QPR vs Man City: A Battle Drawn But a War Yet to Win


Sloppy, lethargic, lacking belief and confidence, but then there was a little guy called Aguero. Sergio Aguero. The man that saved Manchester City’s depression from getting any deeper than it is already. Showing the disbelievers that there is light at the end of the tunnel if they all believe as he did for QPR vs Man City.

The weather was appalling and so was much of City’s performance. In fact at times, you could say comical in a dark sort of way as Joe Hart kicked the ball directly to QPR’s Charlie Austin who returned the favour by slotting it straight back into the goal, only for it to be disallowed due to Hart kicking it twice.

A lucky escape? Indeed, but as you might expect, luck has a strange way of showing itself at a Manchester City football match, so no real surprise then that Austin, now sensing City were there for the taking, slotted a real, fully allowable goal into the back of Joe Hart’s goal only minutes later.

Yet this match did see the slightest slither of sympathy from Lady Luck as little Sergio Aguero (who else), controlled a delightful through ball from between two QPR defenders and rounded Rob Green in the Rangers goal to peg the hosts back to one each. Was it hand ball? Not today…

But where Aguero shone, others struggled.

The spirit was there. At least to begin with. The speed and desire were also present from the start. Yet this was a team with many changes and a team being asked to play to a new formation. Today, of all days.

Quite what that formation was I’m not sure. Initially it looked like 4-5-1, but then that is in effect a 4-3-3 in a defensive formation, yet City manager Manuel Pellegrini had stationed Samir Nasri and Jesus Navas as wing men. Now, as good as both men are in attack, they are as poor in defence and today at a stadium so imposing and hostile as Loftus Road, was not the time to play with new formations.

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If Nasri was supposed to hold station wide on the left, he spent much of the first quarter in the middle, which meant the game was open, wide open, with no James Milner to press and harass opposition attackers and defenders.

This was a Manchester City team that knew they were champions, but just seemed too embarrassed to remind the watching crowd. Almost as if it would be ‘wrong’ to play to their full, collective strengths, to make that killer pass and to go out and finish off a team that for all intents and purposes had been dead and buried only a couple of weeks ago.

Are City trying for a mass sympathy vote? Are the players afraid that football fans across the country will not like them? Everyone hates a champion right? The jealousy and the desire to experience the thrill of winning a championship.

Well if that was the case, no one told Aguero.

He was quick, clever, brave and above all else, absolutely determined to shake the team out of the stupor it has fallen into over the past few matches.

With City having managed to get back on even terms, Rangers were soon back in front, thanks to Martin Demichelis wanting to be loved this time. Quite why you would try to kick a ball away when running in on goal, when heading it would make more sense, I’m not sure, but that was the game plan, which of course went ridiculously wrong resulting in Demichelis bagging an own-goal past the despairing Joe Hart.

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Let’s be fair… City did try. They had chances. They just didn’t (couldn’t?) put them away.

Much huffing and puffing but no real substance. I mean 23 efforts. That’s not bad is it? Just a shame only 6 were on target. Lots of possession once again, but too many unforced errors giving the ball away with an average pass streak of just four passes.

Look it could have been worse. Of course QPR took the lead twice, but City dug deep and didn’t give up and managed to (salvage) a point.

At the end of the day, if there is anything to have been learnt from this match and many played over the past few weeks and indeed months, it’s that City are predictable.

If you want to have a go, sit back, open up the game and try to beat them on the counter. Going gung-ho at every team as if it were a training match just doesn’t work. It’s not hard to fix. You just wonder if the manager knows what the problem is.

Today, QPR vs Man City was not another step down into a dark pit of self destruction and pity. It’s a battle drawn, but the war, the overall requirement to get back on track and win the Premier League once again, is till some way off.