Sunday, 21 December 2008

City 1 - 2 WBA

  • I'm not that dissapointed. At this stage of the season, with the league as close as it is, missing out on one point is not a massive issue. Of course, if we finish one point behind seventeenth place I'll look fairly stupid for writing this. But the main problem recently has been the woeful, incoherent, spineless performances. Today was very bad in lots of ways, but it was not a continuation of the trend that started in the derby and culminated against Everton last Sunday.
  • It was, in fact, a very different sort of performance we saw today, from a very different sort of City team. There were, for a start, no Brazilians. It was 4-4-2, with two holding midfielders, two physical strikers (one big, one small) and an old fashioned winger. It was how I always thought Mark Hughes' Manchester City would look. We played quick, direct and aggressive. Clearly it did not work - our final third quality was very poor, Gelson and Kompany did not give the back four sufficient protection, we made costly defensive mistakes. But the balance and the gameplan felt right.
  • They both worked hard today (Vassell had his best game since 2006), but Benjani and Vassell are nowhere near good enough. Not for our UEFA Cup campaign, nor for our assault on the top seven, nor even for the relegation battle we are now in. They're too cumbersome, too predictable, too Football League. We need lots of new players, but strikers should be the priority. I think we'd have won today with Craig Bellamy in the team. And Santa Cruz can't come fast enough.
  • We will go down if we continue to defend like that. I hope that Richards and Dunne as a centre back partnership will be constituted one last time at Ewood Park, and then never again in the top flight. Last year they were good, but since Richards' knee injury they have not looked the same. Moore's goal was probably the fault of the midfield - neither Kompany nor Gelson got back quick enough. But Bednar's was unquestionably the fault of Richards. Every game we lose there seems to be one big mistake - today it wasn't Dunne or Ben Haim or Ball's turn but Richards'.
  • I'm still not sold on whether Hughes should be sacked. I think that we're doing so badly that he deserves to be sacked, as a punishment for being literally half as good as Eriksson having criticised the ancien regime so much. However, desert is not the only criterion for decisions like this. The long term interests of the club have to be taken into account, and given Hughes' success at Blackburn and his nous in the transfer market I still think he can do a good job in the long term. But if we continue as we do, we'll have to get an Allardyce-type survival expert in. How much to buy out Gary Megson's contract?

1 comment:

Don said...

Jack, given your buildup to this game, I thought you'd be suicidal now. Instead, I think your perspective is excellent.

And I too am not ready to blame Hughes. For the past 12 months, we have been relegation material. It's pretty much the same team that went into free-fall at the same time last year. (SWP is a replacement for Petrov; Kompany for Hamann; Benjani for Bianchi). The only real money we spent was on Jo (no impact except to our bank balance) and Robhino, who already has a better transfer-dollar-to-goal ratio than, say, Vuoso.

We need a striker (or two, depending on Boj's recovery), a LB, and a defensive midfielder who is defensive. The amount of money we have means we will get it. Maybe not Kaka or Ronaldo this time around, but money talks, we are in the league where money talks the loudest, and we have the most. So we'll buy what we need, and then Hughes needs to deliver mid-table and a couple of cup runs. If not, then he will be gone, and rightly so.