Good afternoon, certainly no Monday blues today with the season now well underway. After our late victory against Sunderland on Saturday and now with Steaua Bucharest coming up in our Champions League qualifier.
Some of us were still talking about and taking in the news that Hart had been dropped for the Sunderland game when Sterling was brought down and a penalty awarded. I don’t know what I was looking at, as I didn’t initially claim for the penalty as I thought van Aanholt had somehow played the ball before bringing Sterling down. Clearly he hadn’t and it was a definite penalty.
Off to a great start then and Aguero off the mark for another season after just four minutes. All we needed after that was a few more goals to make it an easy victory and for Hart’s replacement Willy Caballero to maybe keep a clean sheet. With John Stones making his debut in front off him too there was always a feeling though that if Sunderland did get a chance they might take it. And they did.
We have been so reliable on the core of our team Hart, Kompany, Tour, Silva and Aquero over the years, that seeing a few of them not in the squad makes you wonder that they are now replaceable. Players can always been replaced of course, but can both leaders on and off the pitch be? Time we tell, Fernandinho is getting better all the time in my opinion, but now he has to get use to playing alongside our full backs in there new inside right and inside left roles?
I’m not sure what to make of it myself, we’ll just have to wait and see if the players can get use to it as quick as possible. If they can’t then I don’t think they’ll be playing. I’m liking Mikel Arteta being there too, alongside fellow co-assistant Brian Kidd and Domènec Torrent. I think it’s a good balance and with Arteta only just retiring he has first hand knowledge of the league.
The game itself was quite a slow affair and we didn’t really test Mannone as often as we should, particularly in the first half. Then was no surprise as the game went on then, that Sunderland started to get more chances until eventually after a good bit of passing play and some poor defensive decisions from us, Defoe scored. He’s just carried on from where he finished last season, scoring goals away from home.
Thankfully, a typical Moyes managerial decision helped us. He took off Defoe with about eight minutes and injury time to go that allowed us back into the game. Not that he was getting a load of chances, just that with him on the pitch he’s always just a threat and as soon as he went off we started attacking again. I was always confident we’d win but I certainly wouldn’t have put money on it being via a Paddy McNair own goal. Oh well. Three points on the opening day, no complaints for me.
Let’s see what team Pep plays Tuesday now, I can understand the dropping of Joe Hart, just. However in Europe over the past few years he has been brilliant, I’m not sure we’ll need him tonight mind as I think we’ll be comfortable 3-0 winners. If anyone is out in Bucharest for the game, have a safe trip and get to the The Drunken Lords pub, who are welcoming our fans with open arms. C’mon City!
by Monday Blues 😉