What a bizarre day at the Etihad office it was for everyone connected with Manchester City yesterday including watching visionaries such as Gareth Southgate, season card holder Sir Alex Taggart and LG.
Much of City`s brilliant football was sumptuous and has been critically acclaimed yet again. Out-passed half to death, a hopelessly unambitious Everton were embarrassed infrequently yet despite the superb standard of their football, The Blues lacked a ruthless streak which harked back to chastening experiences within the Manuel Pellegrini era whereby absolute dominance resulted in scarcely believable defeat. However, Pep Guardiola`s squad does have an inherent resilience which was first demonstrated in Glasgow last month and it realised another draw, but make no mistake about it, this was a brilliant point for Ronald Koeman`s battered side. Where was the resilience at Tottenham? I am putting that defeat down to four games on the road in twelve days…
A pragmatic Pep has suggested we file the Everton result away under ‘one of those days’ and it is abundantly clear that City are going to win a hell of a lot of games this season playing like that but I still went on record in the VMC Forum post match in suggesting we need to get cuter where the dark arts are concerned in games like these against uncompromising sides who carry a wealth of Premier League savvy. I would also like to see the type of ‘shark eyed’ approach to dead ball situations that Leo Messi and Diego Forlan are famed for. I stand by these assertions. We have had a couple of our players sanctioned this season through frustration and getting suckered in. Yesterday we saw Everton mixing it when required and this coming winter we can expect to see our quicksilver stars coming in for plenty more of the treatment the likes of Gareth Barry and Seamus Coleman dished out yesterday. Such crafty referee hoodwinking interventions are designed to break up your attacking flow. To City`s credit they persisted, but throwing two gilt edged penalties down the same pan in the same game has not helped the cause. However, it is better these errors that belied a lack of focus take place now rather than at the business end of the campaign. In the meantime, any game now City are going to wipe the floor with an opposing team.
Immensely disappointing as yesterday`s result was, as we now prepare to take on Barcelona at the Camp Nou and the astute Ronald Koeman was unequivocal in his description of Pep`s City team 107 days since the Catalonian took charge. Planet Blue can take great heart from his words:
‘City played fantastic football, good movement, really high tempo and high pressing, but because of our defensive organisation they could not create really open chances. I would say they are the best team I have come across in my managerial career and maybe we were a bit lucky, with the goalkeeper playing his best game ever.’
Messi and co, YOU are next.
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