Two Games Later, And We’ve Forgotten Mark Who!?!?

On Monday night, as I stood shivering in the Steve Bull Stand at Molineux, surrounded by a couple of thousand fellow City fanatics, it struck me that after just two matches, all our so called ”woes” under previous manager Mark Hughes had dissipated, and we had settled into a new dawn under the leadership of Roberto Mancini. After so much controversy following the Welshman’s sacking, with the majority of anger directed towards Garry Cook for his appalling handling of the situation, new boss Mancini already seems to have imposed his relaxed manner on the squad, a tranquility which has been more than evident on the pitch, with City notching two consecutive victories, both accomplished without conceding a goal.

Much has been written and spoken about the departure of Hughes and I for one was strongly in favour of giving Sparky more time at the helm of my beloved club. As can be seen in this article, the manner of his sacking was the aspect that vexed me the most, but I am more than happy with the start than Mancini has made. Fortunately, the languid and stylish Italian has galvanised our previously shaky defence, which was conceding goals willy-nilly. Stricken by injuries, the former Fiorentina, Lazio and Inter Milan manager was shorn of Joleon Lescott, Nedum Onuoha and Wayne Bridge in defence, but, along with the vast experience of assistant manager Brian Kidd, managed to reverse our fortunes, with our defence recording consecutive clean sheets. The fact that Stoke scored a blank at Eastlands was largely down to the underrated brilliance of Shay Given, but during the past couple of games, in my view at least, we have looked much more assured and solid.

Mancini has had a promising start to his managerial career at City

For all the criticism of Hughes and the subsequent adulation of Mancini, it must be remembered that the players who have guided us to the two wins were the same ones at the disposal of our former incumbent. Kolo Touré, the much maligned Ivory Coast centre-back, has improved immeasurably since Mancini arrived, whilst Micah Richards and Pablo Zabaleta have continued their solid form. However, as far as I’m concerned, the Blues’ fortunes have been improved in defence thanks largely to the presence of a 6′ 4″ Belgian hardman.

Willing to exert his considerable physical presence and dominate in the air, an attribute which had been missing from the City defence until now, Vincent Kompany has displayed his undoubted quality to add power, strength and commitment to the City backline. Forced into playing in his unfavoured centre-back position courtesy of the afore-mentioned plethora of injuries, the former Hamburg man has been a revelation, especially in his handling of Mamady Sidibé and then Chris Iwelumo.

Kompany has been instrumental in reversing our defensive fortunes

Mancini has also reintroduced Spanish left-back Javier ‘I’ve Got His Parents’ Autographs’ Garrido to the fold after the heartthrob (according to his mum) had spent this season kicking his heels in the reserves. Garrido replaced the injured Stephen Ireland against Wolves and repaid his manager’s faith with a stunning free-kick which bent more than Graham Norton and left Marcus Hanhemann rooted to the spot.

The Spaniard looked solid in that match, linking well with Martin Petrov, another who Mancini has brought in from the wilderness. Hughes and Petrov certainly didn’t see eye to eye, resulting in the Bulgarian finding himself occupying the luxury of the City bench with regularity. However, Petrov was named in Mancini’s first side to face Stoke and showed his indubitable quality with a goal and an impressive performance. He kept his place against Wolves and one pleasing aspect struck me in particular. Apart from his glorious touches, which set up some gilt-edged chances, Petrov showed a willingness to track back and displayed an increased responsibility. I noticed a couple of occasions when the Bulgarian slotted in to the area vacated by Gareth Barry or Pablo Zabaleta, highlighting his team play. If Petrov can keep this up, he will surely prove to be a valuable asset to the Blues.

Garrido and Petrov have been a revelation since Mancini arrived

In summary, Mancini has taken Hughes’s underperforming squad, made a few minor tactical and personnel adjustments and has seen the players respond with a pair of promising and solid performances. Expectations should remain high, as when all our injuries clear up, along with our potential to invest again in January, we will only go from strength to strength. I wish you all a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year, hopefully to be complemented by a successful FA Cup run, a victory in the Carling Cup and an enjoyable remainder to the Premier League season.

Thanks for reading. What do you think is a realistic aim for Mancini during the rest of the season, and how impressed have you been with the Italian since his arrival?

Happy New Year!

66 Responses to “Two Games Later, And We’ve Forgotten Mark Who!?!?”

  1. Ricky Says:

    For what i think is the first time, I have to disagree with you here Steven.

    The first two games under Manchini were ones that would have been very winnable under Hughes.

    Yet, everyone seems to have forgotten that it was Hughes that guided us to a European quarter final, Hughes that bought all of these players that have suddenly found form now that he has left.

    Yes, Manchini is building the fortress, but forget not that is was Hughes that lay the foundations.

    Realistically?? 5th is the most that we could hope for. Chelsea, Gunners, Scum, Spurs, City is what it will finish. If this will be acceptable for the board, we will see.

