Perhaps in the long run, City’s emphatic defeat by Bayern Munich might be a turning point, maybe even a wake up call. Let’s get it right, Bayern are the European champions and during that game they looked like it. The fact that they were “on form” that night, should actually been seen as a mark of respect for City, who they clearly see as a rising force; they knew they had to be at their best.
On the other hand, City minds will have been refocused by that defeat, if the club aims to win the Champions League in the coming years, that’s the standard the Blues must reach.
I don’t think Joe Hart had quite the “off night” that was portrayed by the national media, although I’m sure he’d have been disappointed that he couldn’t keep out two near post shots, but let’s also be honest, they were shots hit with venom and by top quality players. I believe nine times out of ten Ribery and Robben would have scored those goals against any keeper.
Perhaps more worrying was the room both Bayern players had to unleash those piledrivers.
The team selected against Everton a few days later, seemed a stronger one to me, perhaps the one I’d have selected in the Champions League, and I had several tweets to that effect, when the eleven selected were revealed an hour before kick-off. The return of David Silva made such a difference and Alvaro Negredo is very mobile and, of course, strong. He’s very different to Edin Dzeko and a few callers to the BBC Radio Manchester post-match phone, felt that he should be given an extended run in the team. I can’t argue with that logic.
Central Defense has also been a big talking point this season, we discussed it on Blue Tuesday, with some fans suggesting that Nastasic has lost some form, there were contributors worried by Kompany’s recurring injury problems and a few wanted Joleon Lescott to be a more regular starter.
The performance was back to it’s best against Everton, and showed what this team is capable of, maybe that defeat to Bayern had already had an impact, in a positive way. The Blues dominated possession again and beating Everton, whether you regard them as a bogey team, or just reflect on them being unbeaten in the Premier League to that point, was an impressive achievement.
I spoke to Joleon after the game, he was as charming as always, and accepted he was at fault for Everton’s goal, but emphasised that he wanted to continue his battle for a more regular start in the City team. I’m told he’s one of the really positive influences around the club and in the dressing room, and while he’s sometimes not as easy on the eye as Nastasic, he’s a strong and powerful defender and seems to me a man of good character. I like players with a good character.
With Arsenal dropping two points and Spurs losing at home, City are very strongly placed to push onward and upwards, and every game that passes, is another step in the right direction for the new players and manager, and I can’t help thinking that once momentum builds this club will be unstoppable in the Premier League, although now that we’ve seen first hand the European standard that has to be reached, that might take a little bit longer, but I’m sure it’ll come.