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More of the same (City 1, Blackburn 1)

11 September 2010

Yeah, you two should be embarrassed after that ridiculousness.

City picked right up where they left of before the international break, squandering chances and gifting the opposition a goal with a mental mistake of the worst kind, en route to dropping points yet again. The talk of title contention now looks ridiculous, with Chelsea now owning a massive seven-point advantage.

The improvement that seemed so undeniable after the first two league matches offered significant improvement on those same fixtures last season suddenly looks nonexistent. For all the investment over the summer and additional time for the returning players to bed down at the club, City have the exact same point total from these four fixtures as they amassed during last season’s underachieving campaign.

It started brightly enough, as City threatened right from the start and looked far more likely to scor. Unfortunately, some errant shooting and a decent performance from a rejuvenated Paul Robinson kept them off the board.

Then Joe Hart and Kolo Touré combined to allow one of the silliest, most avoidable goals you’ll ever see. Hart inexplicably strayed outside his own box to attempt to deal with a bouncing ball, and he and Touré had a miscommunication over whose responsibility it was.  In the end, neither player did anything with it and it fell to Nikola Kalinić, who managed to control his shock over his good fortune and put the ball into the gaping goal.

Suddenly down a goal after that sucker punch, City faced a real battle in breaking down a visiting side that was out to park the bus in front of goal. They struggled initially against a Blackburn defense that often featured 10 men behind the ball, repeatedly losing the ball upon trying to enter their attacking third.

It wasn’t until Patrick Vieira turned in an excellent cross from surprise Carlos Tévez to equalize that City seemed to find their feet again. From there, it was a return of the frustration of the opening period of the match. I lost track of how many City shots either hit the post or came within a yard of it.

Mark Clattenburg must have mistaken Adam Johnson for his favorite footballer, Craig Bellamy, because he refused to award the City winger a penalty when he was hacked down in the box. Watching live, I thought Johnson might have gone down too easily, but a replay showed him to be both tripped and shoved from behind. The referee will feel as though he missed one when he sees that footage tonight.

Despite all the frustration, we seemed due for a storybook finish when Jô, in from the cold and on as a sub, ended up with the ball right on the edge of the six-yard box with seemingly acres of space in the closing minutes, only for Christopher Samba to come flying in with a sensational block to deny the Brazilian. For the second time in as many outings, it simply wasn’t City’s day.

A shower of boos from the Eastlands crowd greeted the team as they left the pitch after another inexplicable loss of points. Pascal Chimbonda and the one man display of humanity that is El-Hadji Diouf celebrated their shock result by taunting the home crowd, drawing more boos and a bottle thrown in their direction.

Trudging out of The Banshee, I was more deeply disappointed than enraged this time around. Maybe I still had the life sucked out of me from that Sunderland match. Maybe I’d just accepted Typical City would never die and they’d always find a way to screw up the sure thing, no matter who donned the shirt. Either way, it sucks.

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