Published on February 9th, 2015 | by Daniel Cheeseman2
Manchester City 1-1 Hull City | Daniel Cheeseman
“No Yaya, No Party”
I can’t deny that I’m one of the biggest Yaya Toure fans going, but his importance within this current City team has even started to surprise me. To say that we rely so heavily on the Ivorian with the millions that we’ve spent since signing him in 2010 is very worrying, and we’ve had a taster this season of what life will be like when he eventually does decide to leave.
The fact that City haven’t won a game in any competition since Yaya left for the African Cup of Nations at the beginning of January is a concerning statistic on it’s own, but what’s even more worrying is that we haven’t been able to win a single Premier League game without him since April 2014. Some might argue those stats are just a coincidence, but you only have to watch Yaya play a couple of times to see the impact he makes on every match, whether it’s a killer pass, burst of pace or a thunder clapping goal – the man is a complete game changer.
Another worrying thing about City’s performance against Hull on Saturday is that it showed all the signs of a team with no confidence in themselves or the management, and I’m afraid it’s something that’s been noticeable for several weeks, if not months, now. I’ve said for a long time that I think a team’s performance is based on about 40% player quality, and 60% morale – and there’s been enough evidence in recent years to suggest that’s true.
We all know that the reason City blew the FA Cup final in 2013 wasn’t because they weren’t good enough to beat Wigan, it was because Roberto Mancini had lost the dressing room in the build up to the game. Had the team’s heads been in the right place on that day they’d have won the game with flying colours, and it definitely felt like a case of déjà vu again this weekend.
However, while I think mental problems are mostly to blame for the result on Saturday, I can’t deny that there were several tactical issues that Manuel Pellegrini got wrong yet again. Right from the word go the Blues were set up in a very defensive style, with Fernandinho and Fernando playing as holding midfielders, which made attacking an already stubborn Hull defense an even tougher task.
I thought the decision to play Edin Dzeko, a player who seems to have resigned himself to the fact that he’s leaving in the summer, was another reason for our deflated attack. It would have made more sense to play either Jesus Navas or James Milner to add some width to the team, which would then have allowed either David Silva or Samir Nasri to drift into the middle (where they play best) and cause more problems for Hull’s defence.
Manuel’s substitutions towards the end of the game seemed more of an act of desperation rather than a stroke of genius, and had it not been for a great piece of skill from James Milner to score that free-kick, I’m sure we’d be asking a LOT more questions about the Chilean than we already are.
However, while there might be lots of questions at the moment as to whether or not Manuel is the right man for the job, and so there should be, the season is still far from over. I think making a rash decision now would do more harm than good, especially with several tough games just around the corner, and so I personally would give him until the end of the season to see if he can turn things around.
We’ve got another really tough game away at Stoke on Wednesday night, and as Pellegrini said the other day – we can’t take anything less than 3 points from the Britannia if we have ANY hopes of retaining the Premier League title.
While I hate to admit it, I’d be happy if we only managed to grind out a 1-0 win against The Potters this week, just as long as there’s 3 points in the bag – and they’ll have done it without Yaya’s help!