Today started well for the sky blue of City, as the U19’s put up 6 goals in a 6-0 win over the u19 side for Bayern: sadly, that’s where the good news ended. In my short time writing for Bitter and Blue I have yet to see City be dominated the way we were today. It is usually the other way around, but the lesser opponent are the ones who often find a lucky goal, instead of the more dominate team. It was predicted that Bayern would win this game, but I had hoped it wouldn’t be this bad. Well, going against the best team in Europe at the top of their game will yield this type of result. Bayern came out on a mission, and were extremely successful in accomplishing that mission.
From the first kick of the game, Bayern pressured City into misplaced pass after misplaced pace. We could barely touch the ball before being crowded by a swarm of red Bayern jerseys. Because of the pressure and shape of Bayern, the pushing forward that Yaya, who had been free to do, leading up to this game, was not an option. After Bayern’s first goal went in, we looked deflated, which you’d expect when you come into the game hoping for a positive result. Frustration began to kick in late in the first half, and only continued after the second goal was scored in the second half.
That said, until the second goal was scored, City showed determination and a will to score and get back into the game. After the third goal went in, though, we did sag a bit. We eventually showed some heart, scoring and bringing the game back to a respectable score line. Negredo closed the gap to two goals late in the second half, which was little reassurance in a game where we looked to be on our heels the whole time. Sadly, the score line doesn’t tell the story of this game.
Let’s go back to the second goal, which was scored by Mueller. Watching this goal happen was uncomfortably familiar. It seemed to happen with regularity in close matches against teams like Cardiff, Wigan (last season) and name that [insert low table-sitting team here] where City would have a moment or two of poor concentration or judgment and allow a game winning goal. In this game it was the ball watching by Clichy that lead to an easy opportunity for Mueller to score. We need to be able to keep our focus for the entire 90-minutes, regardless of the opponent or score. It seems that when we lose, the other team is often scoring three times. Today was no different.
There was some interesting lineup moves by Pellegrini against a side of Bayern’s status that left people with some questions. Because of this there will be a lot of criticism for MP’s tactical decisions to not put on a midfielder, like Silva and Milner, until later in the second half; and placing two strikers into the starting lineup? Yikes. These criticisms seem warranted because once they were both subbed on you could see how City’s attack changed. We were able to hold possession in the midfield longer, and in turn, were able to spread the play to Milner and Navas out wide.
Of course, this was as much a testament to Bayern’s strength ass to City’s frailties, but it certainly opened our eyes a bit. As I mentioned at the beginning, this loss wasn’t unexpected so we need to focus on the next game against Everton and push up the Premier League table. And in terms of the Champions League; there are a lot of games left. We need to focus on beating the sides we should, especially at home. Survive and advance! Come on City!
Congrats to Mancini on getting a point in his first match back as manager of Galatasary.
Aguero (5) – Didn’t get much time with the ball, but tried to impose himself into the game when he got it.
Dzeko (4) – Although he hardly touched the ball in his time on the field, when he did there wasn’t anything positive done by the striker.
Nasri (5) – Been in top form coming into this game, but wasn’t at his best today. He did his best to help Clichy in defense, but he isn’t the strongest in this aspect of the game.
Navas (6) – I think he was our biggest attacking threat today. He used his pace on the wing to win corners, most of which came in the second half.
Yaya (4) – Wasn’t the imposing presence we have seen in the past few games. The pressure and shape of Bayern lead to his decreased aggressiveness. Because of this, he was unable to make his mark in the game. He also looked miserable defensively in the first half, not getting back to help Clichy and Nasri.
Fernandinho (4) – Had a few passing errors today, one lead to the Robben goal. Apart from that, he was strong defensively, committing himself to the tackles he made, and he stayed out of the book.
Micah (5) – Like Clichy, he had a tough draw coming back for his second game against a side like Bayern, specifically, Franck Ribery. That said, he often left Ribery too much room to shoot aided, which contributed to the first goal.
Kompany (5) – Lot of blocks from Kompany today, but he couldn’t hold down the giants of Bayern. He continues to be strong at the back. Let’s hope this continues into this weekend.
Nastasic (5) – Still committing silly fouls in free kick positions. I know he had one, but I believe he committed two fouls where Bayern had a chance to score. Luckily, unlike Villa, they didn’t score off one, but he needs to be careful around the box.
Clichy (4) – Tough to face Robben, essentially by himself, but he wasn’t at his best. Hopefully, he will get there soon.
Hart (3) – Tough game for Joe today; facing the best team in Europe and having them fire shots in space on your net is not easy to do. However, he did get beat near post twice in one game. Did Bayern spot something important in their scouting?
Negredo (6) – Should have gotten the start, as he has shown more consistency throughout the season. Glad to see him get a late goal, which certainly helped our differential. He was unlucky not to have gotten that second one off the header.
Silva (6) – He kept possession of the ball well in midfield, when he was introduced. His passing had a direct effect on our attack and helped in getting our goal.
Milner (6) – Imposed his will and work ethic on the Bayern midfield and back four causing them fits. He worked hard to get City back in it, and although he didn’t assist the goal, I believe his efforts had a hand in it.