  2. Steven Goran Eriksson Says:

    “Yet, everyone seems to have forgotten that it was Hughes that guided us to a European quarter final, Hughes that bought all of these players that have suddenly found form now that he has left.

    Yes, Manchini is building the fortress, but forget not that is was Hughes that lay the foundations.”

    That is my point entirely Ricky. I have tried, but probably failed, to convey the message that Hughes should be credited rather than criticised for the position he left us in. Most people seem all too happy to praise Mancini, when in fact, as you say, it was Hughes who laid the foundations.

    Clearly, I am happy with Mancini and also ty to convey that. You need to remember however that Mancini was brought in at that time, in order that his first few games were relatively simple.

  3. Ricky Says:

    I know very well that that is where you stand.

  4. Asa hartfords heart Says:

    I,m not anti Hughes but Hull, Burnley, Bolton etc were supposed to be relatively simple aswell.

  5. Patrick Says:

    Tactically Mancini is a god compared to our last regime. I too wanted Hughes to have the time but I fear his reputation did not cut it with the big boys and he had far too many fall outs.

    Mancini will also have fall outs but I think will be able to manage them better with more charm and bring more belief and price to the team.

    Relalistically we should be third already if we would have won 4 of the draws we drew. So therefore I think with the shudda cudda approach we will finish 4th once Arsenal trip ont he light fantastic as usual.

    The table at the end of the season will read:


    Happy new year all City fans!

  6. Patrick Says:

    Oops I meant 3rd Doh!


    Boro 0 – 4 MCFC

    Tevez x2, Weiss and Petrov


    p.s that Kompany picture is from the Wigan game! I’ve got one as he is walking up the stairs with his kit in his hand!

  9. Plattsy Says:

    It’s interesting what you say about the effect Kompany is having on our defence. Only watching the Wolves match on T.V. like me means you don’t get to see the full picture – we saw the tirelessness of Bellamy but I didn’t clock the importance Kompany brought to the team or, indeed, Petrov’s positional nous. So I thank you, as a reliable source, for these interesting snippets of information!

    Ricky’s point is a good one, the two wins probably would have come about under Hughes as well (although the zonal marking at corners perhaps made us look a little less vulnerable.. I’d like your thoughts on this sven), but equally good is Asa Hartfords’s point.

    I know it’s early days, and we shouldn’t get too excited too early, but I think I’m going to be a big Mancini fan.

  10. Steven Goran Eriksson Says:

    My thoughts on zonal marking …

    GET RID OF IT!! We have seen how fatal this system can be when employed by sides like Liverpool and Chelsea earlier on this season. All the experts describe how zonal marking hands an advantage to the attacking side, because it allows the strikers to get a run on defenders. I’d much prefer it if we stick with man-marking.

    As for Kompany, he played an almost Terry/Vidic-esque role, being strong in the air and dominating. I was mightily impressed. What about this defence for the future:

    Richards or A NEW RIGHT BACK / Touré / Kompany / Lescott

    Anyway, I’ve got a great video of Garrido’s free-kick on my phone! It was the only time during the game that I decided to take a video, and Garrido duly obliged with a goal! I must have physchic powers

  11. Plattsy Says:

    I think I agree with you about zonal marking… but the problem is we’re not very good at man marking! Every time a corner came in under Hughes it was a watch-it-through-your-fingers moment.
    Wicked! If you show me your video of the goal when I next see you, I may even forgive your frankly horrific spelling of the word psychic, but I don’t know if I can ever do this…

  12. Steven Goran Eriksson Says:

    It’s a tricky word to spell Plattsy! Just a point about man marking … Surely it can’t be Hughes’s fault that an experienced defender like Touré has a chronic inability to mark someone. Surely it can’t be Hughes’s fault that our defenders lost concentration at the vital moment, and, to complete the (ascending) tri-colon, surely it can’t be Hughes’s fault that Shay Given didn’t come to claim the ball, as he did against Wolves on a couple of occasions.

  13. Plattsy Says:

    I know I’m only joking.. you going ‘boro tomorrow?

  14. Steven Goran Eriksson Says:

    Nope, I can give ‘Boro a miss. I can hear Periphrastic Future Subjunctives in Historic Sequence in Indirect Statements calling my name. What an interesting weekend have in store

    I’m ever so slightly disappointed though, as my blogging career has ended up until our next school holidays. Talking of which, do you keep receiving a plethora of emails from Oliver Radburn at Apple Languages??!?!?

  15. Plattsy Says:

    Nope, I’ve not had any… am I missing anything important?

  16. Steven Goran Eriksson Says:

    Not sure … will speak when I see you


    Change my score please Steven!

