When Joe Bennett brought down Leroy Sane minutes before half time I shouted ‘That’s a red!’. And it should have been a red card, as a cynical tackle brought a halt to Sane’s defence splitting run. The young German did get back up and finish the game, but wouldn’t return for the second half.
Eventually Bennett was dismissed, but not until a second yellow card was picked up deep into injury time at the end of the game. It has been an all too familiar theme for Pep and his Manchester City side.
Seemingly, when City play against certain sides, they get frustrated at chasing shadows and take out their frustrations on the Blues players. Despite the hefty tackles, there were only three players booked, and one was Fernandinho.
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Now fears are that Leroy Sane could be missing for a few weeks as a result of that tackle. And, although Joe Bennett apologised afterwards, it doesn’t change the fact he will now be missing for most of February.
Luckily, it is a month that shouldn’t prove too difficult for City to negotiate. West Brom at home is the next game up in the League and he will certainly miss that, but City should have enough for the Baggies. In February we travel to Burnley before hosting Leicester and, with the lead we currently have in the League, shouldn’t prove too damaging.
Traveling to Switzerland and a Champions League game against Basel, that’s the first real test in which stumbling could have a real effect. Fortunately we then have a break before the Carabao Cup Final against Arsenal on February 25th. At that time Sane’s recovery could be complete, and he could be back.
If that is the case then it might not be as bad as it could have been. The fact remains though, we have seen some bad tackles go unpunished fully, and not just City players. Cardiff could have an argument that maybe KDB should have been punished with his foul early in the second half.
The fact is, no matter what side you support, a game is better when the better players play. We hammer managers who play weakened sides in cup competitions for the very same reasons. We get frustrated with diving and yet are not willing to protect the players from needless physical harm.