Watching Manchester City is becoming a bizarre experience. On the one hand the decline has been halted and we are unbeaten in five. On the other the football has been awful.
Yesterday was another case in point. Before the game most fair minded blues would have snapped your hand off if you’d offered a point at high flying Bolton, particularly in the wake of the Anelka inspired 2-0 defeat pre-Christmas. However that result has inspired a steely (some may say negative) resolve in Stuart Pearce’s side that was evident once again at the Reebok.
City set up with 5-3-2 once again although Sylvain Distin moved to the left in the absence of Stephen Jordan. Barton returned from suspension which saw Richards move back into defence. Ireland replaced Beasley and strangely enough Corradi replaced Samaras now the Greek has found his shooting boots.
The game was best described as awful. Neither team created anything of note in a first half that could have been prescribed as a cure for the insomniac`s association.
The second half was little better but at least both teams registered the fact that 22,000 people had paid for the privilege of watching such drivel and upped the tempo to slow.
City had the best chance of the game when both Corradi and Barton missed open goals from the same shot, Barton being the most culpable as at least the ball bobbled for Corradi. Perhaps that would have been rough justice on the whingers from Horwich but that’s how City do things these days, bore the opposition to death and nick one late on.
All in all a point was fair and in the grand scheme of things a point won. That the stats showed just one shot on goal in ninety minutes makes a mockery of the so called ‘best league in the world’. City may be grinding out the points but we still need a goalscorer, get your finger out Stu and sign a decent striker.
You’ve got to credit Pearce for turning things round. He’s delivering results with a below average squad that cannot score for toffee. However he needs his board to back him now, a god second half of the season with a new proven striker could push us forwards. Stagnation will see lower crowds at Eastlands because the entertainment value right now is dire.
You get what it says when you play Bolton. Dull and physical but very effective. That City nullified their set play football is credit to the blues. They are still over-achieving however and an example of why the Premiership is not quite all it is made out to be.