Thursday, 2 October 2008

City 2 -1 Omonia

  • To have got through to the group stages is a genuine achievement. There are legitimate complaints to be made against the UEFA Cup, but some serious teams got knocked out this evening: including Borussia Dortmund, Everton and Napoli. We have not come up against any very strong opponents, but simply getting past three two-legged ties whilst starting a league campaign, particularly given the boardroom turmoil, is not something to be sneered at.
  • That said, our progress in the European games has been pretty slow. This evening was probably our best performance yet. But we still don't look like a team fully at ease with European competition. We struggled to get going in the first half, and did not look fully at ease with Omonia's gameplan. I always thought that one of Hughes' main improvements on Eriksson was an ability to combat physical, intense, high tempo teams. Maybe not.
  • In the second half, however, we stepped up two gears. The interplay between Ireland and Elano and the front three was almost as good as at points against Portsmouth. With some better finishing and some less selfish play in the final third it could have been many more than 2-1. This is not the first time we've said this recently, and the more often it happens the less well it reflects on Jô.
  • It was pleasing to see the return of Martin Petrov. He didn't really run at players much, but had one good shot from distance and two from close in. Looked sharp and lively, despite not playing for six weeks. Not sure where exactly he fits in now (on the left of a 4-2-3-1 I imagine of an Elano-less team).
  • Ignoring the Brighton game, we have stuck with almost exactly the same team and formation for the last four games (two Premier League, two UEFA Cup). The only change from that set up was Tal Ben Haim for Richard Dunne today. More consistent than I expected in this regard: but by the same token less flexible. Will this be a permanent arrangment this season?

No comments: