Last night’s draw at Loftus Road was massively frustrating. It was yet another away game in which City dominated the play but failed to score the goals our dominance deserved. It was a real chance to put pressure on United but there is now a possibility that they could be 10 points clear of us before we play Liverpool on Sunday. Here are my thoughts on the game.
City Not Ruthless Enough
This was yet another game where we dominated the ball, had plenty of chances, but failed to score and get the points we deserved. I’ve argued many times that we need to be better at breaking down sides who look to defend for 90 minutes and steal a point from us. This was a classic example.
We had 57% possession, 15 shots (to their 5), with 7 on target (to their 3), but again we didn’t show that ruthlessness in front of goal. We were camped in their half without ever really threatening often enough. It’s a conundrum that needs sorting or it will scupper our chances of silverware this season.
With Balotelli departing and Dzeko very hit and miss in front of goal, the likes of Aguero and Silva will have to come up with more goals.
Away Form a Concern
This season, we have won just 50% of our away games (won 6, drawn 5, lost 1), and last season was a similar story (won 10, drawn 4, lost 5). It’s clear that if we sort our away form out, even just slightly, we would be a shoe-in for the title.
What appears to be our problem is a lack of flexibility in terms of how we set up. Sometimes, we’re crying out for more width but we just don’t have the options. Scott Sinclair has rarely shown he is the answer, but someone like him who has pace and can run at defenders down the outside might just give us that extra dimension needed to improve our away form. Other than that, I’m pretty stumped as to why we struggle away from the Etihad. Answers on a postcard.
Rodwell & Sinclair feature
Much has been made about our summer transfer activity, with most people agreeing that only Matija Nastasic has looked a truly great buy. We spent £50m and it’s difficult to argue we are any better for it. Scott Sinclair and Jack Rodwell have become the obvious examples of our failed policy. Sinclair has played here and there and looked overwhelmed and frankly lost, whilst Rodwell has struggled with hamstring injuries and barely played.
Both featured last night as substitutes. Sinclair only played 8 minutes at the end but he, maybe for the first time, looked a threat. However, I’m far from convinced he will ever be a decent player for us.
Rodwell, on the other hand, is a player I have always rated. His injury record is his main problem. He didn’t do much last night but looked neat and tidy. I have some belief that if he were to stay fit, he could be a useful player. I’m not holding my breath on that one, though.
Julio Cesar & QPR’s Parked Bus
It would be harsh not to mention the contribution made by QPR ‘keeper Julio Cesar last night. He made some brilliant saves, not least the one from Gareth Barry’s first time effort, as well as an instinctive stop to deny Silva from close range. He’s top drawer and looks well out place amongst the crock of shit QPR have expensively assembled. Harry Redknapp described him after the match as ‘outstanding’. It’s difficult to disagree.
Redknapp also said that he sets his side up ‘to be difficult to beat’. That was certainly true. They played with one up front and five in midfield and defended in numbers, but who can blame them? If they had come at us, we’d have destroyed them. They have Premier League survival to think about. We need to figure out how to beat sides who play like that because at the moment we struggle.