Sunday, 26 October 2014

Halloween came early!

All Hallows’ Eve – All over the place!

That has to be the worse defensive display I’ve seen from a Manchester City side…certainly in the last decade.


Managers don’t like to do it and, for the most part these days, players are also very diplomatic when asked questions following games etc; preferring to, understandably, keep things ‘in house’. I’m neither a player nor a manager…

I’ll absolve Hart & Zabaleta who, under the circumstances of having to almost defend alone yesterday, did what they could – particularly Zabaleta who was straining every sinew in order to try and almost single handily hold things together.

I was almost at the point of being disgusted with Vincent Kompany’s behaviour yesterday and how the heck he stayed on the pitch I will never know! For a Captain he should have used his still CLEARLY obvious frustrations following the midweek game in Russia and used them in a different way. He was petulant to say the least and could quite easily have put us in an even more vulnerable situation at Upton Park yesterday. Sort your head out before next weekend Vinny mate…

Regular readers will know that I’ve been banging on for over 18 months or more about the need for us to sign a quality left back and I was very sad not to see us do so this summer-gone. However, my wish for new blood in this area of the team was mostly, I have to admit, due to my doubts about Aleksandar Kolarov as a defender.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think Gael Clichy is absolutely ‘TOP quality’ but I’ve always felt more comfortable with him back there than Aleks. But yesterday…jeeeze! What a ‘mare he had!

And finally (for the defence at least)…did we sign two Eliaquim Mangalas in the summer and, if so, why did we only play the good one against Chelsea? Perhaps he’s an identical twin and he sometimes fancies a few days off (far too many for my liking so far).

Where do I start? Unlike his assured, Rolls Royce performance against Jose’s men at the Etihad on his debut, he’s since looked SO out of sorts it’s embarrassing! Partnerships do, sometimes, take time to ‘bed in’ of course and in the unforgiving Premier League and general fast-paced fixtures list I’m not sure what the answer is.

I have seen enough of him at Porto, in that debut against The Pensioners and in brief flashes in other games to believe that we have signed a high-quality defender and I do have to remind myself that he joined us very late on; has never played in England before and is (only?) 23 ½. But crikey that was a 3/10 performance if ever I saw one; despite improving slightly as the game wore on. I’ll just leave it at that if you don’t mind…

As for the rest

A 'Worldy' from our maestro...
Our Octopus continues looks like one out of water; clearly floundering like his ex-Porto teammate to adjust to life in the Premier League.

Navas was frustratingly ineffective yesterday.

Toure is still not finding his feet; showing once again only very brief glimpses of last season’s footballing monster within.

Aguero did pretty well and CERTAINLY made his presence know in the first half at least.

Silva was quite brilliant again and scored a WORLD class goal.

Just give me a decent strike partner...PLEASE!
And then we have Dzeko. Oh my…

On a day where the defence quite rightly gets the most scrutiny & slating and on a day where I, at least, give Mangala a damming 3/10 rating; not even by his low standards did I ever think I’d be giving a lower score to someone not in the back 4 yesterday.

On the M.E.N.’s interactive rating system I gave him a non-knee-jerk reaction “2” this morning but have, since, been asking myself how the hell he deserves such a high score. What did he contribute to receive 2 marks?

Not for a couple of seasons have I seen a forward show such a lack of interest in playing for Manchester City and if there IS, indeed, an attitude and lack of conviction, motivation and determination from some of the players in the camp then Edin encapsulates that just perfectly.

In some ways, Edin has becoming our new Mario Balotelli but without the silly hats and training bib tricks etc.

How can he be so ‘up for it’ on a cold night in Russia but not in yesterday’s almost perfect playing conditions? This fella continues to baffle the hell out of me to the point of wanting to scream! And with us only having Aguero and Jovetic following the departure of Negredo in the summer, I don’t even have to ask the question – we simply CAN’T carry the Bosnian any longer.

With a resigned sigh I say…

But, no doubt, he’ll bang a goal or two in during a crucial part of a crucial game or two; will prove to be the ‘match winner’ on occasions and will, once again, win the plaudits of the fans and neutrals alike. He’ll then, no doubt, get another run in the team and will silently slip back into his old ways and continue the never-ending cycle over and over again; playing the part of Curates Egg to perfection.

Why the coma / cold shower…again?

Similar to the CSKA encounter, why did it take us having to react to the opposition for us to show our true potential? DIFFERENT to the game in Moscow we actually started reasonably well against The Hammers until their goal on 21 minutes.

