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By Doug Higginbottom, Fri 21 September 2012 13:04
Nineteen players out today, plus five keepers, so that's all except Micah, Maicon and Nasri. The latter two picking up injuries in the Madrid game. Mario out very early chatting with coaches and then enjoying some banter with the lads and probably snapped by Sharon in some byplay with Yaya ending with a hat perched on a pole. Some early jogging, loosening stuff was followed by Mancini taking the full defensive unit away for some work leaving that attacking players to do their work passing/crossing and scoring.The defensive session would have been every interesting to know exactly what was worked on. It lasted quite a long time and there was plenty of focus on the the shape and working as a unit, no doubt highlighting issues from Tuesday. I was very close to the keepers so got a front row seat as Massimo worked the keepers. As with the rest of the overall sessions it started a little slowly but got livelier. They always work hard and especially today on routines testing not just shot saving but on how quickly they can get up after one save for a shot into the other corner. Massimo is never shy in letting them know when he isnt happy with something. That in turn might wind the keeper up and the interplay between them is really good. Massimo screaming stuff in Italian to Costel and his loud response was worth the entry fee and with that the session grew in intensity and certainly I enjoyed it :)Everyone back together for a pass, move game which was quite sharp as the session continued to pick up and then it was game time. 11 against 10 and I moved around to be just behind Joe's goal. That meant I could hear pretty well everything Joe said which is a lot, as he very vocal in screaming instructions/warnings to his defenders as well as shouting praise whenever it's deserved.An early great block from Joleon was followed by a neat Yaya goal. A tap in at the end but neat interplay, I think with Zaba made the chance. Nearly a penalty for Kolarov with Kolo pleading his innocence before a top strike from Sergio made it 2-0. Low into the keeper's right gave him no chance. Edin scored shortly after to cries from Joe of "on fire Edin". Then a superb save by Joe from a point blank Mario chance. The ball going back to Mario who kept his cool to score.A blocked clearance feel kindly for Mario to score again and then another fell kindly for him to fire home a 3rd and bring the scores equal. Yaya then set Edin up for a tap in and then a beauty from Mario with a dipping shot just under the bar tied it up again rounded the game up. Most enjoyable and the strikers looking in very good nick. It looked like a shooting session was on the cards at the end as SS lined up on the wing and plenty of players lining up in the middle. Mancini spent a bit of time chatting to SS and then with the rest of the players but then they went in. Not sure what it was about but I was treated to a session of Kolarov shots from just outside the box. They really are unsaveable when he gets it right as Wright found out. The only two others staying for more work were Kolo and Clichy which is the norm for those two.