It was a sloppy, back and forth, affair today and the result was nothing you wouldn’t have expected after watching it. We haven’t seen an uninspiring performance like today’s at all during this season. But, in keeping with his mindset towards cup games, Pellgrini, put out a side stronger than many would have expected. I guess if you are going to have a blip on your radar, make it a tie in an early league cup match.
Both teams had their share of the chances to be the first to score, and Negredo finally broke the ice. Dzeko headed a ball sent in from a corner, which found Negredo, who made no mistake and put it in the back of the net. The timing was impeccable, as it was right on the stroke of half time. Blackburn, who had played a very solid game in the first half, came out in the second and kept the pressure on City. After some less than convincing defending from the Blues (in black), Blackburn won a corner. A free header was sent towards goal, and Pantilimon dealt with it poorly allowing Scott Dann to put away the equalizing goal.
In the final stages of the game, both teams continued to have their chances to take the goal advantage. With Balckburn throwing crosses into the box like they were going out of style, and Navas’ near misses, you’d think some one would win. I wish there was more to write about, chances and highlights wise, but there really wasn’t. Even Fox Sports couldn’t find an egregious amount of highlights from the game. As sloppy as the game was, the goals were just as casual. Negredo may or may not have been offside, and if Pantilimon handles the shot we could be looking at a 0-0 game. So, I guess the tie was inevitable. To be fair, Blackburn played some inspired football, and deserved the result they got.
It was a team selection that had a mismatched pairing, one that has been a problem so far this season. The combination of Negredo and Dzeko has yet to yield any success for Pellegrini this season. Both provide similar elements to City in attack, and putting the two together has caused a clash in styles, which hasn’t worked. Like we did against Swansea, playing either one of them alone up top with a midfielder sitting behind them would be the better option for everyone involved.
After another poor performance from Boyata who was forced in at right back, it is more glaring that we need to sign another right side defender. With the health of Micah Richards always a question, it seems likely we will have just one true right back. As good and indestructible as Pablo is, he can’t play all the games we have scheduled. I’d much rather see him have games off, especially if we look to progress in the Champions League, and win the Premier League title.
Because, this is the busy part of the season it is a bad time for a replay. But, it could be good, of course, because our injured players, who slowly begin to trickle back, could use that replay as a fitness test. Another plus, which many of you mentioned on my last post, this makes it impossible for us to do the “grand opening” game in Abu Dhabi, which is much less meaningful. In the end, however negative I want to be (yes, I got coal for Christmas!), we are still in the cup and have a chance to win in front of the home fans.
Negredo (6) – Like I said last match, always a touch away from a goal. He was the beneficiary of a touch on by Dzeko, and he was menacing before that goal, as well. The problem is, he seems to miss more chances than he converts, at least recently.
Dzeko (5) – Disappeared at times during the game, which is not what I want to see. But, he does as he always does, he finds that one moment to introduce himself; i.e. assist to Negredo.
Silva (6) – Beautiful passing, but it really was the only thing pretty about the game today. Couldn’t help the team much, but he made an effort.
Milner (6) – The more forceful version of Navas, his strength and guile was on full display throughout today’s proceedings. He had some beautiful passes put into the box, towards Negredo.
Fernandinho (7) – Continues his torrid form; he looked like a little kid who’d just sucked down six pixie sticks running around the midfield. He created chances and tracked back extremely well.
Garcia (6) – Another solid, nothing fancy, performance and that is, by no means, an insult. He does have a knack for getting his passes intercepted, though. Like he does with Yaya, he freed (set loose) Fernandinho to push forward, and to allow him to become aggressive in attack.
Boyata (3) – He still needs to get forward on the wing in support. Stupid tackle to get himself sent off, should have known better than to do that, already having been given a caution. He was tested often by the Blacburn attack, and his performance was extremely poor.
Lescott (4) – Lost his man on the corner, which lead to the goal by Blackburn. Even after that, he was less than stellar today, especially in the air.
Nastasic (5) – Aggressive with his tackles, but those tackles can also get him in trouble and he ended up with a card in the first half. He and Lescott had some miscommunication in the box, especially during set pieces.
Clichy (6) – One of his best all around games this season, he pushed down the wing with intent. Not that he had to much to day defensively, he was still capable of doing the job when called into action.
Pantilimon (5) – Up until the goal, he was having a good game. But, one bad miss-clearance and that good game can become disappointing. It wasn’t that bad, but he should have done better.
Yaya (5) – Subbed in early, but didn’t have the impact needed to get City ahead.
Navas (6) – His pace at the end of the game put Blackburn under some serious pressure. He was unable to grab the important goal, but his influence was there.
Zabaleta (N/A) -