Manchester City 1 Blackpool 0

Barclay’s Premier League
Saturday 1 January 2011, 15.00 KO

City: Hart, Boateng, Lescott, Kompany, Kolarov (Zabaleta 60), de Jong, Barry, Y Touré (Vieira 85), Silva (Milner 64), A Johnson, Tevez (c)
Unused: Given, Richards, Wright-Phillips, Jo
Goals: A Johnson (34)

Referee: Mark Clattenburg
Man of the Match: Nigel de Jong

City began the first game of 2011 with all guns blazing and had two excellent chances to take the lead in the opening 90 seconds. First, Tevez slid a shot wide as he stole the ball on the edge of the box, before Silva sent a low cross towards Touré, but he couldn’t stretch to reach it.

Blackpool then had a golden chance to take the lead and probably would have done through Gary Taylor-Fletcher were it not for a brilliant saving tackle from Lescott, yards away from the goal.

Lescott turned attacker shortly after, but he couldn’t find room for the shot after Kolarov’s corner was only cleared to the edge of the box, before Tevez overran the ball when he could have slipped in Johnson for a chance to shoot.

With 13 minutes played, it was Joe Hart who was called upon to make the first save of the game, as a poor clearance found its way to Taylor-Fletcher in the box. He turned and shot towards the top corner, but Hart got across well to push it behind.

Five minutes later, Silva should have buried a shot from the penalty spot after he hit it first time from a Tevez low cross, but, uncharacteristically, he got his angles wrong and skewed the ball wide of the post, as City looked to press home their early dominance.

Just after the half hour, Tevez forced Kingston into an excellent save, as he broke into the box and fired towards the top corner. But the Blackpool keeper was off his feet well and flicked the ball over the bar.

Shortly after, though, City’s hard work came to fruition. A corner was only half-cleared to Johnson on the edge of the box and the winger took a touch to control before firing low and hard through the crowd. It flicked off Crainey’s ankles and beat Kingston into the back of the net.

A minute later, Tevez had the chance to double City’s lead after Yaya Touré was hauled down in the area by Varney. The little Argentinean, though, pulled his kick wide and Blackpool were off the hook.

City started the second half slower than they finished the first, with some slack passing almost letting the visitors in. There was then the chance for the second goal for Jerome Boateng, after a good touch from Adam Johnson from a City corner, but the German defender slipped and pulled his shot over the bar.

With 54 minutes on the clock, Joe Hart was called into action again, saving from Matt Phillips, before a break from Yaya Touré could have seen City in a more comfortable position but for the intervention of Richard Kingston’s left boot – the midfielder carried the ball all the way to the edge of the box, but couldn’t get past the visiting keeper.

With an hour played, City lost Silva to injury, before Lescott almost put Blackpool in with a poor backpass, but, fortunately for the home side, Joe Hart was out quickly to clear, just in time.

With 69 minutes played, Tevez should have killed all of the Blackpool threat, as he picked up the ball from Johnson and was through on goal. He rounded the goalkeeper and tried to switch it back to his right foot, but he slipped in the process, giving the defence time to get back.

Tevez missed again from just inside the box after some great work by Milner to get a low ball in, before Blackpool wasted a free kick from 35 yards and Zabaleta needed to be alert to prevent a quick breakaway from a City corner.

As the game approached the final ten minutes, City began to drop deeper and Blackpool pushed forward, looking for their equaliser. Eardley went close, but Joe Hart was equal to his drive from range, tipping it over the bar, before Hart again had to palm a goalward header over.

Zabaleta set up Tevez as stoppage time approached to try and kill the game off, but he couldn’t find the target as he fired wide. Blackpool tried to launch one last attack, but a combination of Kompany and Boateng got in the way and, in the end, the home side were thankful to hear the full time whistle.

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