Stop me if you have heard this story before; Away game, injury problems, a game we have a history with, against a team we should beat, go down early, hold much of the possession, 300 shots (over exaggeration, but close), miss the easy chances and come out with a loss. I think all we were missing was a late goal to beat us. Sigh, words can’t really express how depressed I am right now, and I tend to not get too emotional over games. My loss for words is not because I am completely shocked by the result, because this type of result was pessimistically predictable. I am speechless because of just how it dreadful that predictability looked. Sometimes you just wish you were wrong, and today is one of those times.
Sunderland began the game by holding possession to make sure City were unable to control the possession. Well, that plan certainly changed once they went ahead a goal, which began with a ball launched down field and passed our defense, of course. Milner, who may or may not have been fouled, fell leaving Bardsley one-on-one with Pantilimon. In my opinion, and Mike Dean’s, Milner wasn’t fouled and shouldn’t have gone down that easily. That is, of course, if that was what he was trying to do?
The attack that had been pretty, fluid and efficient in recent games fell to the wayside as the sluggish, anemic and uninspired attack was put on display today instead. This is not a side of City we have seen this year, but was very similar to the approach shown by last year’s team. Nonetheless it was ineffective and painful to watch, and when we did have chances to equalize, our forwards miss chances that had been so easy to convert in other games. The team as a whole looked bored, and uninspired by the game, which showed in our play. There were times where you thought maybe we had woken up, but it wasn’t until late that we decided to put the pressure on Sunderland. Sadly, it was too little, too late for us.
Many will point to the absence of Silva as the main reason we looked so poor today, and I would agree. But, Silva’s injury while influential should not make City, a team filled with so much talent, look like a side that is fighting to stay out of the relegation zone. After a two game stretch that saw City scoring 12 total goals, not being able to score, let alone get a good chance on goal is quite alarming. Two steps forward, and one GIANT step backward; the story of our League run so far this season.
Aguero (5) – After a run of games where he was scoring at will, today was a day filled with frustration. After Sunderland got their goal you knew they would pack the box, which would make it harder for him to get a goal.
Negredo (5) – Didn’t get much time with the ball during the game, which was due in large part to our final third approach. Couldn’t get his head on any of the crosses put in, very unfortunate.
Nasri (5) – Like Yaya, he (and the rest of the team) missed his midfield partner, Silva. There wasn’t much he could do about pressing the issue when the box was jammed back with red and white stripes.
Yaya (4) – He missed his usual midfield partner, Fernandinho, immensely today. There were times where he got beat by a Sunderland player, something you haven’t seen much this season.
Garcia (5) – Not much of an impact in the game, unless of course he was getting fouled, or fouling a Sunderland player. He was certainly unlucky to be yellow carded, especially given that Larsson assaulted him in midfield.
Milner (5) – Gave City a shot of life at times during the game, and I think he put an aggressive showing around the box. His
Richards (4) – Not even in the picture during the goal, and definitely should have been. He, like Clichy, look to show signs of rust coming back from injury.
Lescott (6) – After the goal, there wasn’t much in the way of defending had to be done. But, where he has usually looked uncomfortable, today he looked poised in times under pressure.
Demichelis (6) – After a bit of miscommunication in the first half, he settled in and had another solid game. His lack of height almost led to a goal when he was unable to head a ball clear.
Kolarov (6) – He was extremely involved in attack, and almost came away with at least one goal.
Pantilimon (6) – Other than the goal, he had another good game between the sticks. He didn’t have much to do throughout the game, but there were a couple of times he had to stop a tough shot. It will be interesting to see who gets the start after this international break.
Navas (6) – His inclusion into the line up at the start of the second half was possibly the best move made by City today. He came in with guns-a-blazing, but fizzled out after awhile. He did add a different element to our attack, and makes you ask the question “should he have started?”
Pablo (5) – A more experienced, and in-form replacement for Richards during the second half, and put pressure on Sunderland around the box.
Dzeko (6) – Like Navas, he came in and had an immediate effect on the game, he is named “super sub” for a reason. If he could get mad before each of his appearances, he can make an impact