Player ratings: Crystal Palace v City

Given – If Ireland is Superman what does that make Shay? Once again superb in handling, positioning and shot stopping. 9

Richards – Given a tough test by Moses. Micah didn’t come through with flying colours. His additional height and strength is probably all that’s keeping Zabaleta on the bench at the moment. 5

Toure – His leadership qualities as captain are going to be essential in organising that defence. A decent showing on the night, but not at the same level as the performances against Blackburn and Wolves. 6

Lescott – Thrown in at the deep end by Hughes, but showed some quality moments. The defence was under a lot more pressure than one would have hoped. Good to see him making tackles and bringing the ball out from the back. 6

Bridge – In attack, slowly but surely there’s an understanding forming between Wayne and Robinho. In defence he’s still on his own, but continued to cope better than in the past. 6

Wright-Phillips – Our most effective attacking player on the night, scoring one and sending over the cross for the second. Some great runs, but still needs a more consistent end product. 8

Ireland – Once again the fulcrum of our attacking. His eagerness to burst into the opposition penalty area does leave the team exposed when possession is lost. 6

Barry – More timely interceptions, but not able to cover the ground quick enough when asked to hold the midfield on his own. 6

Tevez – Worked a good chance in the opening couple  of minutes but fired over. His first goal eventually came and with a little more sharpness those shooting boots should start to find the net as well. 7

Adebayor – Failed to score, but provided some excellent link up play. The Togolese continues to look a class act. 7

Robinho – We saw plenty of endeavour from the Brazilian and great control in playing in Wright-Phillips for a shot against the bar. Unlucky with one offside in particular, when he was reprimanded for cheekily lobbing the keeper. 7


Bellamy – The Welshman isn’t proving as effective from the bench as when he starts. His role seems a little unclear and isn’t getting the best out of him. 6

De Jong – Barely time for a touch, but he’s still a welcome sight. 6

Man of the match: Shay Given

Verdict: Crystal Palace 0 City 2

Goals: Wright-Phillips 50 mins and Tevez 70 mins for City.

City came through a difficult away tie in the Carling Cup thanks to second half goals from Shaun Wright-Phillips and Carlos Tevez.

Mark Hughes surprised everyone by naming a full strength team. The only change from the game against Wolves was Joleon Lescott making his debut in place of Richard Dunne. Despite this, Palace caused the Blues plenty of problems, particularly through the pacy teenage duo of Freddie Sears and Victor Moses.

As with the two Premier League games so far, City were grateful to the opposition’s lack of composure in front of goal and some inspired goalkeeping from Shay Given for victory. It’s testimony to the Irish keeper’s brilliance that he has now enjoyed four consecutive clean sheets with what has been a far from convincing defence in front of him.

Joleon Lescott probably saw a lot more action than he bargained for in a mixed debut. There was some solid defending from the 6′ 2″ midlands man who won’t lose too much in the air, and he showed composure and confidence when bringing the ball out from the back. He’s a little more mobile and definitely quicker on the turn than Dunney, so we should see some improvement in the defence as a whole.

Whether it was right for Hughes to once again play just a midfield two of Barry and Ireland in front of a defence who had never before played together is highly questionable. Once again there was precious little protection for the back four and Richards in particular wasn’t stopping a sufficient number of crosses.

Barry isn’t quick enough across the ground to do the midfield holding role on his own. Ireland looks to get forward whenever he can and is often bursting into the box ahead of the strikers. This Frank Lampard impression is fine when the ball reaches him but if we lose possession, the team is awfully vulnerable to the counter attack.

Both Tevez and Adebayor had their moments up front and the Togolese in particular is providing a whole new dimension to our attacking play. His movement and ability to link up play whilst also being a goal threat is something we haven’t seen in a long while. With all the thought and planning that goes into player fitness these days it was probably a pre-meditated decision by Hughes to give Tevez his longest runout so far.

Robinho continues to strike fear into opponents who double up on him, yet rarely stop him finding a teammate. Once again he didn’t dominate, but still showed great awareness and some fine touches. He was particularly unlucky with one offside decision that saw him haring clear. The resulting lob over the keeper and into the net only earnt him a reprimand from the referee.

Shaun Wright-Phillips turned in another impressive performance, even if he does lose the ball a little to often. A goal, an assist, a shot against the bar, and some fine runs to relieve the pressure all ensured he was our greatest threat on the night.

