Irrespective of the fact that up until this seismic result the Premier League title race had been wide open amid media assertions that nobody wants it, all upcoming commitments and important injuries considered, I wager that Manchester City must immediately embark upon a tremendous winning run if they are to be crowned champions.
Based upon today’s evidence it doesn’t look as if Manuel Pellegrini’s men have it in them…I will revisit this doom ladened prophecy in a moment, but first I must pay tribute to Claudio Ranieri and his battling Leicester side.
Although aided and abetted by more criminal City defending and the usual Anthony Taylor refereeing howlers, they are league leaders on absolute merit and if they can keep the nucleus of their squad fit could yet run away with the title should Tottenham, the other form side in the mix, fail to match them stride for stride.
The Foxes may well have been utterly out-passed up until their third goal today (to the tune of 593 to 296 overall) but their committed, patient and direct approach, particularly in midfield, ultimately flattened The Blues…This was a tiring City’s 38th fixture of the season whereas it was Leicester’s 30th and Ranieri’s men have no other distractions. They are serious title contenders and should be afforded that respect…From the first whistle they clearly wanted this win badly, the first three minutes of the contest emphasising that telling fact whilst at the same time underlying how City, leaderless throughout, looked collectively uncertain…And it is this uncertainty that threatens to drag multiple campaigns that we have done well to maintain interests in, right off the rails…
To be as indecisive as City were today for long periods can spell curtains at the business end of a season and that is where we are at. The situation is exacerbated by the realisation that having already negotiated some tricky phases of the season shorn of options, the handicaps have persisted. When it ain’t going right you need game changers to call upon. For example, Jesus Navas’ ability to charge a ball out of danger is all of a sudden no longer an outlet…That said, The Engineer must make some bold choices with what resources he has at his disposal if this chastening reverse is to serve as a warning sign ahead of some massive fixtures. Persisting with Yaya Touré in any capacity right now is beginning to appear foolhardy as is the tactic of refusing to load the opposition penalty area with men for advanced crossers to aim at.
We aren’t even providing Lampardesque late arrivers. But above all else, we lost this game through failing to compete physically, especially in central midfield where once again we declined to chase the opposition down. We have been making these mistakes for months now and aside of a refreshing change to a more direct style in that cup win at Villa, our erratic league results bear these assertions out. No back to back wins since October is a damning statistic and allied to 6 defeats suggests our aspirations for silverware already lie elsewhere.
Forum member ‘Skoorb’ says
Metaphorically speaking a kick in the nads often helps one focus. Perhaps its about time Pellegrini began to polish his shoes in preparation.
Forum member ‘Rising’ says
The Six Nations will be my distraction this weekend. Also agree with Buzz and Skoorb, avoid Sky News and all newspapers.
Forum member ‘Skoorb’ says
Leicester are where they are because they have played well, have been managed well & have been fuelled by a self-belief that has grown with every game. They are sharp and fast and play to their strengths.
In contrast we were slow, predictable and nowhere near as fast or as sharp as we needed to be. Silva summed it up for me in the second half – he was dispossessed inside the centre circle having dwelt too long expecting to be allowed the space to playainstead of trying to regain the ball he just flung his arms up and did nothing to get the ball back. I love him to bits, he is an outstanding talent…..but he needed to take a a leaf out of their book and get right back at them