Manchester City’s return to glory 2009-10 campaign has officially ground to a halt. Four successive draws coupled with some unattractive football have the critics coming out for Mark Hughes.
But in a Premiership season that has been more competitive at the top than any in recent memory, City’s consistent draws away from home have left the side in a good position to remain in the top six all season.
Hughes clearly has some difficult decisions to make about the squad. Vincent Kompany, whose return was heralded by some, including myself as a solution to City’s defensive woes was regularly out of position on Sunday. Micah Richards has already demonstrated that he has slipped tremendously from being considered for England, to being perhaps only a marginal Premier League player.
In the midfield, City is lacking the essential link up play, and creativity in the center of the pitch to be truly dangerous going forward. The side has been heavily relying on long balls and counter attacks to stimulate any scoring opportunities recently.
A mystery remains as to the status of both Martin Petrov and Stephan Ireland. City spent millions on Garreth Barry, but from where I sit, it is obvious the midfielder fits the England setup under Fabio Capello and Martin O’Neill’s Aston Villa much more comfortably than he does Hughes setup at Eastlands.
Yet, Barry continues to feature as does Roque Santa Cruz whose career at Bayern Munich was a disappointment, and whose form for Paraguay has been missing for sometime.
I still believe Sparky is the man to lead City, but the last four league matches, all of which have seen City outplayed by sides with far smaller payrolls, is worrying.
PLAYER RATINGS FROM THE BIRMINGHAM GAME:
Santa Cruz 5
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- Guardiola may be the ‘greatest manager of all time’ – Neville
- Kevin De Bruyne returns to start in cup final
- Manchester City out of the European Super League
- Man City fans hang anti-ESL banners outside the Etihad
- David Bernstein ‘ashamed’ with City for supporting European Super League
- Kevin De Bruyne ruled out of Aston Villa clash
- ‘Are you ready Mbappe?’ – Phil Foden sends risky tweet
- Guardiola lauds his side for ‘building history’ after City beat Dortmund