Date:Saturday November 28 2009
Seven draws on the trot is not what people had in mind when City talked about achieving new things this year and if they aren't careful the Premier League record books look slightly bluer come next week.
As good a record as Mark Hughes has this season, he finds himself in a precarious situation of having to do anything but draw.
With only one defeat all season and a place in the quarter-finals of the Carling Cup, it looks to the casual football fan that Hughes' position is one of the safest jobs in the division.
Anybody who has been watching City knows that they provide good value for money, score goals in virtually every game and play some mesmerising stuff while they`re at it.
They concede as many as they score and therein lies the problem, as it doesn't seem to matter what score the Sky Blues are up at the moment as the defence will throw a lead away at the drop of a hat.
If someone had told you we'd be two-nil up against Fulham, three-two with Burnley and one up against Hull at home, you would expect a side as experienced as City's to see out the nine points. Instead we have gifted goals away in all of the aforementioned to the surprise of the manager and the disgust of the fans.
It doesn't matter who is to blame be it Bridge, Lescott, Richards or Toure; the fact is that results matter and we have now thrown away 14 points from a possible 21.
Hughes will know the score as the team has hardly had a dip in form, with impressive attacking performances in most games giving us a cushion before 'The Keystone Cops' gifting a point back to the grateful opposition.
What happens when we have a goal drought or that inevitable loss of confidence that almost every team experiences once a season?
Some fans will look elsewhere for culprits and perhaps mention Tevez, Robinho and Adebayor today for not being clinical enough in front of goal.
After all with so many chances created we could of been five-nil up before they actually scored. Tevez will be the fans main scapegoat, but for me it was Adebayor who gave the poorest performance.
After a bright start, and after a few decisions went against the big man from Togo, he faded out of the game. Of course he was roughed about by Gardner and stamped on by Zarate at one point, but you didn't see Tevez and SWP complaining at the rough treatment they received and they aren't built like a proverbial brick house.
Another problem Hughes has to sort out is how to get Adebayor to stay up front and not drift wide at every opportunity. With Robinho, Tevez and SWP on the flanks, supported by both full backs it is up to Ireland and Ade to be there at the end to convert chances.
Others will point to Hughes himself and his ability to make sometimes mindboggling changes during games. Today, instead of closing out the game by bringing on Vincent Kompany for the yellow carded Nigel De Jong and Craig Bellamy for the tiring Robinho, Hughes brought on Santa Cruz for Adebayor.
How Roque Santa Cruz has proved his match fitness is a mystery to almost everyone bar the manager and his backroom staff. The Paraguayan has looked hopelessly off the pace in every league performance this year and needs to ask the real Santa for a miracle to save his career later this month.
But then again what has Hughes done so differently that we would not have? Many fans were calling for Ireland to come in for the jaded Barry, others for Robinho to be brought back in, regardless of Bellamy's form, others were calling for Tevez to be restored to the starting lineup after making such an impact from the bench against Liverpool.
Well the manager did all of those things and guess what happened? The real problem came right back and slapped him in the face like a 10 kilo trout.
The defence needs to be sorted out and a solution must be found as soon as possible, preferably before we face Champions to be Chelsea early next month.
If we don't then by January, a new manager could be the one scratching his head at how to get this defensive unit to look anything other than calamitous.
ZABALETA KOMPANY LESCOTT BRIDGE anyone or does it not matter who plays at the minute? Should we just sack the defensive coach!
Date:Saturday November 28 2009
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