Verdict: Queens Park Rangers 2 Manchester City 3
Goals: Bothroyd 28, Helguson 69 for QPR. Dzeko 43, Silva 52, Y Toure 74 for City.
City came through what proved to be one of their toughest tests so far courtesy of goals from Dzeko, Silva and Yaya Toure. This was a performance lacking the usual cohesion as several players appeared to suffer a Champions League hangover.
It should be remembered that Roberto Mancini changed six of the starters from Wednesday to keep the side fresh. For some reason it didn’t work as our passing was noticeably less sharp.
This season City have dominated possession and knocked the ball around to outmanouvre the opposition for long spells. Against QPR we unable to repeat this as Joey Barton and co had the better passing stats.
Yaya has played a lot of games while Silva had been a doubt with his back injury. That left Gareth Barry in central midfield and the England player rarely dominates the opposition on his own.
At the back, Micah Richards had one of his poorer games in terms of passing while the most notable absentee was Vincent Kompany.
Stefan Savic is a fine defender with the ball, yet here was a reminder of how much he has to learn without it. The biggest concern was his inability to deal with Helguson or Bothroyd in the air.
Savic has a good jump but that doesn’t always make up for a lack of height. Richards, Onuoha and Kolo Toure have all had the same problem against strikers of 6′ 2″ or more.
On the ground one challenge nearly conceded a penalty and a fluffed attempt to block a cross led to the second goal. These are mistakes which can be ironed out and hopefully Stefan will learn from the experience.
If Kolo Toure can find some form, then he might be a better bet in this kind of fixture. If Kolo is on the move in January then Mancini may well be in the market for a quality centre-half to back up the Kompany-Lescott pairing.
In attack City were once again ruthless as QPR’s defence looked weak whenever we got at them. Their decision to sit back after making the score 2-2 was very costly.
City weren’t at their best but when we moved forward, there always appeared the chance of a goal. Aguero had a quiet game, yet still went close with several fierce strikes.
Dzeko went from having a poor 40 minutes to being a contender for man of the match with his fine goal followed by the cross for Silva’s strike. It was a game where moments of quality were just enough.
For once Mancini’s substitutes didn’t have a significant impact, yet City dug deep and found enough of last season’s defensive organisation to close out the game. Having gone behind for the first time in the league this season, then having lost the lead once it would have been most un-Mancini like to lose it a second time.
The game was a thrilling one to behold, far better for neutrals than the fare served up in Villarreal. Mancini will be more concerned by the weakness without Kompany and why our passing game was so poor despite six fresh faces being brought into the side.
In terms of the league, victory was important with the other top sides also winning. Next up is the clash of the two unbeaten sides as we welcome Newcastle to the Etihad in what should be another exciting encounter.