Home field and better pitch gave City the advantage we needed to display our world-class talent at their best. In the most important Champions League match in a long time for City, we came out with a purpose, much like we did against Norwich, and didn’t let up. Much of the pressure coming into the game was that City knew what we needed to do to nudge our way closer to advancing into the group stage. That pressure was alleviated early on a goal from Aguero.
The four-headed monster of Aguero, Negredo Silva and Nasri continued their run of impeccable form having a hand in every City goal scored today (two goals each for Aguero and Negredo). Some will argue (including myself, I know inner mental battles are the worst) that Yaya should also be considered a part of this monster, but the three mentioned have had the most involvement. Nonetheless, the mindset of our attacking players has shown City’s killer instinct and kept lesser teams from sticking around.
The only mark on a seemingly perfect first half of play was the goal allowed in the dying minutes. A lapse in concentration, and an unfortunate deflection opened up the middle of our defense and allowed Moscow to get on the score sheet. Clichy continued to be out of whack, conceding a penalty to Moscow, mid-way through the second half. Hindsight is 20/20, but he could have easily just allowed Doumbia by him, and let the chips fall where they may (so to speak). But, that wasn’t the case, and Moscow got another goal. Our defense had little to do tonight, after a pressure packed match in Moscow, but I am certainly not one to complain about that!
As I said, it is easy to look back and nit-pick at what should have happened, etc, etc. We as fans have been spoiled in this two game run with spectacular team play, and it has been an absolute pleasure. It may only be two games of this glorious display, but I have a strong feeling it will continue into the weekend against Sunderland. It is sad to see an international break coming on the horizon, but it gives players like Kompany a chance to recover from his injuries and get back into the fray. Sadly, Jovetic could have been added to this list, but he has picked up another injury….
Thanks to Bayern getting their expected win over Viktoria Plzen, CITY HAVE ADVANCED TO THE GROUP STAGES. More importantly, we now can rest some players for the busy month of December we have scheduled. With CL, PL and Capital One Cup games galore coming, this was an extremely important result for us. On top of that, we escaped this game without any more injuries to our boys, thank goodness.
Aguero (9) – Continuing great run of form, was the beneficiary of Silva’s movement and winning of penalty. Great turn to score, and great pass to Negredo for his goal. He has been a menace in the box, and has been extra clinical in that area as well.
Negredo (9 MotM) – Great run to the back post to score his goal, and put City up 3 goals to nil. The pairing of him and Aguero continues to impress. He is such a force in the box, which gives City an added element in attack that we haven’t had in the past.
Silva (8) – He and Aguero are pests to any teams back four, and together are putting on, arguably, the best run of games of any players so far this year. His ballerina like moves in the box is not only exciting, but turns opposing defenders into pretzels.
Nasri (8) – Lots of purpose in his runs, on and off he ball. He has come out, so far this season, and put out a consistent effort in attack. His great visions with passes, combined with well-timed runs have led to a lot of City’s chances.
Yaya (7) – He and Fernandinho alternated well at holding midfield, allowing one another to push forward. As the game went on he did a good job of dropping back, and had plenty of interceptions around the box. The chipped ball over the Moscow back four was spectacular, and lead to Negredo’s second goal.
Fernandinho (6) – Continuing his strong defensive effort has given Yaya room to push forward. Now that he has begun to control his tackles, his presence is quietly getting the job done.
Clichy (6) – Other than that early “swing and miss” on a clearance, he had another solid game, until he conceded a penalty to Moscow and Doumbia. He got involved heavily in attack, and was able to do so comfortably with Fernandinho holding.
Nastasic (6) – He had some vital tackles and interceptions in the defensive third. His form continues to improve, and without Komapny, this is a huge plus.
Demichelis (6) – His experience has been influential in the back four. Although he struggled in one half of play against Chelsea, that has been his only blip on the radar.
Zabaleta (6) – Like Clichy, he got involved in attack. He made his “trademarked” runs down the right wing, getting crosses in the box. He also put pressure on Moscow in the box.
Pantilimon (6) – The first goal was certainly unfortunate, and there was nothing he could do about that, and the penalty was no different. Wish he could have gotten a second clean sheet, but I’m sure he would take both results.
Milner (6) – Brought on at the start of the first half, and was placed in central midfield; the spot he thrives in. Didn’t have much to do, but performed admirably when he had the ball, especially when he “fed the beast”.
Kolarov (6) – Cute sequence of nutmegs on the Moscow defender late in the game, unlucky that none of them ended in goals.