Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Man City knocked down a peg

An optimistic and hopeful Manchester City were brushed aside last night by Barcelona by two goals to nothing in their own back yard, the defeat makes their task of getting to the quarter finals almost impossible and has diminished any thoughts of City being a European power.

Going into the game big things were expected of City against a poor Barcelona side by their standards, according to Jose Mourinho anyway, last night however Barcelona looked nothing shy of excellent.

They showed that they are still one of, if not the, strongest side in Europe at this moment in time. The quality of their play and their control of the possession was an indicator of the long way Man City are behind the best teams in Europe.

The red card undoubtedly hindered their efforts but even before that they were shaky at the back, mainly because of the man who later received the red card- Demichelis. Xavi and Iniesta ran the midfield nulling Man City’s main creative players Silva and Yaya Toure.

Man City’s prolific attacking force looked average to say the least as Barcelona’s defence dealt with them with relative ease. (If Aguero was fit however it may have been a different story)
Barcelona set the standard that City aspire to reach, and until they do so they will have to be content with just reaching the knock-out stages.

Despite the damaging defeat, Man City’s stats don’t lie, they are the best attacking team in Europe this season and if any team could score at least two at the Nou Camp, City seem the most likely to achieve it.

Barcelona on the other hand will be looking to cruise past City at the Nou Camp and cement their credentials for this season’s Champions League.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Chelsea cause the shock of the season

Despite Manchester City and Chelsea bought being involved in the title race, Chelsea’s victory at the Etihad by one goal to nil may be the shock result of the season so far.

Generally speaking to be considered to be one of the shock results of the season it requires one of the divisions weaker teams travelling to one of the top 4 and coming away with a victory, Chelsea’s win over City meets none of these criteria yet it came as a surprise to almost everyone.

Mourinho would be lying if he said that he envisaged the nights events going as well as they did, not only did they end City’s  perfect home record this season but they also kept them scoreless at home for the first time in 62 matches.

City had been proving irresistible at home this season and seemed almost unbeatable until Chelsea arrived last night, Chelsea were excellent from start to finish not allowing players like Silva get on the ball and create the chances he usually does.

Ivanovic’s goal gave Chelsea a deserved 1-0 win although it could have been an even bigger margin if Chelsea took their chances. No one looked more surprised at this defeat than City manager Manuel Pellegrini who was “out-tacticed” on the night by his rival Mourinho.

Mourinho continues to flatter to deceive as he says his side are a team for next season, and that they would be happy with 2nd place this year. Based on last nights performance they certainly have a chance of winning the title but City still appear to be the strongest squad in the title race.

This loss will have hurt City and now leaves them two points off Arsenal and level on points in second with Chelsea, with Fernandinho and Aguero due to return City still are favourites to lift the title come May but last nights performance by Chelsea has certainly put some doubt in peoples minds.

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Manchester City too strong

 Twenty three games into the Premier League season and Manchester City are emerging as the clear favourites to reclaim the title they won in 2012.

With 53 points they now hold a one point lead at the top ahead of closest rivals Arsenal, after taking the lead in the title race and hitting their best form at the right time they are firmly in the driving seat in the race for the Premier League.

Last nights excellent performance at White Hart Lane cemented their title credentials, the free flowing football is not only a joy to watch, but also reaping the rewards. With the best goal scoring record in the league, 68 goals, they are almost unstoppable in front of goal.

City struggled early on in the season on the road but a 5-1 victory over Spurs away from home is a sign of how far they have come since then, Pellegrini has gotten to know his best starting 11 and since then there has been no stopping them.

An injury to Sergio Aguero may scupper their chances but the array of options up front at Pellegrini’s disposable should mean this won’t be a problem. City, on current form, are certainly the strongest side in the league and will be extremely hard to beat.

The biggest competition in the race for the title looks to be coming from their next opponents Chelsea, despite Arsenal lying ahead of Chelsea and only one point behind City, Chelsea posses a greater squad and look in better shape than Arsenal to keep up with a rampant City.

Monday’s big game between Man City and Chelsea could, even this early on, decide the where the title may be heading, if Man City are to win it would put them 6 points clear of Chelsea which could be pivotal, were Chelsea to win however, it would put them level with City.

Man City, being at home, look more likely to take all three points on Monday which will give them a massive boost going into the season’s final months. Despite Arsenal being in 2nd position recent history suggests they will drop off, although it would be foolish to think this will be the case.

There may be 15 games remaining this season but already City are making a burst to secure the Premier League in Manuel Pellegrini’s first season.