Review of 2011: February
- 29 December 2011 12:45
- Posted by Alex Rowen
February made us shiver. Neil Young’s sad passing, mourned by so many, dealt City's forward-looking faithful a blow while offering a timely reminder of their rich heritage.
As with Malcolm Allison just months earlier, Young's death hit the Blues hard as football's tributes poured in. Praise came from far and wide for the striker who played a key role in a City side that boasted Colin Bell, Mike Summerbee and Francis Lee.
On the football field, there was a derby day trip to Old Trafford on the agenda, and even in-form goalkeeper Joe Hart was unable to mark his 100th appearance for the Blues by preventing that Wayne Rooney overhead kick.
So the Blues suffered defeat at the hands of their arch-rivals. Little did they know that they would get their own back in style before the season was out!
Their Europa League venture sent City to Greece for a tricky tie with Aris Thessoloniki. Unbeaten by European opposition on home soil for 40 years, Aris extended their record by holding City to a goalless draw.
The game would also be remembered for a mistake taken in good humour. Instead of City’s official squad photo in their matchday programme, Aris printed a spoof internet image that not only included City’s own stars, but a host of other familiar faces including Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Wally of ‘Where’s Wally’ fame!
Sandwiched between City’s Europa League contests came a crucial FA Cup fourth-round replay with Notts County. Having been unable to claim victory at Meadow Lane, the Blues had no such trouble on home turf as they thrashed Notts 5-0, with Patrick Vieira recording a rare double and Etihad Player of the Month Micah Richards completing the scoring.
Mancini’s side ended February just as they had started it, with a draw. Up against Fulham, Mario Balotelli’s goal was cancelled out by a Damien Duff strike as City surrendered a lead against the Cottagers for a sixth time in four years.