Perversely, Manchester City’s defeat to Chelsea serves to show us how far City have come, I remember some pretty desperate performances against the south London side, and a shock win all over a decade ago.
This time around City fans expected their team to win, with arguably the strongest team in Europe and one of the best managers currently working, fans have come to expect results week in and week out.
Take nothing away from Chelsea, who have staked their claim as contenders this year, they played incredibly well. However, there are some areas we need to improve on.
City also played well, Pep himself said if you thought City had an off day you didn’t see the game, City were dominant in the first half and the first goal was scored somewhat against the run of play, but in the dying moments of the first half, which is mentally a tough place to come back from.
I recently went to go and watch City with a friend who supports a third division team, and midway through the first half they turned and said: “they need to stop messing about with it and shoot.” (Language may be slightly altered). Here they may have had a point, in the first half city were dominant but slightly polite about the whole thing.
You can pass the ball into the net against Burnley and Southampton, but not against a team like Chelsea, and Sarri seemed to have set up his tactics perfect to frustrate City’s pretty football. Sometimes it’s fine for it not to be pretty if it gets the job done, and if they had capitalised on their first-half dominance it would have been a different story altogether.
Over-dependence on certain players is something all teams slip into at times, City really missed Aguero up front on Saturday, and one can’t help but think how much De Bruyne’s creativity and vision in the middle may have helped at points in the game where City was struggling for a breakthrough and looking a touch flat-footed once they had gone a goal down. David Silva going off with injury further exasperated City’s issues. More work needs to be done to ensure these world class players cope without the anchors.
City remains one of the best teams in Europe and winning every game is unrealistic, and Hoffenheim at home on tomorrow night followed by Everton should be two easily winnable fixtures and, they can get all the cylinders firing before the congested Christmas period.