    Boro 1 – M. Bent
    MCFC 3 – Tevez x2, Petrov


    This is a truly awful game of football…

  19. Steven Goran Erikkson Says:

    Thought we produced a solid, effective and professional performance. They never truly looked like scoring, whilst we didn’t sparkle but defintely should have put the game to bed. Was impressed with Boyata and Sylvinho. But Man of the Match for me was Kompany.

  20. Steven Goran Eriksson Says:

    ‘Boro 0 – 1 MAN CITY

    Steven – 2
    Dan – 2
    Plattsy – 2
    Matt – 2
    Ricky – 2

    Shocker of a prediction from Plattsy – going for Alves. He left ‘Boro is the summer!!!!

    Steven – 74
    Dan – 62
    Plattsy – 59
    Ricky – 58
    Matt – 52


    Ahahaa, Plattsy makes me laugh!

    I’m doing awful! Although having said that only 3 correct scores away from the top

    My MotM was Barry when he came on, other than that Zabaleta

  22. Steven Goran Eriksson Says:

    Just noticed, Plattsy also went for Adebayor!?!?!?

    Barry was very impressive when he came on, and you’re right about Pablo. His best game for a while.

    Are you getting my texts by the way? I’ve sent about 3 recently?

  23. Internazionalista Says:

    As i already told you in a precedent topic,
    Mancini will make your fortune.
    Please support him even if he’s not english and don’t look at him with any prejudge!
    I’m watching every single City game since Mancio is your new coach,
    and after having told you that he will take the best out of players like tevez or robinho, i can be almost sure also that his next (or one of his nexts) move will be to transform Micah Richards in the best central defender of EPL.
    Happy new year from your italian friend,
    forza Inter!
    forza City!


    I have got them, yes, sorry, just had no credit to reply, so i’ve tried to reply on here instead!

    Garrido had a good game too?

  25. Steven Goran Eriksson Says:

    Fair enough, didn’t think Garrido was great. He was lucky, as were City, that Johnson went off early ‘coz he was tormenting Javi. Though Sylvinho looked cultured in midfield. Who would you play at left-back in the Carling Cup???


    Garrido…sin duda…

  27. Steven Goran Eriksson Says:

    Garrido, sin duda, no fue el mejor futbolista en el equipo.



    I need to revise El Coronel and El Bola tomorrow :/

  29. Steven Goran Eriksson Says:

    Do we have to answer the Coronel questions in English or Spanish??


    What questions??!?!?!?!?!?!?!

  31. Steven Goran Eriksson Says:

    I think you’ve done them already. I think there were 7 of them. The ones Byrne told us to do. I can’t remember if they were in Eng or Span though?


    She never told us to do them did she?!

    Do you mean the ones we wrote down? Ive got 10 which I wrote down which are as follows;

    1. ¿Qué has leído?

    La novela se llama ‘El Coronel No Tiene Quien Le Escriba’ y escrito por Gabriel García Márquez.

    2. ¿De que se trata?

    3. ¿Es una novela interesante?

    4. ¿Te parece difícil de entender?

    5. Háblame de las protagonistas de la novela

    6. Háblame de los temas mas importantes de la novela

    7. ¿Qué simboliza el gallo?

    8. ¿Te gusta el coronel?

    9. ¿Es un hombre simpático?

    10. ¿Cómo es la relación entre el coronel y su esposa?

    What would you put for number 2? Seems like a daft thing for me to say but I don’t know what to put?!

    I’ve done the first one and number 6, that’s it so far…i’ll do them all tomorrow once you’ve given me a hand!

  33. Steven Goran Eriksson Says:

    Just found my sheet – they are the questions I meant yeah.

    I’ll answer them tomorrow, I’m hoping she doesn’t want full answers.

    As for number 2) In English, I would say something like ‘The novela details the Colonel’s wait for his war pension and his subsequent frustration at not rceiving it. Having waited 15 years already, he and his wife are on the verge of death, and all they have left is a cock, which reminds them of their son, Agustin, who was killed recently. Struggling for food and drink and with their future unsure, the Colonel and his wife rest all their hopes on the cock as they wait for its fight.’
    Now good luck putting that in Spanish!! Though in Spanish you don’t need to write that much and certainly not that complicated.

  34. Matt Jones Says:

    I’ve been working through those questions…or at least trying to! They are really hard?!

    Don’t like 3,4,8 at all…and what does 7 mean!? What does the cock symbolise?! Not got a clue! How long are you answers?

  35. Steven Goran Eriksson Says:

    I will email you my answers if you want. I’ve probably written more than I need to though. I’m thinking that if these answers are OK, then I could use them for the oral at the end of the year?!?

  36. Matt Jones Says:

    Was it actually homework by the way?

    Thought she just said they were ones RWS would ask…but I also thought she said no holiday work as it was christmas?!

