Saturday, October 4, 2014

City in Europe

As I write this, City have one point from six in their Champions League campaign.

After almost wining the group last year, one could rightfully hope that City would be treated more kindly in the group draw this time.  But lady luck seems to abandon the squad that day, as once again, City were matched in a group of death.

Due to some brilliant Joe Hart goal keeping we almost stole a point in Munich and despite a fast start by the Blues, many think that the draw against Roma was a fair result.

The mystifying piece seems to me that a squad that had won the premier league two of the past three years (and finished second the other year), should feel like it can do better.  Certainly, England has the most challenging league.

So, why are we not doing better?  Certainly, part of the problem is bad luck.  We end up in very difficult groups, and play teams that are recent winners of the tournament.  But I don't think that is an excuse.  Certainly, every team competing will have to find a way to beat a recent winner if they are to go far in the competition.

Instead, the problem looks like one of confidence.  Week in and week out, the team play quite well in the Premier League and show a fine attacking spirit.  This spirit is evidenced even when a man down.  However, in Europe, the play is much more tentative and it shows up in lower passing percentages.  This seems to deny the 'go forward' mentality of Pellegrini.

But all hope is not lost.  Six points from CSKA Moscow and draws between Roma and Bayern will put us right in the thick of things.  Perhaps one lucky goal is all we need to turn it around.