Manchester City 0-1 Chelsea – “Has City’s lack of signings exposed their weaknesses?”
A lot of people, including me, have said that City’s two weakest points in yesterday’s game were in central midfield and central defence. So would it have been a different story if City had signed Fernando and Mangala from Porto in the transfer window?
Nastasic’s lack of experience showed as he looked uncomfortable on the ball and was told off on several occasions by Vincent Kompany for his lack of communication and defensive errors. The Serbian has not found his best form this season and so it begs the question “should Pellegrini have signed a new defender?”
In my opinion Martin Demichelis had a decent game and looked much more effective in the midfield role, rather than defence. But the Argentine is a very defence-minded player and so in order to counter that, you have to have another playmaker – which we didn’t have.
I thought that the decision to play both Dzeko and Negredo was the wrong one as Chelsea outnumbered the Blues in midfield throughout the match. On most occasions it was a 2-on-1 battle between Chelsea’s David Luis and Nemanja Matic against City’s lone wolf Yaya Toure, the physical presence of the Chelsea duo proved to be too much to for the Ivorian to handle on his own, meaning that he was much less effective than he normally is.
The same problem occurred earlier in the season when City lost 3-1 at home to Bayern Munich.
Bayern played most of the match without a striker, which meant that they could have an extra body in midfield, and this proved to be their winning formula as they managed to dominate the midfield by holding off Yaya Toure for almost the entire match (which seems to be the key to the other team’s success).
Although I have not seen much of Porto midfielder Fernando, I have heard that he has a reputation to be a strong force in midfield, who is not afraid to risk life and limb in order to win a tackle – sound familiar? But at the same time he adds that bit extra going forward if they need him to (which Demichelis doesn’t), so would the Yaya/Fernando combination been enough to regain control in midfield? Maybe.
The Blues lacked a lot of pace in defence, and as a result players like Hazard, Willian and Eto’o were able to capitalize more effectively on the counter-attack throughout the game. If it was up to me, I would have started with Clichy at left back and Kolarov on the wing, so that they could cope better with the pace of Chelsea’s young attacking players.
It was very obvious that City were also missing that ‘moment of magic’ from the likes of Sergio Aguero, Samir Nasri and Fernandinho as they were all out through injury, but I thought that Stevan Jovetic looked the most likely to produce one of those moments when he came on in the second half. It is obvious that Jovetic is a very talented player, with his ability to dribble past players, pick out good passes and produce the odd good shot as well, so I was quite disappointed not to see him in the starting 11 before the game.
I’m sure that Manuel Pellegrini will have worked out the game-plan that big teams like Chelsea and Bayern have when they come to the Etihad – to control the midfield and not let Yaya Toure have the ball. So hopefully the ‘engineer’ will have found out a solution to these tactics by the time they play Barcelona in 2 weeks, as you cannot let a team like them take control of midfield!
You have to remember, this is City’s first home loss in the league this season, so they are definitely doing more things right than wrong! Every team has one of those days – Barcelona had theirs last weekend when they lost at home to Valencia 3-2, so let’s be gracious in defeat – as I can assure you that it will feel all the more better if City go on to win the League later this year!
– Daniel Cheeseman