But it was only when we went 2-0 down did the ‘cold shower treatment’ wake us up and just as with our Bosnian enigma; that too is starting to bother the hell out of me.

I’m trying to find nuggets of positives from yesterday’s game and apart from a good shift from Sergio and a MotM performance from David, there was Steven Jovetic’s performance when he replaced his far lesser striking colleague on 59 minutes. He was quite brilliant and, without a shadow of a doubt, needs to be given a run alongside the Argentinean now. I just hope both can stay fit!

We hit the woodwork twice (was it perhaps three times?) and Milner offered far more in 17 minutes than Navas did in 95.

But that’s about it – Pellegrini, once again for me, showed another example of his sometimes ‘slow to react’ policy and these episodes are becoming a little too worryingly frequent for my liking. I don’t think I would have even started with 4-4-2…

At the end of all that I do have to make a point of giving West Ham United and Sam Allardyce a lot of credit for a fine performance and good tactics. They are certainly not in a false position at this still-early stage of the season.

Sam Allardyce and tactics hey? WITH disrespect to the large-headed one - whatever next (and for me that shows up Pellegrini even more)?

A bit of injustice thrown into the mix…

  • Their first goal was off-side.

  • There was a blatant back-pass in the second half that was ignored / wasn’t even appealed for in the second half! Even more strange was Fred Eyre’s own opinion that it WASN’T a back pass (I was watching the TV but listening to live commentary on the Radio Manchester) because, he said, it hadn’t been nudged back to the West Ham keeper with any part of the lower half of the player’s body? Really? Well I can’t speak for Fred but my thigh / knee is below MY waste...

  • Can anyone tell me why West Ham’s Morgan Amalfitano wasn’t sent off after he scored their opener? Having already been booked in the 6th minute, isn’t then-jumping into the crowd – even if he was to claim that he was simply helping to rescue his colleague, Enner Valencia, whose momentum saw him go hurtling into the City fans behind the goal – a sending off offence? Besides…he didn’t, “help”, his colleague; he simply patted him on the head when he joined him in the stand!
Anyway, I hope the MCFC employee / interviewer on City’s only post-match (and most uninspiring) interview takes a look at herself and her comments that, “…the woodwork was our biggest enemy today”. Err…no Miss, that’ll be the City defence.

Comment / food for thought?

As you do, when things start and then continue to go awry, I got to thinking yesterday - and once again this morning - whether we now have too many leading personalities in the dressing room.

You’d think that with a dressing room full of determined characters like Joe Hart, Pablo Zabaleta, Vincent Kompany, James Milner and Frank Lampard you’d have no issues whatsoever about the recent and growing doubts about our mental strength of character and determination to push on from last season’s ‘domestic double’.

But is there possibly an issue of, perhaps, TOO many chiefs? I don’t know; I’m just throwing that one out there and asking the question…

Moving on (as quickly as possible)…

Stick or twist? What DO you do against Newcastle United in the League Cup on Wednesday night Mr Pellegrini?

Not that I ever would not-give-credence to this, often-considered by many, a lowly trophy at (still) our stage of development as a club under our UAE owners; the Newcastle game has now taken on even more importance in my eyes. And this is for 2 reasons:

-        Firstly, although – and perhaps because of the fact – we have the first derby of the season coming up on Sunday afternoon; there’s a flippin’ good argument to ‘stick’ with our strongest 11 against the Geordies and, most certainly, our considered main ‘back line’. The back 4, at least, clearly need some serious game-time together; they need to ‘bond’…not least before that truly tense and all-important game at the weekend.

-        Secondly, and not wishing to sound too dramatic at this early stage of the season, we are in danger of imploding very early on here and could, therefore, find ourselves with (1) A huge gap to claw back in the league following the Manyoo v Chelsea game this afternoon and, quite possible, (2) Out of the Champions League as well. Therefore, retaining the League Cup might now look far more appealing than it once did to some fans and club officials.


To finish by looking at ‘our little hiccup’ positively…

I’m sort of glad that we’re having these issues not only this early on in the season – whereby we have time to ‘fix it’ - but also before the game against Van Gaal’s men; where it’s surely better to go into this game, at least, with the creases ironed out rather than to show the kind of worrying trends that we are doing against a quite frightening attacking force that the team from M16 have at their disposal.

So sort it out quickly City…

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