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Prawn Sandwiches and a good stuffing to boot


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By LancsVillan

As a reward for AJs exam results both he and I were invited along to The Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

On arriving at the ground it is noticeable that everything in and around the ground now carries the numerous sponsors logos - and not all of them are are Middle Eastern in origin - most but not all.

We went in and as much as the hospitality area was nice it was all a little cold and soulless. As someone said afterwards this accusation could be made of almost all of the new stadiums and a lot of the new/improved ones too.

Everything smacks of money with all the finishings being of the highest quality, but leaving you in no doubt that a lot of it is simply to make you appreciate those that own the club are loaded beyond belief.

Onto the match. We took our place in the very front row of the boxes and despite it feeling a lot like a fish bowl with fans around and below looking on the seats were excellent. The heated option only required when it all went a little cold around the half hour mark.

We started a la QPR, sitting too far back and watching them make pretty patterns without actually looking like scoring. A bit of luck came our way and a break from Gabby should really have brought a goal. Had it gone in we don't know what might have happened - the thought we may have held on being outweighed by the opposing thought that it may have sparked them into gear ever sooner.

A corner into box, smacking into Micah Richards' chest and sitting up nicely for Balotelli to finish with a scissor kick over his BIG head (Doug taught him that y'know) and you could see the belief draining from our players' faces.

The belief may have but their credit the effort was still on show, unlike numerous other occasions in pretty recent memory when going behind to the 'Big' clubs. And at HT I thought 1-0 was fair enough and hoped that Big Eck would read them the riot act and the 2nd half would be an improvement. Anything said in the dressing room was out of the window inside 90seconds of the restart,having just missed a good chance to equalise in front of our very vocal supporters, and as we were still on the way down to our seats (behind ITVP nonetheless) Stephen Warnock missed a hopeful punt from Yaya Toure and Adam Johnson somewhat scuffed the ball passed a helpless Shay Given, and we all thought it could well be a case of how many from thereon. Sure enough less than five mins later it was three as Kompany strolled in unopposed and beat Darren Bent at the near post for a simple goal.

At 3-0 we feared that it could turn into a rout yet the introduction of wee Barry brought immediacy into the middle of the park and from good work out left by Gabby, the ball got a slight touch from Charles N'Zogbia (damn you fantasy points....) and was hammered passed a shocked Joe Hart for the first league goal at 'The Council House', sorry Etihad against City since 1st May.

So just as we thought that maybe, just maybe, we had a chance City brought on £42m worth of subs and Owen Hargreaves (leaving the other £70m to rest....) and City restored the three goal difference with a class goal and class (lack of) celebration from James Milner.

It was then over as a contest and you got the feeling that try as hard as Villa did, and the continued effort was good to see, City had another gear if required due to Silva who was sublime.

And there we had it a good effort from the lads for me but we simply were not clinical on our half chances and City were, thus giving them the luxury to play with the confidence a lead gives you. For me the MotM was not the petulant Balotelli (what did he do in front of the Villans who laughed as he slipped at 0-0?) but Gareth Barry who it seemed was at the heart of everything City did.

Ratings in a game like this are hard to give as no-one can come out of it with credit but I'll give the lads a hearty 7 all round for effort and not giving up this time, and to Big Eck - well at least we tried with 3 attackers but Emile was blowing hard well before he came off and for me was lost out wide when there. Though to be fair the 3 attackers all worked back and rotated the role of being the 1 up top quite well, something that hasn't always been evident.

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As I said in the ratings thread

I still think it is allowed to be disappointed by a Villa defeat? I always want us to win

I'd also like to say I hate Man Citeh, a no mark club with no mark fans. I also despise Gillingham for not being able to hold on to a win a few years back. However on saying that would I swap our position for theirs? Damn right

Does that make me jealous? Maybe but I want to see my club winning things again and being successful, that will not happen under the current set up. I want us to be the best in the country, europe, the world and that is where they are heading and it frustrates the hell out of me that they are a club that have come from nothing to do so and we have been established in this league and on the brink for so long.

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Thanks for the report Lancs.

Milner showed class with his reaction to scoring against us and Balotelli showed the opposite. The result sadly was as anticipated as is the gulf between the performances and expectations of the two sides that this game demonstrated now that their investment has kicked on and our own has dried up.

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