Monday, 2 March 2009


What's particularly galling about our continued poor form is that a UEFA Cup spot is really not too far away. With Manchester United winning the League Cup an extra UEFA Cup spot was made available to the Premier League - something which will almost certainly happen when United/Chelsea/Arsenal/Everton win the FA Cup. So, unlike last season, seventh spot in the Premier League will land the recipient in the third qualifying round of the UEFA Europa League.

Had we won yesterday we would now have been in seventh place, one point ahead of Wigan Athletic and two ahead of theoretically-vanquished West Ham. But instead we're down in eleventh, only six points clear of the drop. And while we have eleven games left, our away form renders five of them effectively unwinnable. Even six home wins would leave us on fifty points, five fewer than last season, and relying on West Ham's not taking fifteen points from their last eleven games.

What this means is that, magical night in the Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium notwithstanding, I don't see how this doesn't end up a frustrating and failed season.


trinder said...

It's a good point J. Sixth place has gone but as we're only four points off seventh, surely that's a realistic target. But with away matches to Chelsea, Utd, Arsenal, Spurs and Everton, I can't see us getting anywhere near.

Some facts make me weep: we've lost to five of the bottom seven and drawn with the other two, and we've won once away and that was in August.

I just wish Hughes would try something different, something adventurous. For 20 minutes after they scored yesterday, we had two defensive midfielders and one striker. Only with a minute to go did he put on an additional striker. What was to be lost by chucking on Bojinov and giving the struggling Kompany a rest? It doesn't make sense.

pjdemers said...

I've said it before and I'll say it again, Sparky's folly like the much overrated Sven before him is that City have no plan B when we have to chase a game.

While I thought Sparky made the right substitutions (I thought Caicedo made an impact and the two chances he missed were not as clear cut as some of the media made them out to be), Hughes kept the same formation until way too late.

I was also disappointed not see Vladimir Weiss on the bench. I realize he's untried at this level but he certainly can't do any worse than Vassel and his pace & dribbling ability are the exact needed ingredients to unlock tight defenses or expose tiring fullbacks.

trinder I think you're on to something. City play way too cautiously on the road. essentially we play not too lose which while understandable (to a degree) against the big four is unnecessary against a side like West Ham who allow teams to play.

Even against the big four why not go for the jugular and get the early goal. A one -nil lead the first 20 minutes into the game would play into our hands given our ability on the counter attack.

If nothing else I would love to see City adopt an arrogant "over my dead body" attitude, home and away. While some of the blame for our dismal away form does reside with Sparky, there is enough player talent to demand otherwise. Let the chips fall where they may but some of City's players just aren't pulling their weight.

trinder said...

A good couple of points there pj. We must get teams coming at us and there's no better way to effect that than an early lead.

I've only seen Weiss in the youth cup finals but he was magnificent back then. That other manager of ours - the learned Swedish one, I forget his name - he would have played Weiss by now.

As for your last point about lazy players, I'm afraid the buck stops with the management team. There are enough trainers, psychologists, monitoring systems and penalties to square up each and every one of the squad.