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More Questions Than Answers City

The biggest question on every Blue's lips up until tonight's game was if City were capable of making that 4th spot their own? Could they then hold onto it and ultimately take that all important final Champions League spot.

The question on everyone's lips now is do we have the bottle for it and will we even finish in the top six after that spineless defensive second half performance?

The talk amongst the support will be of refereeing decisions that went against City and of dirty play and the stalling tactics from the Blue side of Liverpool.

Yet the true culprits lie on our side of the Blue line and their errors in judgement could ultimately cost us a European place.

The manager himself chose tonight's game to play his most attacking front five Tevez, Bellamy, Johnson, backed up by Ireland and Barry and for a while the selection looked certain to reap its rewards as for much of the first half like at Craven Cottage City bossed the game.

The difference this time was that we didn't convert any of our chances and were undone after a dodgy decision by a referee whose name I will never ever speak again in my mother tongue as it would do it a gross injustice.

Of course the players should have had the quality to come back and score at a ground they have failed to score only once all season.

Tevez a one man army grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck and tried to drag City kicking and screaming back into it with moments of brilliance that kept everyone on the edge of their seats.

Yet when it came down to it, just as at Tottenham the Sky Blues just weren't up to the task and in the end bottled it completely.

Toure and Kompany for all their attacking and ball-playing strengths just don't have the concentration needed to be world class centreback partnership as both switch off at key times and are susceptible to high balls.

Thats not to say that they were to blame for this defeat as Everton did their best impression of Stoke City and pressured, fouled and bludgeoned their way to this victory with their ten men behind the ball approach so credit where its due.

Moyes has obviously done his homework and knows that City cannot breakdown teams that adopt this old school style as they are missing a playmaker to unlock those tight banks of fours.

Any hope of City doing so had been fouled out of the game and after Stevie Ireland's exit there was more bad news to come. A woefully short of confidence Shaun Wright Phillips entered the fray and the quick incisive passing and triangles went in the opposite direction along with City's hopes of equalizing.

Wright Phillips just doesn't have the passing ability to play in this front line and the fact he has now lost the confidence to run past a man has rendered him pretty useless as an attacking option.

Gareth Barry is another who is being found out to be one-dimensional, barging around giving or winning free kicks with his one paced, one-footed game designed to make up for his obvious lack of pace.

In fact any quicker, more physical opponent he comes up against manages to dominate him and draws more fouls than Jordan changes fellas.

The Manager of course has to take a large share of the blame for his changes and defensive tactics of playing with four defensive midfielders at one point when looking to get back into the game.

The fact that he went all out to sign Italian playmaker Cassano in January just illustrates what he thinks of his current options in that position.

So we began asking whether City could break into the top four and then hold onto their place. We end just asking if we really have improved since the demoralising loss to Spurs that signalled the end of Mark Hughes' tenure.

Have we progressed since then? Are we going to get that fourth spot? Is Mancini the man for the job? Are Barry, Wright-Phillips and a few others really upto the job?

One things for sure and thats the fact that every City fan will be feeling nauseous after tonight's performance. Some of you might even have to throw out a few broken things this time tomorrow- I know I will.

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The journalist

Writer: GloucBlade Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Wednesday March 24 2010

Time: 10:25PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
Decisions clearly change games. We owned Everton, yet they were allowed to gradually kickk us out of the game and we got NO protection from the ref. For virtually the entire first half we subjected Everton to ceaseless pressure and all they could do was hoof the ball up to Saha. So 4th place is still ours if we can get a fair deal from the refs. If we get another ref like tonight's idiot then we might as well all go on our summer holidays early. Well done Everton, you are Stoke with slightly more talent. Crude, yet effective. But mostly just crude.
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24/03/2010 23:25:00

Being a Villa fan, I can assure you that Gareth Barry is good enough to be a pivotal figure in a team challenging for, and taking, the highest honours. Wasn't he instrumental in your recent win against Chelsea? Football is a team game, and though there are times when individuals can stand out - and some individuals will stand out more often than others - by and large the individual's fortunes are inextricably linked to that of the team's. I've taken an interest in Man City this season because I'm a big fan of Gareth Barry and have therefore seen quite a bit of you. I would say that, for the most part, Gareth hasn't played as well as he can, but I think this is primarily because your team as a whole have rarely looked cohesive. Of course, this is to be expected, given the turnover of players you've had, and the change of manager. More time is obviously needed for this to happen, but I would say that you are still most likely to finish in fourth. To finish, I would suggest that the players you really wasted money on are Toure and Santa Cruz. Maybe Santa Cruz has lacked some match fitness, but this is a guy who has only ever delivered in one season in European football, and that was two years ago. Perhaps he more than anyone else has suffered from Hughes' sacking. Perhaps. But even considering this, I think he was a bad signing.
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24/03/2010 23:38:00

