I must admit, it’s been a pretty depressing few weeks football wise. I’ve been tempted to write a blog post about these woes but reached the conclusion that it wouldn’t be either uplifting or a particularly interesting read for you! Do let me know if you want me to breakdown into an emotional mess, I’d be happy to oblige…
Anyway, having just finished for Christmas with an assessment free holiday awaiting, I was feeling particularly happy and cheerful coming into the match. Whether the players were the feeling the same is another matter. Sitting at the bottom of the table with a growing gap from safety, this was a game nobody was expecting us to get anything out of, yet a game that would only make our situation worse if we lost again.
Without a win in the last ten games – thanks Burnley for that last-minute equalizer – Man City were the last team desired that could have arrived at the King Power to help us achieve our third win of the season. It’s a tough league sure but Burnley, West Brom and Sunderland home games aside, it’s been an unforgiving run of fixtures that haven’t helped our situation. Plus bad luck, that’s always an easy scapegoat.
Having found possession a difficulty in the last match against Aston Villa, Pearson changed the formation from a 4-4-2 to a 4-5-1. This was a move that I had been calling for and seemed logical. Keeping the wingers is an essential part of our play so I’m relieved there was no diamond of central midfielders again either. Vardy was the lone striker, Hamer came in for the injured Schmeichel and Drinkwater and King were brought in to form the midfield three with Cambiasso.
I have to say I was pretty disgusted with the Match of the Day highlights this week. It made it look a much more one-sided match than I remembered, although of course that is my biased view of the game. Admittedly we only had the one shot on target compared with their four but you’ll have to take my word it was a much more equally chanced game in terms of goal scoring opportunities.
The first half was pretty encouraging right up to the point when Lampard scored with five minutes till the break. Jamie Vardy in particular looked sharp, his pace and determination were a real threat as always throughout the game but he was especially dangerous in the first half, he must have been shattered as the game went on. He pulled off some terrific flicks on multiple occasions – worthy of some camera action – that caused problems when he took on Mangala and Kompany single-handedly at times, unlucky not to score.
While I am a huge admirer of Lampard, plus I think it’s hilarious he’s such a key player for City’s title race against Chelsea, it really did cause an obvious drop in our hopes when he scored so simply, something we’ve been struggling to achieve in recent weeks. If this had been the start of the season, perhaps we may have made an immediate response, however that optimism was long gone.
Man City were without several key players so I suppose that’s a valid excuse for their poor performance even with all those millions, but I think it spoke volumes that the current champions were having to resort to time-wasting tactics with twenty minutes left on the clock. We continued to create chances but in each situation there was a hesitancy in front of goal, with the players almost reluctant to be the one to miss.
It finished as another defeat, despite a late period of sustained pressure. There were plenty of positives, however you have to treat it as a league defeat, not a cup game that doesn’t matter if you go out as the underdogs. Each point counts and it would have been lovely to get a deserved draw from this match.