Writer: Johnny Baguette
Date:Sunday January 21 2007
Whatever the shortcomings of this Premier League, it is a league which holds no margin for error.
SP and Wigley's cautious Sturridgeless initial team selection on home turf led to City being out muscled, out thought and out paced by a Blackburn side that displayed the discipline and opportunism hopelessly missing from our abject first half non-performance. When our huffing and puffing and the valiant, often brilliant efforts of Darius Vassell and Stephen Ireland did break through we found Friedel as defiant as ever.
The whole experience was cat kickingly frustrating from France so Christ knows what it was like inside the stadium. The team that took the field for us evidently lacked passion and belief. They were nowhere near motivated or revved up enough for a battle which would show how far we had come since the 4-2 Ewood Park rout last September and whether or not we merited a place in the top half of the table.
Too many weak link individual performances and mistakes let us down and much as I'd prefer to deal with the team as a collective, certain players and incidents have to be singled out.
Stephen Jordan was utterly woeful. His lack of fight, pace and guile cost us. Not only for giving up for the third goal but by his hapless inability to cross, overlap or protect the left side. Dreadful. I don't think Weaver, who had no chance with the goals could believe how Derbyshire was allowed to stroll into the penalty box unchecked.
Bernardo Corradi must no longer be persevered with. His inclusion from the start left us one paced, one tracked and without attacking options yet again. Certainly Georgios Samaras or even Ishmael Miller would have given us more buzz and bite. Corradi should be transfer listed now.
Trevor Sinclair can't get rid of the ball quick enough and that fact alone should see him in the reserves as far as I am concerned. At least he and Trabelsi managed to link up but for long periods we just could not keep possession and played like a bunch of strangers.
Central midfield missed Joey Barton badly. Ousmane Dabo's passing is too inconsistent at this level and I would have taken the effective scrapping of Gyppo Savage into our ranks over him any day of the week.
You have to question certain training techniques at Carrington. It seems there is no point whatsoever in us being awarded free kicks or even corners this season. The total absence of imagination at each dead ball advantage beggars belief. As for defending free kicks, a wall is supposed to be a wall, Mr.Samaras.
If there was ever a game to set the alarm bells ringing for the City board post that Wigan debacle, then this was it because Blackburn have made it seven goals against us this season. Lessons have not been learnt and urgent squad surgery is required now with only a week remaining in the transfer window. Money has to be found from somewhere and top flight quality, finishing and creativity must be bought. Sod the debt because an unbeaten run can be quickly transformed into a losing streak in the Premier League and we can ill afford that at this stage.
Any optimism earlier in the week has been swiftly removed. The hard work over the festive period has been undone and the Southampton FA Cup distraction aside, we are only 10 points clear of the drop zone with the likes of top seven teams Reading, Arsenal and Chelsea on the horizon. This can be a cruel game and reality bites for Manchester City today.
Date:Sunday January 21 2007
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