Every player expect from kompany badly performed tonight. City were so bad, my 10 ticket seemed like a waste of money. There was no fight, game plan or skill tonight. Ireland is the creative player that can unlock defences, such a shame he isnt performing. Swp's performances are showing the manager and directors why they SHOULDNT give him the contract he wants. Everton play the same tactics every year against us at eastlands and win. Defend/ foul/ counter attack/ score/ 3pts. Id rather city just defend for a point, since we have no ideas, season after season on how to beat everton. Spurs play the same way at eastlands/ maine road and always win, so im worried. Credit to moyes, everton were a well drilled machine tonight, that deserved the 3pts. Despite the fouling and the time wasting. I beg mancini to never play toure again this season. Hes shakier than shaking stevens. Typical city :(
Super City Slicker
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Interesting comments Albarnista - Personally thought GB was outstanding for the first 4-5 matches of the season but then lost his way a little bit. He's still an outstanding player for England, so it does look like it's something to do with the way our team plays rather than the player. I thing Barry was the main man in the Villa midfield and that allowed him to shine; however, at City he and Nigel DeJong often seem to get in each other's way. It's a puzzle that neither of our managers this season have managed to figure out, just have to hope Mancini does soon as we need the Barry of August/September back pretty sharpish! Good luck for the rest of the season (except when you play us, blah, blah), nice to see we're not the only team in recent weeks to drop points to Sunderland! ;)
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25/03/2010 00:06:00

fifthcolumnblue, I think there's no reason why De Jong and Barry can't play together. At Villa, Barry was always the creative midfielder - albeit one who can do his defensive work - whilst De Jong is a fantastic ball-winner, so they could compliment each other very well if Mancini (or whoever) can organise them, and the rest of the team. By the way, do you have any steer on the suggestion that Barry has been playing with a sports hernia for a considerable period of time? Apparently the injury is manageable, though it can be difficult to know to exactly what extent it will impede performance from week to week.
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25/03/2010 00:16:00

I think the problem is with the players. Talk about heart. I can see only Carlitos, Barry, De Jong, Zabelata, Bellamy, Bridge, and Given have it, perhaps because they are more regular players. Not quite sure about the rest. SWP and Ireland look like they are losing heart, perhaps due to higher salaries earned by newcomers. Some players you feel like they just don't show much commitment to the club and club's future. Perhaps that is the problem when riches suddenly came in: some players benefit, some players feel treated unfairly. This is somewhat like "hidden unrest" in the dressing room. Unrest is brewing but not obvious. Thus lack of cohesion and spirit as a team.
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25/03/2010 05:36:00

Secondly, with Mancini's ability Man City still can't forge a consistent performance especially defensive performance perhaps due to 2 possibilities: Either Mancini's ability is questionable, or some players are just not good enough for consistent top performance. Again, I believe it is the second case i.e. some players are just not up for it when the time has come for them to perform. For defense, Man City don't really have a reliable man at the back. All defenders have their own flaws: Toure is like losing his skill. Lescott suddenly became injury-prone. Micah is unreliable sometimes. Kompany struggles sometimes. Bridge, Garrido and Zabaleta all struggle sometimes as well. Air-ball tackles were awful at time. Slow response in defense is another problem. Opposing attackers seem always have not only faster legs but faster response than Man City defenders at time. No wonder the defense were so leaky not even Mancini can do anything about it.
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25/03/2010 05:51:00

About the midfield, in fact Barry has done his best already acting as both creative and defensive midfielder. Can't ask more about him. Just that it is not right just to depend on him to pull the string all the time. Others have to step up as well. De Jong loves to stay back as a sweeper leaving only Barry and two wingers up front to support the strikers. The two wingers in Bellamy and Adam Johnson/SWP like to attack on their own, thus leave Barry the one to pass the ball around. So, the midfield problem is: Some midfielders/wingers just don't feel like playing good passing game (Barcelona style as example). And some players just don't feel like they can hold the ball well, especially SWP, fast but lose the ball so easily. If you don't pass and hold the ball well, how would you dominate the mid-area? Thus Man City midfield acted as if they have disappeared sometimes - lack of good midfielders/wingers who can both hold and pass the ball well all the time. In fact Vieira can really help here as he is creative, but his commitment is questionable. Plus the fact that I think Mancini is sometimes too good to all the players that he is willing to give everyone a chance to prove themselves. He has to change around the midfield sometimes just to keep everyone happy even if I think he knows which players are more reliable. Tough job for him.
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25/03/2010 06:13:00

Up front Carlitos is good enough. Can't ask more about Bellamy as well. Santa really needs to regain his fitness and sharpness and stays uninjured. Adebayor should show more commitment, then he will be fine. Thus up-front is not the problem. The problems lie in lacking-domination midfield and leaky defense. Lack of cohesion and heart. The problems are with the players.
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25/03/2010 06:22:00

Leonman - please stop regurgitating Moyes nonsense about City not having heart. Frankly it's bollox. City lacked creative spark in the centre of the park last night which despite their dominance over an effective Everton side, led to them not being able to find a route through the ten men behind the ball. City were undone by a set piece, and caught with a sucker punch when searching in vain for their equaliser. And despite going two down with couple minutes to play kept fighting till the end. City just couldn't find a way through Evertons ten defenders.
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25/03/2010 09:25:00

Big factor for trest of season is Adebayor. Is he going to be like the first few matches he played or is he going to be like the player who came back after his first suspension. Our season could depend on the answer to this.
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25/03/2010 22:02:00


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