It was more humiliation for Manchester City as they threw away a 2-0 lead to lose away in Wolverhampton. Here’s what we learned from a dismal night in the Premier League…
Sterling Hot and Cold
I’ve never seen a player have as bad a game as Sterling did tonight and still score a brace. The winger looked lost throughout, misplacing passes and giving it away with heavy touches regularly, yet still managed to bag two goals. Admittedly, the first was extremely fortunate in a multitude of ways- why he took the second penalty I still don’t know- but the second goal was extremely classy. Still, we needed more from him tonight for reasons I’m about to go into…
Pep’s Changes Were Baffling
What was Pep Guardiola thinking today? Why? Why would he take off three of our four goalscorers in a tight game?
The first change I can kind of understand. Ederson’s red card left us needing to bring on a goalkeeper and as Aguero was unlikely to last 90 minutes anyway he was the obvious choice. However, I can’t understand the rationale behind bringing on Eric Garcia for Mahrez at half-time. I like Garcia but his introduction only accomplished two things: making us worse defensively and removing half of our remaining goal threat.
Then, to top it all off, Pep hooked De Bruyne with the score at 2-1. That was his way of saying “no more goals from us tonight lads”- from that instant we created nothing. It backfired horrendously and what hurts is every City fan saw it coming.
No Bottle, No Excuse
We had three centre-backs, two full-backs and a defensive midfielder on the pitch, and other two midfielders sat deep all game. So there is absolutely no excuse for our utter capitulation in the second half. Yes, it’s frustrating that Adama Traoré is awful against everyone but City, but our FIVE defenders had to do better against him and, later, Doherty as well. Once we conceded the goals there was no question of scoring any more ourselves. We should have seen this game out and we failed.
Fullback Horrorshows Yet Again
What was Kyle Walker doing for the Ederson red card? The right-back was miles behind his defensive line, playing the striker miles onside and forcing the Brazilian to commit the foul. It’s a huge mental error that is all too common for Walker these days. Then, later, Mendy gave away an equaliser at a vital time with a horrendous mistake of his own, waiting on the ball for far too long and allowing himself to be robbed.
When we have Oleks Zinchenko, who’s earned a place in the team through hard work and talent, and Joao Cancelo, who’s come in with a big reputation and so far done little wrong, why are these two error-prone defenders still starting as first-choice? It makes no sense to me. How much longer can Pep keep valuing trivial things over actual defensive ability? We didn’t have enough of it out there tonight.
Rodri The Consolation
Just about the only thing that made me smile tonight was Rodri’s performance. The Spaniard was an assured presence in midfield, circulating the ball nicely and setting up De Bruyne to assist Sterling’s second. He was also pretty much the only player who I felt was reliable defensively all game, heading clear several balls into the box and refusing to be beaten on the ground. I was almost surprised to see him back in the team over Ilkay Gundogan, but I’m glad Pep did it. On another day, he’d have led us to an unlikely win.
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