City brush aside woeful Blues
By James Pearson. Last Updated: 17/12/05 7:10pm
Manchester City maintained their 100 percent record in front of the Sky cameras this season as they brushed aside Birmingham City 4-1 at The City of Manchester Stadium.
The home side were two-up early on thanks to a rare goal from David Sommeil and penalty from Joey Barton before Antoine Sibierski added another before half time.
Substitute Bradley Wright-Phillips bagged City's fourth with virtually his first touch although Blues had the final say when another substitute Jiri Jarosik netted from distance.
Blues made a shambolic start to the contest and nearly went behind after 10 seconds when Vassell's finesse finish from Sibierski's flick-on was palmed wide by keeper Nico Vaesen.
From the resulting corner the deadlock was broken with Sibierski knocking the set-piece down to Vassell who teed up the ball for Sommeil to lash home from close range.
Shortly after, Trevor Sinclair sent Vassell clear and he knocked the ball past Vaesen in the penalty area before going down in a heap leaving referee Steve Bennett with little choice but to give the spot kick.
Barton, who missed from the penalty spot at Charlton, made no mistake this time around to give City the perfect start to the clash.
Steve Bruce could barely believe what was transpiring in front of his eyes and opted to change things around by bringing on striker Mikael Forssell for the awful Olivier Tebily and Jermaine Pennant for David Dunn.
However, City added to their lead when Sibierski capped a fine first-half display with a goal of his own five minutes before the interval - following more woeful defending from the visitors.
The French midfielder's run into the box was perfectly timed and he rose majestically over Walter Pandiani to head City three-up.
It was almost four before the interval, but Nedum Onuoha's header from Sun Jihai's corner floated just over Vaesen's under-siege goal.
City continued to dominate after the interval with Vassell attempting to score cheekily at the near post before Barton had a long-range drive superbly tipped wide by Vaesen.
The chances kept coming to the home side and Vassell should have done better from Barton's deep cross, but the pacey striker somehow scooped his header over from close range.
Seconds later Pandiani's scuffed shot found its way to substitute Forssell who poorly headed over the bar in what was a rare chance for the visitors.
Stuart Pearce opted to give Vassell a well-deserved rest for the remainder of the game, although one could be forgiven in thinking he was still on when his replacement netted.
Wright-Phillips had only been on the pitch a minute when he connected with Sibierski's cushioned header to score with a fine half-volley finish.
Blues did have the ball in the net shortly after but substitute Jarosik's cross was deemed to have crossed the dead-ball line prior to Nicky Butt tapping home in the middle.
The travelling fans did have something to cheer moments after when Jarosik collected Pennant's pass before lashing a fine left-footed shot inside David James' right hand post.
Just when it looked like Blues' day might not get any worse, they finished with 10 men when Vaesen was shown his second yellow card for handling outside the area.
With no replacements left for manager Bruce, Stephen Clemence finished the contest in goal but thankfully for the midfielder he had no save to make before time expired.
Click below for Manchester City v Birmingham City player ratings.
|Manchester City||Team Name||Birmingham City|
|10||Shots on target ( Inc Goals )||2|
|7||Shots off Target (inc woodwork)||4|
|19||Total Fouls Conceded||14|
Barclays Premier League
|12||West Ham United||38||47|
|13||West Bromwich Albion||38||44|
|20||Queens Park Rangers||38||30|