3-1 was fair in a way, but again we also had some bad luck. But luck is something you deserve, isn't it? However: I can't see that De Jong should have been given a freekick when he misjudged the ball. A freekick that led to Petrovs goal and Manchester City's second. A few minutes later Carlton Cole ran away from Lescott and fed the ball to Parker who shuffled into the goal, well 2-2 , we thought. But the bad referee for the night, Chris Foy, said Carlton Cole had something to do with Lescott falling.... Can't see that. They were even lucky with their third. A cheap freekick and a close offside?
Still the new Arab Legion had better player$$$$ in their final third and on the middle so they won. They were better and we made some very cheap mistakes. All their goals came after mistakes from our boys.
Or as Zola put it: "You can't afford to come to places like this and just give presents to the opposition, they will take advantage of the smallest opportunity.".
And sure we missed Upson and Gabbidon too (and yes Collins, but he is gone, we can't do anything about that now). As well as Behrami, LBM (won't forget him a day like this) and Collison. I just believe: We had a sloppy defence sometimes, no doubt about it, but still; I'm more worried how we lost the midfield.
Da Costa came in for his first game and played along the young Tomkins, Ilunga is not totally fit as I see it, and Faubert is Faubert. So this is not our strongest back-four and they were also a bit new to each other. So: I think we'll do better allready the next game defensivly.
But how can we get the midfield to work?
But how can we get the midfield to work?
I had hoped for more but 1-3 against those billionaries is a quite normal result this year. Can't see us go past them this season. Sad to say.
Green 7 - Had not much help from his fellow players in the box and made some really good saves. Should he have taken the second goal, as Petrov's freekick was in our goalkeeper's corner? It actually had a tiny defelection which may have done enough.
Faubert 5 - Sloppy sometimes and at no help at their first goal which made Tomkins work in no man's land and Da Costa too far away from anyone and Ilunga far to late on Tevez who had an easy tap in... (I really liked the way Tevez did NOT celebrate his goal. He went up to the West Ham crowd behind the goal and asked for forgiveness, but I'm still not happy that he went to the new football-destroying-team). Still, worked hard (OK, thats what he is paid for) against a couple of very fast men.
Tomkins 5 - Had a big responsibility, may not have coped with it all game, but I rather see that the organisation of the defence missed out today rather that put any blame on individual defensive players tonight.
Da Costa 5 - Could have been given a easier debut than meeting Tevez, Bellamy and SWP. I think he had a confusing game, and some mistakes looked a bit easy, but it seems that he can be OK rather sooner than later. Some good tackles. Wanted to be involved which is a good sign.
Ilunga 5 - Started really weak in this his second game after his comeback and many will blame him for losing Tevez on the first goal. I'm not sure, but were worried a couple of times when he lost his man. But he played against (a very lively) Tevez and had our new man at his side instead of Upson. Once again he grew during the game and were one of our better players late on.
Jimenez 5 - Some trickery and nice touches, and seemed to like having Diamanti in the team as they found each other at times. And he worked hard. But he was not able to put his mark on the game. Maybe next time?
Kovac 5 - Is not our answer to solve any problems at all in midfield. Together with Noble and Parker it sometimes looks like we have the slowest midfield in PL. And maybe we do. Should be a backup for Parker and/or Noble, not to play along them.
Parker 7 - I like this man and he had a decent performance. Gives and takes and you need it in these games. I give you a hug next time we see each other!
Noble 5 - Works and wants to be involved but as some sloopy shooting was an exemple of, his work never gave any dividends. When he'll be able to feed the ball with his first touch he may...
But I'm a bit worried, can he keep his place when Collison and Behrami are fit?
Diamanti 6,5 - I want to give this guy more time before I judge him, as he has his Italian style, but still seems to be able to cope very well with the English game. And I think he will. Still not there yet. He had an uneven game, but was very involved in our attacks. Liked his corners and most of his freekicks. Will hopefully learn how to find Cole soon.
Cole 7 - After a silent first 20, he started to show his presence. And had a lucky or glorious goal and showed some skills. Touré and Lescott looked sometimes like kids with Cole by their side. He was so much better than those overrated players. Good header and work-ethics. Still on the loosing side....
I liked that Zola gave Stanislas and Hines 20 minutes in the end, even if they were not able to affect the result so late in the game. ManC just held the ball and our young guys had to chase with no big chance to affect the game. Liked Hines anyway. Zola showed by giving our youngsters the chance (again) who is the real football club here. The Academy. And I think playing Stanislas and Hines will be a solution soon. And Hines should start at home against Fulham... no doubt about it.
So still third from bottom... after a result we could have seen in advance. If not Gabbs and Upson are long-absentees, I think we can close our defence and I am more worried how our midfield can improve.
PS: I do really dislike Manchester City after a game like this!
(Sorry written at high speed)