Sunday, 1 September 2013

14 Things We Learned at Manchester City 2 -0 Hull City

Anthem time: this season's is West Wing-stylee
1. The man in charge of Manchester's trams likes stroking tigers. There's a picture of him doing it on his Facebook page. I suggest Metrolink chief executive Dr Jon Lamonte grabs the city's transport tiger by the tail and lays on some extra trams on match day. There were 46,500 fans trying to get to the Etihad for a 12.45pm kick off and a tram from the city centre to the stadium only every 11 minutes. When they arrived at Piccadilly Gardens they were already packed like the old Kippax stand on derby day. When the marooned fare-paying fans voiced their frustration one hired goon in a high-vis jacket told us to stop slagging off the service - there'd be another along in a few minutes. Epic fail, Doc.

Fans but no trams
2. Jesus Navas doesn't know where he should be playing yet. He was the official man of the match yesterday and no doubt he'll be sensational when he settles down. He was signed as a winger but popped up all over the field - in the centre circle, on the left, behind the strikers. I want to see him with that cliche of touchline chalk all over his boots.

3. If you leave your season ticket on the mantelpiece in London the obliging ticket office staff will give you a paper replacement for the day. No charge. Excellent service. But don't forget it again, you idiot.

4. Tom Huddlestone should be playing for England. He was the outstanding midfielder yesterday - strong, energetic, great touch, great drive. He looks the part, too, with that quality hair-stack. He if can keep the weight off and stay fit he'll be brilliant for Hull and a big loss for Spurs.

5. Edin Dzeko is inconsistent. He was unplayable against Newcastle, less so against Cardiff last Monday and ineffectual in the first half yesterday before being subbed. Sometimes he just can't seem to get going.

6. We're going to have to put up with John Smith's bitter for another few seasons. City are delighted with themselves for signing a new deal with Heineken to provide all the drinks in the stadium. Good for business, bad for bitter drinkers. I know it's tough to care for proper beer but if music festivals and Lord's cricket ground can do it at weekends, so should the richest football club in the world.

7. Steve Bruce doesn't look well. The red-faced Hull manager is great - passionate, funny and with three Premier League titles as a player and two Championship promotions as a manager with Birmingham City he's no mug. But he needs to lose three stone and stop getting so worked up on the touchline or he'll do himself a mischief.

8. Joleon Lescott keeps making daft mistakes. For such an accomplished defender he's prone to what pundits call a lapse of concentration every so often that can lead to catastrophe. He almost cost us the title with that back header that led to one of QPR's goals in the Aguerooooooo match. Yesterday he misjudged an innocuous ball which led to Aluko's one-on-one with Joe Hart. We need to sign another defender tomorrow.

9. Sone Aluko is a handful. He fluffed that one-on-one but was a real pain all match. He's direct, he wins free kicks all over the field and he's quick. Robbie Savage laid into him on Match of the Day last night - unfair. He's a good player.

10. City fans want more from Yaya. Lots of moaning around the Colin Bell stand yesterday and he does seem to be cantering rather than galloping at the moment. But when he can deliver free kicks like those, he deserves a bit of leeway - that's two kicks, two goals. And he'll get fitter.

11. We're not sure what Manuel Pellegrini is up to yet. Are we playing with two strikers and a winger all season or going to mix it up? We looked much better in the second half with Negredo up front on his own - but I like us with two strikers. One of the many reasons I'm not a football manager.

12. Alvaro Negredo is a fabulous striker. We've only seen him as a sub so far but he's a proper old-school centre forward. He wears the number 9 shirt, he's powerful in the air, holds up the ball well and is quick, too. Great headed goal yesterday. He should start against Stoke next time.

13. Joe Hart still looks a bit nervy. Couple of good moments yesterday but in the first half he came out for one then dithered and then gave us all kittens in the second half with one of those drag-backs in front of an onrushing striker on his six-yard line. Stop it!

13. Phil Dowd spends too much time lecturing players. The ref has cut down on the chips, now he needs to cut down on the chat. Book them or play on. We don't want to sit there watching players being spoken to like naughty schoolboys - there's a match on.

14. The title looks a long way off. But it's going to be a great season and I fancy us to win it.

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