Well, that result was richly deserved! It was an extremely painful and frustrating game to watch, not only emotionally, but physically as well (on the eyes). Lescott was given another start, due to our lack of depth in our backline, with injuries to Komapny and Nasty as well. Even though Nasty was on the bench for the game.
It was evident from the beginning, and when this match showed up on the fixture list, that QPR was playing for a point, and the goalless wonders did just that! But, like most of the season, City held much of the possession throughout the entire match, especially in the first half. I mean holy corner, did they have a lot of chances from set pieces, and with a line up that featured NBA sized centre backs and mid-field (Milner and Barry), you'd "fancy" City scoring off one of them. Unfortunately, as you guessed, City just couldn't pick up a goal from one of their ten corners. City almost converted on a couple of the corners, the best chance coming from Pablo, when his header towards the net caromed off the post and back into play. I give Julio Cesar a lot of credit because he faced a lot of pressure in this match (more later). Much to the chagrin of me and many City fans, QPR set up shop in the "94-minute unloading zone" and clogged up the middle, and forced City to create chances from outside the box. This was not ideal with the lineup City featured in tonight's game.
Now, in my opinion Nasri definitely played a huge part in the middle of the pitch becoming clogged. Plenty of teams have played this type of defensive style against City this season, but City have been able to combat that, especially in the last few matches. Today, Nasri seemed to do nothing but take up space, he could have been better served watching from one of those racing seats with the Manchester City crest embroidered in it. This is not to completely blame Nasri, a single player, for the loss but he played quite a big role in it. He seems to have lost his way since coming to City, and I hope he finds himself soon, because Nasri at his best is among some of the best midfielders in the world. All in all, sloppy play (from both sides really) hurt City as they just couldn't seem to get anything clicking until late in the first half.
What I believe RM's half time speech went like. Just watch the first 8 seconds.
The second half was much more interesting, especially from the 50th minute on. My bias would like to say the reason is that Nasri was subbed out, but my "reporters" eye likes to find other reasons. The introduction of Dzeko to the attack opened up play for the scrappy Argentinean strikers to create for themselves and others. Tevez was the less effective of the two, as Aguero used his pace and dribbling skills to cause the QPR defense fits throughout the match. Much like the introduction of Dzeko changed the game so did Rodwell's substitution into the action. It pushed Milner wide, the position I feel he is more effective at, from there he put more pressure on QPR from the right until he was subbed off. As I mentioned, after the 50th minute, the action got very scrappy and Phil Dowd, albeit a well-officiated game, did little to "control the crazy" as players were given yellow cards for, in my opinion, weak fouls. Anyway, I digress, the carry over from last season's final match between the two sides was apparent as the fans screamed for much of the second half.
Side note here: I posted this on the game thread, but I was wondering why the QPR fans were booing when Aguero, Tevez or Silva touched the ball? I could understand Aguero as he scored the late winner last season, but Tevez and Silva? It didn't make sense, especially because regardless they stayed up and are looking to be in a relegation fight again this season.
Back to the action, as the story lines were countless again, former Manchester City defender Nedum Onuoha, was the center of attention late in the game. He was getting picked out by many of the City player's who constantly challenged the right back, but Onuoha held his ground admirably.
The final 20 minutes of the match were extremely frantic, as City did what ever they could to get three points from the fixture. But, Julio Cesar had other ideas, showing his class as a goalkeeper when City bludgeoned point-blank chances at the Brazilian. Scott Sincalir was introduced with about 8 minutes left, and almost had a huge impact on the score of the game. The winger attacked the box with the intension of providing his teammates with chances to score, but he was unable to deliver the final ball to give City the win. As the final whistle blew, the QPR supporters went wild, as you'd imagine, because they produced a point out of a match no one (including myself) thought they would.
Final thought: Watching the ESPN3 broadcast, I found it interesting that the color reporter would never disagree with a call Dowd made. Not that it really bothered me, but I thought it was funny.
Bye, bye Mario: I love him, and I will miss him, but I believe it is the move City needed to make at this time. He wasn't getting routine first team appearances, and will be better served getting constant playing time at another club, especially in his home country. I wish him all the best and I really hope he reaches his full potential in Italy.
Aguero (7)- Today he looked like the Aguero of old, granted he didn't score, but he applied pressure on the wide side of the box. I believe Sunday we will see him paired with Dzeko.
Tevez (5) - Carlito seems extremely out of sync, not only with himself but the team as well. Throughout the game he seemed to be forcing the issue by throwing passes where they weren't expected, and taking chances that hurt the team.
Silva (6)- Very Silva like game, he didn't get much in the way of opportunities to score, but his passing was above average today. Not much more to say other than Nasri and him don't work well together.
Nasri (3) - His best contribution (other than being subbed) was his free kick into the box that almost ended in a goal. He played like a deer in headlights tonight, he was completely lost on the pitch. Chalk it up to being out for a long period of time, but I think he doesn't know where he fits offensively.
Barry (6)- Another strong match from Gareth, he is such a strong force in the midfield, whether it is offensively or defensively. He had a great shot on goal, and if it weren't from a superb save by Cesar, he would have been pushing for MotM.
Milner (7 MotM) - I love him when he plays wide, not in the middle because he can use his strength better (some how). He was my man of the match because as he saw more of the ball in the second half, the better the chances got for City.
Zaba (6)- I would love to see the stats on feet (meters) traveled during a game on Zabs. In the first half I saw him run from his right back position, down the right wing and then into midfield. This was all for just one ball!! He was strong at the back when he was taken 1-on-1 by the likes of Taarabat.
Garcia (6) - Again V was impressive in his ability to adapt to a "new" position. Until late, his necessity was in lower demand, but when he was asked to defend he did a great job. His versatility will help in the future for City, especially if Vinny or Nasty's injuries flare up.
Lescott (7)- Proving he is worthy!! He has made the best of his opportunities to play these last two games. He was very Vinny like, in strength, when QPR tried to penetrate the middle.
Clichy (4) - I was not impressed by him today, he was burned a few times when he was in 1-on1's with QPR's forwards. He also reverted back to old offensive Gael, putting mistimed and inaccurate crosses into the box, something he had done less of this season.
Hart (5)- Only called upon once to make a save, but that one real chance was a brilliant display of Hart's ability. On a 1-on-1 Hart charged out confidently and stopped the chance with a flailing arm save.
Dzeko (5)- His introduction was inevitable, and needed for City to get chances on goal. He changed to attack for city, but he was unable to score, though he had opportunities to do so.
Rodwell (4)- Came on and didn't really effect the game, negatively or positively.
Sinclair (7)- Played for about eight minutes, but those were a GREAT eight minutes. He displayed skill that was reminiscint of Adam Johnson in his time at City. He applied late pressure in the QPR box, and was almost awarded a PK, for a foul committed on him.