City left Germany with a grand total of zero points from an extremely entertaining game. There were many positives but they will inevitably be overshadowed by the spectre of disappointment and a sense of opportunity lost.
First, the positives
Starting with the plus points is preferable at this time in the morning so lets do that.
Joe Hart was superb. The England number one has come in for plenty of (deserved) criticism in recent times for a string of high profile errors and a seemingly unending string of little spills, slips and misses, but last night he put in a performance reminiscent of the good old days. He was calm and, for the most part, composed, stopping everything that came at him solidly and in style. He commanded his area and marshalled his defence very well. Willy Caballero is waiting in the wings for his chance to audition but on last night’s evidence he will have to be content to practice his lines for a little while longer yet.
David Silva was predictably wonderful. At this point I’m running out of things to say about him. The Spaniard has reached the point where he is our most influential player against every team no matter how good they are. Bayern were no more able to (legally) stop him doing his thing than anybody else has been in the last year and a half. The man is a genius. Hopefully he isn’t too tired for the Chelsea game this weekend…
Edin Dzeko ploughed an often lonely furrow as our one man forward line, acting as a tireless first line of defence for large portions of the game. He didn’t give the Bayern defence a moments rest and was very strong in the air throughout. His link-up play with Silva is improving week on week as the Bosnian becomes a more and more complete striker.
On the whole, City worried Bayern often enough that we shouldn’t write this one off completely. Even with some injuries the Germans are easily one of the best teams on the continent and for large portions of the game we pressed them back and passed rings around them. This wasn’t the statement victory that Vincent Kompany (who led a good defensive effort) demanded before the game, but it’s not a disaster as some of the more hysterical newspapers are proclaiming.
On the other hand…
…The fact that I’ve mostly written about individual payers in the ‘positives’ section tells its own story. This was not the complete team performance against a continental giant that we are desperate to see. As a team Bayern were better than us. There was no part of the game when their defence was scattered and panicked in the face of a sustained City attack. There was no part of the game when their forwards were frustrated by a water tight, impenetrable defence for the ages. City were good, but not good enough. Once again we didn’t look to have that extra little bit of x-factor needed to overcome the very best. No matter how well we did no one came out of that thinking that Bayern’s 89th minute deflected goal was an unjust reward for an inferior team.
And yes, losing in the 89th minute like that was very disappointing. There’s no way around it – it would have hurt less if the goal had come in the 60th minute and the rest of the half had been uneventful. And yes, Boateng having the shot was not ideal as he is not exactly a man fondly remembered by the City fan base.
Silva should have been awarded a penalty for a quite blatant foul on him in the box, but Bayern should also have had at least one penalty for handball so… it evens out, I guess? Can you tell this is an awkward game to write about?
One last negative – Yaya Toure. He was rubbish last night. Absolutely rubbish. I don’t know if he’s just tired or out of form but if Fernando is fit for the Chelsea game it might be time to drop him. He strolled into the realms of being actively damaging to City’s cause and that cannot continue. The contrast with the outstanding Fernandinho was stark.
City deserved a point, but did not get one. Sometimes things don’t work out. The team has yet to truly shine in Europe, a trend which must end this year. Luckily for us there are five games left in the group and we are capable of winning them all. Indeed, we must win them all. City can be a lot, lot better than what we saw in the Allianz Arena last night and it’s time we showed it.
Written by Alex Timperley who is on Twitter