City were well beaten by a strong Arsenal team in the 2014 Community Shield in front of a relatively small Wembley crowd. The blues weren’t at the races from the start and the result was a fair one. Here are a few extended thoughts on the game…
The Long and Short Of It…
…Is that City played badly. Right from the start the start the players were lethargic and the team was disappointing; sloppy in possession and slow to press an Arsenal team who had clearly come to win.
Pellegrini’s choice of defence was geared more towards comedy than solidity and the obvious problem with playing a back four of Clichy, Boyata, Nastasic and Kolarov was made apparent over and over again. This was what I would call a full strength Arsenal forward line in full flow and they cut City apart repeatedly in the first half. Arsenal were good value for their win.
Toure and Fernando were not at the level required to play against an Arsenal team in this sort of mood. Navas was fairly anonymous. Dzeko had one of those days. Nasri seemed affected by the booing he got from the emotionally incontinent Arsenal fans.
Still though, it was only a friendly, but I’d have probably expected a bit more from the team if I’d travelled all the way from Manchester to the game. But it was only a friendly.
It’s Not All Doom and Gloom
There were some positives as well!
The aforementioned weakened line up (i.e. a team which was far beyond any hopes and dreams I ever used to have for City) should not be used as a point of reference for predicting how City will fare when the Premier League starts on Saturday.
We saw what was, probably, our third choice defence up against a fearsome Arsenal front line which can be expected to score many, many goals this year. Even within that, Nastasic gave us glimpses of the player we came to love the season before last. Hopefully he can reach that level again in short order.
David Silva came on at half time and immediately set about being the best City player on the pitch. He visibly perplexed the Arsenal defence and had split them apart within minutes. Watching him pirouette around players without a care in the world will never, ever get old.
Jovetic drifted in between the midfield and defensive lines causing consternation and some mild havoc. The suggestion that he will be of great importance to us this year has become received wisdom and nothing occurred to dispute that. If he gets 90 minutes of quality service he will score rather a lot of goals this year.
The following players are still to return to the team properly: Hart, Kompany, Demichelis, Zabaleta, Fernandinho, Aguero, Negredo, Scott Sinclair (…), and, of course, our new hero Frank Lampard. That’s not to forget Mangala as well who, at this point will need to arrive walking on water to live up to the hype.
Losing in such a high profile game (one which was on telly when there’s nothing else to watch) is never ideal, but it’s not the end of the world. Journey before destination, and all that.
I hope that’s not the last time we see Micah Richards in a City shirt, but if it is then thanks for everything. We love you, Micah.
Bring on Newcastle.
Written by Alex Timperley who is on Twitter