ANALYSIS: Manchester City 1-1 AS Roma

After the draw at The Etihad Stadium with the Italians left City with one point from two games in their latest attempt to leave their mark on the Champions League, there was a distinct feeling that we’ve been here before.

In two of City’s previous three outings in this competition they’ve exited at the group phase. In both of those, they had one point from two games – supporters could be forgiven for fearing another repeat.

What Went Wrong Then?

Well, where to start? I really don’t want to write the words ‘City lacked tempo’ again because, sadly, it’s starting to sound a bit like an easy cop out and obvious criticism. However, City lacked tempo. That’s been the case against Stoke City and for one half against Sheffield Wednesday and it’s starting to get a bit annoying.

We have to get used to the fact that City are established as a creative team capable of playing fast and deadly football, so opposition teams are going to try and nullify that. It is for City to find a way around it, though that appears to be a stumbling block right now.

City certainly lacked a ‘Plan B’ on Tuesday. They rarely looked like finding a way through Roma all night. What became increasingly frustrating was that they were so short of ideas and continued to try the same thing over and over again. I lost count of how many times the Blues had the ball 20-30 yards from goal and tried a chipped pass over the top of the defence. It happened so often I am inclined to believe it was a direct instruction and that Pellegrini had thought Roma were susceptible to such an attack. Despite it becoming clear that that wasn’t the way to unlock them, City persisted.

Pellegrini’s decision to substitute Edin Džeko early in the second half looked an odd one as the Bosnian was one of City’s better players. His hold up play was fine and he was certainly looking more likely to produce something that his strike partner Agüero, who was not having one of his best nights.

The Reckoning

I’m not a fan of knee-jerk reactions or hyperbolic statements but I’m struggling to find the positives in this result. My initial reaction is that this draw is little short of a disaster. We know that ten points is usually considered the safe figure for getting out of a Champions League group, so where can City pick them up? Even if they garner the maximum six points from the CSKA Moscow double-header, they’ll require a minimum of three points from the return games against Bayern Munich and Roma.

Clearly, nothing is settled at this stage but the Blues face a serious uphill struggle in progressing to the last 16. The unfortunate truth is that in this, their fourth attempt at the Champions League, City look as far away from real success as they did when they had that first underwhelming crack at it.

written by Richard Burns

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7 comments on “ANALYSIS: Manchester City 1-1 AS Roma
  1. Fair and accurate summary, I think. It is hard to try and garner any positives from last night, but I did feel the longer the game went on, we would create one last chance.
    City did, probably with our best move of the night, but Silva couldn’t take it.
    Roma looked a good side, and I have to say that the move out of defence in the first half that ended with Cole being flagged for offside having missed the cross with a lunge was excellent football.

  2. Couldn’t agree more. Yaya is clearly struggling and wether he needs a break or not i don’t know but him and fernandinho’s partnership last season was massive to our success and without it we don’t look half the team.
    That being said he isn’t solely to blame for last night.
    Thinking of positives i suppose if hart hadn’t slipped we would have probably won, maicon should of gone after the pen so would have been ten men… Clutching at straws though.
    I’m still confident we can do it, just not on the performance from last night.

  3. I think that’s an accurate and fair description of a dissapointing night. Unfortunately the lack of ideas and seemingly lethargy on the pitch was matched by that in the stands. It’s a fine result for Roma though and puts them firmly in the box seat with Munich.

  4. Exactly easynto say in hindsight I guess but dont know why demichellis didnt play at hull to give Mangala a rest, its more his pace, then have Mangala back in tonight.

    Cant stand the scapegoatism of yaya though. He was ineffectual as it was a poor team performance with no way near enough movement going on until Frank came on and all in all out foxed and outplayed by a good Roma team. Perhaps Nasri does more than we realise and we are missing him?

    • Perhaps, though I think if Milner had started we’d have seen at least a partial solution to the tempo problem.

      Couldn’t really understand why he didn’t start given his run of form. Think we paid a price for that.

  5. Totally in agreement with you, except to add that Pellegrini had the wrong tactics and formation for the first half and Ya Ya once again was pretty ineffectual.

    The defence was a shambles in the first half, and quite frnkly I don’t know why Managala wasn’t on from the start – he would probably have had a very good game after the disaster at the weekend!

    • Fair points. Easy to miss things out through keeping it quite brief. I’d agree that Yaya wasn’t up to much but neither were many of our usual standard bearers (what on earth was Kompany doing for the Totti goal??) so I can’t bring myself to single him out, in all honesty.

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