  37. Matt Jones Says:

    Yeah if you could send me yours that’d be top….and i’ll send you what i’ve done

  38. Steven Goran Eriksson Says:

    Think you’re right about it not being homework actually. I remember her saying that ‘no holiday work as it was christmas’.

  39. Matt Jones Says:

    I just got your email…will have a look through…what do the following mean…they sound good but i dont know!?

    “El problema ha alcanzado tales proporciones que todas las esperanzas del coronel descansan sobre un gallo en una pelea de gallos.”

  40. Steven Goran Eriksson Says:

    The problem has reached such proportions that all the Colonel’s hopes rest on a cock in a cockfight.

  41. Matt Jones Says:

    I like that

    I have replied to your email by the way with the few I ahve done….get back to me

  42. Matt Jones Says:

    Nice to have another day off…you think he will close the school tomorrow too?

  43. Steven Goran Eriksson Says:

    Yep, and for the rest of the week as well. And City is bound to be cancelled tomorrow as well. Police won’t want 50′00 people trying to get into one place at the same time. Transport will be impossible. I can’t even get out of the house!!

  44. Matt Jones Says:

    You genuinely think school will be closed for the rest of the week?? No chance….HM won’t allow more than one day away I dont think…i’ll see you tomorrow Dont you agree?

    As for City…i’m 89% sure it’ll be off due to surrounding areas…not a bad thing…get a few players fitter!

  45. Steven Goran Eriksson Says:

    Steven 1 – 0 Matt.

    School off tomorrow as well!

  46. Matt Jones Says:

    How do you know?!

  47. Matt Jones Says:

    Oh my god, you’re right…not about Thursday though…

  48. Matt Jones Says:

    Same about the football…United will now have the advantage for the 2nd leg seeing as though they are out of the FA Cup…we play Scunthorpe on the 24th, then them on the 27th instead of Stoke :/ Hmm….i’m not so confident anymore!

  49. Matt Jones Says:

    Steven…your prediction…wil school be on tomorrow? Says on the website we will find out at approx 2pm…i’m saying it will be on…what’s your call?

  50. Steven Goran Eriksson Says:

    I agree, but it’s 2:05 and still no update!

  51. Ricky Says:

    2.46 and no update.

    Thing is, as well as us, half the staff live in areas from where access to school will be near impossible.

    Here’s hoping for another day off, then a revision day off on Friday preparing for C1.

  52. Matt Jones Says:

    14.55 and no update

    They are obviously debating this furiously?

  53. Matt Jones Says:

    15.06pm and school will be open

    See you P1+2 tomorrow Ricky!

  54. Steven Goran Eriksson Says:

    Ah well, 3 weeks off so can’t complain. Slightly annoyed that Thommo set us work for these two days though. Only teacher in the school who would od that!!

  55. Matt Jones Says:

    Did he really? What…via email?

  56. Steven Goran Eriksson Says:


  57. I*T*P*L Says:

    Hi Steven, sorry for taking so long to reply tpo this article, but I’ve been tremendously busy recently; only got back from the old country two days ago, then Stroke tehjn all sorts.

    I agree with what you say, but I still think the artikcle to which you link is spot on,.

    You praised Given, saying he was “under-rated”, I’ve always thought he was over-rated, interesting. You also praise Kompany. Who signed him?

    Still a very good, thought proveoking article though.

    P.S. Soory for any typos, you know me come 11:00 0n a Wednesday might.

  58. Matt Jones Says:

    Steven…3-0 please…RSC, Bellamy and Tevez


    p.s, loved the Carlsberg email! Do you think someone actually made tha?!

  59. Steven Goran Eriksson Says:

    Someone will have, I’m sure! Over the next few days, I’ll send a lot more emails that I received over Christmas time. some are crackers!!

  60. Matt Jones Says:

    You know Byrne’s essay…is it asking us to compare those themes to today’s world?

    I’m not really sure what to do? It seems very smiliar to the essay we did last time?

  61. Steven Goran Eriksson Says:

    What are the difficulties of everyday life that the author invites us to consdier in the work you have studied? Consider these themes: blah blah blah

    Yep, I think we need to look at something like poverty, and then link that into our everyday lives. Things like tramps etc. But remember, we’re only doing a plan – not writing the whole essay. We will discuss it with her on Monday.

  62. Matt Jones Says:

    My plan is beefy…it’s a strange title…like for poverty I talked about Africa and 3rd world countries e.t.c. for death it’s hard…what would you put for relationships?!?!?!

  63. Steven Goran Eriksson Says:

    I suppose just talk about the importance of a strong relaionship with family, friends etc.

  64. Steven Goran Eriksson Says:

    Email you sent me is quality! Very confusing and interesting

  65. Matt Jones Says:

    To clarify Steven … my score prediciton is 2-0…Tevez and Bellamy

  66. Ricky Says:

    Matt, do you want me to print a copy of these definitions for you?

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