Although they managed to turn it around, City should have been more wary of Watford’s pace on the counter-attack, with the back four being Richards, Demichelis, Lescott & Kolarov, Watford were almost being encouraged to capitalize on the slowness of City’s defence.
My only criticism of Manuel Pellegrini this season is that he has, at times, underestimated the ability of some of the ‘smaller’ teams. In my opinion, when they are all available, City should play their best 11 whenever possible – as it creates more problems than it prevents. What I mean is that it lowers City’s standards dramatically when they are not playing most (or any) of what me and my dad like to call the ‘Super 8’.
In our opinion, the really big players are, Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany, Yaya Toure, Fernandinho, Nasri, Silva and Aguero. When all eight play, City are awesome. When it’s down to six, they’re not quite as good, the lower the number, the more the level drops. This was once again exposed when City only started 2 of the 8 against Watford, so when Pellegrini brought on 2 more of the eight at half time (Kompany and Zabaleta) City were a completely different team.
The first half was frustrating for both the players and the fans. It seemed that the Blues were playing at half-capacity in every area of the field. Yaya Toure was at the centre of the home fan’s abuse as he made several careless mistakes, with one of them resulting in Watford’s second goal. Half-time couldn’t have come quicker for the Blues who were booed off by a few thousand angry City fans, and in desperate need of an answer.
If there ever was a time for Pellegrini to prove why the club selected him as Roberto Mancini’s replacement – it was now.
His first move saw Richards and Rodwell make way for Zabaleta and Kompany, the England duo were still clearly not look match fit after both being out through injury for some time. Most people thought that he was mad when he brought 2 defenders on, despite being 2-0 down at home and in need of some goals, but he stuck with his guns once again and it ultimately proved to be the perfect decision.
Kompany brought pace and stability to the defence, which sealed off most of the problems at the back, whereas Zabaleta added extra width down the wings, which meant that Jesus Navas was more effective for the remainder of the match. Genius.
Marcos Lopes was subbed off just over 10 minutes later (after a somewhat quiet performance) to make way for the ‘invisible man’ Stevan Jovetic. The Montenegrin international added that bit more quality to the midfield, which was so desperately needed in that match, which allowed Aguero to get into full flow.
I’m sure you’re all just as excited as I am to see Jovetic get some games under his belt, as we have only seen glimpses of his potential this season due to a couple of unfortunate injuries, but I continue to remain optimistic after his 2 goals against Wigan and the impact that he made when he came on in this match.
In the end it took a bit of magic by Sergio Aguero, who bagged his second ever City hattrick, and a bit of luck on Kolarov’s part to overcome an unusually lacklustre City performance.
As Pellegrini said in an interview after the game “It was a very good lesson for the whole squad”, I agree with this comment, but he should extend that quote to the coaching staff and himself, as it was an important lesson for them as well if they still plan on making Manchester City the best football club in the land and all the world!
– Daniel Cheeseman