Last night City succumbed to an emphatic 3-1 home defeat to Bayern Munich in Matchday 2 of the Champions League group stage. Here is a look at the main talking points from the game.
Sometimes in football you have to cast aside your disappointment about your own team’s performance and admire the sheer brilliance of the opposition. That was certainly the case last night as Bayern swept aside City with a dominant performance from start to finish. They were simply outstanding and the 3-1 score line probably flattered City more than it represented a true reflection of the German’s control of the game.
Bayern’s midfield trio of Philipp Lahm, Toni Kroos and Bastian Schweinsteiger dominated the midfield with a master class of passing. With Frank Ribery and Arjen Robben providing a constant threat on the wings and Thomas Muller dangerously lurking in clever positions in the box, it is fair to say City were overwhelmed. When out of possession, which wasn’t very often, Bayern pressed City high up the pitch and strangled them of any time on the ball. Bayern enjoyed 60 percent possession and had 13 shots on target compared with City’s two.
It was a seriously impressive performance and I doubt there are many other teams in Europe that would have fared much better than City on the night. Bayern showed why they are Champions of Europe and their performance suggests they intend to keep it that way.
Negredo Over Dzeko
Typical City’s Ciaran Murray hit the nail on the head last night when he tweeted after the game:
A positive surely has to be the confirmation that Negredo trumps Džeko in every which way. Must start every single game.
— City Scrawlings (@CityScrawlings) October 2, 2013
The selection of Edin Dzeko ahead of Alvaro Negredo certainly raised a few eyebrows last night and it is clear to see why. Negredo provides more of threat in almost every department than Dzeko. If his brilliantly taken consolation goal against Bayern wasn’t enough evidence of that, his performances over the course of the season have. His bullying of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic in the Manchester derby, as well as his match winning cameo against Hull, are surely enough to secure his place in the starting XI.
Whilst Dzeko is wasteful with his chances and his first touch often deserts him, meaning he poses little threat most of the time. Negredo, on the other hand, has a better eye for goal, provides a physical presence up front which City were previously lacking and is technically more accomplished than Dzeko. He is the best partner for Sergio Aguero at the club.
Joe Hart Form
Where did it all go wrong for Joe Hart? The player that was such a key component of City’s title winning team in 2011/12 has all but vanished. Beaten at the near post for Bayern’s first and third goals, Hart has yet again caught the headlines for the wrong reasons. The errors that have crept into his game have become so regular that it is impossible for any sensible spectator to brush it off as a blip. Hart’s performances in years gone by have won City games but now they seem to lose games. Whilst it would be unfair to place blame for last night’s defeat solely on Hart’s shoulders such was Bayern’s superiority, he certainly made Bayern’s task a lot easier.
Much has been made of the lack of competition he faces both domestically and internationally which may have led to his slump in form, but it wouldn’t be out of the question to drop him altogether such is the gravity of the situation.
David Silva’s return was the one major plus for City. He is (and we really shouldn’t forget this) the best attacking player City have, and he showed his class during his brief cameo, setting up Negredo’s goal, and hitting the bar with a free-kick. His ability to get on the ball, control the tempo, dictate play and find killer passes is our most potent threat. Let’s hope he can now remain free from injury and have the kind of impact on games we know he can.
Written by Robert Toole and Robert Pollard