A 0-0 draw away at Chelsea keeps our unbeaten run going and looks a good result in theory but it doesn’t tell the whole story of the match. Here I look at the major talking points to emerge from West London.
This was a match City could easily have won. Chelsea were so poor it was unbelievable, managing just one shot on target and struggling to retain the ball. If City had been at just 80% their best we’d have walked away with 3 points. We were decent, managing 11 shots (7 on target) and dominating the possession (54%) but we weren’t ruthless enough in front of goal.
In the first half in particular, we were the dominant side but we failed to turn that dominance into goals. This was a real chance to beat a title rival and return to the top. We failed to do that.
The complacency of the great many City fans who took to Twitter after the match to say it was a good result was staggering. In his post-match interview, Mancini berated our lack of ruthlessness and said it was two points dropped rather than one point gained.
Barry and Milner – much maligned, but excellent for us
Barry and Milner share much in common. They both came to City from Villa. They are both England regulars. And they are both slagged off something rotten by fans of other sides.
But you would have to go a long way to find a City fan who has a bad word to say about either. Barry has an unerring ability to be in the right place at the right time. He is also a very simple yet effective player, which works perfectly alongside more free-spirited talents like Aguero and Silva. He keeps us ticking, whist they provide the class. Milner is ultra-disciplined and can run further than any City player. His attitude is first-class. It’s his discipline that makes him useful, particularly away from home. We know we can rely on James Milner.
Neither player will go down in history for their talent or ability, but both will be remembered as worthy City players who played a big role in the success of the club. They were both excellent against Chelsea and I can see them playing a big part again this season.
Is Zabaleta now the best right-back in the league?
When Pablo Zabaleta first joined us, he was a liability. We loved him because he was versatile and fought like no other player, but he was poor in possession and was beaten very easily in one-on-one situations, a pretty poor trait for a fullback. He was also always on the verge of a red card, and my nerves couldn’t hack it.
What we saw last season was a player who had improved massively, and this season his ascent is continuing. Gary Neville, the best pundit on television and a brilliant right-back himself, is a huge fan, and it’s easy to see why. He is strong in the tackle, eager to attack, and full of energy. He’s playing out of his skin and has arguably been our best player so far this term.
I’ve spoken many times about Pablo’s heart and effort; I genuinely don’t think I’ve ever seen him pull out of a challenge. Now he has added class to his game. He has a genuine shout at being the best right-back around.
Dzeko and Toure were dreadful
Dzeko, as I’ve mentioned many times, is not good enough to start for us regularly. He may not like the ‘super-sub’ tag he’s been given, but he’d better get used to it. He isn’t on the same level technically as many of the players in our attacking third and he looks out of his depth when he starts. He was shocking in this match, offering nothing. Bringing him on to change a game and unsettle the opposition defence works. Let’s stick to it.
Yaya Toure is a different story altogether. He’s one of the most frightening midfield players in world football but, let’s be honest, he’s been pretty poor this season. He was woeful at Chelsea but he will rise again. He’s too good not to.
Balotelli booked for……
Balotelli was booked for being run into by David Luiz. It was a ridiculous decision; the latest in a long line of examples if his reputation going before him.