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What Ails Manchester City?

The Blues title challenge looks in serious trouble. Why?

Michael Regan/Getty Images

Manchester City's 2-1 loss at the Emirates on Monday could have been much worse. Despite having a hefty 63-37% possession edge, the Blues created far fewer dangerous opportunities until the final ten minutes of the match. What is going wrong for Manchester City currently?

  • Lack of leadership - the absence of Vincent Kompany and Pablo Zabaleta are being felt in every match not just in terms of defensive errors, which are frequent (both Arsenal goals on Monday could be attributed to Kompany's replacements) but in leadership as well which is clearly lacking with both off the pitch.
  • Lack of movement going forward -  All too often when the Blues are in possession the movement of players is static. Attacking players not making daring runs or playing the wrong pass. While the tactics of Manuel Pellegrini have certainly not helped in this regard, the staleness of the attacking players have undermined the Blues efforts.
  • Midfield dysfunction - I really thought inserting Fabian Delph in the center of the pitch on Monday would help resolve this problem but it did not. The overloaded midfield simply allowed the Blues to keep the ball without doing much with it. The lack of a Raheem Sterling or Jesus Navas on the pitch in the first half negated the ability of City to unlock Arsenal's defense even when the Blues had the better of play. This has been recurring theme. Insert an extra central midfielder and maintain lots of meaningless possession or play an additional wide player and get run over in the center of the pitch. Either way the Blues are getting hammered away from home in every outing it seems.
  • Silva not fully fit - David Silva has turned in two of his worst performances in a City shirt the last two away dates. It is obvious he is not close to 100% and with Samir Nasri injured long-term, options are limited for the Blues going forward.
  • Misfiring Strikers - Sergio Aguero's scoring total this year is inflated due to his five-goal outburst against Newcastle. Wilfried Bony isn't anywhere near the level of consistent second striker that Edin Dzeko or Carlos Tevez were. The Blues have been unable to generate consistent goals from the forward position.  In this regard the Blues mirror Manchester United and Chelsea.
What are your thoughts on the continued troubles for the Blues as we approach Boxing Day and the January Transfer Window?