. One of his best all around performances of this season.
Jovetic (8) – Really coming into his own, now that the injuries are in the past (knocks on anything wood). He continues to show how much of a threat he can be going forward, and the goal today adds to his confidence. Please, no more diving. We don’t need an Ashley Young on our team ;). (Keep off everyone, he's my valentine)
Silva (8 MotM) – Seeing lots of possession at the start, quarterbacking the play and helping set up/assist on both goals for City. Uncommonly great work defensively, as he blocked several crosses and covered well for Clichy.
Milner (7) – Great work defensively, tracking back to replace Pablo when he goes forward. He and Garcia had spectacular games that may not show up in the score sheet, but I sure noticed.
Yaya (7) – Aggressive game, something that has been key in wins for City in the past and was again today. After the early stages of the first half, he kind of went quiet, but his power in the midfield is always noticeable. Showed off some fancy footwork later on.
Garcia (7) – Great positioning; always fills in defensively and very comfortable in possession in the midfield. He was a safety valve for the attacking players, and was a valuable asset for our defense.
Zabaleta (7) – Great challenges on attacking players. Getting forward comfortably, with Milner filling in for him unselfishly.
Kompany (7) – Pushing high up and stopping Chelsea from breaking through Eto’s, and was superb with his tackles as always.
Lescott (7) – Did the work that was asked of him, stayed back allowing Kompany to
freeze attacks through the middle. Did look awkward in tight spaces in the box, but made the important interceptions.
Clichy (7) – Getting forward quite often, and with the surprising help from Silva he
looked comfortable in attack.
Pantilimon (6) – a six for just showing up, really. There was one big chance where he
bobbled the ball in traffic, but nothing else really. A couple of late catches from crosses, though.
Nasri (8) – Welcome back, Samir. What a goal, beautiful 1-2 with Silva to get the second goal for City. Excellent movement without the ball.
Navas (6) – He was a great addition of pace to the game, especially with the Chelsea back four tiring.