Published on November 6th, 2014 | by Daniel Cheeseman14
Manchester City 1-2 CSKA Moscow | The City Nitty Gritty
“A complete and utter shambles”
So many times this season I’ve come away from games and thought “at least it can’t get any worse than this” and yet it still keeps on happening. For a team of this quality to be losing to the likes of Stoke, Newcastle and CSKA Moscow at home this season is by no means acceptable, and last night’s performance was the most embarrassing of them all.
I’ve held back from giving my most honest opinions in recent weeks, but last night’s performance has finally made me cross the line. I’m not going to go into every detail, or else we’d be here all day, but I’ll sum up the main points.
The worst performance of the season by far
There’s absolutely no way of defending that performance last night, it was a complete disaster from start to finish. I’m not saying that CSKA are a bad team, but when you compare them to the rest of the teams in the Champions League you’d have to class them as one of the weaker sides.
What I’m saying is: if we can only manage to get 1 point from 2 games against one of the weakest teams in the competition, what sort of chance do we have against teams that are better than them in Europe?
Certain players aren’t good enough
I gave Stevan Jovetic the benefit of the doubt last season because he was constantly injured, and that he still needed time to settle into the team, but I’ve seen enough of him this season to form an opinion. The Montenegrin always tries to do too much when he gets the ball and loses possession far too easily, he was one of the main reasons why CSKA Moscow were so effective on the counter-attack last night because he kept giving the ball away when City were trying to press forward.
However, I personally think that the player who’s most guilty of giving the ball away is James Milner. While he always puts 110% into every game, he’s almost always the one who loses possession and is one of the most predictable players I’ve ever seen. I thought he was by far our worst player yesterday, and if I’m being completely honest – I’ve never rated him as a player, and I don’t think he’ll ever be good enough for this City team.
We need better wingers
If you look at virtually every top team in the world they have at least 2 great wingers – Real Madrid have Ronaldo & Bale, Bayern Munich have Ribery & Robben, Chelsea have Hazard & Willian/Schurrle – the list goes on and on, and this is where I think City are majorly lacking.
As far as I’m concerned, we only have 2 out-and-out wingers in our team (Milner and Navas) and those 2 players aren’t good enough for this sort of level. Because of this, we’ve had to resort to playing the likes of David Silva and Samir Nasri on the wings – and it doesn’t work. Those two players are only effective when they’re allowed to roam freely in the middle of the pitch, and so when we play them out on the left it is a complete waste of time.
Basically, in order to move forward we need to sign at least one world-class winger, like Marco Reus, someone who can score goals, create goals and bring a lot more quality out wide.
The players don’t seem to respect Manuel Pellegrini
I get the feeling that there’s a lot of problems behind the scenes at City at the moment, especially in the dressing room. I can’t see Manuel Pellegrini being the sort of manager who goes into the dressing room at half time and gives his players the ‘hairdryer treatment’ like Alex Ferguson used to do.
If I played for Manuel Pellegrini, I’d never be worried about the consequences of putting in a bad performance, because I always think of him as someone who never raises his tone or makes players aware that they’ve played badly.
Whereas if I was playing for Fergie, I’d be worried about putting in a bad performance, this is because I know hes the sort of manager who’d be willing to drop, or even sell, his best players if he felt they weren’t performing to his standards.
On that basis, I think it’s vitally important that Manuel Pellegrini stamp his authority at the club and makes sure that everyone knows that he’s the top dog. If that means he has to drop certain players and/or embarrass them in post-match interviews when they’ve played badly then so be it, but he definitely needs to start convincing people that he’s not a pushover and is good enough to turn this club around.
The referee and UEFA aren’t to blame for the defeat
I’ve heard lots of people complaining about some the referee’s decisions last night, but other than when he booked the wrong CSKA Moscow player, I thought he got every decision right. I’m not one of those people that buys into this whole “UEFA against City” thing either, as I think that too many people are using it as an excuse to hide behind how bad we are in Europe.
At the end of the day, even if they weren’t red cards, we were already losing the game at that point anyway, so we can only have ourselves to blame for what happened to us after that.
Too many excuses
I don’t get all this ‘why cant we do it in the Champions League?’ stuff. The truth is we’ve been under-performing in all leagues and competitions this season, and I think it’s only because of moments of brilliance and sheer luck that we’re still where we are in the league at the moment.
When we drew in Moscow, we blamed it on not being allowed any fans in the stadium – but yet CSKA Moscow have just managed to beat the Champions of England away from home, in front of a sold out home crowd and with no fans of their own inside the stadium (other than a few who snook in). The lack of support didn’t seem to effect the Russians at all last night, and so it just proves that it was just another excuse on our part.
I honestly believe we haven’t played well since beating Tottenham 4-1 last month, and it’s really starting to get worrying now. I’m genuinly worried going to QPR now at the weekend, as we always struggle against sides who press us highly and try to catch us on the counter attack – so on that basis I’d say a loss isn’t out of the question.
I know this might sound a bit heartless but I’m not even going to apologise for the rant I’ve had in this blog, because I honestly think that they deserve it after yesterday. I’m not as much bothered about the defeat, but rather the way they played yet again, and the way that I look at it – if the players don’t look like they want to play for this club at the moment, then why should I try to defend them?
The only positive thing that I can take out of yesterday was the firework display before kick-off, other than that it was an absolute disgrace.