City hold strong against QPR to gain all three points...
In our third game of the season, City held strong and gained three points. It really should of been over by half-time with City having at least half a dozen significant chances. But it wasn't until the third goal late in stoppage time that it became clear City were going to take all three points and go into the international break with a total of seven points. Before the game City fans applauded Wright-Phillips and Onouha when their names were read out on the team sheet. A great sign of respect for two former City men.
City started exceptionally well, bombing forward at ease and playing some lovely passes. Up until the 16th minute the only criticism you could have of City was they just couldn't finish such good play off with a goal. It was not a surprise though when Man City took the lead through Yaya Toure. After an effort from Tevez it fell to the Ivorian who powered it, with too much venom for the keeper Rob Green, into the top of the net. The goal came as a relief for City and with the team playing so well it seemed like it would be hard for QPR to come back. The Hoops' defence looked very poor, and they must have been fearing the worst.
But as the half went on City looked less of a threat, though QPR were far from attacking in the first period. City's defence had looked fairly assured with Vincent "Captain Fantastic" Kompany putting in the challenges at will. Lescott did his job at the back too. Zabaleta had another superb game and later on hit the crossbar from a tight angle. He is proving why Mancini played him ahead of Richards towards the end of last season (Richards is injured currently). It will be interesting to see if he is played ahead of Maicon. Like most fans, I hope so. Possession stats were very much in favour of City and at times it reached 75% City.
The star of the first half for me was Rodwell. The former Everton midfielder has fitted quickly into the City midfield and he had an assured game against QPR. His partnership with Yaya is already starting to take shape, with the two regularly exchanging passes to move City up the field. He also looked dangerous going forward, although he lacked a bit of confidence to finish the move on occasions when he looked best placed to shoot.
After both managers gave their troops their team talks, QPR started the second half with some improving play. With an hour gone, QPR got the equaliser from a defensive clearance that was hit back in and after a brilliant save from Hart, it then was an easy goal for Zamora who headed it past Hart from close range. Given what happened last time QPR were at the Etihad, when they drew level and then went on to get a second, there were a few anxious City faces around the stadium. But it didn't stay equal for long, with Dzeko getting a goal after a half-volleyed cross from Tevez. After this, QPR had two great chances to pull level again but luckily for City they both fell to Ryan Nelson. The first one was a ball sent in, City couldn't defend it and when it dropped in front of Nelson after a knock-on from Onouha, he hit it well wide. The warning signs were certainly there for City and soon after QPR had another great chance, this time a free-kick whipped across the box that everyone missed, including Hart and QPR's Nelson. All City fans breathed a big sigh of relief.
QPR continued to look dangerous, pushing forward on the counter-attack, and it didn't really help City's cause when Mancini decided to bring Kolo Toure on. Kolo looked tentative and misplaced a number of passes in his first few minutes. Defensively it was nervy to say the least, though Kompany and Zabaleta put in good performances. Kolorov did ok but his tackling was reckless, particularly one lunge which some QPR fans thought he was lucky to stay on the pitch for.
The game remained in the balance right up until the final minutes. With injury time being played out, Milner came on for City and sent a classy 50 yard pass across field, much to the liking of the fans, but the chance come to nothing. Just as it looked like it would end 2-1, City found a third goal. Pressing QPR, the ball fell to Dzeko in the box and he scuffed his shot, firing it straight at Tevez who diverted the ball into the net past a helpless Green.
Overall City passed well but their finishing wasn't clinical enough, especially in the first half, and the defence looked vulnerable at times. Against QPR this didn't prove a problem but when we come up against tougher opposition we could be more exposed. QPR were poor at the back and lacked imagination and creativity on the ball, relying heavily on Zamora's strength in attack. They will struggle this season if they don't improve.
Hart - decent saves and was unlucky to concede - 7/10
Zabaleta - had another great game and almost got a goal - 8/10
Kompany - tackled well and looked assured on the ball - 8/10
Lescott - looked decent in the first half but faded towards the end - 7/10
Kolorov - put a good shift in but going forward he was frustrating at times - 6/10
Nasri - great passing, had a good game - 8/10
Yaya Toure - well taken goal and yet again he was City's playmaker - 8/10
Rodwell - had an excellent game and most City fans' man of the match - 9/10
Silva - missed a good chance in the first half, but worked hard throughout - 8/10
Tevez - superb again, putting in so many runs and got a deserved if lucky goal - 9/10
Dzeko - positive signs and took his goal well - 8/10
Kolo Toure - 5/10
Milner - 6/10
Razak - 6/10