Monday, 4 February 2013

Match Reflection: Manchester City 2 - 2 Liverpool

Aguero saves City blushes but is it good enough?

By Aaron Leggott

Yesterday's draw at home to Liverpool was a result which has helped put title rivals Manchester United in a great position to steal the title away from us.

Obviously, anything is possible and as we saw last season, City are always capable of pushing United right until the end and hopefully we see some of the same form that won us the league last year.

Not good enough: Yesterday's draw see's us lose vital ground in title race
Photo: Alex Livesey.Getty Images Europe

At the moment though, we are a long way off that level and the draw against Liverpool just proved it. In all honesty, Liverpool were unlucky to go away with just a point, and it was us who were indeed the fortunate ones.

A spectacular goal from Sergio Aguero helped save our blushes and keep the gap between us and United at nine points, but it is a difference that I really can't see us making up.

My reasons for this view are quite simple. Firstly, I believe United will not make the same mistake for two consecutive seasons, and will ensure they see out games, unlike particular games last season (Everton last April comes into mind).

Even if United do slip up again, I can't see us currently producing the form that helped us secure our first ever Premier League title. The performances of late have been very lacklustre, and I worry about us going forward, with our strikers in an awful run of form.

Of course, I'm not taking anything away from Liverpool's performance yesterday. To me, it seemed that Brendan Rodgers set up with a formation similar to those we faced in the Champions League, and we couldn't deal with it... again.

The tactics behind it are quite simple; Rodgers set his team out to pressure our players as soon as they got the ball, and hit us on the break quickly. With players like Luis Suarez at your disposal, this is a tactic which is going to cause any team problems.

As much as he is disliked amongst football fans in this country, it would be extremely difficult for even the strongest critic of the Uruguayan to deny the talent that he possesses. His performance yesterday was Man of the Match material, as he consistently caused Nastasic and Lescott problems, with the former being later substituted due to the problems caused.

I feel the main reason for our poor performance yesterday was because of our midfield. On paper, a midfield consisting of David Silva, James Milner, Javi Garcia and Gareth Barry should comfortably be able to deal with the threat posed by Stewart Downing, Jordan Henderson, Steven Gerrard and Lucas, but yesterday we were well and truly beaten in this department.

There seemed to be a lack of pace, power and vision, and Liverpool took advantage of this. Both Garcia and Barry had their poorest games in a long time, and I feel that the end is slowly approaching for Gareth Barry in a City shirt.

It is a shame as I believe that he is one of the unsung heroes of this side, and definitely deserves more praise, but it wouldn't surprise me to see him be one of many to depart the club this summer.

The game against Southampton this Saturday becomes even more important to ensure we keep daylight between ourselves and Chelsea, whilst also ensuring United have to fight for as long as possible if they want this title. We're here to stay whether you like it or not.

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(c) The Sky Blue View 2013

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