That was the time I looked at the stadium clock yesterday and felt an uneasy wave wash over me. Other than putting it down to 30+ years of following Manchester City and, therefore, having developed a ‘spider sense’ when it comes to our beloved Blues; I can’t think of another reason for my foreboding feeling.
Less than 10 minutes after that fatal glance at the clock, Aitor Karanka first brought on Fischer for Downing and the number 11 looked lively. He wasn’t necessarily the ‘deciding factor’ but he did bring a freshness and energy to the visitors that seemed to then spread quickly throughout the team. So-having failed to finish ‘em off; Boro began to play with a higher intensity and belief [that they could grab something].
The rest you know, which unfolded like watching a car crash in slow motion.
The head-scratching thing for me from yesterday's game is that no City player had a bad game! In fact, all City players get 7s, 7.5s & 8s / 10 from me. Other than that, Boro simply stuck a ‘bank of 5’ at the back, a ‘bank of 4’ in front of that wall and their only ‘1’ up front, Alvaro Negredo, looked bored and isolated. Once again, we just couldn’t break them down beyond the one goal we scored on 43 minutes.
The stats say it all:
- 71% possession
- 25 shots to their 5
- 7 shots on target to their 3
- 8 corners to their 2
25 shots and only 7 of those on target is the most damning pair of figures there – once again we were wasteful in front of goal and even the likes of often-impressive Kevin De Bruyne let us down yesterday ‘on that score’ (no pun intended).
This, of course, is what we’ve got to put up with now; we’ll just have to find more & more inventive ways to break team’s many walls down, especially at home. The last 3 home league games against Everton, Southampton & Middlesbrough have all ended 1-1 and the combined possession stats show as 209 / 300% in our favour. However, in those 3 games we had 58 shots but only managed 18 on target! That’s quite poor for the talent we have at our disposal.
No wonder I’m looking forward to seeing the arrival of Gabriel Jesus in late December / early January in the hope, at least, that the pacey, attacking forward can add a certain dimension and timely, attacking boost…and no wonder the press have reacted after yesterday’s result; have put 2+2 together and come up with a storey linking us with Atletico Madrid’s French striker, Antoine Griezmann.
However, the rumoured fee of £70M isn’t likely to be splashed [by someone if anyone] until the summer of 2017 and, so, there’s hardly any point in thinking about that for now.
Fortunately, we’re far more effective away from home in the league at the moment; winning more games and certainly scoring more. I say fortunately as our next two games in the Prem are away to Crystal Palace & Burnley…not that I don’t expect those two sides to defend for their very lives also, even at home.
Before that? Another flippin international break for us to sit & dwell on what should have been 3 points yesterday…