Where on earth do you start? Yes we all know from the manager that the players have been lacking confidence, but this is Man City FC, the club that has stood up and said ‘We are a big club. We are ready to be one of the all time greats in Europe…’ Just not yet perhaps?
Look, all clubs have periods where they struggle to find their ‘mojo’ and perhaps lose a few games that you’d think should have been easy wins. So the three games before the United match shouldn’t have been that much of a concern. Disappointing yes, but not the end of the world by any means.
The win in the derby should have got the entire team back on the path that they are expected to tread and whilst it wasn’t a great and commanding performance, they got the job done.
But honestly, last night against CSKA Moscow was simply appalling. There are Sunday league teams that can (and do) play better than that. It was as if half-a-dozen or so of the team just didn’t want to be there and couldn’t care less. Once again Man City FC are looking at crashing out of the Champions League group stage for the third time in four years. Of course the manager is more optimistic and still feels City can qualify:
"“If you have a mathematical chance to qualify you must try for it. We will see. First we must try to beat QPR, then we have an international break and after that of course will try to qualify for the next stage.” Declared City manager Manuel Pellegrini.“It is more difficult but not impossible.”"
I’m all for looking on the brightside. Let’s stay positive, because if we all start off down that road that will inevitably end up with Pellegrini getting the sack, we might as well write off the rest of the season right here, right now.
Of course the manager must take some flack for the abject performances, and there are serious concerns about how the team are set up to play. The CSKA manager has been quoted as saying he was desperately hoping that City would pile forward, whilst they [Moscow] could sit back and counter.
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City’s style is obvious, one dimensional and everyone knows how to play against it. Yes, I could go on about how 4-4-2 is totally outdated (which by the way, it is), but that’s for another post. The main point is the sheer ineptitude of some highly experienced professional footballers.
For Gael Clichy to play the ball the way he did and gift CSKA their second goal, was simply disgraceful. Honestly, would anyone appreciate that from a team of 11-year-olds? Absolutely not.
Worse still, having made such a shocking ‘clearance’, the rest of the defensive line simply stood and watched as a CSKA player collected the pass, unmarked and unchallenged to go on and score.
This is the same team that last year won the league and Capital One Cup. How and why has everything suddenly gone boobies up?
Why would Yaya get so riled, he ended up trying to push another player’s head off his shoulders? Why didn’t the skipper try to calm him down? Why wasn’t he subbed before hand, because it’s not as if you couldn’t see it coming.
Why did Fernandinho block the player so obviously? If the manager doesn’t know, then he has a big problem that he has to sort quickly:
"Pellegrini commenting at the after-match presser: “It is difficult to understand why we played such a low performance today.“We had just played a good game against Manchester United and we had a chance to win here at home playing our normal way, but if you give two easy goals in the first half and you don’t play well with the ball it is very difficult to win.“We must try to find out what happened with this team in the Champions League.“All of them are important players so I don’t understand why they cannot play in the Champions League, but we must review a lot of things to understand why it was such a low performance.”"
OK, forget the Champions League for another season. The last thing Man City FC need right now is to do just enough to end up in the Europa League. If anything is going to finish off the season, that will.
QPR next at Loftus Road. Just like the United game, this is a must win match. Rest Yaya. Let him get his head straight and decide whether he really does want to continue playing football, and if he does, is it really for Manchester City?
With the ‘Hoops’ fresh off a spirited display at Chelsea last week and fully rested, playing at home too, it is going to be a very hard match to get a result. A time to stand up and be counted.