On Saturday 29th October I went to the Etihad Stadium to watch Premiership leaders Manchester City play Wolves.
With Chesterfield playing away at Brentford, we decided to go to a different game and Manchester City v Wolves seemed like a good choice. I had only been to one other Premiership match, Sunderland v Chelsea in 2008, so I was very excited about going to this game. The ticket prices helped confirm our decision which at £25 for my Dad and just £5 for me meant we could watch one of the best teams in English football for less money than many teams in lower divisions!
We caught the train to Manchester and after a short walk we arrived at the Etihad Stadium in plenty of time. We walked all around the outside of the ground, taking pictures and soaking up the atmosphere around the ground. I had been to the stadium once before for a ground tour a few years ago, but I had never seen a game so it was nice to see the stadium on a match day. Highlights of City’s remarkable 6-1 victory over their biggest rivals Manchester United were being played on the big screen outside and receiving a loud cheer after each goal from the crowd.
We went in to the club shop which was huge and you could buy anything from dartboards to monopoly games with the Manchester City theme. Finally before going in to the ground we headed to the main entrance and I had a picture with City goalkeeping legend Joe Corrigan, who made 476 appearances for City as well as playing 9 times for England. I also had a picture with ex-Chesterfield player and manager Kevin Randall, who is now QPR’s chief scout, as he was arriving to watch the game.
The inside of the Etihad Stadium was magnificent and I really like the way the stands curve at the top to make it look different to many ‘bowl’ designs that many new stadiums have. We were sat behind one of the goals on the third row of the bottom tier, giving us a brilliant view of the near goal but not such a good view of the net at the opposite end.
City came in to this game sitting 5 points clear at the top of the Premiership table and they had scored more goals than any other side had in the top division at this stage of the season ever. Meanwhile, Wolves sat 2 points above the relegation zone and they were massive underdogs in today’s game.
After City’s 6-1 victory at Old Trafford the previous week and then a 5-2 victory over today’s opponents Wolves in the Carling Cup in midweek, big things were expected from the now favourites to win the title. However, the first half was frustrating for City as Wolves kept them at bay.
An inspired first half performance from Wolves goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey helped keep the game goalless and he was involved in the action from the first minute when he tipped Samir Nasri’s shot over the crossbar. Two more excellent saves from Hennessey as well as quite a few missed opportunities from City kept the score at 0-0. Wolves rarely threatened the goal in the first 45 minutes but they defended well and the first half finished level.
For the second half City were shooting towards the goal that we were sat behind meaning we got to see a lot more of the action. The game greatly improved and City finally broke the deadlock on the 52nd minute. Sergio Aguero charged down Hennessey’s clearance and the ball fell straight in to the path of Edin Dzeko, who put the ball in to open goal to put the home side ahead.
15 minutes later it was 2-0 to City courtest of an Aleksander Kolarov goal. David Silva’s curled shot was tipped away by the Wolves keeper, but the ball fell straight to Kolarov who was left with a simple tap in to double the lead.
Wolves were given a lifeline when Joe Hart palmed away a long range effort and Vincent Kompany brought down Kevin Doyle as he rushed to get to the rebound. The referee gave a penalty and showed Kompany a straight red card. Stephen Hunt scored from the spot on the 75th minute to give Wolves a glimmer of hope.
Wolves went looking for an equaliser but never really looked like salvaging a point and the City victory was confirmed in stoppage time with a wonderful 30 yard shot from Adam Johnson that flew in to the bottom corner to make the score 3-1.
The win keeps City 5 points clear of second placed United, while Wolves fall to 17th in the table. City are still yet to lose this season and it is difficult to see anyone stopping them this season or for many years to come.
I really enjoyed my day at the Etihad Stadium watching top class football played by some of the best players in the world in one of the best stadiums.