Row B of the away end at Eastlands isnâ€™t the best position from which to perform an analysis of any tactical battle that may be unfolding on the pitch in front of you, it was though the perfect place for a close up view of Crouchâ€™s stabbing of Milnerâ€™s cross past a helpless Cudicini. This turned out to be the only score in a match we thoroughly dominated and deserved at least a draw from. Man City were very disappointing in ambition and style and I for one wonâ€™t be making any efforts to watch their Champions League games next season if this muscular and physical offering is a typical display.
For once there was something resembling an atmosphere inside the City of Manchester stadium as the home crowd mostly ignored the desultory performance given by their side. There were though sounds of frustration from our right as well as unintelligible chanting as spells of pressure from us were often greeted by a hoof clear from a back four just desperate to get a breather. Their turning of their backs to the pitch in their imitation Pole dancing at the final whistle could be seen more as symbolic than celebratory.
Our makeshift line-up showed diligence and endeavour throughout gaining far more than their fair share of possession as they pushed the home side back into their own penalty area. There was though the familiar lack of a cutting edge as we were unable to make any of the good work count in front of goal. Lennon provided our main threat and it was he who supplied the crosses that Modric slipped just wide in the first half and Pienaar headed low to Hartâ€™s left in the second forcing the keeper into an excellent save. These moments, plus two low passes across the six yard box near the end, were the closest we came to scoring.
Blunt as we are, finding a replacement wonâ€™t be easy if the performance of the very expensive Dzeko is anything to go by. What a hopeless lump. We obviously canâ€™t afford to waste the millions that City do on players they can just discard without thinking. The awful and cringing sign â€˜Thank you Sheikh Mansourâ€™ that hangs along one side of the ground is a reminder of the cash still waiting to be burnt in the summer.
Modric as ever was excellent as was Sandro especially as he attempted to carry the game to City in the second half. Lennon was good and Pienaar did well once heâ€™d got up to speed after half time. Danny Rose is such an improved player it is hard to believe itâ€™s the same man as this time last year. He looked confident and mature as he completely ignored the baiting of the morons at the front of the home crowd when they refused to give the ball to him at throw ins. He was though nearest to Milner at the short corner that led to the goal and perhaps less dithering wouldâ€™ve enabled him to close him down.
So, on the surface the season continues to ebb away with more whimper than bang. This result though disguises a performance to be pleased with. Whether or not itâ€™s one thatâ€™s good enough to halt the charge of a currently rampant Liverpool is a different matter.
WHAT ARE YOUR VIEWS ON THE DEFEAT AND OUR FAILURE TO QUALIFY FOR THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE?
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