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By Doug Higginbottom, Fri 16 December 2011 14:48
Snow on the ground today and the higher fences were visible from the road as I arrived. I thought they would have a day off today so went to the main gate to see what was happening and whilst chatting the players rolled in in their cheap cars!! Got a wave and a smile or two and training was due to start at noon. I assumed there would be no viewing with the high fences up but walked around to check and so far they only cover about 2/3rds of the pitches and with the snow around it turned out today they would train where I could see anyway.Photographers there did say that the fences wouldnt stop them taking pictures as the netting was see through but I doubt that .In any event I think what is up so far is just step one and an extra covering will be going up. First pictures taken today will ,or should have been, of Micah and Mario together chatting and joking as usual but will they make the papers. Not if Daniel Taylor of the News of the World (that's about his standard isn't it?) has anything to do with it. I suppose and he seems to prefer the negative stuff.The photographers said they take loads of pictures and send them off but who wants pictures of a happy squad enjoying training!A full session again today with 20 outfield players involved. A specific area had been swept clear of the snow which was therefore used for everything today as the squad broke into two groups for all the usual warm up routines. Mancini then did specific work with 2 separate teams on a variety of passing movements with emphasis, as ever, on positonal work both in general play as well as for defending free kicks and corners. The 2 teams were very mixed teams rather than what might be considered a first or second string. It wouldnt matter much anyway as the work done was precisely the same for each "team".Into a game then and some wonderful goals scored. Mario looked in great nick and not just because of the goals but his all round effort and movement. His first goal of 2 was a ferocious low drive which the keeper had no chance of getting to. Milner and AJ scored, also with strong shots but the best 2 for me were from Aguero. First with a lovely dink over the keeper from an angle which crept in even with a despairing effort on the line from Milner. And the best of the lot when he got a ball centrally in the box. He was back to goal with defenders all around but audaciously back heeled it into the corner.That goal ended the game which had been a 9 a side game as 4 players had gone in early. No injury issues just a bit extra rest I am sure. After the game as most went in Mancini called the 3 strikers over for a little extra and specific work with him whilst AJ and Milner stayed for shooting practice yet again. They were then joined by the strikers and there was a feast of some great finishing and some equally great saves.