Date: 21st February 2010 at 7:17pm
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Manchester City and Liverpool are no nearer to knowing which side will compete in the Champions League after the teams endured a dire 0-0 stalemate.

The contest was tipped as “race for fourth” and a must watch classic. However, after 90 minutes of football neither side will be confident of surpassing teams above them to finish in the coveted Champions League spots.

Both City and Liverpool have been indifferent all season, but had the opportunity today to put a less than satisfactory campaign behind them and move forward. A Home Clash for City meant we were slight favourites. After famous victories previously against Arsenal and Chelsea at home more of the same was expected.

The mentality has switched under Mancini with the defence looking stronger and the attacking breaks few and far between. This mentality is shared across the North West with Benitez and his criticised defensive minded tactics. Therefore, a tactical battle was expected, with no side looking to push the boundaries in fear of making a crucial mistake.

Unfortunately, this proved correct as the encounter between two top four hopefuls stayed in continuum with their recent lacklustre League games.

This wasn`t one Sky or Espn would regret not broadcasting. The match was woeful, dreary, laborious and was a battle between the managers rather than the players. The attacking flair, chances and fluent football didn`t exist. The defensive skill was sublime, but neither back four had any stern tests. City showed Liverpool far too much respect, something that needs swiftly altering if we are the team who makes the top four break-through.

As the contest progressed it was evident that both sides had a greater fear of losing than a greater determination to win. The teams would both counter attack slowly with a fear that it could be reversed putting them on the back foot and more importantly out of the top four battle.

The greatest players on the pitch included Zabaleta, De Jong, Kompany, Mascherano and Skrtl. This epitomised the occasion, defenders on top, and the attacks futile. Liverpool relied on the usual industrious nature of Kuyt and the whole-hearted display of Gerrard. This proved unsuccessful, Gerrard was far from the colossal he has portrayed himself over recent years being overshadowed by the combative De Jong. Mascherano almost had viewers believing Ireland was amongst the substitute bench, and Adebayor went down looking accusingly at the referee from even a defensive stare.

This wasn’t an encounter between two top four contenders firing on all cylinders, it was a game between two teams frightened of taking a stranglehold, petrified of making costly mistakes, putting themselves in the limelight when failing to match expectations.

As shown in the title race, whoever takes the lead, whoever looks in the ascendency to take control fails to maintain control and surrenders it over again.

The fixture was guilty of creating not one clear cut chance. Skrtl came closest when he glanced his header beside the post, but no one was on the back foot begging for mercy. Both sets of fans were urging their sides on as they knew it was there greatest chance to win valuable points with the other one scared to break the shackles.

This failed to happen. Both managers looked content on the touchline making substitutions with no great intent other than to appease their respective fans.

As the game increased in time it decreased in entertaining football. Adebayor was denied with City’s only shot on target but was left bemoaning his fortunes further when he couldn’t take advantage of a defensive mix-up.

Equally both sides felt they had strong claims for a penalty shout, neither was seen valid. Adebayor was pushed, Benayoun was a millimetre from being clipped.

The game failed to live up to the hype and begs the question, who wants fourth place?

Player Ratings

Wasn’t troubled.

Given his chance again with Mr T looking like he will never be fit. Exceptional performance, whole-hearted, gutsy, determined and strong. Never stopped running and was defensively class.

Another sublime performance. Thwarted any possible chances, extremely strong, great awareness and good partnership with Lescott.

Worked brilliantly with Kompany. Didn’t have too much trouble and looked effortless when parading down the pitch after several good tackles.

Performed well. Every defender stood his ground and failed to disappoint.

De Jong-8
Protected the back four as if they were immune to Liverpool attacks. Class act.

Did reasonably well, but failed to just hit top gear. Defended well, could contribute more forward.

Looked like he was going to give Insua a real tough game early on. Was switched to the left and looked hopeless.

Some nice touches and build up play. Poor final ball and isn’t as much as a threat when switched to the right.

Very poor. Again! Something needs altering, his confidence or his mental state? Has dramatically changed from last season.

One man upfront means stay central. He drifted wide again and never threatend going forward. One good shot but should have taken control of a later chance.

Wasn’t involved to a great extent. Looks a threat when on the ball.

Played o.k when he was brought into action


15 Replies to “Who Wants Fourth?”

  • Liverpool still favourites….Villa dark horses although on paper i say theyre the worst side. Youre not quite there yet and Spurs despite looking good are perennial jokers

  • you have to say liverpool are prolly favourites, I think then it will be maybe us or Aston Villa to fight for 5th and then it’ll be between Spurs and everton for 7th

  • why are spurs fans on here saying **** like that. if we dont get that top 4 its gotta be city for me followed by villa basically anyone but liverpool.

  • Bast*rds! You take the game to us like it was a champs league final & you go respect the weakest member of the supposed big 4?! Come on.Now you gonna fight for your lives on saturday.Hope Tevez aint back in time.

  • It was a “must not lose” match rather than a must win I guess. I think Liverpool are favourites if they can keep Torres and Benayoun fit along with Gerrard. It’s a tough one to call, we had a comprehensive win away at Wigan today. If Pav starts regularly from now in the form he’s starting to show he could be like a new player, then of course Lennon is on his way back. Villa looked okay today but similarly to ourselves have not been amongst the points recently. City are always dangerous. I do know that it’s the most exciting season for Premiership football in a long time. I really hope it’s the same year in year out from now on.

  • So many players are not performing. The effort is still 100% but every aspect of their games is poor. Citys midfield and forwards have seriously under peforming. Despite this, were still hanging in for the 4th place. I doubt we will make it though.

  • Jeez, that was a snoozefest of epic proportions! Still a game in hand though, so plenty to be optimisitic about. But like I said, it was yours to lose, and Mancini has his job to think about, we’ll see what happens in your next game…

  • I was really hoping you’d break through, but your run of fixtures to end the season is tough. Same for Spurs. I think it’ll be between Villa and Liverpool. Hope I’m proved wrong, though.

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