After all the uncomfortable moments in the first half it was a relief to see us claim the first goal. Robinho and Ireland were both involved and the Irishman slipped the ball through to Wright-Phillips. He took a touch before crashing the ball in at the near post. The power of the strike ensured it hit the back of the net before the impressive Palace keeper had time to react.

The goal took the wind out of Palace’s sails and City could have taken further advantage when Adebayor burst through, only to be stopped by the keeper. Robinho then played in Wright-Phillips who did everything right in going across the keeper and clipping it over him, only to see the ball bounce back off the bar. Ireland’s attempt to convert the rebound wasn’t the most successful piece of athleticism.

A headed goal from Tevez, courtesy of a Wright-Phillips corner, gave the Argentinian a chance to show his cupped ear goal celebration that we last saw in the derby at Old Trafford. This time he could enjoy the sound of City fans cheering.

Palace continued to have chances but the two goal cushion survived in what proved to be another entertaining game.

Mark Hughes:

“Last year we went out to Brighton and I’d made changes that night. That maybe shaped my thinking this time. We’ve got a bit of momentum at the beginning of the season, and that is important to us.”

I was hoping [Tévez] would get opportunities and thankfully he’s off the mark now. Joleon only had 24 hours with the group, but I thought he was excellent. We’ve got a bit of momentum at the beginning of the season, which is important.”

Kolo Toure:

“It was a big moment for me to lead out Manchester City. If the manager asks me to be captain regularly then I would be delighted to accept because I am really happy to be at this football club and I think as a group we can bring a lot of success here.

“It was a good win because the first half was tough. Palace played well but we knew because of the pace at which they had played they would tire and in the end of we could have scored more goals.”


The Guardian

The Independent

Manchester Evening News

MCFC site


The Times


MCFC site – match highlights

Preview: Crystal Palace v City

City embark on their Carling Cup campaign against Neil Warnock’s Crystal Palace. The Yorkshireman’s sides are usually competitive and City will need to put up a stronger showing than last season when we went out to Brighton and Nottingham Forest at the first hurdle of the domestic cups.

The good news is that our squad is far stronger than last season and ought to be more focused due to the absence of European fixtures. We could really do with good cup runs, if only to give some of our squad a regular run out. It’s difficult to predict a team, but I’m hoping Hughes sends out a strong side with the likes of Pablo Zabaleta, Martin Petrov and Nedum Onuoha getting a game rather than a host of youngsters.

City failed to produce a thumping victory in any of the pre-season fixtures, so a strong line-up and convincing victory would give a big boost to the confidence of the squad (and supporters). The last thing we need is to go out in a “typical City” performance which would unleash a torrent of pent up criticism in the media.

It will be interesting to see if there’s a role for Nigel De Jong in a pair of defensive midfielders, or whether Hughes continues with the more open 4-4-2 that has so far produced two Premier League victories. The vulnerability of this system was apparent in the second half against Wolves, and not something I’d like to chance in a one off cup game.

New signing Sylvinho is still waiting for international clearance but there is a chance Joleon Lescott could make his debut. While it would be a surprise to see Adebayor and Robinho this early in the competition, both the former Arsenal striker and Kolo Toure are in the squad.

Mark Hughes:

“There is expectation but we are enjoying that and the Carling Cup is the next match on the agenda.

“We are looking to do well in the competition especially as we have not got Europe this year so we have one fewer trophy at which to aim.

“It is a difficult tie. We know that any side of Mr Warnock’s will have a certain way of playing and a certain attitude about them which is a reflection of the manager. It is not going to be easy, far from it. We are not going to take the tie lightly.

“We will go there with a strong side. There are two views on these things. You can possibly give game time to guys that need it because we are so early in the season and maybe some of them need  a little bit more actual playing time.

“On the other hand you can say let’s be really strong and hopefully start really well and get the game put to bed and then you make changes and give people opportunities.

“So there are two schools of thought and I know which one I am erring towards.

“Which one? Everyone will find out tonight. We are not in bad shape injury wise. And they have all already been told how important we regard this tie and this competition.”

According to the official site, there’s a cash turnstile for those wishing to pay on the night.

Football ground guide to Selhurst Park

Possible line-up: Given, Zabaleta, Toure, Onuoha, McGivern, De Jong, Barry, Ireland, Petrov, Tevez, Bellamy

Prediction: 4-0 to City.