Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Bayern Munich 2, Manchester City 0: Andy's Corner



Periodic Analysis & Opinion from Andrew, Supporter's Club Social Secretary:

Wow. I just finished watching this match, so I’m going to write this right now before my thoughts get colored with the opinions of others. I’m going for honesty here, not fairness, and this is not a predictive post – not meant to say I won’t change my mind later, but this is my reaction as of right now.

This was the hardest match of the year so far for us, as far as technical skill of the opponent and expectations. Leading up to the match, Mancini and others had guaranteed a “get your popcorn ready” type of atmosphere for City’s performance, and we were buzzing from breaking the Everton curse. We even felt an itch of validation from a viral video on YouTube of Ribéry lamenting the fact that Bayern had to play us in the Champions League. Everything seemed ripe for a match day full of excitement.

What ended up happening was a lesson in humility.

The first 10 minutes were some of the most exciting pieces of football I’ve seen from City ever – we were well drilled, pushing up on our opponents, getting the early step on them, stealing position, one-touching our passes, etc. I literally said to myself I have no idea what could happen this game. Bayern were obviously up for the task, yet probably a bit surprised how much bite we initially had to our bark.

Gareth Barry
And yet, somehow quickly hell broke loose. I would start by saying it began with #18 Gareth Barry. Now I’m been known to be a bit icy to our guy Barry in the first place, but I had loosened up on him given an excellent pre-season (especially a notable performance against Inter Milan)  and being what I thought was an acceptable midfield replacement for the usual De Jong week or two off due to injury. And in the first 10 minutes, Barry was actually good. He quickly showed his true colors though – losing possession NUMEROUS times, mis-stepping in defence (so much so it was a missed Barry challenge that lead to the counter attack that scored the first goal), and seemingly never being the right place at the right time. After the 2 goals were conceded, he seemed no better in the 2nd half. I’m shocked Mancini kept him in through the first half, he was shocking.

Wingback vs. Fullback?
Another huge issue, and for me perhaps my biggest complaint about this match was the wing back roles that Clichy and Micah were assigned yet having no holding midfielders (perhaps because Barry sucks) or extra defenders to make up for the loss in the final 3rd. The amount of times Ribéry and company were about to counter, run down the wings, and get us on the back heel because NO ONE WAS THERE was baffling. Obviously when De Jong came on this subsided a bit, but Christ if we are going to have this wild wingback stuff we either 5 in the back or more true holding midfielders because we will get burned if no one is out on the wings in our final 3rd.

Yaya, oh Yaya
Which brings me to the other midfield issue. Now I’ve been fighting it like most City fans, any complaints about the legend that is #42 but this game proved some reality to the murmurs of certain Sky Blues about our holy relic Yaya. Can you answer “no” with a straight face to the question: “In the 2011-12 season, do you see Yaya Toure complaining about calls and throwing his hands up as much as he is actually making a play?” We all know this is what is happening. In addition he seems to not be as self-aware of the open spaces around the midfield he should be occupying. Again, I think this changed a bit De Jong came on, but the issue was still there.

Nitpicks
-Anyone who said they didn’t rate Jerome Boateng last year need only watch this match and look at his overpowering of Kun Aguero.
-Nasri was decent and ran a lot but his performance was a bit, how shall we say it… stale?
-ARGHHH MANCINI 2-0 DOWN and you put on TWO defensive subs between minutes 65-70?! Are you just accepting defeat? What happened to all that “play to the end” stuff after the Fulham draw?
-Yeah we got some crappy calls but we played a bit dirty too. Wasn’t like our (especially Dzeko) grabbing of the other players and complaining. #NotClassy

Hold Your Horses
With that being said, there were some positives and some things to think about.
1)    This is just one game. And a very hard one that. No team, including Barcelona, would find Bayern Munich away an easy match. Perhaps Mancini figures this is how a team gets built – hard fought games with some tough losses to build on the greater good. Or something like that.
2)    GAEL CLICHY WOW! He was absolutely the hero of this game, used his speed like he used to, completely dominated most of the pitch, a wingback as it should be! With that being said I still think we need to change our formation haha.
3)    Kun Aguero is a workhorse too! Don’t know what they put in the water down there in Argentina but he was running around like a more agile Tevez. Too bad he was getting pushed around by Ze Derrty Germans.

Anyway, just some quick thoughts. I think we will continue to do well in the league and the cup runs, but wow we just got welcomed (yet again) to the Champions League.

Over and out.

Live Forever,
Andrew