Thursday, 9 April 2009

HSV 3 - 1 City

  • The result flattered us. Hamburger were so comfortably the better side that for us still to be in the tie is a good result. Were it not for Shay Given's heroics, and some profligate HSV finishing, we would need much more than 2-0 at home next week. Winning by two clear goals is going to be tough; but it's not insurmountable.
  • First thirty seconds aside, there was only one team in it. HSV were quicker, stronger, better organised and cleverer than us all over the pitch. They were first to every ball, they rarely gave possession away, they attacked with pace and wit. City, in stark contrast, were a bit slow, a bit unimaginative, and completely unprepared for HSV going forward. We could have been 4-1 down within twenty minutes, and while we improved as the first half went on, the second half was played almost entirely in our half: much like the game at the Emirates last Saturday.
  • What we really lacked in midfield was control. With only one defensive midfielder there was no-one to put their foot on the ball and slow the game down. We missed Vincent Kompany and Nigel de Jong terribly - even Didi Hamann, twelve months ago maybe, could have done a good job today. But with two attacking midfielders in the middle and three small quick forwards we had no option but to look for the quick ball every time. And with HSV as well organised at the back as they are, we just kept on conceding possession. Bringing on Benjani was a good move, but he lasted about fifteen minutes before limping off. We won't get much further with just one fit eligible centre forward.
  • With so little of the ball, our defence was always going to be under a lot of pressure. And with the movement of Olić and Pitroipa, and the craft of Trochowski and Jarolím the back four had an awful lot to deal with. For the first twenty minutes we were nowhere, but as Dunne improved so did the whole back five. His crucial late interceptions, along with those of Given have kept the tie alive.
  • There was a lot to admire about our attacking play. A front three of Robinho, Danny Sturridge and Craig Bellamy, constantly interchanging across the line produced some lovely moves, constantly aided by Ireland and Wright-Phillips playing just behind. But it was too much pace and movement, too little strength and patience. We did not create enough, but could not hold up play either. It may well destroy teams less proficient from Hamburg - I look forward to next week's West Brom game in that regard - but at this level our lack of a quality target man was striking.
  • But: all is not lost. 2-0, 3-0 or more and we're through.


Anonymous said...

Another away performance in keeping with the limited managerial and tactical ability of Hughes.
Still before the game would have settled for 2-0 so 3-1 is near enough.
We can turn this round at home and it was luck we drew the away leg first so an early goal next Thursday and game on !
Untill the next away match.....

tommytheblue said...

bellamy has very little skill and only effective when he can get behind defenders with pace. Now he is injured. Ironic the man Hughes sent away has scored more than bellamy!

Hughes picked bridge again WHO WASNT FIT, he's injured again. Benjani like last time he picked him, he wasnt fit and got injured... Bellamy is a crock, he's injured again. Why pick these injured players...when we have plenty waiting ont he bench who are fit.

We were extremely lucky to get away with 3-1 it should of been 10-1.