Friday, 1 October 2010

City 1 - 1 Juventus

  • This insight is not unique to me, but what better to mark the progress made under two years of ADUG ownership than to be disgruntled at a home draw with Juventus? In the pre-Mansour era the only way we'd get a team of Juve's calibre to Eastlands would be to do battle over the Thomas Cook Trophy. And now we're hosting them in Europe, seeing them defend deep, content with a draw, and find ourselves grumbling about how we couldn't beat a team there for the taking.
  • That said, those complaints are not ridiculous. If Saturday showed us the best aspects of Roberto Mancini's Manchester City (it's not an open question, it did), then last night showed us the less attractive side. At times we looked flat and passive, as if we were waiting for the game to happen to us. Weighed down by three defensive midfielders, with Patrick Vieira a third wheel, the one player closest to a touchline in the final third was Carlos Tévez - pushed out to the left of a front three. Our imagination was dulled, and it was not until David Silva arrived that we started to move the ball with any verve or ingenuity.
  • It could have been worse. We didn't start playing for the first fifteen minutes, during which time we went 1-0 down. Jérôme Boateng stood off Vincenzo Iaquinta who shot from distance (literally as he struck the ball I lent over to my friend and said 'don't worry, this is fine'), and Joe Hart didn't get across quick enough. Momo Sissoko and Claudio Marchisio were too sharp for our midfield and Miloš Krasić might have had a penalty were it not for his Tom Daley impression. It took us a while to grow into the game, and when Adam Johnson equalised before half time it felt deserved. Yaya Touré dissected Juve's centre-backs with a pass more incisive than anything we've seen from him so far, and Adam Johnson skipped around Alex Manninger and scored.
  • That should have been a platform to set up a second half victory. But Juventus defended very well, with two compact banks of four and marginal space between them. With Tévez stuck out on the left we struggled to break through, only Adam Johnson running at the left-back threatened to cause problems. When David Silva came on he brought the intelligence and nuance we had been lacking, and I suppose if he'd played for longer we might have scored. Only scoring once against a Juventus side that sets up defensively is no shame, even if there is a stubborn feeling that a sharper performance would have won the game.
  • It might well be two points dropped. But four points from the first two games is good, and I don't think that our qualifying from the group is much more or less likely than it was yesterday. We have home ties with the two lesser sides to come, and if we win those - regardless of what we get in Poland - that should be enough. But before we can get carried away with that we have to do better at breaking down a black and white striped team on Sunday.

1 comment:

Murtan said...

At least we did not concede a losing goal - although it was close - in the dying minutes of the game, which we usually did in the good ol' days...

Perhaps we can rub off a little bit of that 'typical City' stamp?

And, as you imply, a draw against Juventus, without really feeling that we performed as we are capable of, that feels nice.