Saturday, 25 July 2009

City lose Vodacom final

A slight disappointment - City lost the final of the Vodacom Challenge this afternoon, 1-0 to Kaizer Chiefs. The players did not look fully fit, and were well contained by the physical and competitive South Africans.

Emmanuel Adebayor started up front with Craig Bellamy, with Martin Petrov and Shaun Wright-Phillips out wide, and Nigel de Jong and Gareth Barry in central midfield. Unfortunately, neither of our wingers threatened as much as they might have liked: SWP was particularly quiet. Up front, Adebayor impressed with his hold up play if not with his finishing, but Craig Bellamy was uncharacteristically muted along side him - failing to make a compelling case that he, rather than Carlos Tévez, ought to be Adebayor's first choice strike partner.

We created a few chances - and wasted many good positions - but can have no real complaints with the scoreline. It was particularly dispiriting to concede yet another goal from failing to mark at a set-piece.

If there was one positive to take away, it was Gareth Barry: he controlled central midfield with an ease and authority that we have not seen in too many City midfielders recently. His tackling was crucial, and his passing was excellent. Once him and Stephen Ireland (sorely missed today) start performing well together not many midfields will be able to touch ours.


The Hut said...

Watched the game, and City were poor with a couple of exceptions (barry / adebayor).

If you look at the spine of the team we still have issues, up front will be ok but the centre backs aren't really top notch and need sorting out.

Then we've centre midfield, I'd disagree with you on your rating of De Jong as I've not seen anything that suggests he's better than average and this is a crucial position given our attacking intentions.

It's going to be interesting to see if Hughes has the nous to mesh what looks like a very disjointed squad together.

the goat

Anonymous said...

What you have to take into account is that City didn't really have time to acclimatise. The first match within 72 hours of arriving in Johannesburg (6000ft above sea level) then off to Durban to play on the Wednesday and then back up to Pretoria for yesterday's game. I used to live there and was a keen road runner, and believe me, my race times up on the Highveld were always 5-10 minutes slower than a sea level.