I hate the international break. No Premier League football for a fortnight and in its place, pointless, boring international football that inevitably ends up with key players getting injured, or having to sit out key matches through jet lag. For managers like Manuel Pellegrini, the break can be a nightmare.
This time though, perhaps the break has come at just the right time and perhaps Pellegrini can use the break as an opportunity to sit down with Brian Kidd and his fellow coaches and figure out why everything appears to be falling apart in front of their very eyes.
There’s no getting away from the fact that City have been a complete shambles, strangely since the last enforced break.
Could it be something to do with all the football that the players are being forced to partake in, following a long World Cup, so soon after such a successful campaign least season?
Sure, that’s possible of course. After all, Fernandinho had to endure a full-on emotional battering following Brazil’s capitulation. Oh, and let’s not forget that ridiculous 14,500 mile round trip out to China and back for the team’s Argentinian and Brazilian players in the last break.
Perhaps that’s why City have been so poor?
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Ah, but hang on a second. Chelsea had Willian, Oscar and Luis out there too and they seem to have handled the trip OK. The little wizard himself, Sergio Aguero was also on the trip, and if there is one shining light in all the despondancy encircling ‘Camp Etihad’, it’s Aguero.
So the issues about travelling from one side of the world to the other and back again, obviously can’t be the problem.
Right. It’s the fact that City worked so hard last season. They won two trophies, so to do it all again would be asking a lot no?
Umm… No, can’t even say that’s the problem. United managed to keep doing it for long enough, so if that is the case, City would then be admitting to be incapable of being compared to that ‘other lot’.
Well there’s only one more thing I can think of, and I’m afraid Mr. Manuel Pellegrini, for whatever reason yet to be publicaly acknowledged, the players just aren’t buying into the project anymore.
So that’s it then? Time to sack the manager. That’ll get the players back on course again. Might even qualify for the Champions League. Heck, they could go and win it!
screenshot via mancity.tv
[Smacks head, hard. Stabs hand with pen. Finally comes back to reality…]
No, it’s not time to sack Manuel Pellegrini. But if he doesn’t pull something out of his proverbial hat, that time may not be too far away.
Look, you can’t say that Manuel Pellegrini isn’t qualified to manage City. But for some strange reason, he’s not getting his message across. So, is it a problem in communication? What about motivation? Discipline?
If you compare Manchester City with Chelsea, there’s not that much difference. Possession is close, with City ahead. Same with pass success rate, shots on goal and dribbling. When the players are in the right mood, City’s football is still some of the most sublime football to watch. So why isn’t it leading to goals and wins?
Look at the Chelsea stats in the images against City’s. Check the statement under Strengths that shows ‘Coming back from losing positions’. Also, note that Chelsea don’t rotate as much as City appear to do. On their own, significant, but can two stats be the real difference and the key to why City are struggling?
The answer as far as I can see is, not entirely. What I mean by that is Chelsea don’t give up. They work as a team. They have belief, a belief in the system and a belief in everything their manager tells them. Work hard on the pitch, put in the effort, and know that players will keep their place.
That’s not the case with Manchester City. Lose the ball and half the offensive City players just stand and watch. Those that do try, do so half-heartedly. It’s as if they know they should, but just can’t be bothered. They are not a team. They are a group of individuals playing for a common cause.
How you change that, with this squad, is a real humdinger. Why? Because there is no real threat. There are no young guns be given the opportunity to push the more established players. Instead, Pellegrini gets (asks for?) players at the end of their careers. Players looking for one last big hoorah. Chase back? You’re having a laugh right?
Take the league leaders again. Yes I know it’s painful, but they are top for many reasons, so go with it just for a little longer (please :).
Kurt Zouma, Nathan Ake, Christenson, Solanke. All young players that are a part of the first team set up. Players that have featured in key games for Mourinho and players that have stood up and said ‘I want this role!’
If Pablo Zabaleta gets injured, City get Bacary Sagna. Nice bloke I’m sure, but if he ain’t good enough for Arsenal, why the heck is he playing for City? Same for Clichy. There are some fantastic young players in the EDS squad. What is the point of spending all that money developing them, if they are never going to be used?
Example: John Guidetti may well be sold to Celtic. For £3 million. Urgh!
Instead City have Jovetic or Dzeko to replace Aguero if he’s not available. I’m sorry, but neither of the latter two players can hold a candle to Segio Aguero. They’re static, lethargic, predictable.
Put the young players in Manuel. Shake it up a bit and get rid of the bully boys in the dressing room. Start playing lads that want to win. You never know, they might win something and keep you in a job? Perhaps…