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Man City 5 – 1 Hull City

THERE WILL BE NO PREVIEW FOR THE BLACKBURN GAME AND THE REVIEW WILL PROBABLY APPEAR ON WEDNESDAY – SORRY. ENJOY THE GAME (BUT NOT IF YOU’RE A BLACKBURN FAN)

 

On a bitterly cold Boxing Day afternoon, what more could a City fan ask for than a sensational victory and a lovely, hot flask of tea at half time!! A quite stunning performance from the Blues brought a much needed and much deserved victory over a poor, deflated Hull side and moved the home team out of the relegation zone.

Blues boss Mark Hughes was able to recall Brazilian star Robinho into the side, and he promptly stuffed all my remarks about him (which can be seen in the preview for this match) right back down my throat, with a display of a genius, scoring two goals and setting up another. Hughes kept faith with the same defence which had looked shaky against West Brom, which meant that there was no place in the starting line-up for either Nedum Onuoha or Israeli international Tal Ben-Haim, although the former did secure a place on the bench. Michael Ball was again chosen ahead of Javier ‘IGHPA’ Garrido, and there was a surprising recall for the enigmatic Elano after it seemed like he had played his last game for the club. Ecuadorian goal-machine Felipe Caicedo (yes, that is Caicedo and not Caciedo ‘cos that really annoys me) was handed his first start for City after two goals in two games coming off the bench, with fellow striker Jo only on the bench.

For the visitors, manager Phil Brown was forced to play former Manchester United defender Paul McShane in an unusual left-back position, whilst there was a return to Eastlands for Brazilian midfielder Geovanni. Veteran striker Dean Windass was handed his first start of the season in place of Daniel Cousin, and it could be said, judging from his weight, that he had enjoyed Christmas dinner a little too much!!

Windass – likes his food

The game started at such a high tempo that even Usain Bolt may have struggled to keep up, and after just a couple of minutes, Jamiacan forward Marlon King had a glorious chance to put the visitors ahead. After beautifully turning Richard Dunne on the edge of the area, he wastefully shot straight a City ‘keeper Joe Hart, who tipped the shot over.  The Blues counter-attacked straight away and Robinho slashed over after a good move involving Caicedo and Ireland.

But it didn’t take long for the deadlock to be broken, and after some great marauding work from Richard Dunne,a sumptuous lob from Robinho found Ireland and it was left for the prolific Caicedo to poke home after a cross from Superman. City were running Hull ragged and Boaz Myhill, the visitors’ goalie, was forced into a full length dive to save from another Robinho effort.

Two goals in two minutes then killed the game as a contest. The first was again supplied by Ireland, who pounced on a loose header by Ian Ashbee, to cross for who else but Caicedo, who took his tally to four goals from just three games, meaning he has more goals in three matches than Darius Vassell has probably scored in his career. Just a minute later, with the visitors still shocked, Robinho got in on the act, running onto another glorious through ball from Ireland, easily going past Michael Turner, and coolly slotting the ball past Myhill in the Hull net.

Felipe Caicedo celebrates with Stephen Ireland

Goal-machine Caicedo, sporting his Emile Mpenza hairstyle, celebrates with Superman

Hull replaced another George Boateng with young Nathan Doyle in an effort to stem the flow of goals, but it had no effect as Wright-Phillips strolled down the right flank before crossing for Robinho to tap home and make it 4 – 0 at the break. Hughes made a couple of changes at half-time, with the highly impressive Caicedo replaced by Jo, and Nedum Onuoha coming on for Micah Richards.

The second half was a much more relaxed performance from the Blues, yet Wright-Phillips still had a couple of glorious opportunities to score, both of which he failed to take. Elano saw one of his trademark free-kicks deflected and scrape the outside of the post, but, against the run of play, it was Hull who scored, courtesy of Craig Fagan’s finish after a scramble in the area. Not to be outshone, City sprang into life once again, and scored a fifth goal to round off a memorable day, with Stephen Ireland scoring a deserved goal following a Robinho cross. City had tamed the Tigers!!

The Tigers were tamed (yes, I do know this is corny, sorry)

Player Ratings:

Hart – Made an important early save from King and looked comfortable when called upon, but will be disappointed not to have kept a clean sheet – 7

Zabaleta – Continues to impress. Does the dirty stuff well and tries to get forward – 7

Richards – More solid than against WBA and was taken off at the break as a precautionary – 7

Dunne – Captain fantastic. Back to his best defensively and helped set up the first goal with his run from the back – 8.5

Ball – The weak link in the defence. Was troubled many times by Mendy and needs to be replaced by IGHPA – 5

Wright-Phillips – Another fantastic performance from the little winger. Caused havoc all game and should have got himself on the score-sheet – 8.5

Kompany – Plays a crucial role in midfield, allowing all the creative talents to bomb forward, but produced another top class performance – 8

Ireland – Simply stunning. Ran the show in the first half, creating all four goals, and deserved his goal – 10

Elano – Recalled after bust-up with Hughes and was back to his brilliant best. – 8.5

Robinho – Now that is what we expect from a world-class player. Scored two and should have had a hat-trick – 10

Caicedo – My hero!! What a player. Has found his scoring boots and is banging the goals in for fun – 9.5 

Subs:

Onuoha – Fitted in well to the back four and got some valuable game time under his belt – 7

Jo – Very disappointing again. Sopends more time on his backside than he does on his feet. Needs to spend some time in the gym – 3.5

Fernandes – Thank god he only came on for the last five minutes, otherwise we might have lost the game. Dreadful, dreadful, dreadful – No time to mark

Men of the Match: Stephen Ireland and Robinho

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