Cruise control Blues impress critics
- Sun 07 Oct 2012, 8:45AM
- Posted by David Clayton
Plenty of positive reports about the Blues today following a classy 3-0 win over Sunderland yesterday.
Let’s get straight into some of the observations, starting with the Sunday Telegraph’s Mark Ogden, who initially focuses on Mario Balotelli’s decision to walk straight down the tunnel after being subbed, before getting to the main action.
He writes: “Having insisted he would resolve a ‘problem’ that had plagued his team this season following Wednesday’s Champions League draw against Borussia Dortmund — the Italian has been unhappy with City’s defensive frailties — Mancini made seven changes to his starting line-up, most notably at centre half, with Micah Richards and Joleon Lescott replacing the injured Vincent Kompany and Matija Nastasic.
“Still, any uncertainty which may have been present in the City rear-guard was barely tested. Sunderland, who had clearly been sent out by O’Neill to rattle their opponents with a series of forceful challenges, quickly discovered that City are not a team that can be intimidated.
“Only three minutes had elapsed before referee Lee Probert punished the visitors for their first example of roughhouse tactics. Carlos Cuellar’s challenge on Carlos Tévez was crude, late and unnecessary, and the Spanish defender was rightly booked. Kolarov, from 25 yards, beat goalkeeper Simon Mignolet with a left-foot strike of power and precision.
“Sunderland continued their belligerent approach, but O’Neill’s team could muster little else and City should have doubled their lead when Tévez released Pablo Zabaleta on 20 minutes, only for the fullback to be denied by Mignolet.”
Paul Wilson in The Observer believes the Blues won’t have many easier victories this season in his feature: “Manchester City moved above their neighbours in the Premier League table by recording their fourth win of the season and, at long last, their first clean sheet, though it is probably true to say most defences would end up feeling better about themselves after playing the timid travellers of Sunderland.
“It was certainly a different exercise to trying to keep Borussia Dortmund at bay, almost a different ball game. There might be no easy games in the English league, or so everyone keeps saying, but some games are vastly less demanding than others.”
All in all, a pleasant read throughout. Almost a first this season!