The victory against Arsenal in the quarter-finals of the League Cup has been discredited by some due to the team they chose to field. That, of course, is something we had no control over, and the twelve players who were picked have the best part of 1,000 senior top-flight games between them, so for all the likes of Eastmond, Watt and Wilshere lack experience it wasn't as if we simply had to turn up and whip a bunch of schoolkids. Shaun Wright-Phillips was quite blatantly the best player on the park, and quite frankly terrorised Armand Traore.
Beating Chelsea at home will no doubt be most supporters game of the season so far. It was a terrific team performance, and we really beat the best team in the country at their own game, reducing them to frequent episodes of petulance. We out-fought them, and to a certain degree 'won ugly'. Several members of the Chelsea midfield are still allegedly in Nigel de Jong's back pocket, and Joleon Lescott, Carlos Tevez, and penalty hero Shay Given also stood out, though in truth it feels wrong not to mention everybody.
A double dose of hooky officiating at Bolton meant that the point earned wasn't a complete disaster, but the promising defensive signs from the previous two fixtures well and truly went for a burton. Occasional glimpses of brilliant football, none more encouraging than Micah Richards fourth goal in City colours, were rendered null and void by yet more calamity amongst the back four. Carlos Tevez' rescue job meaning we were then an unlucky thirteen undefeated.
In all honesty we were on the end of a bit of a pasting at White Hart Lane, a decent amount of possession but absolutely no penetration in the final third. By the sounds of it the decision to replace the manager had already been taken, but such a bad defeat seemed to be the straw that broke the camel's back for lots of supporters who had been big 'Hughes In'ers previously; three poor goals to concede and a lack of effort from the attack, it was pretty woeful.
Sunderland was the same old story; initially encouraging but then a bout of the wobbles. Events unfolding off the pitch overshadowed anything that happened on it, and seeing Mark Hughes hung out to dry was an episode i'm sure most of us would sooner forget. Roque Santa Cruz showed the first real signs that he will play a vital part in the season, and fans darling Craig Bellamy threatened to rip the Mackems to shreds.
Roberto Mancini's debut proved encouraging if fairly uneventful. Disciplined at the back and a performance which saw the Italian experiment with his side as events were unfolding, certainly signs of early promise in both respects. Gareth Barry was dominant in midfield, Toure and Kompany both commanding at the back, Tevez busy as always, and Shay Given again making vital stops.
Yesterday's 0-3 victory at Wolves was a pleasant surprise. Though they had periods of heavy possession we coped admirably with all they threw at us, both centre-halves again imperious. Martin Petrov's distribution also warrants a mention, and as the game wore on enforcers Barry and de Jong stamped their authority. However, the game was won by the terrific movement of front two Carlos Tevez and Craig Bellamy, and the fact that Roberto again fiddled with the shape of the side to positive results is absolutely refreshing.
Picking a Player of the Month isn't particularly difficult. Eight goals in seven starts means that Carlos Tevez will be a shoe-in wherever the question is being asked. Not only does he appear to have found his shooting boots but he epitomises what every fan wants to see in their side; a player who gives his all no matter of the situation, opposition or how things might be going form-wise.
As well as the more noted facets of his game, namely his work rate, we're seeing a player whose movement and footballing brain are making the side tick. On his move here we were assured that he couldn't finish, and that he was slow, or had poor close control. Those naive statements are already being proven folly, and certainly a case of sour grapes from those who profess to be fans of that other lot.
December: Carlos Tevez