Press give mixed reviews for Craven Cottage display
- 22 December 2013 09:24
- Posted by @porter_mcfc
City may have taken three points in tricky conditions on the road – and without Sergio Aguero – but this morning’s papers are keen to remind readers how hard the Blues had to work for the win.
The Guardian is fairly typical of today’s reports, noting that Manuel Pellegrini’s men can make life difficult for themselves on the road, while reserving praise for the team’s attacking prowess and the wealth of options the manager has at his disposal as the festive fixtures start to pile up.
The paper’s David Hytner writes: “Manchester City have an addiction to making life more difficult for themselves than it might be but they raised the bar here to freakish new heights. At 2-0 up this contest looked over and it promised to be a rather less harrowing away-day experience than some of those that have scarred the club's push to regain the Premier League title.
“But with Fulham refusing to go quietly, and back in the game thanks largely to the dynamism of Adel Taarabt, Vincent Kompany scored an own-goal that will have him waking up in cold sweats.
“With David Silva irrepressible, City created so many chances it seemed faintly ridiculous that they should face the prospect of further dropped points away from home, however boldly Fulham contributed to a real thriller. Yet City's firepower is such that they could still dig themselves out of the hole.
“Manuel Pellegrini had already introduced Jesús Navas and he would send on James Milner and both of them scored to ensure that this would not be filed together with Cardiff, Stoke, Aston Villa and Sunderland in the roll call of careless City slips. Navas's goal was the crucial one, drilled through the legs of the goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg from Silva's pass, and Milner's added the belated gloss from Alvaro Negredo's wonderful outside-of-the-boot pass.”
While Fulham deserve credit for not handing out early Christmas gifts and making life too easy for the men in blue, don’t be fooled – there were plenty of positives to take from yesterday’s game ahead of the two post-Christmas clashes on home turf.
Simon Bajkowski of the Manchester Evening News is keen to point them out for City fans to enjoy with their Sunday cornflakes.
He writes: “Another City game, another bounty of goals. You can usually tell a truly potent attack from the goals scored from behind the strikers, and City had four today from midfielders and defenders.
“The centre-backs combined for one, Toure scored a free-kick, Milner finished another off and Navas - the man who came to the Etihad with the mantle of provider rather than finisher - also added to his tally.”
Speaking of Toure, Bajkowski adds: “Yaya Toure has obviously been on the training ground practising his free-kicks and it is having such an impact on City's season.
“The Ivorian now has 11 goals and is starting to gain a reputation for trademark free-kicks. City were not on top at the time but the goal helped change the momentum of the game. And if opposition players are less willing to go in on the likes of Silva and Negredo for fear of giving away a free-kick, City still benefit.”
As ever, mcfc.co.uk has filled your stocking ahead of time with all the post-match reaction you need right here. We’ve got the manager’s verdict here, and video interviews with the goalscorers themselves – Jesus Navas here and James Milner here.
Don’t worry, you didn’t think I would leave you without some transfer gossip, did you?
Never fear, for Goal.com is here! The website claims that Aleks Kolarov is interesting a host of European teams – although they’re playing the long game with this one, and suggesting he may move on in the summer, rather than January.
The Serbian left back has made 19 appearances for City so far this term, and Zenit are the latest club said to be circling in the hope of securing his signature.
Writes Paul Clennam: “The wealthy Russian outfit contacted the agents of the Serbia international earlier this week, having recently seen the defender linked to both Inter and Juventus.
“Kolarov, 28, will have 12 months remaining on his existing deal next summer and boss Manuel Pellegrini has already made it clear that he will be going nowhere in the January transfer window.”
He continues: “Serie A champions Juventus have distanced themselves from a deal for Kolarov, however, with general director Giuseppe Marotta confirming that the club have no intention to initiate negotiations for the 28-year-old.”
Remember, as ever, nothing is confirmed until you read it on mcfc.co.uk!