Macken leads rout as City prepare to take on Arsenal

Manchester City 7 - Barnsley 1
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The Independent Online

Manchester City put their indifferent Premiership form to one side last night, finding the feeble opposition of Barnsley, the League One outfit, much more to their liking.

Manchester City put their indifferent Premiership form to one side last night, finding the feeble opposition of Barnsley, the League One outfit, much more to their liking.

One more goal would have doubled their total for the entire season, but since their next match is against Arsenal, here on Saturday, it was hardly the ideal preparation. On the positive side, they wasted little energy with six goals in 34 minutes either side of half-time rendering the rest of the match a procession.

The game marked the debut of Bradley Wright-Phillips, as a second-half substitute, but it was his older brother Shaun who did most of the damage. Antoine Sibierski and Jon Macken both scored twice, with Joey Barton, Willo Flood and Wright-Phillips Snr also on target.

"We had a little bit too much for them tonight," said Kevin Keegan, the City manager. "It was another good result for us. We'll have to step it up again on Saturday, but we've got a chance if we play to our maximum for all 90 minutes."

A modest crowd at the City of Manchester Stadium lent an air of apathy to the early stages that seemed to extend to Ben Thatcher. He was caught in possession and when Nicky Wroe met Chris Shuker's cross, only a smart stop from Ronald Waterreus prevented Barnsley from going ahead.

That was as good as it got for the South Yorkshire team. Once Barton had sent a fierce, rising drive beyond Nicky Colgan in the Barnsley goal midway through the first half, the match was as good as over.

"We were OK for 20 minutes but then we contributed to our own downfall," said Paul Hart, the Barnsley manager. "Our defending was ordinary but then that's what you'd expect, because we've got three central defenders out at the moment and we had to have a reshuffle. They were too good for us."

Before half-time, City had added a further four. Shaun Wright-Phillips, playing as an auxiliary striker, set up Macken for a simple far-post header before Flood, making only his second appearance, put the result beyond doubt with his first senior goal. Shaun Wright-Phillips added the fourth, chipping Colgan with ease, and there was still time before the break for Macken to add a second.

Perhaps out of sympathy, Barton presented the ball to Barnsley a minute after half-time on the edge of his own penalty area and Barry Conlon beat Waterreus easily to reduce the deficit. Wright-Phillips Snr laid on the sixth for Sibierski, with the midfielder heading a second shortly before the end to complete Barnsley's misery.

Manchester City (4-4-2): Waterreus; Sun Jihai, Mills, Distin (Sommeil, 46), Thatcher (Jordan, 46); Flood, Bosvelt, Barton, Sibierski; S Wright-Phillips, Macken (B Wright-Phillips, 46). Substitutes not used: Stuhr-Ellegaard (gk), Croft.

Barnsley (4-3-1-2): Colgan; Burns, Hassell, Kay, R Williams (Boulding, 31); T Williams, McPhail, Wroe; Shuker (Nardiello, 67); Chopra, Conlon. Substitutes not used: Scarsella (gk), Stallard, Tonge.

Referee: J Robinson (Yorkshire).

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