Wilmslow Express - - SPORTS -

EPORTS of the demise of Yaya Toure are greatly ex­ag­ger­ated.

The big Ivo­rian has been writ­ten offff, ques­tioned, slated and painted as aman on the thresh­old of the exit door in re­cent weeks.

But he re­minded ev­ery­one that, when his head is screwed on right, he is still a player who can take a game in the grip of his mighty paws and squeeze it un­til the op­po­si­tion pips squeak.

He was not alone. ThThere were oth­ers in this City team whose right to wear the sky blue have been ques­tioned in re­cent times – and­most of them rose to the chal­lenge and made a state­ment.

No- one should get too car­ried away as West Ham looked like a team al­ready dreaming of the hotspots of Dubai, or Do­minique, or wher­ever foot­ballers spend their sum­mers th­ese days.

But City needed a dom­i­nant dis­play, needed to re­mind them­selves that they ARE still cham­pi­ons, and can still play qual­ity foot­ball.

They did just that, and the men with ques­tion­marks hang­ing over their heads turned them into ex­cla­ma­tion marks.

Fer­nando and Eli­aquim Man­gala have both been branded flops, but they stepped up and put in their bright­est per­for­mances for a long time.

Fer­nando pro­vided the cover that al­lowed Yaya Toure lee­way to stride for­ward and cre­ate may­hem, and Man­gala in be­hind him was strong, res­o­lute, and win­ning the one- on- one du­els that he lost too fre­quently ear­lier in the sea­son.

Peo­ple have also writ­ten off Je­sus Navas and, in­ter­est­ingly, he was up against a left- back, Aaron Cress­well, who has been linked with the Blues.

ThThe fact that he de­stroyed Cress­well, forc­ing James Collins to score an own goal and then linked bril­liantly with Ser­gio Aguero to set up the sec­ond goal, spoke of his un­ful­filled prom­ise.

With the Blues turn­ing on some lovely foot­ball, right on cue, the low­er­ing grey clouds parted, and a bright beamof sun­shine flflooded the Eti­had Sta­dium, as if or­dered by City’s events depart­ment. ThThe weather re­flflflected the mood as the Blues went into this game in a grey mood, hav­ing slumped to fourth place in the league, left look­ing over their shoul­der at chas­ing Liver­pool, and see­ing Ar­se­nal and United scoot­ing into the top three au­to­matic qual­i­fi­ca­tion places.

Now they face As­ton Villa next week, in an­other home game, the day be­fore United travel to Ever­ton.

If the Blues win that one, they leapfrog back above the Reds into third place, and the world al­ways looks a bet­ter place to City fans froma view­point above their ri­vals.

It is too early to trum­pet that City are back – they need to pro­duce this kind of dis­play against bet­ter, more com­mit­ted op­po­nents fi­first – but it is cer­tainly the start of their re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion.

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