20 August 2005

Birmingham 1-2 Man City

A fun game to watch for the neutral, with loads of back-and-forth action. Nicky Butt's early goal was equalled on 20 minutes by Joey Barton. Butt's goal was the result of some chaos in the box, caused by a nicely worked cross from Julian Gray. Barton's goal came after a nice set of passes down the right channel and a shot from Darius Vassell that spun onto Barton's feet. The winner for Citeh came right after the half. Trevor Sinclair sent a looping cross to the far post, which Andy Cole buried on a nice shot from the half-volley.

The rest of the game continued the back-and-forth pace, with good opportunities on both sides. Birmingham fans will no doubt feel aggrieved due to a couple penalty appeals, especially a clear handball from Stephen Jordan.

I was nervous to see Claudio Reyna go down under a poor challenge from Muzzy Izzet. It's never good to see your national team captain waving for treatment. He was subbed out a few minutes later, but not before some solid action, so hopefully there's nothing serious. He looked quite good for the US on Wednesday, and had good moments in today's game too. I'd hate to see him miss the Mexico game on 3 September.

It'll be interesting to see how these two teams develop over the season. Both have some real potential to position themselves up the table. Man City in particular have underachieved for a couple years, and it wouldn't surprise me to see them challenge for a place in Europe. Today was a good start for them in that quest.

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