Sunday, 8 November 2009

City 3 - 3 Burnley

  • What happens when you don't win a must win? I feel pretty low today after that. The one precondition of our having a good season this year is to repeat last season's home form. And if there was one thing we were good at in 2008/09 it was beating bad teams at home. So for us to welcome Burnley - two goals and zero points in five away games before yesterday - and to concede three and draw is nothing short of a disgrace and an embarrassment.
  • There's only one place to start. What sort of a defence concedes three goals at home to Burnley? The errors, individual and collective, were enough to make you question why Hughes had smuggled in Laurent Charvet, Tal Ben Haim and, despite appearances, Stephen Jordan to play in blue for the day. Lescott's handball for the penalty was mindless, and the collective switch-off for Fletcher's goal even worse. The climax, though, was Bridge's letting Brian Jensen's punt hit his back rather than head it away, David Nugent picked the ball up who fed Steven Fletcher who fed Kevin MacDonald. It wasn't great.
  • The question, though, is whether this is an individual or collective problem. Do we need better defenders? Or do we need more time for the current lot to gel? Wayne Bridge and Joleon Lescott are not bad defenders - they have excelled in the Premier League before and the last two England managers have both been sufficiently impressed to pick them. But they're clearly not functioning as a unit. Whether or not we need to shell out on a new left back, centre back (and maybe a right back too), or just stick with what we've got and hope they improve is a big decision for Hughes.
  • But as bad as Lescott and Bridge were they are not the only ones who deserve blame. Between the goals of Wright-Phillips and MacDonald we were all over Burnley, and while turning 2-0 to 3-2 is good, failing to turn 3-2 into 4 or even 5-2 is not. The number of times we got into scoring positions and failed to kill the game suggests that our defenders are not the only ones out of form. Carlos Tévez missed two glorious chances at 3-2 and Emmanuel Adebayor drifted out of the game.
  • Our draw at Villa Park was good. At the DW Stadium we did quite well. Blowing a 2-0 lead against Fulham at home is very poor. We were abject at St. Andrew's. And this was atrocious. We're getting worse, quickly. Who knows what horrors await us the far side of the international break, if we maintain this trend? Blowing a three goal lead at Anfield? A four goal lead against Steve Coppell's Hull City?


newsoftheblues said...

dropping De Jong for ireland didnt prove the right decision in the end. Barry has been poor of late and should of been the candidate for removal.

Hughes has struggled with defenders since he arrived. A solid partnership of dunne and richards under sven looked foreing one another in the following season. Dunne has moved on and looks a completely different player. We have a compliment of top class defenders in the side eith a great goalie, so what is going on the training ground. It's bizarre.

A horrible game really, too many players not just the defence under performing or not fit... I worried once i saw adebayor doing early fitness training before everyone else! I dont agree with playing individuals with half fitness, it does no good for the side or player.

Odd subsitions also played it's part. Petrov playing right wing, swp on the left! why? it's counter productive to bring a player on for width and use him on the wrong flank causing them to narrow play. Even more odd considering swp success down the right against jordan!

It's poor and Hughes needs to be alot less predictable and use his squad rather than more of the same! I knew the squad before the game and knew what sub he would pick...we must be very easy to play against!

Anonymous said...

I have to say, listening to the comments on GMR on they way home after the game, I wonder how delusional these so-called City fans are in calling for Hughes to be sacked.

We should remember that in recent seasons going two down inside the first half hour, there would have been no way back for City. All the pre-match reports yesterday were reminding us that Burnley hadn't gained a point on the road all season and had conceded 17 goals. Well now they have their point and conceded a further 3 goals.

I will concede that, compared with a similar match last season, this was two points dropped but the previous four draws were all points gained. And I put yesterday's result down as a bad day at the office. The referee had an awful game and the linesman (not assistant referee because they lend no assistance whatsoever) patrolling the touch line in front of the East Stand waited for the referee to signal before committing himself to raising or waving his flag. Be that as it may, I thought Lescott looked okay but his positional awareness was lacking at times and Toure had to keep reminding him where to cover. He also wasn't helped by Bridge being completely out of position a la Terry Phelan.

But back to the "sack Hughes" point. This would not be a positive step at this stage of the season. At best we would end up with a caretaker until a Mourinho-calibre manager might get appointed in the summer. Outside of Mourinho, I cn't think of a single manager that would be or could be better than what we already have.

We are where we are with 3/4 of the season to go and not out of touch with 4th place, in the QF of the League Cup and still the FA Cup to come.

pjdemers said...

Not sure I completely agree that Hughes has struggled with defenders since arriving. The Dunne- Richards partnership flourished because Didi Hamann did an excellent job of not only screening the back four but also coming back to bring the ball out defense.

I think one of the reasons were struggling at the moment is that central midfield pairing is not sure of its reponsibilities concerning this and is getting caught in two minds. Barry should be doing this but seems to be suffering for form at the moment while Ireland still seems to be adjusting to an unfamilair role. De Jong (when playing) has been excellent as a destroyer but needs to track back to help bring the ball out of defence. I do wonder what a fully fit MJ would provide given his poise on the ball in the back third.

I do agree that Petrov on the right and SWP on seems odd as we should be trying to create as width as possible to open up the passing lanes and I certainly agree that Hughes (who I personally rate) is a little too predictable. I would like us to vary our play and vary our formation based on the opposition as well.

People may not want to hear this but we all knew before the first ball was kicked there would be a "bedding in" period. Its going to take some time time for this team to gel and for Hughes' staff to sort out a system that maximizes the potential of the squad. Until that happens we need to be patient and we need to be behind the team 100% regardless of the performance or result. Booing the team at the final whistle for players who admitingly are underperforming is counterproductive and will only serve to undermine their confidence.